Am I wrong about SRDS sale to WPP?

Earlier this week, I expressed concern about the SRDS sale to WPP as it relates to the list industry. I thought it would give WPP an unfair advantage. However, Direct Magazine published a story yesterday "WPP Acquisition of SRDS Leaves List Executives Underwhelmed" that expresses the industry sentiment that there is nothing to be concerned about.

This story's conclusion is based on three assumptions:

  1. SRDS and their mailing list services division are such an inconsequential "blip" (his word) in the huge WPP organization that they will not pay attention to nor capitalize on this rich source of data.
  2. Advertising agencies don't want to get involved with mailing list selections. They'd rather outsource this task to list brokers.
  3. Even if they did focus on it, advertising agencies don't know enough about lists and the list business to take away business from list brokers.

According to Geoff Batrouney at Estee List Marketing,

"I don’t think there’s anything unfair or threatening about it. If I was worried about WPP acquiring SRDS that would presuppose that agencies knew something about the list business, but they don’t."

Maybe I was wrong in thinking the SRDS sale gives WPP an unfair advantage. Do you think that lack of attention and expertise eliminates this risk?

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