I got about 7 the other morning from Host Gator, the company that hosts this site. To be more precise, I didn’t get it, my husband did. Not the kind of call I want him answering – he doesn’t know much about website hosting, so the call was pretty much gibberish to him. He did understand that something was wrong with my site and that I could check my email for more details.

I was not happy. It was a busy day already, as I had to take my daughter for state testing, not to mention the usual requirements of homeschooling. I really didn’t want to deal with a site issue while trying to keep track of time so I could pick her up at the end of testing.

Thank goodness it was an issue that the hosting company had solved, not something that I needed to take further action on. Huge relief for me, as I had been considering a very stressful day ahead until I found out what had actually happened.

It was a bot hitting my server too hard. Fortunately, not Googlebot or any other welcome bot, and my hosting had blocked it. It was an email and phone number scraper which is marketed to people in MLM as a way to get tons of leads.

There are just a couple of little problems with this tool.

1. Spam emails

When you’re using a tool to harvest emails that haven’t given you permission to contact them, you run a high risk of having people hit the spam button. They don’t have any reason to trust your unsubscribe link, as many spammers don’t. You can build a lot of mistrust with this kind of tactic. It can also lead to upset website hosting or email providers, who really don’t like getting a lot of spam complaints about mail coming from their servers.

It’s also too easy to run afoul of CAN-SPAM and other laws relating to commercial emails. You need to follow the FTC’s rules carefully and if you don’t start out right, what else are you missing?

For these reasons, many autoresponder companies won’t let you import a list that you can’t show opted in. Reputable companies get that way by being picky about the lists they allow to be contacted through their servers.

2. Autodialer problems

The Do Not Call list has the potential to be a bigger issue, as you don’t really know anything about who you’re calling when you scrape a list of phone numbers off websites. While it is legal to call another business with a solicitation, you don’t always know that the phone numbers such software scrapes belongs to another business. You would also need to check for numbers on the Do Not Call list.

Using an autodialer, which the videos available online about this product claim as a good practice, also has a lot of issues. Autodialer rules are strict even when you call another business. Certain things must be stated, and autodialer calls to home telephones aren’t allowed to include unsolicited commercial messages. You also can’t call cell phones. That’s a lot to be looking out for with a list so quickly generated.

Can you use such tools and keep within the law? Certainly. But it’s not easy, and probably more work than using other sources for marketing leads.