Are Crowdsourced Contacts Good for Ad Agency New Business?

The Lure of Free
by Todd Knutson

netprospex logo

jigsaw logo

What a great sales pitch: take your in-house prospecting list, upload it to a crowdsourced-based website like Jigsaw or NetProspex, and then download an equal number of "clean" contacts - for free.

I can hear you thinking about it..."I can have twice as many contacts with just a couple of clicks of my mouse." It sounds too good to be true!

Before you take the plunge, however, I suggest you think through a few important questions:

  • What will you upload? Will you upload:

- Current clients?

- Networking contacts?

- Friends of the firm?

- Contacts you've painstakingly found on your own?

- Lists you've acquired from 3rd party vendors?

  • Has your management team thought through the consequences of sharing this information with the world? Once you upload it, it's gone and can't be retrieved or taken back later. Do you really want your valuable contacts in the hands of your competitors?
  • If you want to upload a list you've acquired, are you legally allowed to do so? Have you reviewed "the fine print" - license agreement - from the list provider? Most, if not all, restrict you from sharing data with anyone outside your firm. Other providers allow you "single-use"; if you share you are clearly violating their agreement.
  • What will you get in return? We've heard many stories about people uploading their old, out-of-date information, with the hope of exchanging it for new, clean information. Think about this for a minute: if you (and a few hundred or thousand people) upload their garbage, what are you going to get in return?

We at The List have heard so many stories about inaccurate information that we recently decided to do a test on 2,500 contacts that we purchased from one of the two providers whose logos appear above. We called every contact we received, and tabulated every duplicate contact, contacts no longer with the company, incorrect titles, incorrect gender, and contacts listed as being in the U.S. but actually located in another country.

In all, we found that 71% of the information was in some way incorrect.

The flip side is that 29% of the contacts were correct (725 contacts). But, that means if we'd exchanged 2,500 contacts one-for-one, we'd have only recieved 725 in return!

So, my recommendation is to consider a data-exchange with eyes wide open. If you're okay receiving some good titles and many wrong ones; if you're okay giving away your clients, friends of the firm, etc.; if you're okay risking legal liability, then this type of service is perfect for you.

 

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