Ken Magill, Laura Atkins on Zoominfo

Zoominfo -- a company that has created some sort of business contact database where you (you probably being "spammer") can buy lists of email addresses. Ken Magill talks about them here, quoting deliverability consultant Laura Atkins at length.

Here's my take on this.

Problematic? Yes.

Permission-based? No, don't think so. Zoominfo has claimed that CAN-SPAM compliance is followed, but I don't know what that means. CAN-SPAM has nothing to do with permission, and it's all about permission. CAN-SPAM compliance is 100% irrelevant.

Did all of the people whose data is in that database opt-in to have their data put there? It doesn't matter that the data may be publicly available. Just because I put an address on my website, or because you can reverse engineer it because you know how my company formats email addresses, doesn't mean that you have permission to hold my email address or sell it to others.

Also, do you think they were careful to weed out Canadian addresses? PIPEDA compliance is no laughing matter.

And finally, why would you ever WANT to buy these lists? This data is rife with errors. As Laura and Mickey point out, this company makes a heck of a lot of assumptions about who works where. In my case, I'm apparently a "designer" for "Noiseland Industries." What I actually am is a former record producer, and I happily used Noiseland Industries to handle CD production for me. Meaning, they were a vendor I've used a few times.

Time for the Zoominfo challenge: Go to their website, and look up data about yourself. Look up your friends' names too. Get ready to laugh at all the data points they've gotten wrong.

Business contact databases make poor email list sources. It's that simple.


  1. One of the results for my name lists my employer as "I bought weed today". Another as "Monkey". Inaccurate is an understatement...

  2. According to Zoominfo, they have 9 “verified” contacts in their database - all working in my company. In addition, they have been sending SPAM to these same contact names at our domain over the past few weeks. The problem is that 8 of these people don’t actually work for my company and they are not even in the same country. What value does a database have when it’s 88% inaccurate?

  3. Just researching Zoominfo. I run a local history/genealogy website, and just opened up catchall email for the domain. It seems Zoominfo has taken almost every name in the multitude of records present, appended '@mydomain' to it - dozens of junk mail to non-existant users


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