Purchased Lists and ESPs

One thing almost every ESP delivery person has dealt with, at one time or another, is a customer complaining about being unable to send to a purchased list. Inevitably, the customer will say “But other-ESP lets us send to purchased lists, why won’t you?” I’ve heard this over and over from many different colleagues.
Of course, the customer is almost always leaving other-ESP because of poor delivery. They think changing ESPs will improve their delivery. The problem is delivery is often poor because the ESP lets customers send to purchased lists. Purchased lists usually perform poorly because many list sellers are not very conscientious about permission.
What ESPs don’t allow purchased lists?
Amazon SES
Campaign Monitor
Constant Contact
ExactTarget / Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Mad Mimi
These are the big ESPs that drive the market and they don’t allow purchased lists. There’s a reason for this. ESPs that allow purchased lists don’t have great delivery. Their customers send a lot of unwanted and unsolicited email and it taints all the mail coming from their space. I’ve done work for a couple ESPs that that had all their client mail, even the permission stuff, going to bulk at places like Yahoo! and Gmail.
Purchased lists drive delivery problems.
What’s more, the ESP reps know when customers say other-esp lets us send to purchased list it may not be true. I’ve heard at least 3 or 4 of the above ESPs listed as allowing purchased lists. But they don’t. Sure, some customers can, and probably do, get away with purchasing lists and mail them off the ESP. But if they get caught they’re either disconnected or they’re told to stop sending to the purchased list.
Many ESPs prohibit the use of purchased address lists and for good reasons.
Note: if you’d like your ESP added to this list, please contact me (email or in the comments) with a link to your published no purchased lists policy and I’ll add you here.


  1. Ros Hodgekiss says

    Hi there Laura, I’m really pleased that you’re making it very clear that many market leaders in the email space are outright taking a stand against purchased lists. Would it be possible to add Campaign Monitor ( to this selection of ESPs? Our compliance and deliverability team take a strong stand against purchasing or “renting” email addresses; for those who want to understand this issue better, we have a guide to help out:
    Thanks, Laura – keep up the awesome work!

  2. Brendan says

    Just wanted to point out that iContact is another ESP that doesn’t allow purchased lists and proactively terminates any account found using one 🙂

  3. Mac Ossowski says

    Great post, Laura. Happy to mention that GetResponse also has a zero-tolerance for spam and our policy doesn’t allow purchased lists.

    1. laura says

      I’ll add you to the list in the post if you send me a link to your published policy that states no purchased lists.

  4. Alexander Jones says

    Hey Laura,
    Love the blog, always full of great information!
    IMO Purchased lists are the bane of an ESP’s existence – They have the potential to mess up everyone’s day if any user is allowed to get mail sent to them.
    I’m with, and personally involved in making sure list buyers are kept off of the service. It be great if you could add us to the list as well. Our Anti spam policy is here:
    Keep up the great blog work!

  5. Sam says

    Hi Laura,
    Great article. I’m with ONTRAPORT and also wanted to mention that we are strictly Opt-IN and permission based only, and definitely do not allow any purchased/rented/lease/scraped lists.

  6. Sarah Connolly says

    Hey Laura,
    Thanks for another great blog post, as always. Infusionsoft is another ESP that strictly prohibits purchased lists among other practices outlined in our Acceptable Use Policy,

  7. Atro Tossavainen says

    Thanks for a great post, Laura.
    On Mac Ossowski’s behalf –

  8. Art says

    Emma also prohibits the use of any purchased list ::

  9. Skyler Holobach says

    Awesome post, Laura! Thanks for including Pardot in the list. I work in email compliance at Pardot and it’s really fantastic to see how unified everyone is on this stance. 🙂
    I look forward to hopefully getting to meet you in person in the next few weeks!

  10. Atro Tossavainen says

    Over on LinkedIn, Act-On’s chief privacy and digital compliance officer just posted the UK DMA’s notes on where and how to purchase lists:
    “Marketing in the UK? Buyer beware
    I guess that means Act-On won’t be appearing on this list!

  11. Alberto Miscia says

    Hi Laura,
    great informative post as always!
    Here at MailUp we strictly do not allow purchased/rented lists (amongst other things)
    Thank you.

  12. Atro Tossavainen says

    I object to ActOn’s presence on the abovementioned list. 🙂

  13. Serene Wakelin says

    Hi Laura,
    I’m with everyone here who thinks this post is great! The more times we can get the message out the purchased lists are not good sender practices the better. I’m with Elastic Email and we don’t allow purchased lists on our system either, here is a direct link to our polices:
    You’ll find the details specifically listed under the Email List Policy section.
    Thank you!

  14. Brad Gurley says

    Thanks for putting this post together. I’d like to request WhatCounts be added to this list as well. You can see our Anti-Spam Policy here:

  15. Dave Ewing says

    Hi Laura, just found your blog – very informative! At Sensorpro, we do not allow rented or bought lists (which is as it should be with all ESPs)

  16. Doug Marshall says

    Here’s the problem though, when your employer has purchased a list and INSISTS on using that list for lead generation.
    I have explained ad nauseum why this is a bad idea. They look at me blankly and move on with scheduling our emails. They expect me to find a provider that will allow purchased lists. Where do I turn?
    All I can find is articles on NOT using them. Well, I have no say in the matter and my job depends on doing this. What about us stuck in that place?

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  18. Neil Berman says

    Delivra prohibits purchased lists and should be added should you update the content.

  19. laura says

    Hi, Neil,
    If you drop me a link to your published policy, I will add you to the list.

  20. Brian Toresdahl says

    Thanks Laura for adding SharpSpring! It’s great that this list exists; it’s not a coincidence that these companies are the established brands in email.

  21. Krzysztof Jarecki says

    ExpertSender does not allow purchased lists as well.
    Here’s the link to our anti-spam policy:

  22. Will Devlin says

    MessageGears is another you can add!

  23. Raj Khera says

    Laura, MailerMailer does not allow purchased lists. Please consider adding us to your list. Here’s our policy:

  24. Kapil Sharma says

    Hi Laura,
    SendinBlue too doesnt allow purchased or rented lists. Please add SendinBlue to your list. Please go through the published policy here:
    More details can be found at:

  25. Julius Fedorovicius says

    Hi Laura,
    Soundest also does not allow purchased or rented lists. Please add Soundest to your list.
    Here’s our website’s link
    Here’s our terms of use (please take a look at 9.4)
    Thank you

  26. Atro Tossavainen says

    @Julius: Soundest does seem to allow other types of absolute garbage, though. Take for example.

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  29. Alex Burch says

    ActiveCampaign should definitely be on this list!

  30. steve says

    Alex, do you have a link to the ActiveCampaign page that bans purchased lists?

  31. Yitzi says

    Mad Mimi, does not allow purchased or any other such 3rd party lists: (see Section 3)

    GoDaddy Email Marketing (Mimi’s parent comp) also does not allow purchased lists:

  32. Joyce Qian says

    Hey Laura!

    Awesome list even in 2019. Feel free to consider ContactPigeon for your list, please. One of the top Marketing Automation platforms for 2019, according to and NGData.

    Here are our Terms of Use:
    (General Rules)



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