Leads, leads, leads!


There are a number of places that will sell business leads from data they’ve compiled, crawled or crowd-sourced. How great is that? Anyone can buy a list of targeted business information to use to further their business goals! Awesome! Great! Step right up and get your lead here!
But how accurate is that information really?
One of the bigger companies, which allows for public searches, is Zoominfo. I did some lookups recently just to see what their data is like. My conclusion? If the data they have on me is any indication of the overall accuracy of their data, companies are way better off just setting light to a pile of money in their parking lot instead of giving it to Zoominfo.
Let’s look at the data they have on me. When you go to their homepage and enter my name in, you get about 2 dozen profiles. Looking through them, there are a number that describe me.
Laura Atkins; MCRS rep. Fair enough, I do mention MCRS on a few of my webpages and was recently on their board of directors. What I can’t figure out is why they think the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society is run out the Chesterfield County Business Development office. The MCRS is neither a business nor is it located in the state of Virginia. It’s not even located in the same time zone as Virginia. Strike 1 for Zoominfo.
Laura T. Atkins; Founding Partner. This one is the reference that is most clearly me. Zoominfo claims this information was “community contributed.” OK, so someone uploaded their address book and my name and contact info was in it. But they have my company listed as simply “Word.” Sure, Zoominfo went and scraped a bunch of info off our website, but that isn’t reflected in the actual listing. Strike 2 for Zoominfo.
Laura Atkins; Spamtacular. This one is one of my favorites. I’m listed as associated with Spamtacular. Spamtacular is a blog run by my former co-worker Mickey Chandler. Mickey’s currently working for a major ESP, but he blogs about email, spam and delivery under the Spamtacular.com domain. And, in fact, the “association” is that he lists me as part of the Spamtacular blogroll. But Zoominfo claims they have an email address and phone number for me associated with Spamtacular. According to Mickey, Zoominfo have repeatedly attempted to mail laura at spamtacular. It’s not just my email address they’ve pulled out of nether orifices, though. The Spamtacular corporate information is, if anything, more inaccurate than the MCRS data. Spamtacular is not and has never been registered anywhere near the state of California.  Strike 3 for Zoominfo.
But wait! Just because they’ve struck out doesn’t mean they’re going to stop swinging or walk off the field.
Laura Atkins; Context Magazine. I did an interview with Context Magazine back in 2002, and Zoominfo claims they have a phone number for me. I suspect this is not my phone number, but, rather, is the main number for Context Magazine.
There are a couple of other, less interesting profiles for me: Spamcon Foundation, Deliverability.com. All are demonstrably me, but with no real contact information it’s not going to help anyone get in touch with me.
I have to admit, I’m actually surprised at just how totally inaccurate the data about me is. I’m not that hard to find. Zoominfo has 6 listings I can clearly identify as me. In those 6 listings:

  • Not a single listing gets my contact information correct.
  • Not a single listing gets my employer correct.
  • Three of the listings identify me as working for different companies.
  • I’ve never worked for any of those companies.
  • One of the “companies” is a non-profit I volunteer with.
  • One of the companies is a blog written by a colleague.
  • One of those companies is a now defunct magazine that published an interview with me.

But the failure in data collection is not just in the area of collecting personal data. Their corporate information is even worse. Zoominfo has linked me with four companies. In those 4 listings:

  • Zoominfo incorrectly identifies The Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society as headquartered in Virginia.
  • Zoominfo incorrectly identifies Spamtacular as located in California.
  • Zoominfo identifies Context Magazine as a viable company.
  • Zoominfo identifies me as the “founding partner” of a company called Word.

Total strikeout for Zoominfo.

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  • Wow. I must *really* suck. Zoominfo has absolutely no information on my name at all.

  • They have three people who match my first and last name. Two of them are obviously not me — although one of them works for a company that I worked for, briefly, almost thirty years ago — and the third one seems to connect to me, but seems to think that I am somehow either linked to intelius.com, a company that scrapes usenet for information about people, and/or luni.org, the Linux users of northern Illinois, both of whom do actually seem to have some information about me. For example: I am quoted on dotcomeon.com twelve years ago! That’s some timely information. …assuming you crafted your phish in the form of “Haw haw haw, that was some funny times we had all those years ago, was just thinking about that the other day, nyuck nyuck nyuck” and managed to sound convincing enough for me to think that you were there? That might work. …right?

  • Wow. 100% wrong, scraped or stolen data, poorly compiled, being sold to unwitting buyers.
    Like Catherine I am glad they don’t have anything about me either.
    I do blog a lot, but not under my real name.
    It seems they are depending on scraped data from bloggers. So if you don’t blog openly they don’t have you. It seems if you go blog openly like Laura they have you but they don’t know what to do with the data.

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