The Top 5 Lies Scammers Tell New Email Marketers

by Francis Santos April 28th, 2011 


There are many unscrupulous "experts" out there in cyberland who attempt to make you belief that donning the black Stetson is your key to vast fortunes beyond your imagination. These fortunes will remain beyond your imagination as the only individual profiting will be this pseudo-Expert.

Here are the top five lies scammers will tell you to separate you from your money, and possibly your freedom.

I can blast to 10 million email addresses who bought this type of product

Permission based email marketing is exactly that: first you directly get permission, then you send the email. When you are blasting out to an entire huge list that was gleaned from Gawd only knows what motley bunch of sources, not one of these individuals gave you direct permission to send them an email. Have just one of these 10 million people send you an unsubscribe request which you dont immediately honor and congratulations, youre now facing Federal charges. Oh, and you might want to note that 99.9% of these email lists are riddled with honeypot traps which lead right to the Feds too!

I can scrape thousands of emails from Craigslists relevant categories

There are many inventive ways to obtain real email addresses from Craigslists forwarders and they all essentially entail replying with boilerplate such as hey, Ive been looking for this forever are you open to an offer in order to solicit a reply from the real email address which can then be harvested. All of these methods have one thing in common: they all fail. Craigslist has developed extremely sophisticated algorithms which identify scrapers in order to bury them under dump trucks full of Cease & Desist orders. This automatically leads the SEO scammers to claim that:

I can anonymize your identity completely so no one can ever trace either of us

Treatises on successful anonymity belong on the dusty shelves right next to the aerodynamic studies of pigs wings. No matter who you are or where you are accessing from, a sufficiently motivated federal agency can obtain all the data required to come knocking on your door. Given that there are email spammers in prison right now who thought that they could hide behind anonymizers, your proper online business strategy really should not entail joining them.

I can route all your traffic through Russia/Ukraine/Slobodania where its untrackable

A memorable cartoon shows a Martian operating a server on his home planet while an astronaut with FBI stenciled on his space suit hands him a subpoena. This cartoon drives home the point that no matter where on this planet (or any other) a server is spewing out data which violates U.S. law, it can be tracked and shut down. Should you be so lucky as to avoid the long arm of American law, many of these offshore server operators will blackmail you with turning over your entire records to the Feds unless you pay them off big time.

I can set up a VPS where you can email as much as you want

Reputable email service providers spend a large portion of their total time and resources in reassuring ISPs across the net that they are ethical and legitimate senders so that they will avoid blockage of their clients newsletter campaigns. Setting up a VPS or other form of dedicated server to fire off a barrage of emails from the same location without the benefit of a diplomatic effort which stretches over years will set off a multitude of tripwires which will result in the blocking of every email you send, including the ones to your grandmother.

"Black Hat" email marketing is illegal and ineffectual. Period. If youre going to risk a decade in jail, you might as well go rob a bank. At least youll have some money to show for it!

Francis Santos

Francis Santos is a best practices activist and advocate for leading web and permission-based email marketing software providing award winning email marketing services.

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4 Responses to “The Top 5 Lies Scammers Tell New Email Marketers”

  1. Will Smith says:

    It is amazing how so many people do not get email marketing. A good OPT IN database is something that has to be built up gradually over time.

    Email marketing is only good if you are targeting a market that show an interest.

    • Fletcher T. says:

      I completely agree with you Will. It's all about best practices and not taking shortcuts. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Daniel Levinson - AMD says:

    I agree 100%. Also your readers may want to know any reputable company that have "opt-in" emails should have proof they are opt-ins with a record for each email address that provides 1. Time/Date of opt-in 2. IP Address snapshot MINIMUM! Anyone who does not provide that is 100% a scammer. NOW even with that you have to make sure the provider of the email addresses you are purchasing from has a "Third Party" clause that was stated o the opt-in address owner as it is actually illegal to just sell an opt-in list that, these people who signed up with the person you are buying these emails from, signed up for something completely different than what you are now sending them AND remember, these sleazy companies sold that same single opt in list to 1000 other companies so these people are extremely irritated at this point. You have to make sure the company you buy the addresses from are double opt-in or guaranteeing the 3rd party clause and that your emails are either original or the company sends them themselves only one a week. There will be a lot of old bounces and garbage if you do not protect yourself when purchasing lists, and you will have federal authorities knocking on your door as Francis stated.