Top 5 Myths of Email List Rental


There has been a stigma around using email lists for some time, they seemed artificial, and some experts claimed it was bad practice. Only 10% of marketers admit to using third-party rented lists according to a Yesmail survey. However, using an email list rental from a reputable partner is one of the best ways marketers can boost traffic to their site and increase conversions, all while expanding their in-house subscriber list. This is the new generation of email list rental. Today there are advanced audience targeting techniques, in-depth reporting, and no risk to the marketer’s sending reputation. Yet, too few marketing professionals take advantage of this proven customer acquisition channel due to lingering myths about how the process actually works. Let’s look at some popular misconceptions about using third-party email lists.


1. Purchasing Over Renting

Purchasing an email list gives you direct access to a large number of contacts. The data is yours to keep and use as you like. Often it’s a short-cut to increasing an existing house email list. It’s used mainly for marketers who want to cast the widest possible net and blast content out to huge volumes of contacts. Purchasing a list represents an ‘old school’ way of direct marketing and can have serious consequences for a brand’s reputation.

Renting a third-party email list is completely different to purchasing, and much safer. When done properly, the recipients’ email addresses are never given to the marketer and the emails are sent out via the third-party data collector. The marketer sits down with the data provider and defines the targeting criteria for the type of audiences they want reach. After the creative/content is developed, the campaign is tested, and it’s distributed to the selected audience.


2. My Sending Reputation Will Be Hurt

A reputable third-party data provider will handle all email marketing complexities such as compliance (CAN-SPAM/CASL), opt-outs, bounces, and spam complaints. The marketer is completely protected from any associated risks. A key to remember is to never send out an email campaign from your marketing software using a list other than your own. You’ll be risking the reputation of your IP address and your company.


3. Targeting Hasn’t Improved

Most people are surprised by how precise you can get with hyper-targeted audiences. In the U.S., there are roughly 20,000 audience sources available and each source contains lists of individuals who share a specific set of attributes or activities. For example, if you want to target consumers who are currently researching an automotive purchase, run a B2B campaign to a certain industry, or reach families who haven’t taken a vacation in 6 months, the options are almost endless. These audiences are significantly more responsive because your message is highly relevant and connecting with the right people at the right time.

“It will probably shock you on how precise we can get with this type of marketing, particularly in the United States,” says Kitty Kolding, CEO of Infocore. “There is no other place with as much data with as much precision and with as much depth.”


4. I Don’t Have Permission

A common concern around email marketing is permission. Many believe due to privacy and anti-spam regulations they are unable to market to contacts who haven’t already opted-in to receive emails from their company. The good news is there are third-party partners that have the verified permission to send emails to your target audience on your behalf. Many list companies will promise you a fully compliant and targeted email list, but do your research to ensure your partner can explain where their data is sourced and how often it’s cleaned. You get what you pay for when it comes to list rentals. A suspiciously low price is a sure sign the data is stale and lacks the proper permissions.


5. High Traffic = Results

If you’ve sent out your email campaign and there’s been a flurry of traffic to your site, make sure you check that it’s the right type of traffic. There are fly-by-night list companies and even some more well-known vendors that will supplement their lack of quality data and deliverability with artificial traffic. An important question to ask yourself is whether the campaign reporting and traffic patterns look like the activity of real people. Here are some key indicators to protect yourself:

  • Lots of traffic in the middle of the night.
  • Traffic only comes in small periodic batches.
  • 99% of all campaign traffic is from a desktop computer with the same operating system and browser.
  • All traffic cuts off after 24-48 hours with no residual traffic trickling in over the next few days.

How do you look for this?

  • Look for whether all these indicators show up in your web analytics for that campaign.
  • Compare against your house email list campaigns.
  • Compare against other digital media traffic (display, search, etc).
  • Does this traffic and the behavior pattern differ greatly from what real people do on the site and compared to the traffic from all the other advertising sources?


Check out Future Flow Media’s hyper-targeted email capabilities and learn how we help brands reach new audiences. Ready to start building your next campaign? Contact us at or call 1-877-478-8248.