Thursday, August 11, 2022

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

By Emily Woodbury

I

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 RVtravel.com 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…

“Hello-

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.

Best,
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.

##RVT1062

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Nigel
1 day ago

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!

Judy McKain
9 days ago

Thank you!

Elaine
14 days ago

Thank you, thank you! I so appreciate your continued value of us all and how you honor your original commitment!

Allen F.
15 days ago

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.

Leonard Rempel
17 days ago

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

Harriet K
17 days ago

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!

Chuck
17 days ago

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!

John Boy
17 days ago

THANK YOU CHUCK!!!!!
Thus the reason I Donate to RVtravel annually and will for as long as I RV.
John
Boy

Jeanie Hardman
18 days ago

Thank you for taking a stand on this and keeping your word.

Turtlewax
18 days ago

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.
🙂

Carol Forrest
18 days ago

Thank you Chuck!

Curtis D Botner
18 days ago

Thank you. You have earned my respect and admiration.

BorderLineLvn
18 days ago

Thank you for not selling.

Michelle Taylor
18 days ago

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

Jerry O.
18 days ago

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.

GS9219
18 days ago

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!

David
18 days ago

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”.

Ike Stanton, Sr.
18 days ago

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.

Richard Leffler
18 days ago

Thank You

rvgrandma
18 days ago

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.

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