An advantage that the membership co-op databases have over renting names from individual lists and the list-specific databases to be discussed in a moment is the transaction history. This is used in affinity and other types of models based on your customers’ purchasing behavior to find appropriate prospects for the goods that you want to sell. And there are several disadvantages. You have to submit your file in time to have it included in the next update of the database, which can require a month or more of lead time. Also, you cannot use other members’ names unless you let them use your names, nor can you control the use of your file as you can if you rent it out individually or place it in one of the list-specific co-ops.
Not a Joiner? Consider List-specific Databases
The two non-membership co-ops are Merit Direct’s MeritBase and Direct Media’s DataWarehouse, both launched in 2000. You can rent directly from these databases either by selecting specific lists, or by taking a sample or using a model to select across all of the lists in the database. To interact with these database systems, you can submit your own customer file to be included in the next monthly update and have your names used in look-alike modeling or as a suppression file against the prospect names in the database. Either way, you do not pay for the gross quantity of names rented, but for the net names actually selected and mailed from the database. If you contribute your names to either database, the arrangements are the same as if your file was rented on the open market: You control the use of your file by specific companies and receive market rates when it is rented.
Both databases also employ a rate-sharing mechanism called fractional allocation. If a name occurs on several different contributing lists, the name is considered a “multibuyer,” and each list owner gets a share of the rental fee. This has encouraged list owners to participate in these list-specific cooperative databases to receive a more steady income than if they waited to have mailers rent specifically from them.