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May
08

Nuances of 3rd Party Lists

You just got a list of emails from a friend, a tradeshow, a seminar, a conference, or some other source where contact information was being exchanged (including purchased downloads from places like Jigsaw, Netprospex, etc.).

Question:

Now you are ready to upload your new list and start sending emails to them to do some marketing, sales, and business development, right?!!

Answer:

Maybe. Sort of. Depends.

Explanation:

Everything you need to know will be found in the Terms and Conditions of the email service provider and the content of the list that you plan to use (and how you plan to use it).  Most importantly, does your email service provider allow you to send to “3rd Party Lists”? Essentially, any list of contacts that you get from a way other than from your direct website requests (or someone sending you an email asking to be on your email list) is considered a 3rd Party List.  And companies like Constant Contact don’t allow 3rd Party Lists to be uploaded or used on their email service – the penalties are extreme – this is of course their livelihood to be a “whitelist” email service to assure emails sent from their service are highly reputable.  Note: If you ever make this mistake, or have made this mistake, and need to get people put back on your email list in your account, let us know, we can take care of that process for you.

Luckily for you there are a wide spectrum of email service providers that will send to 3rd Party Lists lists.  Places like Constant Contact would ideally prefer that the list you use is comprised of only people who have double opt’ed in to your list (essentially they ask to be on your list, you send them an email to confirm they asked, and they acknowledge that they requested to be on the list).  Double opting in reduces the chances of the more common (and hotly debated) practice of “autosubscribing” whereby someone engages with your company in some way and you assume that they are now “opt’ed in” and place them on the email list and start sending them regular emails, offers, etc.  The business cards, third party lists, and other approaches to adding people to a list look like “autsubscribing” to the whitelist email senders, so they are not fans of it (read “they will close your account”).

What You Can Do:

If you have a third party list (essentially any list where you don’t have documentation that the people have expressly asked to be on your list) that you need to send information to, you can find services that are willing to send the emails on your behalf so long as you follow the rules to make sure you are known as the originator of the communication, they have options to get off the list, and you have legitimate reasons for getting in touch with them.  There are some cases where some brave (or risky) people have decided to import their third party lists into their corporate email system, their Constant Contact (or other whitelist sender) email system, or to their personal account a little at a time to stay within the expected “bounce” and “unsubscribe” rates that the email systems are tracking to look for 3rd Party Lists.  If you have that risk profile, good luck, if not, and you need help finding someone who can make sure you get in touch with your 3rd Party List, let us know.

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