Tim Stevens
Monday, November 21, 2022

Fact or Fiction? Shining a Spotlight on Some Big Name Data Provider Claims

Dubious Person

“98% mobile phone number accuracy.”

This applies only to a specific data set from this company and would have required the manual verification of 6.5k mobile phone numbers per working day or 822 per hour! No mention of how these contacts are kept up-to-date and then there’s the issue of compliance ...

Dubious Person

“The Best & Most Trusted Data.”

This company acquires their data by scanning online sources, buying data and extracted data from user email software. This means they have no control over the accuracy or compliance of this 3rd party acquired data.

Dubious Person

“The freshest data you can find."

An interesting claim from this company because updates are NOT provided when specific contact records change. This means data quickly becomes outdated & inaccurate.

These are just a few examples but it’s important to us that you know as much as possible about each data provider you may be considering so that you can make an informed choice.

Are they compliant? How do they gather their data, and does this result in effective data? Are there any red flags that should concern you?

That's why we've taken a closer look at ZoomInfo, Cognism and Lusha ...

segmentation targeting data

The Data

ZoomInfo scan (often referred to as scrape) various online sources , they buy information from other companies, and they acquire data through market research surveys. ZoomInfo also has a community from which to gather data. Once a user signs up to the ZoomInfo Community they are required to install ZoomInfo Contact Contributor software. This software accesses the users’ email programme and extracts signature headers and other information. ZoomInfo states that they only scan business information and they ignore private email accounts. Apparently the software also doesn’t ‘read’ the contents of users’ emails but this is a risk that Community members need to judge for themselves. ZoomInfo also have a history of acquiring other data providers and data-related companies to expand their database such as RainKing in 2017 and EverString in 2020. 



Straight away questions arise over the compliance of ZoomInfo’s data. As they purchase some of their data from third parties how can clients be sure that the data has been gathered in full compliance as ZoomInfo will have had no involvement in gathering the data? The same questions arise over the quality, accuracy and recency of the information.

The same issues arise regarding their acquisition of other data companies. If the data is simply integrated into their database, concerns arise as to being assured of compliance and quality.

We believe that ZoomInfo do not pass on opt-outs to clients. That will immediately make clients’ use of the information non-compliant and will lead to complaints and ineffective marketing campaigns. They claim to email every data subject on their system and even add a ‘notified’ date to the individual’s profile. So, we thought we would look at the details they hold for i-4business and our own records of them notifying us that we were on their system.

The immediate concern was that no one at i-4business recollects ever receiving a notification email. Strange, considering they hold details of several of our members of staff. What’s even more alarming is ZoomInfo have many contacts on the i-4business profile who have never worked for us and some that appear completely fictitious. These records carried falsified i-4business email addresses and the associated LinkedIn accounts clearly showed that they had never worked for i-4business. Even the false email addresses didn’t receive notification emails as we would have found them in our catch-all email system. All in all then, very concerning on a compliance level!


Pricing and Other Information

Customers of ZoomInfo will typically be asked to sign a 24-month contract with payment required upfront. At i-4business we offer 12-month contracts with more flexible payment terms (typically monthly but quarterly and annual payment plans are available). Price depends on a number of variants such as how many credits you need, the number of users, access type, and any extras you want to add. At i-4business we operate a much simpler and clearer pricing model. Find out more here.

ZoomInfo are a very US-centric organisation – it is our opinion that they offer EMEA data solely so that they can market themselves as a global solution. They get their intent data from Bidstream. Bidstream data is user behaviour captured by an ad pixel and shared through ad exchanges – we have  concerns as to whether Bidstream can be compatible with GDPR. We would suggest that this further illustrates their lack of commitment to the market outside of the US.

ZoomInfo state that they have 25,000 customers so the individuals in their database will be receiving a lot of spam which may dilute client marketing campaigns.

When the contract ends, we understand that clients don’t have to delete the data, so in effect they provide perpetual use of the data. This may seem positive, BUT it can be incredibly DANGEROUS for the following reasons:

  • Rapidly Growing Bounce Rates
  • Non Compliant - Writing to contacts that have opted out
  • Will become out of date, unless researched regularly using the correct process. 
  • Big Loss of reputation

Another thing to bear in mind, is that if all ZoomInfo's ex-clients are still marketing to the data as well as all their existing clients, the individuals in the database will be enduring an overload of email communications. 

segmentation targeting data

The Data

Cognism collect their data from 125 data sources. These include LinkedIn, open sources – such as websites, press articles, and other online media. They also acquire data from closed sources such as Crunchbase and other third party vendors.



As Cognism purchases some of their data from third parties they have no control over how compliant that data is as they had no involvement in gathering it in the first place. Aside from that, Cognism processes data on the grounds of “legitimate interest,” not consent. When a contact opts out of the database there’s no alert from Cognism to tell you that you need to stop communicating with them. This can lead to non-compliant and ineffective marketing campaigns. Cognism does have a global opt-out API which you can access but as it doesn’t provide automated notifications to inform you of any changes you effectively have to cleanse the data yourself.

In their GDPR documents, it states that it is up to the client to guarantee compliance before using the data for direct marketing. You can’t just purchase the data and expect to run compliant campaigns without doing a lot of groundwork yourself to ensure compliance.

Cognism does cleanse their data against the TPS/CTPS service. They claim this makes them compliant with data protection legislation but in reality, it’s a very basic step that we’ve been taking at i-4business for decades. 


Pricing and Other Information

When you sign up with Cognism they will require you to sign up for a 12 or 24-month contract. Pricing then works on a credit-based system. You purchase credits and redeem them against the contacts that you want. You can download the data in one-off lists but Cognism won’t notify you of any changes and if a contact opts out you don't get your credit back. Your credits refresh every month so if you’re contracted to pay for 1,000 credits you get this amount every month. The credits from previous months also roll over which effectively gives you perpetual use of the data.

This continual use of the data may seem like a positive, but it can be incredibly dangerous! You will encounter the following issues, as the rules apply to everyone:

·        High bounce rates

·        Non-compliance – marketing to contacts that have opted out

·        Irrelevance – contacts become outdated over time

·        Frustrated contacts – Cognism’s ex-clients will still be overloading the database with email communications.

·        Contacts will become accustomed to ignoring marketing communications

·        Big loss of reputation as a result




The Data

Lusha scan public sources to obtain their data. They own unique algorithms that perform daily scans to acquire the information. The algorithm then cross checks data from multiple sources and combines numerous data points to create one business contact or company profile. Lusha also have a community made up of members, customers and stakeholders who share their professional networks with Lusha in exchange for extra credits to use to obtain more data themselves or to access premium features. With this kind of approach the system is open to abuse which could impact data quality. How many contributors are potentially submitting incorrect or falsified data to get more rewards? Lusha also buy data from third parties such as Crunchbase.

Lusha’s database comprises of millions of profiles which looks like a positive on the surface but it again raises questions about how they can manage a database of that size effectively to ensure quality and accuracy.



According to Lusha, before adding any contact data, when applicable by law, each professional receives a notification with instructions on how to manage, update, delete, or remove their profile.

We share with our users the date that their prospect was notified of their existence in our database, when applicable. This allows prospects to answer any questions about how their contact information was obtained.”

They enable individuals to opt-out of their database via a self-removal form but they don’t obtain opt-in in the first place which is required for compliance across many European countries. They also don’t pass on opt-outs to their customers which means they could still be marketing to people who’ve opted out causing a compliance issue. Nor do they provide updates when specific contact records change. This means their data can quickly become outdated and therefore inaccurate alongside the compliance issues. In addition, they don’t screen their UK data against the TPS/CTPS service leading more compliance problems.

They also provide very little information on the consent they get to add contacts to their database. Their GDPR compliance information is very vague, and as we’ve mentioned as a customer it would therefore fall on you to ensure compliance before you use their data.

Lusha also collects personal email addresses (B2C) which without an opt-in (for every country) is not compliant, so be wary if you’re considering buying their B2C data.

As they don’t own 100% of their data more accuracy and compliance issues are also likely to be present, negatively impacting their clients’ compliance and campaign effectiveness.


Pricing and Other Information

Lusha operates a credit-based pricing system. You pay for access upfront and are allocated credits for the year. You can purchase additional credits if needed at any time. There’s no flexibility in terms of other commercial models or pricing.

When making an enquiry with Lusha you are passed through multiple people in their organisation so they can qualify you as a prospect. You won’t have one point of contact. Their entire approach is focused on what Lusha wants from you rather than them providing you with the information that you want as a potential customer.


How does i-4business stack up against these 3 'big name' data provider?



You're in luck as we've done the hard work for you and created a comparison page here: Data Providers Comparison

In the meantime here are just 5 reasons why our data is better!

1. Strong track record of providing B2B data since 1996
Most of our competitors are just not as experienced or knowledgeable; their growth has been achieved primarily through acquisitions and mergers.

2. Comprehensive European coverage
Many of our competitors are US-centric/focused and only offer Europe as an add-on. Others offer UK data only.

3. Fully GDPR compliant as the only opt-in database in the market
Many B2B data providers are not GDPR compliant outside of the UK - we are!

4. We own 100% of our data
A lot of B2B data providers simply aggregate other data sources and that's why unlike us they can’t guarantee compliance and quality. 

5. An in-house research team, all native speakers
No other data provider has their own research team like us, most use web-spiders or have a tech-based approach only.


And you can try i-4business for free with a FREE 30-Day Account!

You’ll get 30 days full access to our entire EMEA database to look up as many contacts and companies as you want. Our enterprise B2B contact database is guaranteed for quality and compliance . With instant 24/7 access to real time data with contact records for over 100 job roles across:

·          300 verticals

·          Enterprise and public sector organisations

No credit card is required and no commitment to continue past the 30 days.

Find out more and set up a free account now here or speak to our expert team on 01252 367400.

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