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Before we can discuss the pros and cons of each type of email list, we need to explain the differences between owner deployed and released email lists.

With an owner deployed list, you will not receive a physical email list. You pay for the deployment of your message to a set number of email addresses. The list owner sends your message out on your behalf, with a deliverability guarantee and you will receive detailed reports telling you how many emails were successfully delivered, opened, and the number of clicks on your links.

A released email list is a list of email addresses that you purchase and you can email out to those addresses as often as you like. Compliance with the CANSPAM regulations becomes your responsibility.

Owner deployed email lists tend to be more effective for a few reasons:

  1. The list owner has control over how often their list is broadcast too. This is done to maintain the integrity of the list and to maximize its effectiveness. With a released email list, you can email out to it as often as you want, but so can anyone else who has purchased the list.
  2. The list owner broadcasts the emails using their own white listed servers, which increases the email’s deliverability. If you broadcast the emails using your own server, you may get blacklisted because there is no quality control. If you are using an email service, you have to make sure they accept third party email lists (emails that aren’t part of your house list, lists that have been purchased).
  3. The list owner will send you receive a tracking report telling you how many opened your message and how many responded to your ‘call to action’. If you are sending out the emails yourself, you’re not going to receive any reports.

While we favour list owner deployed lists, there is a place for released emails. As mentioned before, when you purchase a released email, you can broadcast to it as often as you like, while with a list owner deployed list, you have to pay the list owner for each broadcast. Depending on how often you want to broadcast, the cost can add up.

The key to purchasing a released email list is, being certain it is through a reputable list owner.

There are list owners who sell lists that are put together from websites where the address is publicly shown, which means no permission was obtained. Your first clue in illegally obtained lists will be the price – they promise millions of e-mail addresses for hundreds of dollars. A properly sourced, compliant, released opt-in email list is not going to be next to nothing.

As with anything in marketing, you get what you pay for. You can pay a little more for a list owner deployed email list with deliverability guarantees and tracking reports, you can pay a little less for a released email that you can broadcast out to as often as you like or you can spend next to nothing on millions useless addresses. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.