I find it remarkable that organisations I look up to, or would otherwise have a respect for, resort to spamming people with their promotions. On many occasions I’ve asked (whether by email or by phone) how they got my address or number, and they stumble over the answer – usually because the people employed for that reason don’t have any idea. But I push the issue as it’s important to me. Usually the result is that they bought the list from someone – and that someone never had my permission to pass on my details to anyone else.
Two instances of this happed in the past week. One was a letter I received in the post, unmarked with a return address, with a long letter (several pages long) about why I should take up their business opportunity. When I rang them to find out where they got my details from they were insistent I’d rung up and left my details. I was equally insistent that I hadn’t. I kept pushing and finally found out they’d bought a list from someone I had a lot of respect for – someone whom I thought quite high profile and then I probably incorrectly thought they would have sufficient monies coming in, not to resort to selling their lists. I was wrong. They either are finding every avenue they can to make money and/or are desperate for money. Either way, they’ve fallen down from the pedestal I had of them (a well known public speaker) by selling my details to someone I would consider to be somewhat beneath the level of the other person.
And then today, I got spam from an organisation that would presumably have high ethics – the spam was sent to an address I NEVER use to subscribe to lists. They would have had to pull it off my website – or someone harvested it and then it was sold to this other group. I’ve emailed them telling them what I thought and promptly unsubscribed. The website they got the address from has nothing to do with my VA business and is totally unrelated and not frequented in the way my business sites are. And I’m not that naiive to think that addresses from any site would not be harvested – it’s just that I know I definitely don’t use that address for subscribing to anything. And I really thought the organisation spamming me was above resorting to those kind of tactics – and targetting a niche group that shouldn’t be spammed at all. Not that any of us should be.
So, how can you be 100% sure that your list is safe to use? Build it yourself. It does take time and perseverance but if you have a list of people you’ve personally met, or invited to subscribe, then you know they want to hear from you. There are reputable companies you can purchase lists from – but I’ve never done it. My list belongs to me, 100%, and is not for sale, and I don’t need to purchase lists to bulk it up. So what if it’s not tens of thousands in size? It is a few thousand and it’s been built with a few years of dedication – and it’s mine! And it’s been built by going out and networking, meeting people, collecting their business cards, emailing them and inviting them to subscribe – most do, and/or visitors who have come to my site. Often my newsletters are forwarded to people and they self-subscribe also.
So, if you want to be sure your list is safe and keep your reputation for your business, then I encourage you to build it safely and steadily through your own means – and not by purchasing a list that you really have very little information on. KMT