The Dangers of Buying Dodgy Data


Sometimes customers tell us they’ve been offered a one off database of businesses or consumers at a ridiculously low price, and ask whether the list is worth it? Our advice is to only ever buy a mailing list from a reputable source as the risks of doing otherwise are simply too great.

A good example of the many ‘dodgy’ lists doing the rounds is an email we recently received ourselves from a company in the US offering over 32 million names and addresses for lists of mobile phone users, CEO’s, debt leads and loan leads. The cost of all this data: just $425. Sounds too good to be true? Well that’s because it is.

  • First off the data is from the US and being pitched to UK companies. An inexperienced data buyer may not realize this and end up with data for the wrong country.
  • Secondly, look more closely at the lists and it appears that the most recent is at least 12 months old and some are even older than that. Data is constantly changing as people move home or move jobs. For example we rebuild our larger databases every month and always screen against the latest suppression files before releasing any list.
  • Next, the data is probably likely to be extremely inaccurate. At that price there won’t have been any data cleansing or enhancing carried out and so a good proportion of your mailings will probably never reach their destination. Those that do could go straight in the bin because the recipients name is spelt incorrectly.
  • Talking of wastage, you’re not likely to get much of a response from a list of this type because the source is unknown and it’s going to be so inaccurate. Pretty much any mailing you send is going to be a fruitless exercise and wasted money.
  • Finally and most importantly, there are legal implications in buying data when you don’t know how it was obtained. Have the people on the list opted in to receive mailings from third parties? If you go ahead and mail them you could be flouting the law.

Always buy your data from a reputable and known source, even if you are offered an incredible deal. Whatever money you think you might be saving on your list will be exceeded by the cost of mailing unresponsive and inaccurate data.