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Using web crawlers to generate business leads is a very bad idea.


With the advent of low-cost web scraping software, anyone can quickly compile business leads … which explains why each a day it seems there is a new website promoting low-cost business email leads. Unfortunately, unsuspecting business email list buyers are not aware that scraped business leads are worthless … and here’s why:

REASON #1 – LOW LEVEL EMPLOYEES: Scraped business email lists are a total waste of money for the simple reason that the emails are “not” for key decision makers … such as owner, president, etc. Very few website sites (less than 5%) show business email addresses for key decision makers … which is why all business email lists acquired from scraping consist of low-level employees … with no decision-making authority … such as customer service rep, sales rep, bookkeeper, reservations contact, appointments contact, etc. For a successful business email campaign, the marketer must have emails for the RIGHT job title.
Bottom-line, if data seller is not willing to offer a “money-refund” guarantee for “job title” accuracy, then the business email list was likely compiled from scaping … meaning STAY AWAY!

REASON #2 – INACCURATE BUSINESS QUALIFIERS: If you’re seeking business leads for a very specific business segment – then a web scrapped business list is the worse since scraping is unable to accurately identify firmographics … such as “type” of company, “size” of company, “years-in-business,” sales volume,” and other firmographics. For example, very few business websites show the number of employees at the company, thus red flag for any web scraping business list seller that claims to have accurate employee size data on their business leads. Furthermore, impossible for web scraping to “accurately” identify primary business type. Example, restaurant lists compiled from scraping are packed with restaurant product suppliers … as the scraper was unable to distinguish between a restaurant and restaurant supplier. Web scraping software can classify an auto parts store has a muffler repair shop. The examples are endless … bottom-line it’s significantly cheaper and more effective to simply buy a business list when accurate business qualifiers – accurate firmographics are required.

REASON #3 - BLACKLISTED:  You’re likely to be blacklisted when using business email addresses compiled from email harvesting since scraped business email list are packed with “moles, seeds, spam traps, etc” … that the ISPs use to track spammers. Note that “moles/seeds/spam traps” are fake email addresses that website administrators place on their websites … to identify incoming emails that were compiled from web-crawlers – web scraping. When the email system receives multiple seeds – the system blocks all incoming emails from the IP address … sometimes even the company name … your brand … that is embedded within the email message.

WHEN TO USE WEB CRAWLERS:  Web scraping is effective for acquiring basic data for enhancing an existing business list. For example, web scraping can help identify the different legal specialties that a law firm practices … data that can enhance an existing legal email list. Scraping is also effective creating a business mailing list of businesses with multiple locations – to help find other locations for a current a customer. Scraping may also be effective for adding business social media data to an existing business list. ; creating a business list of companies with a social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc).


Quality business email leads are compiled from business credit reports, online B2B surveys, current directories, UCC reports, tradeshow listings, data contributions from other B2B companies, and a host of other niche sources. Example, everyday business owners and executives are sharing their email address … to get something for free … whether it’s a free business newsletter, information on an upcoming seminar, trade show raffle, free research report, free webinar, etc.

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