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  • Writer's pictureSavinder Lefevre

Beware shark bites when purchasing data!

Vet data vendors when purchasing data for your marketing efforts.

It sounds simple, but thorough data vendor evaluation is a multi-faceted exercise in data forensics. And, while proper vetting has always been a best practice, due diligence in this age of GDPR is an absolute must.

Rule 1: Beware the data sharks!

They can eat your budget in one bite, leaving behind nothing but a useless list of stale contacts and the risk of regulatory exposure. The sharks tend to be offshore operations that appear to be domestically-based, with local domains and friendly but overzealous pitchmen who will hound you incessantly.

Don’t be fooled by these exotic hunters in local garb! Be especially wary of any that require prepayment. Additionally, keep in mind that a “data sample” may not provide an accurate measure of how a vendor’s data will actually perform. Use it as a guide - but be sure to get warranties for deliverability as well as for refunds.


To help you mitigate the risks of data acquisition, the DMA has put together some helpful guidelines in its recently-published DMA Guide to Buying and Selling Toolkit.

Here are 10 key questions to ask of your data vendor:

1. Who compiled the data? When? Has it been amended or updated since then? How often is the list updated?

2. When was consent obtained? Who obtained it and in what context?

3. What method was used – e.g. was it opt-in or opt-out?

4. Was the information that was provided clear and intelligible?

5. How was it provided – e.g. behind a link, in a footnote, in a pop-up box, in a clear statement next to the opt-in box?

6. Did it specifically mention texts, emails or automated calls?

7. Did it list organisations by name, by description, or was the consent for disclosure to any third party?

8. Has the list been screened against the TPS or other relevant preference services? If so, when?

9. Has the individual expressed any other preferences – e.g. regarding marketing calls or mail?

10. Has the seller received any complaints?

If this seems a daunting process — or one better left to the experts — we can help you navigate these shark-infested waters.


Here at Savvy Data Solutions, despite having worked with many of our vendors and suppliers for more than 20+ years, we still leave nothing to chance. We have vetted our vendors through a scrupulous on-boarding procedure, asking them to complete our vetting form and provide evidence of compliance. Nonetheless, we create a processing agreement for each new transaction to ensure that our clients are fully protected.

To find out more, get in touch - we would love to hear from you.

Savinder Lefevre

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