I agreed to purchase 6,558 position/role- specific emails from Exact Data. After spending numerous hours evaluating the quality of the list we purchased from Exact Data and trying to improve it, we concluded that the email addresses were no where near as accurate as we had been led to believe they would be. Manual checks quickly confirmed that the "100% deliverable guarantee" that had been implied would certainly not hold if we were use the email addresses.
We have purchased several similar data files in the past and the information provided by Exact Data has been the worst to date.
The major problems we have encountered regarding the list:
1. Very low ratio of email addresses that can be validated by manual look-up. Spent hours to verify the randomly selected records from the list and found very few that are current and available on district web sites.
2. Multiple records for the same job title. Example: there are 39 records with "Human Resources" in the title and 35 are HR director or HR manager within a single school district
3. District name was not accompanied by state and city as we were told it would be.
Bottom line is the data we were promised does not stack up with the data we actually received. We certainly do not feel that we got what we paid for.
In retrospect, I now realize that most of the "promises" were delivered solely via phone. Exact Data did not address specific questions we sent by email. They chose to respond to certain issues via phone and phone alone, thereby making it much more difficult to prove the deceitful manuevers that they engaged in.
We contacted Exact Data several times to express our concerns. We wanted to send the data back and receive a refund. At this point, we emcountered an extremely dismissive and unhelpful "Client Support Coordinator" who proceed to argue with our experience of the transaction/exchange to date and repeatedly cite the purchase order we signed as if this vague document justified the shoddy data we had receievd and the shady business practices we had been subjected to. They did provide us additional email contacts but they failed to appreoctae that we were not simply looking for a gross number of email addresses. As we had made clear during the intitial stages of communication, we were looking to purchase accurate contact information for a strategically selected audience.
Preliminary conversations led us to believe that we could expect accurate email and mailing addresses for the contacts. As stated in one of the email exchanges Exact Data claimed "we guarantee 100% delivery. I would like to stress the 100% delivery. You are getting what you pay for. All of our email contacts are white listed through our servers, double opt-in, CAN-SPAM compliant and ECOA verified every 30 days ensuring validity." Later it was made clearer that this guarantee only held when Exact Data "delivers email campaigns from our servers, we can guarantee delivery rate because if we see that any of the contacts are not good upon deployment, we keep deploying until 100% of the contacts in which you purchased are reached. So, if 50 emails hard bounced back, we’ll deploy 50 more. If 25 of those bounce back, we’ll deploy 25 more." Adding new emails to replace those that bounced would obviously not constitute 100% delivery of the contacts initially presented. This definition of "100% delivery"is misleading and, again, contrary to our objectives as discussed with Exact Data prior to purchasing the flawed data set. This ongoing deployment of addiitonal email addresses is far from 100% delivery. It is more akin to "shooting in the dark" until a soemthing has been delivered to anyone a set numebr of times. We are not interested in simply delivering emails to random individuals. We are attempting to strategically connect with individuals of a particular type. Hence, we are not interested in deploying additional emails to simply reach a meaningless quota. For several reasons, we cannot afford to transmit large number of bounces; nor squander resources on communicating with large numbers of individuals who do not fit with our target audience.
We were repeatedly and rudely referred back to the purchase order as if this limited document provided aequate rationale for everything that had occurred. The purchase order states "nationwide" and "client deploy multi-use." Given what we had discussed on the phone regarding mailing address information, I presumed that "multiple use" referred to mailing address in addtion to email address. Later, I was told that "multi-use indicates that you are able to use the e –mail list multiple times." Obvioulsy, one may use an email address more than once. Why would "Email-Client Deploy Multi-Use" mean that were permitted to use the email multiple times as opposed to providing multiple means of client deployment including email and snail mail. The purchas eorder also states "Nationwide." How would we know that the contacts were nationwide unless we had a physical address to confirm as much? More importantly, why would the purchase order trump conversations that we had previously had? The purchase order clearly does not indicate that we would not be getting the mailing addresses as we had beenn told we would.
Finally, I offered to validate the contact information through a third party at our expense and deploy the emails ourselves and pay Exact Data for the emails that were actually delivered to people in positions that we were actually interested in connecting with. Exact Data proceeded to provide us a small subset of mailing addresses to accompany thier significantly flawed and over-priced data set and indicated that this was their "final resolution."