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Dirty Secrets Of Co-Registration E-mail Lists

by Willie Crawford

Years ago, I listened to Internet Marketing "gurus" share that they had lists in the hundreds of thousands, and I was all ears. Up to that point, I had not managed to get my lists above 60,000 (after many years of consistently working at it).

After a little further investigation, some of them shared with me that they often purchased new list members in batches of 25,000...50,000...even several hundred thousand. Knowing the value of each of my individual list members, based upon how much each spent with me per year on average, visions of riches started dancing in my head.

Then this little voice in the back of my head asked if this wasn't DANGEROUS! Wouldn't I get spam complaints or something. How could I just buy e-mail addresses and add them to my list? Was this legal? Why didn't more people know about this, and why weren't more people doing it? So I investigated further.

One of the first things I discovered was that lots of big name marketers were using co-registration leads with great results.

Further investigation showed me that these leads were generated in a variety of way, and that there was a wide range of differences in quality AND methods of generating these lists.

What I now consider the best method of generating co-registration lists is to have a service get people to sign up SPECIFICALLY for your list. There are companies that allow you to write up a description of your list, and this description is displayed on an opt-in form on high-traffic websites. The sites' visitors read the description of your list, and based upon that description decide to subscribe. I consider this the best method because the individuals are specifically subscribing to YOUR list.

Another type of subscriber, or lead, that you can purchase is a lead who didn't specifically subscribe to YOUR list, but did request more information on your type of product. These leads are often gathered by companies putting a form on high traffic sites inviting people to request more information on business opportunities...or other profitable topics.

Prospects fill in the form and are then added to lists that are sold to people looking for leads or subscribers. This can be where things get sticky...

The first place where things can get murky is that some sites don't make it clear to these individuals that they are going to sell their information. They sometimes state this but not in a very clear fashion. So they compile these lists and sell them to people looking for leads interested in a specific topic. If you buy one of these list, and it wasn't made incredibly clear that they were going to be contacted by a bunch of people offering to "help them", these people could get somewhat upset when their e-mail boxes start getting flooded.

The above problem stems largely from the fact that some firms offering opt-in leads TRICK people into 'agreeing' to receive offers. They may use a statement as vague as that business associates will also send them special offers. If you e-mail these people, they may get very upset since, in their opinion, your e-mail was uninvited...and unwelcome intrusion.

There are services that make it very clear that they will have people who offer income opportunities or online business opportunities contacting you. The better of these companies build lists specifically for a given customer and they don't sell the lists to more than a few customers. One firm I've use that's like this is know as Nitro. These guys get an order and they build a list specifically for that customer. Actually, they allow one customer to buy a list that is only for their use, or, for less of an investment, that customer can get a custom-built list that's shared with up to 3 other marketers.

NOTE: I specifically mentioned the Nitro guys because I know them personally, and have GRILLED them on their business practices and HOW they generate leads. I believe that they operate a very reputable and ethical business. I CAN'T make that statement about all of the more than a dozen companies that I have investigated.

One of the biggest dangers in using co-reg leads who didn't specifically subscribe to your list is of course the likelihood of spam complaints. If a subscriber views your e-mail as unwelcome, then in their eyes you spammed them. There are factors that increase the likelihood of this happening, and there are ways of reducing or completely eliminating the probability of these complaints.

One factor that increases the likelihood of complaints is the age of the list. If you purchase an old list, there's a good chance that dozens of people just like you also purchased that list and have e-mailed these people. These people are now simply tired of being offered more 'help'. With a fresh list...only a few days to a few weeks old, you're less likely to encounter this problem.

When someone fills in a form on a website requesting more information, they are actually INTERESTED in receiving more information. Why else would they fill in the form...except in the instances previously mentioned where they are tricked...or perhaps even incentivized to fill in the form in exchange for a gift.

Given that an individual really is interested in receiving more information on a given topic, the correct way to approach them is to introduce yourself and allow them to warm up to you BEFORE you try to sell them anything. You need to send them a series of e-mail that identify yourself, PROVE to them that you are legitimate, and demonstrate to them that you really do have their best interest at heart. This takes time and effort. There is a lot of technique to this. I've studied the topic of warming co-reg leads up to you...extensively.

When using co-reg leads, I personally tell the person in my first few e-mails why I'm e-mailing them, where I got their contact information from, and I also tell them that if they are no longer interested how they can get off of the list with just a click. This has worked well for me although my lists are now so HUGE that I rarely use co-reg leads. It's a fact that those who visit your site and then subscribe to your list are more valuable...much more responsive! I mentioned the danger of not using only FRESH lists. The reason this is CRITICAL is that many people who purchase lists turn around and sell them to recoup some of their costs. This sort of makes sense. There's a good chance that many of these leads don't see the majority of e-mails sent to them simply due to filters, etc. It's also possible that what you have to offer may not be exactly right for them.

The PROBLEM comes when a list is resold over and over again! Buyer A resells a list to 5 people, and 2 of them resell it to 6 people each, and 3 of them resell it to 4 people each. By this time, those 'opt-in lead' are getting pretty frustrated with having their personal email box flooded with JUNK e-mail. Then you buy one of these list, add them to your autoresponders, and your ISP gets 20 complaints from irate people in 20 minutes. On top of that you get 100 e-mails with some 'choice' words about your heritage and suggesting strange things you can do to yourself. To protect themselves and their other customers your web host or list host shuts you down! Not a good day.

Done properly, with a quality list, or better yet, one built specifically for you (with the opt-in actually subscribing to YOUR list), using co-reg leads can be an excellent way to grow a list incredibly fast. Done wrong, or if you're just plain unlucky, it can be a real disaster. I even know of one "big name" Internet marketer who received a death threat after using a co-reg list.

If you are considering using co-reg leads you want to check the terms of service closely at your web host or list hosts. Many prohibit you using co-reg leads to mail from their servers, or even to promote domains hosted with them. They simply don't want to risk the potential adverse effects. Many autoresponder services such as the one I operate at Aweber will NOT allow you to mass import co-reg leads. However, there are other autoresponder services that understand the nature of using co-reg leads, and view it as a legitimate business model. I can point you to some of those if you ask.

The purpose of this article is merely to educate. It's not to offer ANY advice. It's just to make you aware of a common practice and show you some things that you need to consider. Another purpose of the article is to stimulate discussion. I invite you to discuss this topic on my Internet Marketing discussion forum.

Willie Crawford has taught PROVEN Internet Marketing techniques to thousands of successful Internet entrepreneurs since late 1996. Subscribe to his free weekly e-zine, which helps you cut through the clutter and time-wasting hype, at http://WillieCrawford.com.

 

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