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Net name arrangements: do your homework to make it work for you.

Net name arrangements have been around forever. In the past, they have been reserved for the largest mailers. Today they are generally available for the asking. It is also the subject many list owners, managers and

brokers tangle over every day trying to get the best deals for their clients.

It's also a subject that appears to be in need more information. It's always helpful to start with a definition. A net name arrangement is a clause in a list rental agreement providing credit for duplicate names in the mailing list being rented. When renting a mailing list, it is likely the list contains some of the same names on your own house file or on other lists you are renting. These duplicates are typically identified through the merge/purge process.

The net name arrangement consists of a percentage and a run charge. The percentage is the minimum percentage of the quantity ordered that must be paid at the full rate. The run charge is the rate charged for the duplicates.

For example, suppose you order 100,000 names at $75 per 1,000 names with an 85 percent net name arrangement and a $10 per thousand run charge. Then the merge/purge process reveals 8,000 duplicates. In this scenario, you would pay for 92,000 names at $75 per thousand and 8,000 names at $10 per thousand. Net name arrangements are not available on all mailing lists and are typically only available on larger or full file orders.


Now that we have defined it, here's what some list experts think is right--and wrong with net names.

According to Lisa Green, president and CEO of Specialized Fundraising Services in Spartanburg, S.C., "When seeking a net name arrangement for a mailer it comes down to one issue. Request a realistic net based on actual retention rates from similar-sized past mailings and know what is needed to make that list a viable continuation."

Green has a long history of working with high volume mailers. She continued, "Use a projection model that benchmarks by list to measure the highest net arrangement acceptable for the client. Then, measure alternate lower net name deals. Decide on what the lowest realistic request should be. You might not receive that deal, but have the information readily-available to negotiate so you can let the list manager know when the deal is simply not good enough to allow the list to even remain in the plan."

Green suggested that while you need to be a tough negotiator, you should have information to share with the list manager so they may fight the battle for you. You must also be realistic and fair in your requests. Keep in mind you are negotiating a deal for a mailer that is probably also a list owner. Think about what would be acceptable to them under the same set of circumstances."

Doing your homework and being prepared are always good things. Client knowledge and strategic insight are key elements for success. Knowledge about the client's goals and intentions, history of what has worked--and not worked.

Paul Martin, managing partner of Atlantic List Company in Arlington, Va., believes that net names arrangements are "a helpful tool for brokers, but it should be used as a part of a larger negotiation strategy--not just checked off on an email or a fax."

As a list manager, Martin's job is to represent the interests of the list owner and making smart deals that bring more volume clients. What doesn't work, he explained, is when he gets emails and faxes simply requesting a net name arrangement with no back up or information that substantiates the request. In these instances, there is little substitute for a telephone call.

Educating new and junior brokers about the process is vital, according to Rita O'Neill, president & CEO of O'Neill Marketing Company in Fairfax, Va. The firm handles both brokerage and management.

"Junior brokers need to understand there are a dozen pages behind the cover page of a merge/purge report. The far, right-hand column of the top page is just the beginning--not the end of the story," said O'Neill. She emphasized education of entry level and middle level list professionals. She suggested, "visiting a data service provider and having them explain their reports is an excellent educational experience that can help your team provide value to your clients."

O'Neill said that she insists that her staff "look behind the merge reports for the stories they can tell." Here are some of her favorite questions that will help you understand more:

* What is the merge/purge report telling you about your client's lists?

* How do they overlap?

* Which lists have a higher dupe rate against your client's house File?

* Is the list manager (list owner) empowered to help you accommodate the loss in the merge/purge?

Smart use of net name arrangements can help save your clients valuable marketing dollars. Follow the tips suggested here and you'll soon be on your way to providing great value to your clients.

Charlie Cadigan is managing director of Frontline Data Group in Vienna, Va. His email address is The firm's Web address is:
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Title Annotation:LISTS
Author:Cadigan, Charlie
Publication:The Non-profit Times
Date:Sep 15, 2007
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