Q: “Chris, can I use the email address list I got from the bridal show we recently exhibited at? They gave it to me and said that I could.”

A: This is a tricky one. Technically speaking, yes you can. You can load up the names and email addresses and voila. But in reality, you are probably violating your Email Service Providers terms of service.

I recommend AGAINST broadcasting to what is essentially a “third party” list.

If you do this you shouldn’t be surprised if your ESP account gets shut down. Last I knew it only took 2 reports of SPAM per 1000 sends to trigger a potential policy violation.

If an engaged couple DIRECTLY gave you their email address, now that’s a different story. So if they stopped by your exhibit space, filled in a form for a contest, giveaway, or for more information, YOU CAN use that email address.

Here is the Constant Contact policy. It clearly prohibits third party lists and requires consent of each contact that you send email to from their system. Other ESPs have essentially the same policy (MailChimp Acceptable Use: see #17).

Constant Contact Email Policy

I have the consent of each contact on my list.

You must have the prior consent of each contact added to your Constant Contact account. Your account cannot contain purchased, rented, third party or appended lists. In addition, you may not add auto-response addresses, transactional addresses, or user group addresses.

I am not adding role addresses or distribution lists.

Role addresses, such as sales@ or marketing@, and distribution lists often mail to more than one person and result in higher than normal spam complaints. You must remove these from your list prior to upload.

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Chris Jaeger produces the BOOK MORE WEDDINGS NEWSLETTER and is the Founder and Director of the INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WEDDING INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS (IAWIP). He is a wedding industry marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience marketing to brides and grooms.