The newest list management company, joining dozens in a highly fragmented industry, is Database101.com, founded by Vinod Gupta, CEO and former CEO-chairman and founder of big database holding company Infogroup. BtoB asked Gupta and Monica Messer, the company's president-database and technology (and former Infogroup COO), about their plans for the company and how they intend to differentiate it in a crowded field.
BtoB: What needs will Database101 address that are not currently filled by the list-management market?
Gupta: Yes, the market is fairly large; but there is always room for more people. Each customer has different needs. We are focusing on being a warehouse of all sorts of databases and having the biggest warehouse of databases. Second, we want to provide cutting-edge technology to provide solutions for small companies in particular. As companies try to find more valuable prospects, it's a question of the distribution channels, where you can identify the customer's needs and offer solutions.
Messer: And small companies just aren't getting the sales leads they need. For example, a food broker needs a list of restaurants or wine brokers to call. If you're selling a specialty product, like hunting supplies for example, you need a list of retailers in that field. And say a restaurant is looking for lunch business. They might order names of businesses within a two mile radius.
BtoB: Database101 also is offering an unusual pricing plan for its contact names, at 10 cents per name, instead of the usual system of pricing in lots of 1,000. How did you decide on that structure?
Gupta: Most list companies are still thinking with a list mentality and not in terms of solutions for salespeople and small-business owners. What we're offering as a self-service solution is no minimum order. And we're selling these names, not renting them. If you buy 200 names for $20, you can do whatever you want with them.
BtoB: What other services are you looking at?
Gupta: We want to offer soon a subscription service like Netflix priced, for example, at $19.95 a month for unlimited access to sales leads. That will be on the self-service side. We also will be able to send to companies alerts about their customers. Say you download 200 names and last week somebody got married. We could send you an alert about that. That's what triggers buying. We also will offer a full- service arrangement that will include such things as appends and analytics.
Messer: It's about mass automation. We don't want to do one-off solutions. We are listening to small customers and trying to do things that are very scalable. Our primary source will be aggregating our own data assets and putting them in the cloud. That involves building our own business database. What we envision here is a database of hundreds of thousands of small businesses, available as a subscription that includes business names, addresses and phone numbers, as well as number of employees, sales volume, credit rating, years in business and so forth. The records will be phone-verified.
BtoB: Explain a bit more about the full-service line of Data-base101?
Messer: In addition to providing sales leads online, our full-service division can do e-mail marketing and postcard mailing for a near turnkey solution. We'll offer this because companies that are even a little bigger than the smallest companies or entrepreneurs have no expertise in marketing. We'll use outside vendors for those services.
BtoB: Vin, sources have told BtoB that you may be interested in buying back your old company, Infogroup. Is there any truth to that?
Gupta: If they wanted to sell it, yes, I'd look at it. I don't know if they'd sell it to me or not. But our plan right now is to create a quality company again in Database101.