June 5, 2015

Q&A: Quality political data comes at a price but not a big one

At last week's Personal Democracy Forum (PDF) in New York City, L2 was proud to show off our quality data, high speed visualization platform, L2 VoterMapping and give the mostly progressive politicos and activists from around the country a guide to working with a 'big data' provider.

The conversation quickly moved from working with a provider to doing it yourself or just getting data for free. Below are some of the questions from PDF participants along with our responses.

Question 1: "Why can't publicly kept data just be free?".

If you're running a campaign, IE, PAC etc...the raw voter data from one of America's 3,000 counties or 50 states and DC is free or low cost. The only problem with this free or low cost data is it stinks.

Data provided by local and state governments is very quickly dated which is why L2 is constantly running our data against the National Change Address Database (NCOA) and the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). Beyond that L2 appends phone numbers from five national sources, commercial data from a range of providers, census and state and federal contribution data.

Question 2: "Why can't I just do it myself?"

L2's collection, scrubbing and appending process requires state of the art digital processing and career data professionals to manage and meticulously screen every record. This requires substantial investment and will yield better results, certainly then any unprocessed public file and typically any non-professionally curated and scrubbed file.

Question 3: "Is it possible to strike a balance between low quality free data and prohibitively expensive quality data?"

The answer is a simple, Yes.

Data has become part of campaigning at all levels which has created a large marketplace of providers curating, processing and distributing political data. This competition has driven the cost of data down. L2 (formerly Labels & Lists) has been around for 40 years because of a reputation of quality and fair pricing. Our low retail pricing is a demonstration of our commitment to working with campaigns and organizations at all levels.

In addition to pricing L2's support and speed of service regardless of an organization's size separates L2 from our competitors and many of the state and local governments providing the raw voter file.

If you're interested in any L2's data products or services please email [email protected].

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