The abrupt closure last week of Hawthorne, NY-based Listworks—after 23 years as a list manager, list broker and service bureau—has left some catalogers and direct marketers in the lurch. Money received from brokers and mailers who rented Listworks-managed properties belongs to the list owners. But it is unlikely that more than a few clients of the company will receive anything more than pennies on the dollar.
In the event you’re looking for a list vendor, be sure to check references completely. List owners seeking a list manager traditionally ask for a client listing. But most marketers only go so far as asking for client references. This is a mistake. Reference-checking should begin with a call to the firm’s bank. No matter how glittering its client roster looks on paper, you should inquire about the firm’s financial viability. Ask the firm to speak with its banker on its reference sheet, along with its clients. The banker can speak to whether the firm is a client in good standing, responsible with its funds, and more importantly, its clients’ funds.