Letter to the Editor: MeritDirect Not Part of InfoGroup

In response to your July 28 Lists and Data Strategies article “Industry Leaders Feel for Vin Gupta,” which inaccurately stated that InfoGroup is the parent company to MeritDirect, here is a recap of the facts regarding MeritDirect:

• MeritDirect is an independent enterprise wholly owned by eleven partners, each of whom is active in the day-to-day operation of the business. There are no outside shareholders or investors.

• MeritDirect was formed in January 2000 by 32 associates who left Direct Media and Lake Group. Today, MeritDirect employs 115 associates operating from our headquarters in White Plains, NY, and from branch offices in Chicago, Cleveland, Hilton Head, Atlanta and San Francisco.

• MeritDirect has received numerous inquiries from InfoGroup and other firms seeking to acquire us. Our answer has always been no.
• MeritDirect was founded on the commitment that we would operate as a self-perpetuating partnership. True to this vision, we have embarked upon a 10-year share redemption plan to assure the orderly transition of our ownership from older to younger shareholders.

• MeritDirect has always held as a core value the need to maintain objective list and database services counsel. As an independent enterprise, we are uniquely positioned to provide trusted advisor counsel, free of any pressure to sell house-brand products.

MeritDirect’s differentiation in the B2B marketplace as the only independent list and database services provider has been essential to our success. Many clients and prospects seek this differentiation, and your article damages this understanding of us in the B2B service marketplace.

In fact, since your report was broadcast, we have received numerous e-mails and phone calls from clients expressing surprise and alarm that we had sold out to InfoGroup. And the viral nature of your postings means the reach of this inaccurate reporting will be far and wide.

Ralph Drybrough
CEO, MeritDirect

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