MySoftware Offers List Alternative

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MySoftware will round out its suite of direct marketing solutions to small-office, home-office businesses and provide them an alternative source of names that bypasses the minimum order requirements of list brokers when it introduces the MyProspects list acquisition Web site later this year.

MySoftware, Palo Alto, CA, will demonstrate and preview the site ( by appointment at the DMA fall show in San Francisco next week. Beta testing on the site will commence in mid-November, and it is expected to be ready for list orders in early December.

The company has been selling software to manage a mailing list (MyDatabase), create a mail piece (MyMarketingMaterials) and conduct a mailing (MyMailList) for the last five years but hasn't helped the SOHO market find the prospects needed to fuel the marketing process until now.

"We didn't have this fourth leg of the stool," said MySoftware CEO Gregory Slayton.

In fact, based on research conducted by MySoftware, the prospecting needs of the 22 million SOHO businesses have been vastly underserved by list and data compilers. MyProspects is being positioned to bridge the gap between businesses seeking small list counts of 500 names and list brokers that require name or dollar minimums that exceed the budgets of many SOHO marketers.

In a poll of list firms in California, MySoftware discovered $500 and 2,800 names were the minimum commitments sought by list brokers to open accounts. Slayton said sales representatives from Polk and Metromail would not even deal with quantities as small as 500 names. A survey of four New York area list firms by DM News confirmed 3,000 names as the minimum order in two cases and 5,000 or 10,000 in the others.

"We can understand that they need larger quantities [to be profitable]," Slayton said.

Following its strategy of selling software in $300 to $600 chunks to a SOHO market that spends $1.1 billion per year, MySoftware set out to build an online list source that would provide maximum flexibility for a minimum financial commitment. MyProspects will populate its Web site with data from two providers. At press time, it was in negotiations with Polk, Experian and Dun & Bradstreet.

Business lists will be priced in four tiers based on depth of information while consumer lists will start at a yet to be determined base price. Ian Skolnick, vice president of My Prospects Internet Services Group, said prices will be set based on discussions with focus groups about what the market will bear.

Online list provider List Merchant, Vancouver, BC, charges $100 per thousand names for business lists from Dun & Bradstreet and $40 per thousand for consumer lists from Polk.

MyProspects users will be required to register and supply credit card information on their first visit and will receive passwords to conduct searches. Searches can be customized by geography and demographics or by choosing pre-defined niches such as "Already Affluent" or "Home Hoppers."

A count and price then is returned, and the user can choose how many records to download to an Excel spreadsheet or Word document. Counts of 20,000 or less can be downloaded in a matter of seconds rather than the days it can take a list broker, according to Slayton.

"This is just another example of the Web cutting through ineffective business models," he said. "The No. 1 concern of the SOHO market is: How do I grow my business? Direct marketing was the perfect answer, but it was not so easy to do on the desktop."

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