InfoUSA Lists are Expensive Mistakes

  • Comments: 4
  • Written on: September 13th, 2009

UPDATE 9:35 AM 9/14/2009.  Bruce Nelson with InfoUSA emailed me the following:

Just read your post and wanted to let you know that the pop up for the sample record on the Choose Your Package page (Park Drive Garage) is a dummy record.

It comes up regardless what set of criteria (SIC Code, geography) you choose.

It used to pull an actual record from the list you built, but it was becoming a performance issue, so we just put a static example recently. Your post brings to light that we really need to change the text to let people know that it is not one of the records you will be getting in your list.

This afternoon I did some research for marketing a computer repair company resource website.  I planned on directly marketing the website to computer repair companies, and to do that I needed a list to work from.

The first name that came to mind was InfoUSA, and I was thrilled to find that their lists can be purchased online through an automated system!

InfoUSA Sells BIG Lists But…

I entered SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) numbers 7378 and 7379 and their system returned just over 38,000 results.  The price of the list was a WHOPPING $6,227.00!

For that price I  might as well build a bot to harvest names and phone numbers from computer repair web searches on Google.  Harvested lists are rarely accurate, and can lead to wasted marketing dollars, but you would have to waste a lot of money to get to $6,000.

Holy Proofreading Batman!

InfoUSA has a cool feature where you can preview an entry from the list you are about to buy.  Before I dropped my cash on the table, I took a look at what my $6,000 was going to buy:

There is no excuse for a result for the Park Drive Garage showing up in a database search for computer repair companies.  I entered SPECIFIC SIC codes that should have returned only computer repair companies.

They obviously had this business listed in a database somewhere with an Automotive Repair SIC code.  It’s RIGHT THERE in the sample result!

Why would I pay $.16 per name for a list of businesses that will have no interest in an IT shop website?

If InfoUSA can’t manage their results database, there is no way I am going to trust them to sell me a targeted list for a marketing campaign.

Anyone know a good coder who can build a bot for me?

  1. George Pinderhouse said on September 14th, 2009 at 7:21 am

    I think the “sample” is just a that. Not an actual sample of the list you will get. The same result shows up every time. I have downloaded many lists from the website and they have served me well.

  2. Bryan D Jennewein said on September 14th, 2009 at 9:01 am


    We’re sorry to read that your experience with our website was not what you were expecting. Thank you for providing your feedback… we always welcome the opportunity to grow.

    With the two SICs you selected, the list was quite sizable without further targeting (such as geography, employee size, sales volume, etc.) and is not something we’d recommend for the project you describe. Our marketing experts recommend using the hundreds of powerful search selections to created a *targeted* list. In your case, perhaps focusing on a small sample of the total U.S. to test. When the smaller test is successful, you could spend the resources executing a larger country-wide campaign with confidence.

    Next, you mention the Sample Record, circling the SIC code, and draw attention to how it differs from your search criteria. This sample record pop-up is a generic sample and not one from your specific list (although the wording might suggest it is). We invite you to run any other list and hover over the sample to see that it is indeed the same sample every time. After reading your feedback though, we’ll be clarifying that wording very soon. (Look for an email from my colleague Bruce Nelson.)

    We work very hard to maintain the most accurate database of businesses available anywhere. We believe you’ll find great success with our data and invite you to contact me or one of our marketing experts, who would be delighted to help you get the right list… a targeted list… for you or any of your clients’ needs. It’s the same level of service we provide to all of our customers.

    We hope to help you have a better experience very soon, Thor.

    Best regards,
    Bryan D Jennewein – Director of Social Media
    infoGROUP, Inc. Marketing and Communications
    5711 S. 86th Cir
    Omaha, Nebraska 68127
    402.537.7743 (office)

  3. John said on October 11th, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Does anyone have any other positive or negative experience working with Info USA? And is that quote standard for a list of that size?

  4. Bob said on November 17th, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    I am also in the same position so if anyone knows a good list besides InfoUSA please let me know too. I am looking for consumer emails but their minimum is way too high without any actual gurantees or performance history so if anyone found anything, please ping me.


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