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List abuse quadruples since 2001

LONDON - The misuse and abuse of marketing lists has quadrupled since 2001, according to a study from data value management specialists DQM Group, with associations and societies the worst offenders.

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DQM argues that the study is a major warning signal for list owners to better police the use of their valuable data assets.

The study found that the associations and societies sector has climbed up from second to worst offender out of all sectors analysed, while last years top offender, utilities, has cleaned up its act and no longer features in the worst offenders' category.

The other main offenders are advertising, conference and exhibitions, public relations and charities, which was one of the most compliant sectors last year.

Sectors that have improved their standards of adherence to licence terms are security, sales promotion, retail, telecoms, travel and recruitment.

The issue of data abuse is a rapidly growing problem in the UK in both the private and public sectors and list abuse is having a disproportionate affect on recipients' perceptions in a world where concerns about data privacy and security are being heightened by data breaches as public concern over such issues becomes more and more voluble.

Adrian Gregory, managing director of DQM Group, said: "Effective DM relies on the availability of high quality lists. Yet if list owners continue to experience the rise in abuse charted by the DQM Group List Abuse Index, then some will decide not to market their valuable data assets, they will encounter rising levels of opt-out, and marketers will find it increasingly difficult to obtain good quality data as a result.

"The aim of our annual conducted survey across the many thousands of list purchases we track each year is to highlight the scale and raise the awareness of the problem and its implications.

"Abuse of marketing lists is no longer a simple issue for data owners around lost revenues. They need to be much more concerned about potential brand damage and the broader negative impact on consumer perceptions of DM."

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