There are several types of email marketers:

Black hat
Grey hat
White hat

The easiest way to determine how to fit in this mold is to place yourself in one of these categories and make the appropriate decision on an email scrubbing service.

Black hat are emailers whom do not follow CANSPAM and/or international spam laws. They steal email lists by scraping them off of the internet or by hacking email service providers. If you think you fall into this category, you will need both validation and verification along with scrubbing those type of lists every single month. If the list was scraped off the internet, it needs to be cleaned weekly. Spam fighters place traps online.

Grey hat are emailers whom generally purchase lists. If it comes with optin information or not, they don’t generally care. If a list has been purchased, you can never trust the seller unless you know them personally and know that they created it themselves. If the list was only in one other’s hands, you can bet that it should be ok to mail to as long as you have their permission to mail to it. And when you do mail to it, make sure you include the seller’s logo and information that they gave you permission to mail to it. It would be best if you opt them into your own. If the mailer hasn’t sent anything to the list in over a month, you will need to verify it in order to remove the bounces. Validation may not be necessary unless the list is older than a few months. Be careful who you choose for email list scrubbing. Many verification companies claim they remove all bounces and the truth is, they do not.

White hat emailers are ones who generated the list themselves. Every single participant in their offer knows exactly who or what they are. If you fall into this category, the chances are you never really need email list cleaning. If everyone knows who you are and you mail frequently, then there are no issues. However, if you let the list sit for more than a month, you will accumulate bounces. Bounces will ruin a white hat mailer’s reputation and could get you blocked or receive false positives. Do not let your list sit for any longer than 3 – 4 weeks. You will not need to have your list verified if you keep in “Constant Contact”.

If you’re searching for a company to scrub email list, you should consider what kind of hygiene you need. Validation removes syntax errors, traps and checks for a few issues like mx settings and verification focuses on an smtp handshakes to remove bounces. Both processes are needed most of the time for black and grey mailers. Rarely it is used for consistent white hat mailers whom are completely in touch with their list, however, ISP’s are blocking IP’s aggressively and if you have bounces, your reputation will sink. We are noticing an influx of small mailers wanting verification due to the fact that their sending reputation has decreased. Removing bounces will fix this issue.