When starting a business, web systems are necessary. When there is a limited budget, it will be whispering: “Get everything you can for free.”
I don't disagree, and sometimes there are obvious and clear limitations, but you need to know what this means:
They said this in 2012. Many others have noted this as well.
If your budget is low, consider paying the smallest amount possible for services that don't sell your data, but pay something for worthwhile products. And read the terms.
Expect that your data is not private.
This is not news, but you should be aware of this, and get used to the idea that true privacy is a feel-good concept mostly.
When you sign up for Gmail, for example, you see ads at the top of your Inbox. They're targeted to your content. If you're logged in across their other services, they will get an even better idea of what you like, dislike and spend time on.
As an agency that runs ads, we rely on Google's aggregate data of searches and online behavior.
That said, if you want more privacy from your email provider, consider using something else.
Even HIPAA-type services are hacked. Hashed and “secured” passwords are decrypted… and then there is all that free info you give by using free email providers.
You get it. Why is this relevant?
When it comes to lists and list building, all we can really hope for is not privacy – as soon as you hit “Send”, your unencrypted email is out there.
Even if you try and encrypt an email on your end, the other end-user would have to have the same encrypted setup. It gets complicated, which is why so few really do it.
That said, it's important to know that some vendors are more and others are less invested in your rights, because of their own partnerships and investments, especially if your list is in any way for “alternative” information, of which there is now a lot.
Again, assume everything is read.
Assume privacy is a myth.
Start there, and you wont be too disappointed.
The important thing is to know whether you will not be banned for disagreeing with views considered “holy.” Writing this, in the US of A, is a bit disheartening, really.