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Mailing List Brokers

Mailing Lists

What are mailing list brokers?

Mailing list brokers are people who help you buy marketing mailing lists by dealing with the list owner on your behalf.

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Why use mailing list brokers?

The main reason for using a broker is the security factor . Our page on where to buy mailing lists explains some of the pitfalls; buying a list for the first time is risky. When you buy a product such as a car or a toaster, you can see it before you buy. If anything goes wrong, you will be aware of it and be able to complain to the seller, particularly if the item is under guarantee. However, you don't get that kind of security, certainty or transparency when you buy a mailing list. Of course, there are steps you can take to ensure that a list seller is trustworthy, but it is difficult to assess the quality of the lists provided. If a marketing campaign has a high email response rate, you will know that you have been provided with a good mailing list, and can use the list and the list seller again. However, a low response rate doesn't necessarily mean that you have been provided with a poor quality list. It might just mean that nobody on the list was interested in your product. Of course, using email validation software will weed out invalid email addresses on your list, but there is no way of knowing whether or not the addresses really belong to potential customers. A mailing list broker deals with list sellers all day, and is better placed to judge the reliability of mailing lists and their sellers.

How do mailing list brokers make their money?

Mailing list brokers receive a discount on each mailing list from the list owner. The standard discount in the industry is around 15 to 20 per cent. Then the broker sells the list to the buyer at the non-discounted rate and keeps the difference. The buyer doesn't usually give a fee or any commission to the broker.

Costs of using mailing list brokers

Although you don't usually pay the broker, you will of course have to pay for the mailing list itself. Quality lists from reliable sellers seem expensive when compared to the discount prices of lists from more dubious list sellers. Brokers don't usually work for buyers who want smaller lists, so only use a broker if you want a list of 5,000 addresses or more. Five thousand addresses will probably cost around $500. Some brokers specify a higher minimum list size, usually around 50,000 addresses at a cost of $5000.

Disadvantages of using mailing list brokers

Although the main reason for using a broker is the security factor, it is just as difficult to judge the reliability of a broker as it is to judge the reliability of a list seller. A broker may well have years of experience in the industry and know which sellers provide the best mailing lists, but that doesn't mean that they will give you the benefit of this experience. They may choose instead to recommend the seller who gives them the biggest discount.

How do I find a reliable mailing list broker?

A recommendation from a trusted source is the best way of finding a reliable broker. There is no governing body or professional association for online mailing list brokers.

What else should I know about mailing list brokers?

As explained on our page about where to buy mailing lists, you are unlikely to find a large list of genuine "opt-in" members. Very few people choose to have their email addresses passed on to advertisers. People who fail to respond in any way to mailings are often labeled "subscribers" because they do not click on links inviting them to unsubscribe. That doesn't mean they're interested; it usually means that they delete advertising mailings without even reading them. The most you can hope for is that the addresses on the list are valid. You should expect most, if not all people on your list to delete your promotional mailings without reading them. Genuine "opt-in" lists are gathered by the company selling the product, not by list sellers or brokers.