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As a marketer, using these lists can get you in tons of trouble. Once labeled as a Spammer, it is hard to rid yourself of that reputation, whether you were spamming on purpose, or you were a victim of a bad "list". You can be dropped from your hosting service or ISP. Companies that you are promoting using Spam will cancel your accounts.
Bottom line: If you are not sure that it is NOT Spam, then don't do it. Develop your own list of opt-in subscribers by offering a newsletter, free information, or something else that will get people to take notice of you. Both YahooGroups (http://groups.yahoo.com/) and Topica (http://www.topica.com) offer free, easy-to-use service that will manage your subscribers for you. You can find other similar services on Internet. This is one of most responsive forms of advertising, because you have opportunity to develop a relationship with your list members.
You can also use a mailing list building service, such as Free Mailer 2000 (http://www.freemailer2000.com), although you will need to advertise your mailing list builder site in order to build your mailing list.
Safelists can be another safe way to get word out about your business, but vary in responsiveness. I recommend services of SafeListBoys (http://www.safelistboys.com) to help you find lists and easily manage your safelist activity for a small monthly fee. You can also find new safelists by entering "safelists" in any search engine, but watch out for those "BULK" mailing list services that may fall in unscrupulous SPAM category. Rule of thumb, if you aren't a member yourself and know for a fact that list is opt-in, don't use it!
If you are choosing to spam, stop immediately. It may be getting you a handful of responses right now, but painful consequences of your actions can cancel out any benefits that you may find.
If we, as an Internet marketing community, would all agree to market responsibly, Internet would soon be a better place to work and live. What comes around goes around. Spam not, lest ye be spammed.
Mari is the author of MarketingPitbull, a truly step-by-step guide to creating exponential traffic flow and a residual income online, with or without your own product. Find out more about MarketingPitbull at: http://www.marketingpitbull.com