Database Emailer Finds Database Stability and Business Growth with Infobright

We were still crashing due to the amount of records… We went to MySQL and said, ‘What can we do here?’”
– Al Inga, President and CEO, Database Emailer

A Large and Unwieldy Database

Database Emailer ran into serious challenges when its MySQL database grew too large. MySQL is a popular and functional open source database, but the scale of the company’s data was more than the platform could effectively handle. “We had partitioned the database into over 70 partitions,” said Al Inga, President and CEO of Database Emailer. “And we were still crashing due to the amount of records. We had about 20 columns in relation with 300 million rows. We went to MySQL and said, ‘What can we do here?’”

Based in Little Falls, New Jersey, Database Emailer is the largest opt-in email database in the United States. Opt-in means that people have expressly agreed to receive product offers and specials by email. The company sells email lists that can be targeted by multiple criteria or “selects,” such as geographic location and demographics (e.g. income, gender, dwelling status). Its customers then market to these lists.

For Database Emailer, its database is its business. The ability to perform fast queries and generate lists for each customer request is essential. But its large and unwieldy database meant the IT department had to spend about 100 hours per week performing manual queries. “We couldn’t run queries effectively,” said Inga. “If someone came to us and wanted to run four or five or six different selects – for instance, women between 30 and 50 years old who make an income of X amount of dollars who live in New York City and own a home – there was no way that could be run on the website.” In such cases, the IT staff ran the query directly on the MySQL server and determined the number of records. After reporting back to the customer, the number of records was often too small or too large for the customer’s needs, so they had to change the parameters and run another query. “At that point, you’re just going back and forth, back and forth, tying up the IT department with doing queries because it can’t be run through a website interface,” he said.

Manual queries slowed down the sales process and cost the company up to $1,000 per day in IT staff time.

A Smooth Transition to Infobright

In response to Database Emailer’s request for help, MySQL recommended its partner Infobright, which offers a self-managing, scalable data warehouse that is optimized for analytics and integrated with MySQL. Database Emailer downloaded a free, open source version called Infobright Community Edition. After trying it out, they decided to purchase and deploy the commercial version, Infobright Enterprise Edition (IEE).

Infobright is a column-oriented database, so data is stored column-by-column instead of row-by-row. This architecture enables more efficient data compression of 10:1 or better instead of the typical 2:1 or 3:1 compression ratios. A 50 TB database could be stored in only 5 TB of capacity – a significant storage savings. The database is self-managing, so administrators do not have to manually create and manage indexes. Infobright also organizes and tracks data in a way that enables very fast queries.

Infobright’s integration with MySQL eased the transition. Database Emailer was able to keep its MySQL code base, and the IT department could apply its existing knowledge and skills to the Infobright solution. “My IT guys were very quickly able to learn the Infobright infrastructure. A lot of it was very common. If they knew MySQL, they could quickly learn this,” said Inga.

They used the same server and storage hardware for the Infobright solution. “It required zero outlay for additional servers. The Infobright engine was able to handle it. We were only running 4 gigabytes of RAM,” he said.

Online Queries Mean Business Growth

With the new, robust Infobright database, Database Emailer could offer online queries of the entire database, including the United States and Canada. “So now everyone can do queries 24 x 7 x 365 on their own,” said Inga. “If they want to increase their data sample, they can just change one of the variables and increase or decrease the record count. Once they lock it in, they can hit the button and we have a debit-credit system set up where they can store credits on the account. When they download the data, it debits their account. No intervention from the IT department. So we literally have spent 100 hours a week less time doing queries.”

Business has increased since March probably 200 or 300 percent.”
– Al Inga

The fast online queries have made the sales process more competitive. “People are now using it more and more because of the access to immediate information. Whereas before, they might wait for a quote from us and we might not be able to get back to them for several hours or the next day. In the meantime, they are shopping around three or four other places. Now, they know they can get immediate quotes right from us. We are the first source they go to, and most of the time we have what they want,” he said.

“Business has increased since March probably 200 or 300 percent,” he continued. “Interestingly enough, the money that was going towards the IT people is now heading towards customer service. We actually have more customers now than ever, and more sales calls coming in. So sales and customer service are increasing, but IT costs have substantially decreased.”

Inga is proud of how well his company is able to compete with these new capabilities: “Major data supplier corporations’ websites don’t have one-tenth of the queries that we are able to run on our website. We are virtually a mom-and-pop operation that is able to compete with companies that are hundred million, five hundred million, billion dollar corporations.”

In short, Inga is pleased the new Infobright platform. “We’re real happy,” he said. “It literally has caused the business to increase substantially.”

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 Copyright © 2009 Apropos LLC. All rights reserved.

8 Responses

  1. good stuff here…I have been using the sw for 5 months and endorse it!

  2. This is great stuff, the site is really great and the searches are very quick

  3. They just redid their website and it looks better than ever.

  4. site looks good guys…nice job

  5. when does the affilaite site go live?

  6. i downloaded the demo software and it worked perfectly…I can’t believe they give it away for free with a data purchase.
    I have bought data before from online sites and its been crap-and customer service was non existent. These guys are around every day on their daily webinars and that’s been real helpful for me.

  7. It seems too good to be true and he has at least two customers who posted angry reports on http://www.ripoffreport.com and an F rating with the BBB in NJ. Anyone hear any other complaints, especially about data quality?

    • Ken, the data is not Opt-In, he cannot provide IP addresses (he tells you in the beginning he can until you need it to unsuspend an account), he does not supply any tech support and some of us have busy jobs where we cannot sit in his webinars every day to get a question answered. And, finally, the data is FULL of spam traps. I have been back and forth with Spamhaus to get removed from a blacklist and they advised me that dormant addresses are turned into spam traps and we hit a lot of them. He does not clean his data, even though he says he does, and he does not verify it. The program, he says, will verify it for you. That is totally impossible because the only way you can verify an email address is to send it to the recipient or call and ask. His suggestions on how to make the program work for you are exactly what the Can-Spam Act advises NOT to do. His lack of support for a customer who spent a lot of money on his product goes to show what kind of person he really is. He never answers a direct question, instead he tries to b.s. you with something else. Example Email: “Hey Al, haven’t heard back from you, did the b2b data ever get back from being cleaned and verified like you said a few weeks ago? This is holding up our campaign…” “His response “Brand new data coming in Saturday!!!!” A few more weeks will go by and you ask again if the data has ever been cleaned and verified and was the new data added in and was that cleaned and verified…his response, he copies a bunch of random people you don’t know on the email and says yes, they came in but no email addresses. I have a great texter program!!!!
      During the height of our frustrations of not being able to get answers or support from him, we asked for references of people who use this program. Of course, the references came directly from him and we had the pleasure of viewing their correspondence with each other on how great the program was. Problem with that…..I found a reference on my own that was not suggested by Al and the gentleman I spoke to seemed to have the same exact problem as we were having and was not getting calls back and his emails were never responded to.

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