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Are Safe Lists Really Safe?

By Marie Quaglia
Posted Thursday, December 9, 2004

Safe list marketing needs to be understood before you spend all your time getting involved. Really KNOW your targeted audience first.

For anyone just starting out in any area of web commerce, the term “Safe List” should not be new to you. A multitude of these safe lists are marketed to us each day by so many people that I sometimes wonder if the senders find time to do anything besides advertise safe lists!

Many of the ones I have seen are all described as “opt in” lists which, if used, will supposedly never result in spam complaints. Very few advertise themselves as being “double opt in” lists – which doesn’t come as a surprise because it would be rare for a third party company to have a viable list such as this at their finger tips.

Since researching new types of on line marketing is really one of the key functional areas of my business, I purposely get involved with many safe lists (and other marketing venues) simply to research them. I can’t say I’m terribly surprised at my findings!

So – are safe lists really safe? Well, you probably won’t be accused of Spamming since your emails are sent out through their third party servers, not yours. Your ISP and your autoresponder company would rarely do anything to do you since you aren’t using them to do your mass emailing.

However, if your purpose is to make sales or even generate some good leads, safe lists most probably won’t provide any positive response for you – at least not for months after your first email campaign.

In order to decide how much time and effort you might want to invest in safe lists, you need to understand a few basic concepts first:

• Learn how your safe list email goes out and what name is in the “from” field. Chances are, it’s not yours! Many lists send emails using their own name (MegaSafeLister, etc.). This is doing nothing for you if you are trying to create name brand recognition out there – as you should be.

I currently belong to a safe list that delivers all of its messages under the name of “Nobody”. This is totally ridiculous! This morning I had 119 emails from Nobody – all in a row. Nothing stood out from the crowd. It was a shame! I can’t help but wonder if their original “owners” have any idea how useless these messages are.

• Does the safe list advertise that your emails will go to “targeted” prospects? What is their definition of “targeted”? It really means that their email lists are made up of people who have signed up with them…..not people who specifically requested information on the program or type of program you are involved in. For example,if you are trying to sell road maps, you are wasting your time with “targeted” prospects at any safe list since they haven’t signed up looking for your product.

• People joining safe lists are usually looking for a way to sell their service or product or increase their downlines for their MLM. they are NOT looking to spend money. So what happens? Thousands of emails go out every day to people who don’t want to spend money, they want to make money! Big difference when you are targeting your market! You need to advertise to people who are looking to spend!

• When a list advertises that your email will be blasted to 2,500,000 people – is it? Can they prove it? You really have no idea who is getting your message and who isn’t.

• Many spam filters now look for bulk mail coming from these lists and don’t deliver it. This happens even if you paid to join a safe list! So - your advertising dollars are being wasted.

Before you get involved with safe lists hoping that they will provide you with a quick increase in your web traffic and customers, think twice!

About the Author
I have over 20 years experience in marketing, communications, sales and advertising, and an MBA in Marketing Communications. For the past four years I have had my own successful company that specializes in copywriting for internet marketers.