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Safelists vs. List Builders vs. Random Viral List Builders

Updated on October 23, 2009

Random Viral List Builders The Best By a Mile

Safelists have been around a long time. A safelist is essentially a membership site where everyone signs up and gives permission to every other member to send them email. In return, each member can send email to all other members. But the problem you soon realize is that a safelist is essentially worthless because everyone sends and almost no one actually reads any of the emails. Pure safelists are basically worthless for that reason and because reverse marketers have infiltrated such lists. A slight improvement was then made with list builders. Finally, the best types of marketing list memberships came along, and that is what I call viral list builders with random mailings.

It is important to distinguish these lists to avoid wasting your time and other resources. As I said above, the defining element of a safelist is that all members can email all or almost all of the other members. This creates a flood of emails that no one could possibly read. However, the difficulty is that list builders and viral list builders sometimes call themselves a "safelist" for simplicity or familiarity reasons.

So the way you distinguish them is this:

1. If a site says that you can mail everybody, then that is a safelist. You should avoid these programs, as they are of limited value. Although you can make some sales or commissions, the time spent is generally not worth it. The attraction of these for newbies is that it sounds simple, but you want results, not simplicity. TicTacToe is simple, but you aren't going to ever be a professional TicTacToe player because everyone can play it optimally. Thus, it is a flawed game from a commercial perspective except for the owner of the safelist, who takes advantage of the newbies who don't know better.

2. Now, a credit-based safelist is a slight improvement. However, this kind of list is not really a safelist because you have to earn the right to mail. So all the lazy folks who don't do any work don't get to email, thus creating less competition.

This type of list will have you click on emails or some other task in order to earn credits to mail to other members. These produce some results. ListJoe is probably the best one. I spend a couple of hours or so tops each week clicking on emails and produce a fair amount of leads with these. The key to the success of these is that you get to email random members when you earn your credits (combined with the fact that there are less emails and less competition hitting members' email inboxes). They are not the best but are better than pure safelists.

3. List builders are identifiable by their downline systems. A list builder has you refer other people in a way similar to MLM downlines. Unfortunately, like MLM in general, your downline tends to die out pretty quickly unless you get very lucky, and it will still die out pretty soon even if you get lucky and have a few players in your downline. And they die because most people fail in any program and will stop reading your emails. So the missing element in these is that you get to mail only your downline instead of random members. You need random mailings.

Don't confuse the word "viral" when you see this on list-building programs. A downline builder that only focuses on mailing to your downline may be viral to some extent, but it's not truly viral like the kinds in Group 4 below.

4. Finally, mailing programs matured to a decent level (if you know what you are doing) with viral list builders that allow random mailings. These programs have the same positive features as Group 2 above. They allow you to build a downline like the list builders in Group 3 but give you the added benefit of mailing to random members outside your downline. Now, you may or may not have this ability unless you upgrade, and I'll give you my tips on that below. But the important thing to remember is that random mailings will allow you to reach all the newest members in everyone's downline. I have been a member of ListBandit and YourLuckyList for years and still get leads every month.

Even though portions of the list (the older members) may be dead, I can continue to mail the newest members no matter who is referring them. And this is the importance of random mailings. If a program does not allow random mailings, don't bother. It won't be worth your time. But again, remember that the reason these work is also because not everyone can send emails. This means less competition for those who can send emails. These two features must exist together for you to benefit.

Now, these programs still exist to make money, so all their offers are not going to be in your best interest. You will see lots of monthly or yearly memberships that are too expensive. So if you want to get all these random mailings, you will need to take the one-time offer in these. One-time offers can be very annoying, and most one-time offers are garbage, but the ones offered by a select few viral list builders are the best paid advertising I have ever found.

To find out more about which programs are the best, you can just click on my profile above and go to my website.

There is one final note about how to use these viral list builders. Newbies wrongly assume that they have a list when they join these programs. Wrong. You have prospective list members when you use these, but you need to convert them to your own private list. In other words, you need to use these to promote a lead capture page and get people to subscribe to your private list. Yes, I have tested this, and you increase your profits by multiples by building your own list.

Why? Because you can mail these people over and over again once you have them on your own list. And you also dramatically increase your credibility once people are on your private list. With credibility comes sales you would not otherwise make.

So instead of promoting a hub or article or affiliate link in these list builders, you need to promote a lead capture page that entices people to subscribe to your list for further information. I will not go into further details on this here. You can get the rest of this information by browsing around my website.

So what have we learned in a nutshell? Safelists are the old, flawed way of utilizing email marketing, but viral list builders with random mailings are the improved descendants of those safelist dinosaurs. Finally, these viral list builders are best utilized only if you use them as prospects for an information course and get them to subscribe to your own private list. That way, you build credibility and can email them any time you want with unlimited follow-up offers.


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      Yvar 7 years ago

      Great information especially for new network markets! Put your money and energy into things that will work?

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      herbdr 7 years ago

      I been on and off promoting websites for the past 10 years.

      In 2006 I wrote an article/web selling my info (it is antiquated now),I think your blog is right on and I will be visiting your web. Thanks