More on Netprospex

I thought I would take a moment to follow-up on my recent post (Bad Advice in the B2B Space) covering Netprospex's suggestion that "opt-out" is good enough. It seems as though more and more folks have been expressing opinions on Netprospex's advice and even the company's business model. Here's what they had to say.

Steven Champeon of Enemieslist points out data errors and flaws that can render this kind of data incorrect and useless. He writes, "[On the Netprospex website,] There's a way to search for business by name, so I searched. I got three results, two of which were applicable to my company. The first, rated at "94% accuracy", and which claimed to have been "verified" (that's the CEO's tagline for Netprospex, remember) on October 23, 2009, was the name of our former CFO, who left the company altogether in early 2007. The second, rated at "61% accuracy", was for me, ostensibly the "Chief Technology Officer" of our tiny Web dev shop, and claimed to have been "verified" August 24, 2009."

Laura Atkins of Word to the Wise jumps into the fray after a short delay, because, she says, "Dog bites man isn't a very compelling news story." She goes on to point out that while what Netprospex is advocating is likely legal, legality isn't the only concern, and goes on to share a story from an ESP about how a client mailing to a Netprospex list caused them grief.

Mickey Chandler of Spamtacular agrees that what Netprospex is doing is probably legal, but his opinion is that buying lists is still a bad idea. "We advocate things like 'get permission' because it’s the right thing to do for our customers and clients, not because it’s a legal requirement. Best practices are best practices for a reason, and that reason in the commercial email space is rarely because Miss Manners has suggested that it’s the proper thing to do. It is far more often found in the desires of the recipients and the ISPs they pay to process mail for them."

One of my favorite bits of feedback on this article, though, comes from Matt Sergeant, who identifies himself as "Symantec Hosted Services, Chief Anti-Spam Technologist" on an comment he left on the article in question. He writes: "Speaking as someone on the receiving end of this, specifically filtering for businesses, I can tell you quite frankly that we don't want this type of mail, and neither do our customers. They're VERY clear about that. Mail like this is spam, and you'll be treated as a spammer, plain and simple." Well said.

Internet email expert John Levine weighs in on his blog, as well. He says that "[Netprospex claims that all of their records] were 'verified' recently, but this database is garbage. They are 72% sure I am the Domain Assurance Council, even though we shut it down two years ago. They are 54% sure that the principal of the elementary school who retired five years ago is still there, and 'verified' it in September."


  1. Hi, Al,

    Actually I said that dog bites man isn't a compelling news story. And, really, company that sells lists of email addresses advocates sending spam is in the same area.

    But I do know a lot of well meaning but clueless companies will be running into trouble with these lists, so it's worth a comment.

  2. I knew I should have cut-and-pasted that instead of retyping it. Sorry for the typo, it's been fixed.

  3. Hi Al,

    in your synopsis piece you twice mention such activities being 'legal'. Your correspondents neglect to specify jurisdiction, namely America. In Canada, such things may very well not be legal under our decade-old privacy law, PIPEDA. We intend to find out.

    Neil Schwartzman
    Executive Director
    The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email

  4. So that's where that particular email is coming from!

    They've got Walter Denman listed as our company's founder, with a 68% accuracy. Actually, it should be 100%. Walter certainly did found the company.

    However, it was in 1919 - so I don't know if he's still answering email.

  5. The database search is not very accurate. I assume that someone that trades a name will enter the information themselves and pick categories. There is no reason to be accurate.

    They seem to be like those card collecting companies at trade shows. They then add names from cards to database. Big deal.

    Most importantly, I did a search and had over 119000 contacts and their fee is $86,000!!! That is $.75 a contact.

    Why would anyone spend even a half a cent on an e-mail list?

    This site is a VP of Sales worst nightmare.

    M Fahey
    Mingamo Media LLC


Comments policy: Al is always right. Kidding, mostly. Be polite, please and thank you.