Which Selling Platform is Best?
June 27, 2013 2:51 PM   Subscribe

I am working on a list since 2004 that I think would be salable. It's publicly available contact information for radio, TV, magazines, syndicates, newspapers, book publishers and agents. I'm a freelancer and I originally started it because I wanted to be able to reach these sources to interest them in my content. But I realized it could be a product.

I've checked other companies that do this. They have staff to keep their lists updated. The subscription costs for access to their lists is around $500/yr and users get to it through search boxes. The problem with search boxes, in my opinion, is that you don't always know what you're looking for, or where it is, so a search box isn't always very helpful. That's especially true if what you're looking for is under a different keyword. I want to provide my list in a simple, searchable, sortable spreadsheet instead. And as I've updated my list, I notice that most of the media contacts haven't changed in the last few years. So even though I can't update it annually, it would stay relatively current for a few years after I distribute it.

But distribution is the issue for me. I don't know how to sell it. I think my options include sending a DVD, or having it on a website behind a paywall, or asking people to subscribe to an app. Mostly, I'm trying to prevent it from being stolen. All three mediums could serve writers and other freelance media people with laptops or smartphones or Ipads trying to find a media contact.

But I've also seen lists that appear to be copied from somewhere else. I course I don't know if they've been hacked, or if somebody in a group bought it once and then shared it with people who shared it with people, etc. Does anybody have any comments or suggestions on which platform strikes the best balance between accessibility and security? I understand somebody could buy it and then create their own SS and distribute it. But I don't want to make it easy for them. I would appreciate any relevant input. Thanks.
posted by CollectiveMind to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
I'd consider buying something like this. I doubt that I would buy a DVD. I might subscribe to a website or app.

I'm not sure how you can make your spreadsheet secure when the whole purpose of the document is to be able to copy-paste the contacts in order to send out a media release.

(I'm skeptical that your list would be current a few years after distribution. If I paid for such a list I'd be highly annoyed to get a lot of email bouncebacks.)
posted by dontjumplarry at 4:22 PM on June 27, 2013

I agree with the concern about it being out of date quickly.

I'm not a lawyer, but from a legal point of view I presume it's hard to protect information that is just facts (names and contact information) as opposed to original creative expression. And if someone resold the information or gave it away, how could you even prove that they got it from you? And from a technical point of view it's also hard to protect such information.

So this seems like the type of information you might need to sell in a much more personal way, i.e. to friends and associates and other people they refer you to.
posted by Dansaman at 4:45 PM on June 27, 2013

I would buy a list like this from a friend or an industry contact. I have bought similar lists from the services you mention, and that was a waste of money.
What industry does this list cover? Or are the journalists on your list generalists? I wouldn't, for example, buy a list of sports journalists, but tech or business journos would be much more interesting.
posted by third word on a random page at 2:11 AM on June 28, 2013

Response by poster: I appreciate all of your comments and feedback. Thanks a lot.
posted by CollectiveMind at 7:56 AM on July 8, 2013

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