I'm about to release a software as a service targeted at university students. Through the university I currently attend, I was able to export the global email address list (this information is publicly available to students) of every current student listed, which is around 40,000 people.
When I release my service, I plan on sending personalised (their full name is also listed) emails out to small groups whilst the application is in beta and slowly increasing the amount of emails I send out as I want more students to use the site.
To me, this seems like a gold mine but I have a couple of questions to the more experienced members here:
Is this email list as valuable as I think it is?
Is there any ethical issues concerning sending emails out? These would be one off emails. (see my edit below)
Would it be wise to send them from my sites email address rather than my personal university address in case there is any backlash from the university? (I've read of a few peoples trouble with universities around here)
Thanks for any opinions!
Edit: According to ACMA (I'm from Australia) sending commercial emails without prior consent would not be allowed. However, if I was just requesting that people test my website (no fee would be involved) would that be considered 'commercial'?