Following the introduction of Royal Mail’s new licence for PAF, Capscan, a leading provider of international address management solutions and data integrity services, is predicting a significant increase in the on demand, or ‘per-click’ market for data quality services. The new licence terms, which come into effect on 1st April, lift barriers for organisations, especially SMEs, to encourage use of contact data quality tools and the introduction of enterprise-wide data quality strategies.
PAF is a database owned by Royal Mail (royalmail.com) that contains all 28 million postal addresses in the UK. All users and resellers of PAF data including solutions providers that use the database as a basis for providing added value software and services are required to comply with the new licence and remit the appropriate licence fees. Although the annual licence fee has reduced some 50% per user to £75 for full PAF, the 2010 Licence introduces an unlimited use of ‘per-click’ searching on the PAF for internal purposes (where the user pays for each address they look up) by way of an alternative.
“The original PAF licence, introduced in 1995, did not actively govern the use of PAF in this way or present a specific pricing structure, most notably because there was no provision for advances in technology, such as the growth of hosted applications,” comments Managing Director of Capscan, Terry Hiles. “And the 2007 licence revision originally only allowed external per-click use and then later severely limited internal use. The new terms state that unlimited ‘internal’ use is now possible, so lighter users or small companies would find it a very cost effective tool for supporting internal data quality processes.”
Hiles also adds that there is some concern that should a significant proportion of heavier users opt for a ‘per-click’ model in validating contact data, the effect on overall PAF revenues could be detrimental. Any shortfall would have an impact on the funding for maintenance and development of PAF in the future and could affect the overall quality of the file. As a consequence, if revenues drop then PAF licence charges may have to increase to compensate for this, as PAF is entirely self-funding.
He adds, “The only alternative to raising charges in a ‘worst case scenario’ would be to seek some government subsidisation on the basis that the database is a national asset that promotes business.”
Capscan’s own web-based, ‘per-click’ address validation and data enhancement service, Capscan OnDemand, delivers a cost effective option for organisations that only wish to pay for what they use. It provides access to multiple data pools (such as business to business, geodemographic and lifestyle data) to enable users to boost the usability of their contact database and make tasks such as segmentation and targeting in marketing campaigns more effective.