Spam. Ever tried to add up how much time you spend sifting through and deleting unwanted emails? Ever wonder how those folks found your email address in the first place? One likely source is ZoomInfo.com.
If you’re one of the few who have figured that out, you may have tried to get ZoomInfo to remove your company page from the ZoomInfo website, but have found yourself on a wild goose chase. Even correcting the contents of one’s ZoomInfo page can prove difficult. This blog post shares tips on how to get one’s company page and email address removed from ZoomInfo.
Background: Failed Attempts to Remove Company Page from ZoomInfo
A marketing client recently asked for my help in getting ZoomInfo to remove their company page. Not only were they getting lots of spam email, but there were also many incorrect contacts on their ZoomInfo company page who were neither current nor past employees. Each time my client submitted support requests to get Zoom Info to remove their company page, they got back the same gibberish response over and over again about how ZoomInfo is not responsible for the content on their website, and how ZoomInfo cannot remove web pages from its own website. Really, ZoomInfo? You’ve got to be kidding!
How Does ZoomInfo Work, and How Did Zoom Info Get Your Contact Information in the First Place?
Let’s first consider how company and contact information gets on the ZoomInfo website in the first place. According to Wikipedia, “Zoominfo acquired and maintains its database by copying data from the internet using a proprietary web crawler called NextGenSearchBot, analyzing the copied data to extract information, and storing the information in a database.” However, the ZoomInfo site mentions that it goes far beyond scraping email addresses from the web, in their discussions about their Contract Contributor:
“The ZoomInfo Contact Contributor is a lightweight software application that Microsoft Outlook users must install to share business contacts and take part in the ZoomInfo Community Edition program. This software works with Microsoft Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 or 2016 on a system running Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows XP or Windows Vista. Outlook must be used regularly to send and receive business email.”
When a ZoomInfo user wants to find email addresses and they partake in the ZoomInfo Community Edition program, Zoom Info scrapes contacts from the user’s Outlook contact list or their Google Apps for Business (now known G Suite apps). “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.” (A quote from the ZoomInfo website, late 2018.)
Is Zoom Info Legal?
I’m not a lawyer and certainly cannot comment on the legality involved with sharing your personal and business contact information without your consent. This post is in no way legal advice. But with just a quick check of my moral compass, something seems inherently wrong when the owner of a Zoom Info company account finds fraudulent information on their company’s ZoomInfo page and has no way to correct this. Is the way ZoomInfo shares your contact information legal? Indeed, with the 2019 GDPR, they must be asking that themselves. Whether or not ZoomInfo is legal, you might want to check out their BBB page and view their rating and complaints before you decide to work with this organization.
Is ZoomInfo Safe?
ZoomInfo relies on the accuracy of information in its customers’ contact lists and on the Internet and therefore is questionably safe, depending on your planned use of ZoomInfo data. Although company directories and “About” pages that are posted on companies’ websites are usually considered a safe source of contacts because those pages are maintained and kept current, there is always a risk that contact information will be out-of-date. If you are email marketing, outdated contacts scraped by ZoomInfo’s bots may not be safe. If you are cold-calling, ZoomInfo is generally very safe. Even if an employee has left a company, typically the phone number and extension still exist and more often than not, are reassigned to the current employee in that position. Summing up, ZoomInfo is safe for phone outreach but no purchased, 3rd-party non-opted-in list is safe for email outreach.
How To Get ZoomInfo to Remove Your Company Page
When I tried to get ZoomInfo to remove a company page, writing into Support got me nowhere. Six emails yielded the same robotic, nonsensical reply back each time. Knowing how ZoomInfo works, I realized that this was a partial or incomplete truth, similar to the explanation that they served up on their website:
“ZoomInfo is a specialized web search engine, similar to Google but focused on finding information about companies and professionals. ZoomInfo’s information comes from corporate websites, press releases, SEC filings, other public websites and contributions from our Community. ZoomInfo mostly contains information about business professionals found in these sources, including title, company name, and work experience.”
STEP 1: When asking ZoomInfo to remove your Company page, be sure to send your requests from the person’s email address who created your company’s Zoom Info profile originally. As a company policy, ZoomInfo only allows the person associated with a web profile to request its removal or register to make updates. Although someone may no longer be an employee of your organization, they may wish to keep this historical information on the web for future job verification.Keep in mind that the web sources you see on a ZoomInfo web profile were initially found on external websites, and the content of those web sources “is not under ZoomInfo’s control,” according to Zoom Info.
STEP 2: Don’t Email a “Role” Address at ZoomInfo – You’ll Get Nowhere.
If you want to update or remove a company page on Zoominfo, don’t bother writing to firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org – you will get the same, annoying, repetitive response back. Finally, I got so fed up that I wrote to the CEO, Yonatan Stern, and yes, I got a response.
STEP 3: Email a Current Employee at ZoomInfo to Remove Your Company Page.
To Get Your Company Page Removed on ZoomInfo (or Updated), try sending emails to these people:
- Yonatan Stern, CEO, Founder and Chief Scientist, email@example.com
- Evan Nelson, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Leo Laferriere, Laferriere@zoominfo.com
I hope that helps you.
Update as of June 3, 2018
Thank you, Evan Nelson from ZoomInfo for taking my request seriously and removing my client’s profile!