Article: Debbie Solomon


The Small Business Library

February 5, 2001

Harvesting Email Addresses

The first time I saw these websites that offer you thousands and thousands of opt-in email addresses for just pennies, it was so tempting and so inviting, I ALMOST fell for it. Heck, who can resist it? You don't have to work your butt off trying to gain a subscriber base. This is a ready made subscriber base, and also potential clients for my product. And this software that is offered that will extract people's email addresses from newsgroups, messageboards, etc... This is just so easy to do, and a lot less time consuming then having to advertise, advertise, and advertise some more.

BEWARE...
This is called Harvesting Email Addresses. Sure they make it sound so simple, and legit, but it isn't. Even the BEST OF US is always tempted by this ploy, but PLEASE do not fall for it. This is NOT Opt-In. These people are NOT asking for your offer. These addresses are harvested. They did not ask to be added to any of these lists. How about you? Do you have an email address that you NEVER use, but suddenly you are recieving tons of spam?

Well, YOUR email address has been harvested and sold. How would you like to fall victim to their ploy of selling YOUR email address to others? I promise you, you will get in so much trouble if you decide to buy one of these lists, or use software for that purpose, it is only a matter of time before you face dire circumstances.

To be honest with you, harvesting email addresses is not illegal. You will not be fined and you will not go to jail. But what will happen will hurt your business immensely. Here are just some of the consequences you will face:

  • You will lose your ISP.
  • You will lose your Domain host.
  • You will lose your Domain.
  • Your name will be added to the spam list.
  • Your business will be blacklisted.
  • You will gain a very bad reputation as a spammer.

Just think of all the hard work you put into your business. Getting listed in Search Engines, Advertising everywhere you can find exposure and networking on the internet. ALL this is down the drain, cause you have now lost your domain, so if a potential client sees your ad, or sees you listed in a search engine, it will do no good, cause your domain is GONE!

Once you work your BUTT off getting back up and going again with a new ISP and new domain, guess what?? Now you are faced with another dilemma. You have gained such a bad reputation as a spammer, that people will not want anything to do with your business because of your previous ethics.

Is this worth it? Many of you do not know the seriousness of what harvesting email addresses can do. I am here to give a heartfelt warning. NO MATTER how good it sounds? Do not FALL FOR IT!

For all of you who are fairly new to the internet... I hope you now realize what harm harvesting email addresses can do. And how falling for these big offers, no matter how tempting they are, will just ruin any business.

Please DO NOT ruin your business for the Easy -Way -Out.
I am not one of those Anti-Spam radicals who goes nuts everytime a Spam is received. Honestly, I just delete them and not even bother with it. The only time I get annoyed is if I am constantly bombarded with emails from one person. It does get out of hand. I will email the person and tell them to either remove from their list or suffer the consequences. It is up to them to remedy the situation. If they persist, then I will notify Abuse@ their ISP. The only constant emails I will read are newsletters and ezines. And only the ones I ask for.

Just remember... Harvesting email addresses is very bad business etiquette with dire circumstances to face. Honest etiquette is honest business. You will gain a respected reputation, and your business will flourish. SO, as you can see, hard work does has its rewards.

The author, Debbie Solomon is the Owner of MarketingTrendz and The HomeSource Arena. Learn more about running your business with the famous ebook: S.C.R.E.A.M. The Marketing Guide that SCREAMS SUCCESS! Learn all about taxes, tools of the marketing world and how to run your business legally, professionally and efficiently. This ebook is FREE when you join the FREE Members Only Club -- The PROFIT ZONE.