Why You Shouldn’t Mass Scrape Emails & How Doing So Can Ruin Your Business Before You Even Get Started


Ok, so we talk to a lot of business’s starting out and looking to grow. Most first time meetings someone will mention that they have got a load of emails.

We ask:

“wow that’s great, so did you create a landing page and collect these emails through people who have opted in or bought perviously?”

The response (1 out of 10 times):

“Nope. We know a guy who scraped a load of emails”
“I’ll have to check where the emails are from”

Both are bad news. First of all, how don’t you know where you got your emails from? That’s useless.

Second of all, email marketing is based on permission. Something you don’t have. So, your “list” is worthless.

The Biggest Scammer We Met

We even had a particular meeting with a scammy individual…

(Who has been reported to the Met fraud division, and has left the country, due to an unrelated business matter)

Who had access to 600K+ emails and for some reason didn’t understand why non of these emails turned into sales when he spammed them. c’mon man. What are you thinking? you don’t even understand the basics of product market fit.

Scraping email addresses can seem like a fast way to build a list of contacts, even if you think they’re relevant emails — you’re just going to introduce your website/product or service as a spammer. Not the best start. Right?

People know when they receive something they didn’t sign up for. You’re just hurting the reputation of your business.

(Harvesting emails in this way is illegal in many countries, including the United States. In fact, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 specifically prohibits the practice. )

There’s a very good reason professional marketers do not harvest email addresses through scraping.

Because it doesn’t work.

We know you may have read about some large business’s starting off by scraping emails, and spamming….but we find this hard to believe.

Email harvesting risks
Here’s some other issues.

  • You could be flagged as a spammer by email clients and ISPs
  • You could be suspended by your SMTP service. No professional SMTP service permits marketers to send unsolicited emails.
  • Your bounce rate could skyrocket.
  • Your company could be fined by local authorities. Each country has different laws regarding unsolicited emails, and different punishments for violating those laws.
  • There’s a case that it effects your SEO badly too.

CLIFF-NOTE: you know why those scam spam emails you get are so badly worded? You know the one’s — from a Nigerian Prince?

Some reasons:

  • To filter out smart users who would immediately recognise the scam, thus ensuring that only the most gullible users respond.
  • To read in a way that people with money might imagine a Nigerian would write
  • To get past spam filters

Anyway, scraping emails?

Just don’t do it. It’s not smart & its not at all worth it. Build your business properly.

We’d like to hear your thoughts either way.