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No. of Recommendations: 104
I've looked into this business in the past and concluded it's not for me. My primary concerns are, and continue to be, the data collection practices and the sustainability of the business.

The business, as I understand it, is essentially data harvesting. It's collecting data from mostly unwilling participants for use by third parties for sales and marketing. I see this as a spam enabler. The company even has an automated sales dialer feature which allows users to "build dialing lists" and "leave prerecorded emails". That sounds a lot like robocalls, and there doesn't seem to be any policies aimed at users who abuse or misuse the product, just best practices the company recommends.

The company does have an opt-out. In a March press release, they highlighted a global notice and choice program where people are given notice and provided an opportunity to remove or update their information in the database. But it sounds a lot better in the press release than in practice.

I found numerous university IT departments identifying these emails as spam and warning students, faculty, and staff about them.

One went as far to say, "We believe that this opting out process is to give them a bare minimum defence for any legal action individuals may bring against the company for 'scraping' this information and selling it."

https://uwaterloo.ca/arts-computing/news/zoominfo-spam
https://ccit.clemson.edu/cybersecurity/cybersecurity-alerts/......
https://security.virginia.edu/node/4656

As we move to a world where data collection practices are more scrutinized, this is the kind of business that will be in the crosshairs. Changes in regulation and data privacy practices are a major risk as is reputation. Will this negative attention scale as Zoominfo scales?

As for the sales workflow/process point, isn't that what Salesforce provides? I see that Zoominfo integrates with Salesforce and is often used that way, and I have hard time believing the true value is in the platform. Zoominfo even characterizes this integration as the syncing of "data source" with "CRM". I don’t see much of a moat here. Most of the data is publicly available for collection or purchase. The company lists Salesforce and Microsoft/LinkedIn as potential competitors, and both appear well situated to provide a competing solution. LinkedIn, as Bert mentions in his article, already has an edge in recruiting and is moving into sales.

Personally, I just can’t get behind a company that reports billions of automated calls as a metric. Sounds a lot like billions of minutes of busy professionals being wasted. That certainly has been my experience.
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