Email Deliverability Brouhaha

  • Don’t overdo it with HTML. Keep it nice but with content.
  • Some ISPs block emails based on how many they receive from an address in a period of time, but that’s just part of the game.
  • is pretty good.
  • Send the e-mails from different addresses to different batches of your users.
  • LinkedIn emails get in because they have properly configured e-mail via SPF and DKIM, they are double opt-in, and they somehow work with google and microsoft. (Without double opt-in you get marked as spam more often. – I have no idea whether you already do this.)
  • Having malformed message-Ids where the domain in the message-ID does not match the sending domain.
  • Use this:
  • Have an easy unsubscribe button.
  • Avoid link shorteners
  • Use litmus to test against spam filters
  • Use
  • Compress your images. (
  • Ask a subscriber to add the email-list address to their address book (right on the subscribe form) and briefly explain why.
  • Enable a double opt-in subscription process, and send a plain-text confirmation which includes a request to add the email-list address to a recipient’s address book. And, again, briefly explain why.
  • Useful tool:
  • Use this aggressively.

How to Be the Pablo Escobar of Leads And Get 500M+ Emails

I’m going to periodically keep adding items to this list. It’s not comprehensive, but it’s pretty good.

I’ve always agreed with Rommel: “The battle is fought and decided by the quartermasters, long before the shooting begins.”

I think this is true of web as well. The internet is a gangster’s paradise, I’ve always believed you should be a mobster to grow your business. 

If I was building a company like ClearBit, FullContact, or any one of these other companies that’s trying to get all the world’s contact information, here’s some of the things I would do:

  1. Hire a skilled backend developer and make sure they know how to scrape/crawl, use rotating IPs, and get around anything thrown their way. You basically want to remain undetectable…obfuscate your existence as a company that is scraping.
  2. Use to find publicly available email addresses in a massive body of text.
  3. Go to the dark web and buy the full linkedin hacked database of 2012 for $500-$5,000. I don’t know what the current market price is. Talk to your Eastern European or Russian digital marketers, and I’m sure they’ll know how to acquire it.
  4. Scan twitter every 5 seconds for email addresses formatted. Zapier allows you to do this. Strings like “email me @” etc… will take some complex scripting to do it all, but alas, it is doable. If you need to scale, switch off Zapier to another platform or code it from scratch.
  5. Issue FOIA requests in all 50 states to find the publicly available Secretary of State data on all businesses/non-profits in the state or scrape it and parse it with other databases.
  6. Use bing search query API and query tons of iteratively across linkedin. Bing has extreme over-seo-indexing of LinkedIn.
  7. You do all of the above, and you should be able to build a 1k-20K/month company within 3-12 months.
  8. Platforms – Look at every marketplace application. For example Doximity. Doximity is illegal to scrape, but I guarantee you that any European or Russian scraping shop has been asked to scrape the site of all MDs and doctors. I won’t go down a list of all the platforms that enable you to do this, but it’s not hard.
  9. Find every or multi-grouping page of twitter/linkedin profiles.
  10. Scrape Secretary of State listings in the USA and auto-deduce/ guess at permutations of emails. (firstname.lastname@) etc… Validate against SMTP
  11. Find companies that are dead, and ask them for their email databases.
  12. Make an app that deduplicates contact information for consumers and take the data.
  13. NLP Email Chatbots – I’d make application specific NLP chat bots that ask the price of an item, a good email address to reach someone, just off of craiglslist postings. Plenty of ways to do this at scale. You can get their phone number and email address.

I think there’s going to be some sort of implosion of sales automation/lead marketing companies as the data becomes more publicized during or after hacks. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these leads companies are buying leads from hackers in other countries.

Buy the data and don’t ask where it came from. If you’re building this type of company, ask yourself “What Would Pablo Do?”

It’s not hard to imagine.

Step 1: A hacker gets into a gmail account and clicks export contacts.
Step 2: Rinse and Repeat

If you have a sales/leads automation company, one of your best bets isn’t to raise, but to opportunistically sell the venture, lest you love extreme competition.

The number of companies in this space is astounding. If you’re going to fund companies in this space, it’s extremely advisable to fund overqualified eastern European developer teams, not overpriced SV teams.

This is commoditized code wrangling, nothing unique here. If the founders can clearly delineate how they will crush, kill, and destroy their competition by scraping at low cost, or selling at scale quickly, then they can win in a monopolized way. 

Make no mistake though, this space gets harder as you get further into it, not easier. The network graph’s size of the database only marginally increases its value.

Godspeed to you all. If you want to nerd on it, tweet me or email me. .

18 Marketing and Distribution Tactics for Documentary Film Makers

I decided to write this post after meeting a documentary film maker. I was learning from her how the film industry works. I know very little about it, but one thing I do know about is online distribution and marketing tactics, so I decided to put together a compilation of growth tactics that curates the best of Silicon Valley growth workflows for documentary film makers. Here, I assume you have a decent budget in the $10K-$100K area, but even then, some of these tactics are free and can be run for as little as $300.

  1. Choose a Viable Name for your Movie.
  2. Secure the brand – do it manually by hiring an outsourcer or pay KnowEm.
  3. Get everyone who supports the film, starred in the film, and funded the film to join a crewfire campaign before you launch. This increases the total reach on the day of launch and even otherwise. Thunderclap is also a great alternative.
  4. Make sure to have subtitles on all your content and especially for your trailers on facebook. Most videos on facebook are played without audio.
  5. Post your trailers to all the video networks with full descriptions.
    1. vimeo
    2. youtube
    3. dailymotion
    4. etc….
  6. Include plenty of contextual information and links to your site with that will enable you to track everything in a clear way. If you observe they actually include a really good structuring of links and descriptions in their content.
  7. Cut many different versions of your trailer. The more you cut, the more you can test the content on different social channels. I recommend using SocialChamp and their feature of recurring posts that will periodically repost the same content multiple times.
  8. Facebook Group Marketing
    1. Find all the relevant facebook groups for your niche of documentary video.
    2. Join them.
    3. Have a discussion, don’t be spammy, and ask questions.
      1. Example Text: “How many of you make trips to Lebanon? For the past year, I’ve been making a documentary film about it. I don’t want to spam this group so I’m including a link in the comments to the trailer. I’d love your feedback on it. Happy to be a member of this group. I’m a film-maker, if you think I can help you, please message me or comment here. 🙂 “
  9. Find Relevant People on Twitter to Engage
    1. Use to search lists on twitter of people who might find your film relevant. Use them to get feedback on your landing page and trailer.
  10. Facebook Page Marketing
    1. Make a list of all the facebook pages that you think your audience of customers like.
    2. Message those facebook pages and ask if you can cross promote their content to your following and vice versa.
    3. You can also message them with your content after it has a few thousand views so that way they’ll be more likely to share it with their audience.
    4. Note: You may want to obfuscate the fact that you’re the creator, cause then they’ll want to charge you for promoting it, whereas if it seems like an organic suggestion, they may just share it automatically.
  11. Recycle Audio into Sound Bytes
    1. Use to cut the audio
    2. Put up the sound bytes and publish them and share them on twitter and facebook.
      1. twitter has rules about playable clips.
  12. Good Artwork
    1. Have good artwork on your facebook and twitter page.
    2. If you have no design background, you can outsource the logo and design to logojoy or Logoshi. 
  13. Good Social Content
    1. You should be pushing 1-2 pieces of content/clips/day for your facebook page. Have a different introduction each day with text. You can queue it all using SocialChamp
    2. On twitter, you should have a pinned post.
    3. Make sure your facebook page profile is completely filled out.
    4. After you publish your movie and it gets featured on different film festivals and more, you should apply to get a verified check from twitter for both your movie and yourself.
    5. You should also apply for the verified check with facebook too.
  14. Press and Content Promotion
    1. Promote any press articles about your documentary to for cheap.
  15. Message twitter influencers
    1. You can create a free account on ElectoralHQ and find lists of twitter influencers by category/topic just by using the “find twitter lists” functionality.
    2. I recommend coming up with a list of 30-60 tweets that engage influencers and ask if they’d watch the beta, for their opinion on the trailer, or tell them about what you’re doing and ask if their audience might be relevant. … Build a relationship with influencers.
  16. Website Analytics
    1. Get your website analytics configured properly 
    2. The most important thing is to know where customers are visiting from and how much time they’re spending on the site.
  17. Blog Fodder
    1. This one is really important and will save you time. Every new filmmaker has the same conversation over and over again with different people about their film. Write about these conversations and turn them into blog posts.
    2. You don’t have to become a content engine, but there’s probably 5-10 cornerstone foundational key points to your documentary that you want to spread the message about.
  18. Design
    1. As much as people think design matters, it doesn’t for film-making. You can have a barebones design as long as it’s functional. The story you capture is likely 100x more important than the aesthetic quality of the font. You should use Canva to design your facebook and twitter cover photo.

If you need to premarket your film in a kickstarter style fashion, it costs about $15K-$25K to do it properly depending on your needs. If you want to talk about that email me at or book a time with me at

My background is mostly in running marketing blitzkriegs for Silicon Valley technology companies, but I find creative people refreshing. 🙂

500+ Cold Email Templates


How I Saved Over $5K On Clothing

A little trick for getting really expensive clothes for cheap. I’ve saved about $4K-$5K using this little trick, so it’s worth sharing.

Take any brand you want.
Go to google alerts and create an alert for
“Liquidation (insert brand name)”
“(insert brand name) closing soon”

Every few weeks/days a major brand closes a store, you might as well arbitrage on the sale if it’s happening near you. This works for bankruptcies too.