To Release or Not to Release Email Data

Share Twitter Logo Facebook Logo LinkedIn Logo Google Plus Logo

To release or not to release

The non-release of email data to the client is a topic that has been raised again recently in our industry. For many years we, along with many other data suppliers, did not provide the email address data directly to our clients, distributing our clients’ email campaigns for them instead.

However, in response to customer demand and arising from our thorough assessment of the arguments for and against this way of working, we opted for greater transparency. Therefore since 2007 we have released our email data in full to the buyer.

Pros and Cons of NOT releasing email data

  • Pro - The Suppliers retention of control of the data means they can safeguard their data against potential misuse of the data
  • Pro - It can reduce the over-use of any data and therefore potentially improve responsiveness and spam issues (although only through one supplier, who cannot control use by other suppliers that may have the same email address)
  • Con - Client usability of that data is limited to a single broadcast or limited broadcasting options
  • Con - There is a lot of trust that the supplier will send to the exact audience demographic or to the full amount of contacts the client paid for
  • Con - The Supplier might not report accurately or in full on the results of the email campaign
  • Con - The client may incur duplicate set-up and broadcast fees if the client already sends using in-house systems or uses another supplier to distribute email on their behalf
  • Con - Client would be unable to upload email data to their CRM to report in the future on sales and ROI from the campaign


When you have worked in the industry as long as I have, you can readily appreciate and understand the difficulties some clients may have with buying an intangible asset such as data. Parting with money for something you can’t really see or feel can be a challenge.

So my feeling is that not actually supplying the email data for which the client has paid, for them to use as agreed in their contract, can be a bitter pill for a client to swallow.

For that reason, I feel that this type of leap of faith is often too much for our clients. When you develop long-term partnerships and a mutually high level of trust with clients as we do, some may well use our services to distribute their campaigns too – but only if and when that approach suits their business model and preferred way of working.

  • Has a data supplier recently opted to not release email data for your list purchase?
  • How do you feel non-release of email data would effect your marketing efforts?
  • Would you use a provider who wouldn't provide the email data?