Monday, April 16, 2007

Business Lists Policy

The Research Network has had a written policy of limiting our clients to 50 records for any business list we create. (It's right there on page 185 of the SBDC's current Standard Operations Policy document . . . what, you didn't have that memorized?)

We've gotten away from that, mostly because it was not a great effort to generate lists that were a bit larger. A poll of the librarians here reveals that it's been pretty common to provide your clients with lists of 50 to 100 companies, mainly because there was no consequence to us. We'd pay once for the American Business Disc CD-ROM at the beginning of the year, and that would be that.

ABD was produced by InfoUSA. Last fall, I learned that they wouldn't be making the CD product anymore. Now we're using their web-based database (called Reference USA). We paid a rate for four librarians, and then have unlimited usage for twelve months.

The product is up for renewal at the end of the month. InfoUSA changed their policy, and are basing the cost of Reference USA not on the number of people who'll be using it, but rather on the number of downloads we generate. It's a subtle shift on their part, but it has an impact on what we can provide your clients.

Sooooo . . . starting on May 1st, we will be actually enforcing the 50-record limit for all business list searches. It's 50 records per client - if you have a client who needs a list of suppliers for multiple product lines for, say, a gift shop, it's not 50 records per product line.

If we exceed our yearly allotment, then we wind up paying for it next year. So we have to discipline ourselves, and stick to it.

In situations where your client needs a larger list, we will provide your client with a roster of reputable, fee-based business list providers.


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