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Thanks for your help.
The cost of licensing data often depends on the purpose that you are going to put it to. Without being too specific please tell us what you want to use the data for (and hence what fields would be handy - some data sources we use have hundreds of fields).
I'm assuming that you would like the data to use on your website, this is one of the things that can be costly with 'traditional' data providers.
There is at least one source of data that is free and of a good quality, but there are restrictions on use and you don't get quite as much info as the commercial version of it (which costs a sixth of your top range).
Also, do you need the whole of the US?
I didn't realize that there would or could be hundreds of fields. I have seen some that list the annual profits of a company, how many employees etc. I would really only want the basic information such as category, address, phone, website etc.
I have seen one site that says they built their own source and has restrictions for free use and is selling it commercially for $1000 per state. However it makes me a little curious if they built it or did they find another source and are simply reselling the information?
If you can speak to someone that understands your requirements and you are happy with the pricing, then you just have to make the call on whether the company will be around whilst you still need updates.
I'll probably be entering the US market shortly and, personally, I don't fancy paying high licensing costs for data that's been collected for Direct Marketing rather than my specific need; but circumstances are different for everyone so the decision (and any risks that go with it) is yours.
If I just need the basic information with categories, I may go the mailing list route though I am sure I will have to dedupe the information since so many say, 15+ or 19+ million listings.
Do you know of any companies that I should stay away from?