Anatomy of an E-mail Data Card
If the data card does not list a transmission fee, it's probably included in the base rate; to be sure, call and ask.
The high-speed environment of the online world means frequent change for e-mail lists. To verify the timeliness of an e-mail list, it's good to find out how often the file is updated, through what date the addresses were collected, when the last update took place and when the next update will occur. You want to rent the file when it's most current.
As far as updates go, most lists are freshened monthly, some on a weekly basis and far fewer companies perform maintenance on a daily basis.
None, however, define what "update" means. Does the list owner simply add new records, or is the entire file cleaned and processed through E-mail Change of Address? This is an important detail to know.
Source media tend to be a blend of direct mail, Web sites and e-mail.
Good insight comes from a percentage breakdown for each medium used; even better is more precise information on how the addresses were collected. Some list profiles will include this detail; for example, the Red Herring Opt-In Email file (managed by American List Counsel) notes that subscribers have registered at Red Herring Online to attend conferences, access editorial content and view sponsored links online.
When looking for the collection method, also pay attention to whether the names are permission-based. Most are, but data cards don't always spell this out. Ask detailed questions about the collection process to discern the depth of the file's opt-in status.
This section of the data card is comparable to that of postal address data cards. It delivers a brief summary of the characteristics displayed by the people on the file. Some list owners/managers offer detailed breakouts on gender, education levels, marital status, presence of children, average household income, etc.