People Data with cURL and JSON

For this guide, we're going to assume the following you're interested in using Datafiniti's people data to develop a sales campaign. Let's say you're a growth marketer that's been tasked with the following:

  1. Collect email addresses of CEOs.
  2. Refine that list to a specific geographic region.

Your environment and data needs:

  1. You're working with cURL.
  2. You want to work with CSV data.

Here are the steps we'll take:

1. Open your terminal

If you want to use cURL to access the Datafiniti API, we're assuming you have access to a standard, Linux-based terminal. Open a terminal session to get started.

2. Get your API token

The next thing you'll need is your API token. The API token lets you authenticate with Datafiniti API and tells it who you are, what you have access to, and so on. Without it, you can't use the API.

To get your API token, go the Datafiniti Web Portal (, login, and click your settings in the left navigation bar. From there, you'll see a page showing your token. Your API token will be a long string of letters and numbers. Copy the API token or store it somewhere you can easily reference.

For security reasons, your API token will be automatically changed whenever you change your password.


For the rest of this document, we'll use AAAXXXXXXXXXXXX as a substitute example for your actual API token when showing example API calls.

3. Run your first search

The first thing we'll do is do a test search that will give us a sense for what sort of data might be available. Eventually we'll refine our search so that we get back the most relevant data.

Since we want CEOs, let's try a simple search that will just give us people with that title.

With Postman open, click on the Datafiniti API V4 collection. Then navigate to Secured Endpoints > Search > Search People Data. Click on "Body" in the main screen.

Enter the following in the text area:

curl --request POST --url --header 'authorization: Bearer AAAXXXXXXXXXXXX' --data '{"query":"jobTitle:CEO","num_records":1}'

You should get a response similar to this (although it may not look as pretty in your terminal):

    "num_found": 357,
    "total_cost": 1,
    "records": [
            "address": "9855 Melbourne Ave",
            "businessName": "MICHIGAN MARKETING EXTREME LLC",
            "city": "Allen Park",
            "country": "US",
            "dateAdded": "2018-02-20T00:33:45Z",
            "dateUpdated": "2018-02-20T00:33:45Z",
            "emails": [
                "[email protected]"
            "firstName": "Bill",
            "keys": [
            "lastName": "Mey",
            "jobFunction": "Business Management",
            "jobLevel": "C-Team",
            "jobTitle": "CEO",
            "numEmployeesMin": 1,
            "numEmployeesMax": 19,
            "phones": [
            "postalCode": "48101",
            "province": "MI",
            "sourceURLs": [
            "id": "AWG2azB1QH9dEUBnfEki"

Let's break down each of the parameters we sent in our request:

API Call ComponentDescription
"query": "jobTitle:CEO"query tells the API what query you want to use. In this case, you're telling the API you want to search by jobTitle. Any person that has CEO listed in its jobTitle field will be returned.
"num_records": 1num_records tells the API how many records to return in its response. In this case, you just want to see 1 matching record.

Now let's dive through the response the API returned:

Response FieldDescription
"num_found"The total number of available records in the database that match your query. If you end up downloading the entire data set, this is how many records you'll use.
"total_cost"The number of credits this request has cost you. People records have a record cost multiplier tied to them. See pricing.
"records"The first available matches to your query. If there are no matches, this field will be empty.

Within each record returned, you'll see multiple fields shown. This is the data for each record.

Within the records field, you'll see a single person returned with multiple fields and the values associated with that product. The JSON response will show all fields that have a value. It won't show any fields that don't have a value.

Each product record will have multiple fields associated with it. You can see a full list of available fields in our People Data Schema.

4. Refine your search

Let's say we decided to adjust our sales campaign to only target CEOs in Austin, TX.

Modify your request to look like this:

curl --request POST --url --header 'authorization: Bearer AAAXXXXXXXXXXXX' --data '{"query":"jobTitle:CEO AND province:TX AND city:Austin", "num_records": 10}'

This API call is different in a couple ways:

  1. It adds AND province:TX AND city:Austin to narrow down results to just people working in Austin, TX.
  2. It changes "num_records": 1 to "num_records": 10 so we can look at more sample matches.

Notice how Datafiniti lets you construct very refined boolean queries. In the API call above, we're using a combination of AND queries to get exactly what we want.

If you would like to narrow your search to just exact matches you can place the search term in quotation marks.

curl --request POST --url --header 'authorization: Bearer AAAXXXXXXXXXXXX' --data '{"query":"jobTitle:\"Product Developer\"", "num_records": 10}'

The above query will only return people with the exact title of Product Developer. The quotation marks need to be escaped using back slashes since they are already within another set of quotation marks.

5. Initiate a download of the data

Once we like what we see from the sample matches, it's time to download a larger data set! To do this, we're going to further modify our request to look like this:

curl --request POST --url --header 'authorization: Bearer AAAXXXXXXXXXXXX' --data '{"query":"jobTitle:CEO AND province:TX AND city:Austin", "num_records": 20, "download": true}'

Here's what we changed:

  1. We change "num_records": 10 to "num_records": 20. This will download the first 20 matching records. If we wanted to download all matching records, we would remove num_records. num_records will tell the API to default to all available records.
  2. We added "download": true. This tells the API to issue a download request instead of a search request.


If num_records is not specified, ALL of the records matching the query will be downloaded.

When you make this API call, you'll see a response similar to:

    "id": 288,
    "results": [],
    "user_id": 15,
    "status": "running",
    "date_started": "2018-02-21 21:58:08.0",
    "num_downloaded": 0,
    "data_type": "people",
    "query": "jobTitle:CEO AND province:TX AND city:Austin",
    "format": "json",
    "num_records": 20,
    "total_cost": 300

We'll explain each of these fields in the next section.


When using the API, you will not receive any warning if you are going past your monthly record limit. Keep a track on how many records you have left by checking your account. You are responsible for any overage fees if you go past your monthly limit.

6. Monitor the status of the download

As the download request runs, you can check on its status by making a call to the /downloads/ endpoint like so:

curl --request GET --url --header 'authorization: Bearer AAAXXXXXXXXXXXX'

You'll want to replace XXXX with the id value for your request. If you keep running this call, you'll see some of the values update. Once the download completes, it will look something like this:

    "id": 288,
    "results": [
    "user_id": 15,
    "status": "completed",
    "date_started": "2018-02-21 21:58:08.0",
    "num_downloaded": 20,
    "data_type": "people",
    "query": "jobTitle:CEO AND province:TX AND city:Austin",
    "format": "json",
    "num_records": 20,
    "total_cost": 300

Here's what these fields mean:

Response FieldDescription
idThis is a unique identifier for the request.
resultsThis is a list of links for all the result files generated for this data set. When you first issue the download request, it will be an empty list, but it will populate as the download progresses.
user_idThis is an internal id for your user account.
statusThis indicates the status of your download. It will be set to completed once the download has finished.
date_startedThe date and time the download started.
date_updatedThe last time the download information was updated.
num_downloadedThe number of records that have been downloaded so far.
data_typeThe data type you queried.
queryThe query you ran.
formatThe data format you requested.
num_recordsThe total number of records that will be downloaded.
total_costThe total number of credits used by this download. People records have a record cost multiplier tied to them. See pricing.

7. Download the result file(s)

Once the download response shows "status": "completed", you can download the data using the URLs in the results field.

If you've requested a lot of records (i.e., over 10,000), you may see more than 1 result object shown.

To download the result files, copy each url value run a command like:

curl '"' > output.txt

You'll probably want to rename output.txt to something specific to this request.

8. Open the result file(s)

Navigate to the file you downloaded and open it.


The JSON data will actually be a text file, instead of a single JSON object. Each line in the text file is a JSON object. We format the data this way because most programming languages won't handle parsing the entire data set as a JSON object with their standard system calls very well.

From here, you'll most likely want to process the data using the programming language of your choice. Our other JSON guides provide instructions on how to process this data.