Top/Best Doctors, Dentists, Lawyers, etc. - Licensing a List VERSUS Creating Your Own List with DataJoe


What's the difference between licensing my top/best (doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc.) list from a national organization and creating your list in-house? What are the positives and negatives of each option?

Quick Summary
Licensing a list from a national organization is a very convenient option. However, on the downside, you do not own the data, and you are limited in how you can use the data. DataJoe can help you build your own list in a short time. You retain ownership of the data, and you can use the data however you want.

Licensing a list means you contract with a national agency. This national organization conducts its own research nationally, and then hands you a list comprising only the top/best (doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc.) from your market. Pricing: Typically, a list like this is given to you in exchange for print advertising pages, or on an ad-revenue-share basis. Often, the national agency does not charge a flat fee. Here are the positives and negatives of licensing.

  1. No upfront costs.  (this is not always the case, but often it is the case)
  2. Reduced labor. The national organization just hands you a list, you didn't have to conduct any surveying or ballot management.
  3. Brand recognition. Often, people recognize the national organization providing the list, which can add credibility to your list. 
  4. Licensing a list can be a great choice, because it takes less time and energy. 
  1. Lack of accuracy. A national survey campaign, by its nature, isn't as narrow, focused, up-to-date, and accurate as a local campaign. Therefore, in order to have an accurate list, you will need to conduct hours of vetting to ensure that doctors (dentists, lawyers, etc.) on the list are not deceased, or that their details have not changed in some significant way. 
    • Vetting labor. Hours of vetting and verification required to contact individual winners and make sure that they belong on the list, and that their info has not changed. 
  2. Lack of local participation. By nature, a national survey campaign will have limited local participation. You may find doctors (dentists, etc.) who were never given an opportunity to vote, and therefore you may experience a lack of local "buy in" from the medical community. 
  3. No ownership of published data. You don't own the data, therefore you will be limited with how you use and publish the data. For example, you may not be able to create a robust online display. You also may not be able to sell individual "listing enhancements." 
  4. No ownership of survey contact info. You don't own, or have access to, personal doctor emails, since you were not part of the actual data collection. This does two things: 1.) keeps you dependent on a national organization, and 2.) eliminates marketing opportunities (i.e. you may want to market services to doctors (dentists, etc.) if you had their individual emails.)

Compiling a list means you conduct the labor in house. Your staff collects source data (such as doctor addresses and emails), sending out ballots (either via postal mail, or driving traffic to online forms), tallying the ballots, and coming up with a final list based on the highest number of votes and other criteria (i.e. "active license," no current lawsuits, etc.) Finally, you must export the final list for print, and also deploy the data online.

Quick Note - DataJoe Options
With DataJoe you can either:

a.) Use the DataJoe platform to efficiently collect data for your list IN HOUSE
b.) Contract with DataJoe to collect data for your list on your behalf 

In both of these scenarios, you retain ownership and freedom of use for your list.

  1. Ownership. You own the data, therefore you can publish it how you want in print and online. You also own the source data, so you can use it for marketing or a variety of purposes. 
  2. Contact info.You own the contact info, so you can use it for marketing as you see fit.
  3. Reduced labor. If you contract with DataJoe to compile the list on your behalf, the labor and hassle on your part will be minimal. 
    • If you choose to utilize the DataJoe platform to compile lists for yourself, the labor will still be manageable, and drastically reduced when compared to manual processes.
  4. Brand Recognition. Although the recognition of a national organization has its benefits, your brand may carry even more clout in your local market than your national counterpart. Many city magazines have carved out a niche for themselves as the definitive source for reliable "best/top" lists in their region.
  5. Higher Accuracy. DataJoe provides both software and processes to enable you to compile a robust, accurate, and prestigious list.
  6. Greater participation.  DataJoe will help you with multiple rounds of voting promotion in order to achieve a strong response, which makes for a better and more believable list.
  7. Cost. DataJoe provides set fees, rather than percentage based fees or trade for ad pages.
  1. More time. If you choose to do the list in house, using DataJoe's platform, the list will take more time. If you choose to contact with DataJoe to do the labor for you, the time investment on your part will be minimal.
  2. Lack of National Brand Recognition. Discussed above. 
  3. Responsibility. Responsibility for the list reflects on you and you alone, since you don't have a national partner who is accountable. 

DataJoe provides a viable, profitable alternative to licensing from big organizations. At the very least, I would suggest it's worth exploring. Contact us for a demonstration.

Post a comment below, shoot me an email ( or give me a call (303-989-1300).

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