At Marketo it is a violation of our Email Use Policy to send cold emails to purchased email addresses.


Adobe's Acceptable Use Policy

Compliance with this Acceptable Use Policy (“AUP”) protects the interests of individuals using the Internet, the reputation and goodwill of Adobe, it's subsidiaries, and that of those using Adobe services.  Ensuring the utmost standards of email marketing is our collective responsibility.


Prohibition against Unsolicited Email/Spam:

Customers must refrain from directly or indirectly sending, transmitting, distributing, or delivering:

(i) Unsolicited bulk email ("spam" or "spamming”) i.e., emails to persons who have not consented to the receipt of such emails by providing their email address in a manner from which consent to receive email may be reasonably implied.

(ii) Email to an address obtained via Internet harvesting or other surreptitious methods (e.g., scraping, renting, purchased list, co-registration, affiliate marketing, incomplete or old lists; or email appending).  Adobe defines email appending as a marketing practice that involves taking known Customer Data (name, address, etc.) and matching it against a third-party vendor’s database to obtain email addresses.

(iii) Email that generates abuse/spam complaints or spam trap hits resulting in IP/Domain block listing or other deliverability issues that could have material impact on Adobe or its client’s reputation.


Inclusion of Opt-Out Provision:

Customers must ensure all commercial emails sent include a provision for recipients to "opt-out" or revoke permission of receiving any future messages from Customer.  To that end, Customer agrees:

(i) To use the unsubscribe tools provided by Adobe; or

(ii) To have procedures in place to allow a recipient to easily opt-out, such as: (a) a clear appended link for recipients to easily opt-out of receiving future messages, or (b) Instructions to reply with the word "Remove" in the subject line; and

(iii) Unsubscribes should be removed without delay with no future messages being sent unless future permission is granted.


General Prohibitions

Customers transmitting content through Adobe services must not misrepresent or obscure their identity in any way or mislead recipients through use of invalid or forged headers, misleading subject lines or content, or domain names not owned or controlled by Customer.

Customer must not transmit any messages through Adobe services with content that is threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, deceptive, false, fraudulent, vulgar, obscene, indecent, or illegal.

Customer is strictly prohibited from transmitting or providing Adobe any sensitive information as that term may be used in applicable laws, or where no laws apply, individuals’ financial account information, sexual preferences, medical or health information, and/or personal information of children protected under any child protection laws. 

Notwithstanding the foregoing, if a Marketo Engage Customer is regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), has a subscription to encrypt Customer Data at rest, and has signed a Business Associate Addendum with Adobe or its affiliate for its use of Marketo Engage, then Customer is prohibited from transmitting a subset of health information, including medical or health records or information reflecting the payment of such treatment.


AUP Enforcement and Updates

Violations of the AUP will be deemed a material risk to the continued normal operation of Adobe services and may result in immediate revocation of Customer’s license or subscription to use the applicable services.  Adobe may review relevant data to determine Customers’ compliance with this AUP.


The full text of the policy is here:

Is there ever an acceptable use for purchased data?  Yes.

The Marketo Compliance Team supports the following uses for purchased data:

  • Generate personalized URLs and send to purchased leads by postal mail
  • Use purchased data to fill in additional details about leads who only provide an email address at the time of opt in - this makes for great targeting!
  • When operating in a small market of known leads, purchased data can be useful for research purposes to track information about your target market
  • Purchased leads can be contacted by phone to obtain email permission


The global anti-spam community does not consider permission to be transferable, except in the following circumstances:

  • A company is wholly acquired by a new parent company; emails sent will include the same content from new owners
  • A division of a company - product or brand - is acquired by a new parent company; emails sent will include the same content from new owners


Both parts of the above are key. Personal data alone may not be transferred with permission intact because permission is contextual. Even in the case of an acquisition additional permission is required if the emails will include significantly different content.


To provide an illustration, when "Acme" acquired a home video camera company they acquired permission to continue to email the company's leads about selling home video cameras. That does not mean they have permission to email those people about every other product in "Acme's" portfolio. Email permission was granted to receive emails about home video products, not anything else. "Acme" could email those people and ask them to opt in to their other mailing lists, but acquiring a company does not give the new parent company the right to add the child company's opted-in leads to all their other unrelated mailing lists.


Data vendors may say the leads they sell are "opted-in," but this is not true according to the standards set forth by the global antispam community.  Even if these individuals genuinely wished for the data vendor to sell their email addresses (often demonstrably untrue), they still would not have provided direct permission to the buyer to send them email. Marketo requires that permission be direct to the sender (or that there is an existing business relationship) to send email within our Terms.

Many data companies offer list rental services where the data company sends an initial message, and passes on only the information of recipients who respond to the offer.


Marketo is not the only vendor in the marketplace with this philosophy against purchased lists, it is a widely know issue that purchased lists drive delivery issues.

Purchased Lists and ESPs - Word to the Wise


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