DQM Group's annual report into contact list abuse has revealed a fresh increase in misuse following an improvement between 2006 and 2007.
The latest report revealed that annual marketing budgets have been revised down to the greatest extent ever recorded in the survey's nine year history, and that more and more marketers are ignoring list licence terms by over-mailing.
The 2008 figures from the DQM Group List Abuse Index identified the worst offenders when it comes to standards of adherence to list licence terms. The worst offender was found to be the recruitment sector (at 66% above average), followed by the office equipment sector (at 41% above average).
Also significantly worse than average were the health & beauty sector (33% above average) and the utility and government sectors (both at 23% above average). Results for government abuse were particularly worrying, given that this sector should be making a concerted effort to improve its image where data security issues are concerned.
The top performer was the associations & societies sector. Having been labelled as the worst offender in 2006, the sector is now at the far end of the scale and saw the least amount of list abuse in 2008. Other good performers included property services, travel, and retail equipment, all of which remained well below average for list abuse.
According to Adrian Gregory, chief executive for DQM Group, "Following a peak in the number of incidents of list abuse in 2006, it appears that data owners got their act together and improved the policing of list usage by employing techniques such as data tracking, seeding, and compliance auditing. But data owners need to be wary of becoming complacent, and rigorous policing of lists has to be maintained - especially if marketers are turning to desperate measures in these economically difficult times."
The annualised figures for 2008 did not reach the peak witnessed in 2006, but the company warns that if the current trend continues, data owners could see misuse of their lists soar to record levels. If this happens, list owners will lose revenues and could well consider withdrawing their data from the market, meaning that even legitimate marketers will find it increasingly difficult to obtain good quality prospect data.