Is cheap data real?

While in a meeting today at work someone mentioned that one of our clients that just recently signed a 90 day agreement to purchase weekly email investor data from us called because right after they signed the agreement and received their first weekly delivery of data that another data company approached them and offered them the same type of data for just a few hundred dollars per week.  They were concerned that they might be paying us thousands of dollars for data when this other company apparently was not only selling the same type of data for just pennies on the dollar compared to what we were selling but the file was much larger than what we were offering.  Though they did not come right out and say it the question that was on their mind was did they just make a huge mistake by signing this agreement with us?  We matter of factly  advised them that while this might sound like a great deal this cheap data was just that, cheap data.  We even encouraged them to purchase it and test it out compared to what they purchased from us.

Later on in the day while thinking about the article I needed to write later I went online and did a Google search for email data and right at the top in the sponsored listings I found “500,000 opt-in users” – “100% Opt-in Audience that has the Highest Response Rates, Guaranteed!” clicking through to their website I found lots of informative information about the email marketing industry. I was advised that if I bought from them that I could increase my sales overnight, right above this bold statement was a big red banner that stated “In compliance with the CAN  SPAM ACT click here for more info”  which incidentally took me to the FTC site.  I scrolled down the page looking for pricing and couldn’t believe my luck, it was truly my lucky day. For only $127 I could purchase 50,000 opt-in email addresses, complete with name, address, IP address and date and time stamp, but if I really wanted to be successful I could go all the way and for only $497 I could purchas3e 1 million email addresses, and I could even pick from any category I wanted, and mix and match, at no additional charge.

There is nothing special about this company, they are a dime a dozen and they prey on the dreams of small businesses hoping to make it big.  First of all I don’t care what kind of marketing you are doing and what kind of budget you have, nothing is going to dramatically increase your sales overnight.  If this list of 50,000 being sold for $197 was ever truly opt-in with probably hundreds of easily duped people buying the list, how long do you think those email addresses remained valid before the owners got fed up and either changed their email address or just abandoned this one due to the nonstop gushing of intolerable spam they were getting?

As a company we occasionally go out and purchase various lists just to see what is out there, last year I purchased a list of UK consumers with phone numbers, the cost was just a few hundred dollars and because it is so difficult to find good UK data for less than the cost of mortgaging your house, I thought I’d give it a shot for educational purposes and I did not expect much to come out of it.

I gave the list to one of our clients in England to test out and after a few days they called me to tell me that this list was one of the worse they had ever seen.  They said that in 2000 many of the exchanges for telephone numbers were changed and that this list was full of the old numbers, so at the very least this “fresh” list was at least nine years old.  So are we worried about these companies under pricing us and over delivering?  Not in the least we encourage our clients if they are worried that we are over charging them to go out and purchase a couple of these lists because they will be back.  There are no short cuts when purchasing a list, just like the old saying goes “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”.  It cost money to market effectively and purchasing a list whether that is a phone and address list or an email list is not any different. There are hundreds of companies out there selling illegitimate data. Before you purchase a list be sure that the company you are purchasing from is legitimate, do a search online and see what others are saying about them, do they have a phone number on their website and if they do is the same person answering the phone every time you call?  These are tell tale signs that you are dealing with a scam artist.  Find a company that is real and bite the bullet and pull out your bank card and spend the money that it takes to do it right.

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About Joe Melle

Joe Melle has founded and ran several successful businesses, and has had an interesting career in direct contact media, call center operations, sales operations, customer service operations, customer retention, and quality assurance; he has written over 140 business articles, previously served as a part time adjunct professor for a university teaching business, marketing, and management courses to both graduate and post graduate students.Email Me