What are the risks of buying subscribers?

When you hear the word “subscriptions” and “marketing” in the same sentence, your natural inclination is to assume that there must be some risk involved. After all, subscriptions are something you sign up for—not join or buy into.
And while it wouldn’t be fair to say that buying subscribers isn’t risky, it would be fair to say that the risks associated with doing so are relatively low. The danger lies more in what happens if and when those subscribers don’t convert into long-term customers than in the act of buying them in the first place. That said, there are certain things you should keep in mind before taking that step.
Let’s take a look at some of the risks involved when buying subscribers, as well as how to mitigate them.

Topic Index
  1. The risk of buying fake email addresses
  2. The risk of buying inactive email addresses
  3. The risk of buying from bad or black-hat providers
    1. The risk of paying too much

The risk of buying fake email addresses

When you buy email addresses from a provider, you’re essentially paying them to create email accounts under those addresses. They can do this in one of two ways, manually or automatically.
An email account created manually will have the same legitimacy as any other email account created by a real human being. There shouldn’t be anything suspicious about it, and it shouldn’t be flagged as suspicious by any of your other marketing channels.
An email account created automatically, on the other hand, is more likely to have certain “red flags” that might make it stand out from the rest of your list and prompt your marketing channels to take action—like removing it from your list.
It is possible to buy fake legitimate email addresses, but it’s also possible to buy legitimate fake email addresses. The risk is low, but it is there.

The risk of buying inactive email addresses

As was the case with fake email addresses, the risk of buying an inactive email address is low, but it is present.
An email address that’s been sitting inactive in someone’s inbox for months or years could still be a valuable asset to you. After all, the same person could come across your email now and decide to open it.

However, it’s worth noting that inactive email addresses are less likely to be engaged and open your emails than more active ones. If you buy an inactive email address, you may want to consider including a call-to-action in your email that explicitly asks the person to reactivate their account and re-subscribe.

If you’re going to do that, however, it’s important to realize that you might also want to consider buying a different email address. Why? Because inactive email addresses tend to be more expensive than active ones, and you might get a better deal buying a different inactive email address.

The risk of buying from bad or black-hat providers

There are lots of providers out there that sell “cheap” or “low-priced” email addresses. While those email addresses might seem like a good deal at first, they might also be a sign that you’re dealing with a bad or black-hat email address provider.

Not all bad providers steal someone’s email address and sell it to you, but some do. And while stealing someone’s email address might not sound like a big deal, it’s actually a federal crime in the U.S.
While it’s unlikely that any one provider you buy from is committing this crime, it’s possible that a bad provider might use a stolen email list to create accounts for you. This could lead to your email being flagged as spam, your domain being blacklisted or your IP address being blocked.

The risk of paying too much

As we’ve already discussed, you can buy email addresses from a wide variety of places. This can be a good thing, as it gives you lots of options and helps you find the best possible deal.
However, it can also be a bad thing. It can lead to you being overly impulsive and making a decision based on one or two factors that you think is important—but really isn’t.

It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and urgency of buying subscribers. But before you jump in, make sure that you’re buying from a reputable provider, and that you’re paying a fair price for what you’re getting.
It’s a good idea to ask for samples before you buy. If the provider can’t or won’t provide them, you should probably move on to the next option.

Buying email addresses and building your list can be a great way to expand and diversify your marketing efforts. The best way to do this, however, is to buy subscribers who are genuinely interested in what you have to say.
To do this, you need to buy from a reputable provider and pay a fair price. You also need to be careful to avoid the risks we’ve discussed. Doing so will help you create a healthy, engaged list that will strengthen your business for years to come.

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