Caveat Emptor! Beware of poor quality data!

Caveat Emptor, for those who don’t know, is Latin for “Buyer Beware” and basically means it’s up to the buyer to be sure they’re purchasing what they think they are. Since I’m a data broker in the business of supplying quality data lists, as you can imagine, I get offered a lot of database lists. Some, I know, are from reputable list owners, who may be promoting a new offering. Many, I’m afraid to say, are from less than reputable people who have either happened upon a data list somehow, or have created their own mailing list over the years and are looking to make an extra few quid by selling it on.

Rogue Lists = Poor Quality Data

The number of rogue lists being offered to me of late seems to have increased. Whether it’s a sign of the times – people are feeling the pinch and out to make money where they can – or whether it’s simply one of those “get rich quick” schemes doing the rounds, I don’t know. Nevertheless it’s blog-worthy, since I don’t want any of my friends, colleagues and associates falling for what, I believe, largely constitutes a scam.


What To Do….

The way I deal with these so-called offers (and I highly recommend that if you are offered a database list at a knock down price, you do the same) is this:


Firstly, I ask if the data is fully opted in for third party marketing (have people “ticked the box”?) and I ask to see evidence. This often causes the phone to go silent there and then and I reckon this question alone gets rid of 75% of the scammers.


Next, I ask to see the list in question, stating a need to run it by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) to assess its validity – this tends to get rid of a further 20%.


Finally, I request evidence of how it’s been collected and how recently, at which point the stragglers tend to fall away.


The thing with data quality is that, generally speaking, you do get what you pay for. We at Data Bubble charge a fair, market price for what we know is good quality data, plus we guarantee the data – whether we supply business lists or consumer lists, we put our money where our mouth is. Anyone who has purchased data from us knows that we only supply good quality data, but that on the rare occasion that something goes awry, we’re true to our word with regard to the guarantee we offer.

In short, if someone offers you a database of a million records for £1,000, exaggerating aside, it’s going to be largely unusable. It will, I guarantee:


  • Be full of old records for people who have moved address or, even worse, died
  • Contain telephone numbers for people who have requested no telephone marketing (TPS)
  • Contain opted-out email addresses
  • Cost you a lot of wasted time
  • Prove to be financially draining


In terms of current data legislation, anyone who emails opted out records or phones Telephone Preference Service (TPS) screened records runs the risk of being fined a significant sum of money. Is it really worth that risk?


So, in summary, if you’re offered a “too good to be true” contact list, please follow my guidelines above. Make sure you ask the right questions right from the outset, as otherwise you may find yourself asinus inter simias!

As always, we welcome your feedback on our blogs. Please feel free to respond directly, call us on 01274 483936 or email [email protected]


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