Is Email Scraping for marketing legal?


Other than big companies like Honda or Google, I’ve never heard anyone get in trouble with this. Can you name those you know got the fines?

As far as I can see, this is like what happens with pirating. Everyone says people are getting massive fines and downloading illegal software and movies will put you in debt for life. All of my friends, myself and everyone else on the Internet has and still is downloading stuff daily without ever getting into trouble.



You either violate competitive or unsolicited contact laws. Only because you get away with what you are doing as an individual (for the time being), does not make it legal. You can also scam people online or sell drugs and get away with. If I would run a client management company and I get one of your stupid emails I would sue you to death, just because you are competitor (if you are local).

A way to work around that I having proxy companies that sell those leads to you, but those setups are expensive and need a stupid nominee to get their head killed once shit hits the fan. And even after that there are still risks involved.


I agree it is the case for some countries and in some instances. But it is not always the case, in fact there’s a way to continue doing it with a bit more work. Here’s what I found after GDPR research:

TL:DR - as long as you have legitimate interest and obey other GDPR rules, you are fine to cold email.

Now going back to my UK example, here’s the snippet about companies emailing companies (corporate subcribers):


In short, emailing individuals is possible but we MUST get consent first. IE - phone call (we must be able to prove it if questioned by GDPR, so keep track using crm is essential)

Companies can be contacted and it is legal to do so.

P.s. Thank you for helping me brush up my memory :smiley:


Would not you need a consent for calling them?


Not fully aware of the exact laws for cold calling, but if the phone number is publicly provided, you could say it’s for general enquiry. Calls are tricky as it’s not written word. As long as you have a log of it, should suffice.

Doing a quick google lookup, you should be able to find out. I do know cold calling is a lot more relaxed. And from experience, people 99% of the time say, send us an email. And often even provide the email of the person to talk to. Or a generic company email.


It’s just my best friend is lawyer specialized in gdpa doing gdpa compliance for one of the bigger companies here. I discussed those topics in depth but you can just ignore what I write and do some research. Fact is: if you want to sell things and contact somebody you need his permission. Advertising into people is just illegal without consent. What you think why people sell contact data? Have you ever filled a contact formular with your data cause you get something for free?


I’m absolutely with you on this one. If you know someone who works with this stuff, it should be your nr1 source of information.

Knowing what companies use and the right way of doing it is always the way.


You are mixing things up here. GDPR is relevant and important about how you handle existing or “legal” build/bought email lists. Your text clearly talks about “subscribers” and mentions that a subscriber is a “[…] party to a contract […]”. Scraping emails does not give any consent neither is a contract made between you and the possible “subscriber”.

The whole point about this thread and all my arguments in it is about scraping emails for marketing. That has NOTHING to do with GDPR. As @kripke pointed out GDPR does not apply because your list is illegal in the first place.


You’re right, I went off beat with this one.

But in short, at least for me in UK, it is legal to email companies without any prior consent.

See snippet from the article

While buying a list is illegal, same goes for mass scraping. We should not say that’s what we did, right? We can say we found contact information online on their website/contact form etc. And then it’s all good. Seems like getting a list is just a shortcut of spending hours on google collecting businesses emails.

Would that not be the same?


Your own links give you the answers.

The question was if it is legal, which it is NOT. What you tell them to get out of it and IF you can get out of it is a completely different topic and is all hypothetical since every case is different.

As you can clearly see from your link, point 1-4 of a “soft opt-in” are not met.


I think an extensive message did not help explain this difficult topic :smiley: What I was trying to say, was that it is legal to email companies in some countries, like the UK. As long as it is not an individual or sole trader. It has to be a corporate entity.


If the emails have been acquired through legal channels, which scraping is not. And that is not allowed in any country of this world. If you think I am wrong, I am willing to change my mind if proper evidence is presented, but all of the links you sent so far confirm that view.


Ok, I see. That makes sense. But theoretically speaking, they can not find out whether you bought the list/scraped it, can they?

I could say I hired a VA in Philipinnes and they went through 300 hours of google maps and collected those emails from companies websites.

I’m no lawyer here, but I would imagine it’s very difficult to determine where the list came from. Or especially if we are referring to 1 specific email address which would complain to authorities?


Why do you invest so much energy in finding a loophole? Why not instead focus on building your own subscriber list with the methods that you also find in this forum?


That, on the other hand, depends on the country. Some will force you to prove it, others won’t. Saying that you hired a VA to scrape wouldn’t be a smart choice in this case. Only because you hire someone to do something illegal does not make it better.

I cannot give you a good answer on how to “camouflage” that in a bulletproof way. Today it is done mainly by buying lists from companies that are willing to take those risks. Those locations are mostly in eastern Europe (if you are from the UK).

If you want to be as safe as possible you would buy the leads. That’s how the grey area guys do it. (Insurance, Loan, Bank, Housing CPA players generate those leads mostly and they get sold up).

The only reason why I respond to such thread is because I want people to understand that it is illegal, so they do not believe that they are safe and then get fucked in the ass. How risky it is and how or if you can get out of it once shit hits the fan, I cannot tell you.


Before I entered Internet Marketing I did cold calling myself to sell websites (charged 80€ per website for 2 years of service). I made roughly 1000 calls per month, fine per “proven” call is 300€ in Austria if they catch you. Back in the day I didn’t care much, that is why I did it (when you got nothing, then you don’t have much to lose). Call centers with 5+ people get fined from time to time by annoying customers, but general speaking they know better how to clear their tracks (new simcards, pre-paid, routing calls out of Austria and back in, etc.).


To me that indicates scraping is completely permissible if the email is public. Granted this applies to commercial emails to businesses only. Emails to individuals is a whole different matter. This is off the Canadian CRTC site


Link the source please so I can read into it, thank you :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


Although their site is being weird with connectivity at the moment

This is the google cache version.

Fairly certain the US FTC has a similar law as well


It actually takes little energy… Get a list from a website like

Get subscription and you can send 1k emails daily.

Have hubspot crm to back your back-office stuff in case if any issues.

I know it’s a risky practice, I’m yet to try it myself. But my friend has been doing this for about a month and got already close to 100 consultations. The whole thing is on autopilot… Sounds very easy to do. Can it bankrupt the business? Maybe. But it can also help build the business.

I appreciate the response and I think this is an important conversation. I don’t think I’m right, but as you know from my journey on BHW, I manually researched and contacted local businesses for close to 3 weeks with literally zero replies back ratio. That was not time well spent. Being able to automate this can really help others who struggle to get on their feet…

Nailed it here. I guess that’s my point I’m trying to make. I am just starting out and my ‘corporate business’ is not worth much. Still need to grow a lot. If I can’t earn enough in the next few months, I will have to get a job again :smiley: So taking a risk like mass emailing does sound very appealing. And whilst I wasn’t planning to do that when I started out, it’s not that easy to get new clients. It is something I am currently researching and planning to start doing.