Monday, September 25, 2023


Should we sell our email list with your name on it?

By Emily Woodbury


f you only knew how many emails we receive in a day. Most are from readers—your questions, suggestions, requests for information, news tips, and article ideas. We love hearing from you. But we’re also inundated with annoying emails like the one below. The emails include lots of spam, lots of “sponsored guest post” requests (ugh) and lots of “Put a link to my website on and we’ll send you money” bribes.

If only we wanted to “sell out.” If only! Renting our email list, for example, would bring us thousands of dollars for about 20 minutes of work.

We could make so much easy money! We could publish “sponsored guest posts” left and right all over our website (like so many other RVing and other websites do). Hucksters from around the world want to pay us to post their self-serving, terribly written, usually spammy articles (many written by artificial intelligence like our Johnny Robot).

Should we be honored?

I suppose, in one way, we might be honored: All the attention means we have such an impressive audience (that’s you!) that people around the world realize peddling their schemes would be good for their business.

But we’re not honored. It’s annoying. Leave us and our real, talented writers alone! We’re just a small group of humans here doing the best that we can, trying to deliver quality information to you. And guess what? We still put educating and entertaining you ahead of grubbing for easy money.

An email we don’t like!

Below is an email we received recently. We’ve removed some information about the company because it’s not important. It’s the message that matters. It’s like others we receive each day.

The email (unaltered) says…


My name is Michael _____, and I work for _____ as an Associate Consultant. We are conducting market research in the RV World, and would like some input from you.

We are looking for subscriber lists to send out surveys, and my questions about these surveys are below:
1. Do you have access to your subscriber lists? If so, how many subscribers would be on the list?
2. Is the list up-to-date?
3. Will you guys sell the lists? If so, how much would it cost?
4. If you guys sell, and we move forward with our project, how long would it take to process the list once purchased (i.e., if we purchased the list how long would it take for us to access it)?

Let me know if you have any questions, or if you wanted to call to discuss further, my number is below.

Michael _____”

Why would we rent or sell our list?

Our database currently stands at about 100,000 active subscribers. Even though Michael is using the word “sell,” what he wants is to rent a third party’s email list (ours in this case) for one-time use. Some companies—and many, we should note, are totally legitimate—may ask to rent only part of our list, for example the subscribers to our Full-time RVer newsletter. Perhaps they have a product of special interest to full-timers: mailing to our readers would be a logical way for them to reach a good chunk of them instantly.

A typical ballpark, perhaps even lowball, email rental rate is about 15–30 cents per contact (subscriber in our case). That means if we were to rent our entire contact list to Michael, we might receive anywhere from $15,000 and $30,000. For ONE TIME! It takes a long time for us to earn that money other ways, and we work a whole lot harder doing so than simply exporting an email list and sending an invoice.

But here’s the thing. We made a pledge 21 years ago, when this newsletter began, that we would never sell or share our readers’ personal information with outsiders. And we never have and never will.

Which comes first … money or people?

So, no matter the pressures from the outside world, your email address and any other personal information you provide us is safe. I promise you that.

Why do I even spend time telling you this? I feel compelled, I suppose, to remind you that we are not just about making a buck by publishing marginal, even spammy content, just for money. As a business, you need to choose where your loyalty lies: people or money. So much of the Web today, it seems, is focused more on money than serving its audience in the best way it can. We’re proud to be among the latter.

Finally, a short pitch: We rely heavily on our donors (thank you!) and a relatively small amount of advertising too fund our business. So while earning $15,000 or more renting our email list can seem like an easy way to earn extra money, it isn’t even on our radar.

So sorry, Michael _____. We’re not interested.


Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury is the editor here at She was lucky enough to grow up alongside two traveling parents, one domestically by RV (yep, Chuck Woodbury) and the other for international adventures, and has been lucky to see a great deal of our world (and counting!). She lives near Seattle with her dog and chickens. When she's not cranking out 365+ newsletters for she's hiking, cooking or, well, probably traveling.


  1. I am a member of your wonderful newsletter, but, I don’t believe I should feel like I need to thank you for not selling my email. I don’t think any entity has the right to sell anyone else’s email or other info’ without that individual’s permission. Wouldn’t THIS be nice? Keep up the good work!

  2. Kudos to you for your ethics! Is there an opportunity to turn the table and still make some much needed cash? For example, can you offer to take a look at their ‘survey’ and, if you find it worthy, offer to send it out to your list for them? For a fee of course. This way their ‘survey’ would still get out, it may cost less than what you’d sell it for, and we’d be receiving information that has been vetted and deemed worthwhile.

    Dunno if that would ever be the case, but it’s a thought. I trust you guys.

  3. Thank-you for not selling your email list. Others have, and I immediately (if I know who) stop supporting that organization.
    Thanks again!

  4. Thank you for not selling the list. I value the information that you provide. It is great to read articles by real people that are objective. I like that your articles are not sponsored or are not advertorials. I read every issue, and I always learn something new!

  5. Way too many RV oriented sites are monetizing their site, like Harvest Hosts and many others, taking away from the original purpose and just cluttering their site with useless information and annoying “commercials” The politicians all sell their emails, charities do the same, so it is easy to send them to spam and ignore them. Don’t do it!

  6. I think you are wise not to sell the list as many readers may feel betrayed and leave the list.
    It is hard enough to deal with the insane amount of advertising that comes our way every day. Everything from phones, TV, stores, radio, and mountains of email advertising that I quickly block or report as spam if it is not something I expected to get.
    Thanks again for an excellent resource. At this point I am casually considering a RV but not sure if it would be a good “investment” until I retire and can use it more.
    Your articles are very well written, keep up the excellent work.

  7. Thank you for not selling or renting out your readers to them. The companies that have sold my info I unsubscribe from and block future content from them. Please don’t sell out, put in more advertising if you need to, or have an advertising newsletter, but please don’t sell contact details

  8. If you would have “rented” the e-mail list, I could see you losing at a minimum of one-half of your subscribers if not a whole lot more. So, thank you for not doing it.

  9. If RVTravel ever changes its mind about selling or renting its subscriber list, please let us know beforehand so we can take measures accordingly. Please!

  10. Have a donation button on front page, it will remind you to make a donation. I know you have one in the menu bar, but like they say “out of sight, out of mind”.

  11. Sure am glad you are not selling your list. It is awful when some companies sell your information and don’t even ask for your approval.
    It should be a law to stop them.

  12. Please do not. Like you I get plenty of unsolicited emails. No matter how often I unsubscribe they come back. Right now the biggest is political – both parties. So tired of them. I do have one email I use for places I know this may happen, use it when on those sites, so the junk goes there.

    I know it might be a little bit tempting but what I read you are not even considering it.

  13. We’ve been contributing $ subscribers for several years now and will continue to do so. Perhaps you should consider offering a free access subscription and a paid access subscription that has a few exclusive features and benefits. RVTravel is our #1 go to newsletter, and while I don’t read every article…. I do at least skim the newsletter every morning with my coffee! 🙂

  14. Chuck, I appreciate your vigilance and integrity over the years. I’ve been a subscriber for 10+ years now and, at least for the last several years, have made financial contributions each year (and plan to continue that practice both to you and to Mike Sokoll). Not to be negative or morose but, I DO wonder if, after you’re no longer involved with RVTravel,com, the high standards you’ve set will be maintained. As you’ve stated, “evil forces” (MY words) are willing to throw a LOT of money at your staff. Can ALL the staff be trusted to continue to operate at the high standards you have set? I certainly hope they can. I also hope that you still have MANY good years ahead of you! RVers NEED an honest voice and sadly, you seem to be alone in the difficult job of getting out the HONEST and UNVARNISHED truth re RVs and the RV lifestyle.

    • John, you’ve got nothing to worry about, but I do appreciate your thoughts. Our very small, very human, very caring staff cares so much about this business and we’re all on the same page. Nothing will change… Chuck or no Chuck. Thank you for your support throughout the years. You are much appreciated. –Emily,

  15. As I’ve said before, RVTravel is my favorite newsletter. It’s well laid out, has great info and excellent writing. The included ads are not annoying at all, and sometimes very useful. If you can keep up the good work with your current business model that would be great. I realize good journalism isn’t free though, and I’d actually consider a paid subscription if it becomes necessary. Thank you for honestly sharing this information about your business!

  16. One thing that was left out of this, is many of these “address farms” do not actually abide by the “one-time use” they promise. They turn around and resell the list to others. Thank you for holding the line.

  17. I would think that this guy would resell your subscriber list numerous times to what we call spam artists who would then resell this info again. No one would know how many times this might occur so thank you for not doing this.

  18. I can understand not wanting to share your email list. Highly commendable and it probably allows charging companies higher advertising rates to reach your readers. Your site is becoming one huge catalog, with small articles thrown in that usually promote some product. Despite all your talk about poor RV construction, I don’t remember any of your RV reviews not praising the unit being reviewed. Stop the nonsense about being independent, high moral watchdogs, and just do what you do best-provide advertiser financed info about RVing to your subscribers. No shame in that. It’s how almost all publications survive.

  19. Thank you – everybody at RV Travel – for being the honest, caring people you are and not exposing us, your readers/subscribers to more and more junk in our lives. Yours is the only newsletter/magazine I read on-line, because I trust the content and the writers.

  20. This is why I’m a paid subscriber. If you are not, please consider becoming one! That’s what keeps the quality of this newsletter high.

    • You said exactly what I was going to say. Join with those of us who send a few dollars to RV Travel regularly to keep it the excellent enterprise it is. Met your Dad a number of times, and he is an icon for integrity.

  21. Worked for a small company a decade ago, that had an extensive email and address list. Guess we could have made loads of money when business was slow. But, like you we worked for our money by actually making our customers happy.
    Very happy RVTravel had continued to go the high-road. It is not always easy, but worth it in integrity. I will continue to support your organization for a third year.

  22. Chuck, You are not the only one getting email essentially asking for access to RVTravel readers. While I do not get many, I do get requests to put a link in my blog to their site along with a claim that I will get more readers. Since these look more like spam email as they often do not get the information about the topic of my blog correct I don’t even bother with a reply. I just trash the request.

  23. I’ve cancelled the RV magazines we’ve been getting for years. All the info I need, and then some, is here. Our annual donation is, to me, in lieu of paying for magazine subscriptions. To the individual who mentioned a reminder. That would be great. For the time being I have it in my iPhone calendar as an annual reminder. Thanks for not selling us :-).

  24. Thank you for keeping your promise! I’m a small monthly donor and I will keep donating to this high quality newsletter. If these companies that are so hungry to get to RV family why don’t they just buy advertising on your great publication? Thank you again.

  25. Thank you for holding the line on not selling my information. Like many users of this technology, I get inundated with unsolicited “garbage.” If I want to research a product or service, I am quite capable of doing so.

  26. Please, please ,please never sellout..I’ve followed you from the beginning, it’s the first thing I open in the morning…thank you

  27. Thank you for keeping to your values.
    In my one person business I get this kind of almost predatory email and now in text spam – I block each and every one and report the spam to my mobile carrier and website designers so that it is harder to reach me unless person prove they are a real person.
    Again thank you for your high integrity and protection of our privacy!

  28. Thanks for letting people know what is going on in the world of cyberspace. You do have ads on the side that seem to be appropriate to our interests. I don’t like all those videos that say things, like “Look what happens next after she …” ” insert movie star) did something you won’t believe..”
    PS I just sent another donation. Keep up the good work.

  29. I hope you continue your 21 year tradition. I’m a paying member and will continue. I would be okay with an annual reminder of my membership. With traveling and being retired and not remembering what day it is; the reminder would be helpful. Please stay true to your values.

  30. Thank you. I get enough junk email and figure this would be just another layer of advertising. My annual contribution will be continued!!

    • I am also a paying subscriber even the small amount is worth every dime. Really appreciate your integrity and truthful journalism

  31. I’m sure “Michael” has sent his request elsewhere. Unfortunately many will not possess the values of RVtravel. Everyone must be targeted by dozens of spam sites by now. Thank God for the auto-dump function into the junk mail bin and for RVtravel for not selling out.

  32. If it ever comes down to a choice between the survival of RVTravel and sticking to your guns (a/k/a integrity), I would hope that you maintain your stance – but if it got down to that, I already get spam and can deal with it. You can let them have my info and use the resultng windfall to buy….um….welll….whatever is still necessary and costs under a dollar. In a more serious vein, however, thanks for reminding us all that qualities like integrity and honor still exist.

    • I agree. If you feel the need to have more operating revenue, please do rent the list. Selling it would allow someone else to benefit and create their own revenue. I agree to you getting revenue. If you sell, I don’t agree with your customer getting the revenue.

      As Richard says, I and probably all of us get spam. My filters or I take an instant to delete alleged spam.

      If you do choose to rent the list, let RV or a subsidiary do the email. If you “rent” and allow the customer a copy to mail their email, you really have just “sold” your list for a fraction of its value.

      If you do choose to get revenue from the mailing list put a handful of names and emails that come back to you. It will give you a feel for what your customer is doing with their sales messages.

  33. yay, thank you for NOT selling our info. we get so tired of spam emails from people, places and things we don’t subscribe to. Keep up the good work guys.

  34. The RVTravel newsletter is well worth the of $2 donation per month that I can make. I know my donation is small and I value your newsletter, but it’s all I can do right now.
    Please stand by your commitment to safeguarding my privacy.

  35. Thanks for being one of the VERY FEW that won’t sell out. It shows your integrity and that goes a long way these days.

  36. Dan,
    As for my email; I literally get hundreds of spam emails every day…Now I am not saying to give up my address, ( thanks for not), but if it would help! What is 1 or 50 more spam emails!
    However, That is just 1 email and it has an auto empty “Rule”. I use this address as a public email, more or less and I have other adresses that are only for business and only certain associates know these.
    So if or ever that red line gets to close for comfort, send me a notice and send them my email…
    Business is Business.

  37. Run it like a lottery. Give them the list, and select just one of US to get the payment. For a potential $30K, they can have one of my throw-away addresses, you bet!

  38. How about using Johnny Robot to create a bogus list of names and email addresses. Sell him that but tell him accuracy is not guaranteed.

    • While it is out of the box thinking, if RV needs to do it again in the future, they may not find a willing customer since their business reputation is tarnished. Once tarnished, it will be difficult or impossible to regain their reputation . . . and integrity.

  39. Thank you for not sharing. I contribute annually and don’t need any more junk mail.
    Of course, once it’s “rented”, how many other parasites will have access? Once out there, it’s been compromised forever.

  40. He lost me at “you guys.” Very unprofessional.

    Thank you for continuing to honor your commitment to readers’ privacy.

  41. I will keep sending you subscriber $ as long as you keep not selling my email address. Matter of fact I’ll start doing it twice a year instead of once a year.

  42. Emily, I have a better idea. RVTravel includes surveys as a regular feature. Tell Micheal you’ll include his ‘surveys’ in the newsletter and send him the results – FOR A PRICE!


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