Some brainless trolls have been going after me on Twitter, and one of the things they have been showing to harass me is this information they got about my business from Zoominfo:
The problem? Other than the NAICS and SIC codes, the data is all wrong. Wrong address, wrong revenue, and wrong number of employees. The business location is about 400 miles off from where we are.
Just like what this tweet said, your business data on tools such as Zoominfo could be wrong, and people could be trusting the information they found on the Web to be accurate (yeah, because if it’s on the Web, it must always be correct – NOT!)
#scaseo Looked up “nick skelton bristol” on zoominfo.com – all the data is wrong! Scary that people might trust the info from such tools— Nick Skelton (@nick_skelton) July 31, 2009
What is Zoominfo and How Does It Get Its Information
Zoominfo is in the business of collecting data on businesses and people, and selling the information to customers who use it for sales, marketing and recruitment. It compiles data in two ways:
- Scraping the web for company and contact information through their proprietary web crawler called NextGenSearchBot.
- Through email plugins that collect email signature information such as name, title, company, phone numbers and email addresses.
When a user joins in the Zoominfo Community Edition program, Zoominfo scrapes contacts from the user’s Outlook contact list or their Google Apps for Business. As stated on their FAQ:
“When you take part in the ZoomInfo Community Edition program, you agree to share all of the business contacts in your email database, including names and email addresses found in email headers and job titles, company names, phone numbers, and locations found in the email signatures in your mail client. Anyone who uses a supported version of Microsoft Outlook or Google Apps for Business to send and receive business-related emails is eligible to take part in the ZoomInfo Community Edition program.”
Essentially, Zoominfo will scrape the web for “information” about your business – even if incorrect. They don’t cross-check it with business registration or other official documents.
And if you sign up to be on Zoominfo’s program, Zoominfo will get the data of all your contacts in your email – without their permission.
To the Europeans used to strict privacy laws in their countries, let that sink in: Zoominfo is a company that will harvest – without your consent and knowledge – your email and all those who send you emails. If the name is in your contact list, they will scrape it and sell all your contact’s information.
Hence, there’s a huge number of complaints filed in the Better Business Bureau, the leading consumer advocate watchdog in the United States, against Zoominfo:
Pattern of Complaint:
According to BBB files this business has a pattern of complaint concerning requests for removal of personal information that the consumer considers “unauthorized” or “private.” Consumers state that the process to request removal of information is cumbersome, and requires additional personal information the consumer does not want to share. Consumers state that requests do not receive a reply in a timely manner. Consumers indicate that they want an easier way to opt-out or have information removed, as well as timely responses from the business with regard to requests to remove information. As of 11/9/18 the business did not respond to BBB’s request. Mail sent to the business was not returned.
I have requested that my Name, business e-mail and business information with ex-employer’s LAW OFFICE list be totally removed for this website. I did not sign up or request for my information to be used or posted by Zoominfo. Even sent several request to Remove@Zoominfo.com with link and URL for completely deletion. But get no response or action yet.
A huge amount of various profiles of executives and employees of our client have been uploaded to this website and they are profiteering of it without knowledge or authorization of the companies involved. Our client has asked us to contact this website and request the profiles removed and yet after a few months they did not take action. The various clients we have that are involved in this incident believe it is unacceptable and are considering Legal Action. We want to file this complaint here in hopes to settle this matter before it moves to court.
How Did Zoominfo Get Our Business Information Wrong
The trolls who have been attacking me are accusing me of lying because I said that the information on Zoominfo is wrong. As if I would not know where my business is located!
Remember, Zoominfo gets their information using a web scraper (and not from business registration documents submitted to the government).
Zoominfo says that our business address is in Ruby, South Carolina:
But we are NOT in South Carolina.
Their scraper bot WRONGLY got the information of one of the businesses listed in our Wholesale Directory, Merchandise Suppliers and Dropshippers, which is a directory of businesses that offers products that other businesses can sell.
Specifically, Zoominfo scraped the information of one of the handbag suppliers in our Wholesale Directory:
And no, we do NOT own North Star Leather! It is just one of the businesses we have listed in our wholesale directory, just like hundreds of businesses we have in our directory.
As for the information on revenues and number of employees, who knows where they got that? The only thing I am sure of is that it is wrong!
Are we the only one with a ridiculously inaccurate business listing on Zoominfo? NO!!! In fact, one of the recent complaints on the BBB website has the exact same experience as we do – totally wrong and fabricated business information:
Hello, I would like to file a complaint on ZoomInfo and to request that my ZoomInfo profile be removed completely from their web site. I have requested that my information be removed several times over and yet they refuse to remove it, because of their so called policy. I didn’t want to have my information listed on this site in the first place, so why should I have to follow their policies! Also, the information they posted on my profile is supposedly gathered from public sources, but everything listed is inaccurate! For instance, I have never made $2.6 million dollars or have a staff of 13. Not even close. I was a one woman show, so how can I have a staff of 13, and if I had made millions, would it be defunct? So, where did they get this information from? It’s inaccurate and full of lies. The posting of my information and inaccurate information on this web site without my permission is putting my safety and privacy at risk. Plus, it makes it look like I’ve made a ton of money when I didn’t. I believe this company is a scam and their customer service is horrible. It took 4 months for me to get a reply and they still refuse to remove my information. Just adding a note to my profile saying DEFUNCT is not what I want and making edits to the information is not what I want. What I want is to have my profile completely removed from their web site. Why should they make it so hard to remove? It’s causing me a great deal of stress and distress and yet they don’t care – they insist on keeping up my profile page. How does it help anyone to keep my profile page up? I really think this company is a SCAM and it shows with the high number of complaints they receive. Please BBB, help me to get my profile page removed from ZoomInfo ASAP. Thank you.
. @ZoomINFO you ought be ashamed of yourselves auto adding biz info without permission AND INCORRECT too! PLUS unsolicited emails— Kaz Maskall (@kar3n2) October 8, 2011
Is Zoominfo a Reliable Company?
So is Zoominfo a “reliable” company? As one of the many complainants on the Better Business Bureau said,
If you like being spammed, then zoominfo is your hero. If you don’t like being spammed, then zoominfo is a company you don’t want to share any information with.
I have asked Zoominfo to take down the erroneous information, but like many of the complainants, I was given the runaround and the sorry excuse that they cannot remove my business information on their website. Of course, they won’t remove my business listing, because they are selling it and making money from the WRONG information they have about my business. If you are a customer of Zoominfo, know that their data has loads of factual errors, mine included.