How Cooperative Are Co-op Databases?
Question No. 1: Can You Control Competitors' Access to Your Names?
The main benefit for any list owner who participates in a cooperative database, says Linda Santaite, senior sales executive at Mokrynksidirect, a full-service direct response marketing company in Hackensack, N.J., is the modeling that can be done with such a wide variety of data. But the assumption is that other mailers in the cooperative will be modeling, too. From a list management point of view, she says, it's troubling when a co-op allows companies that don't participate in the database to rent names from the co-op, especially if the list owner feels it could have gotten a better list rental price outside of the co-op environment.
Chris Pickering, vice president of database marketing at MeritDirect, a list services firm in White Plains, N.Y., agrees that it's not a bad idea for co-op participants to limit and block usage by direct competitors to protect their interests. But when it comes to indirect competitors, Pickering, who also spoke on the DMA•05 session panel, advises list owners not to limit rental access for these requests, since they might not get this rental revenue any other way. Instead, he explains, set a higher rate for these rentals than for those offered to other co-op members. MeritDirect offers b2bBase, an open business cooperative database in conjunction with Experian.
While Direct Media, a full-service list firm in Greenwich, Conn., doesn't require direct marketers to participate in its DataWarehouse, a B-to-B co-op, in order to rent names from it, the company does encourage mailers to join to get the maximum value from the database, says Michael Tuohy, vice president at Direct Media and also a DMA•05 co-op session panel member. To provide its participating members with control, Tuohy explains that Direct Media clears rental proposals with each one of its more than 1,200 base members.