There are many websites that provide information on companies and organizations, some of these services are free, others carry a price tag. In this post I will focus on free sources to find useful business information. If you are a recruiter or a salesman and looking for clients in specific industries or if you are a recruiter searching for passive candidates that work for certain companies, then this post will help you to identify the best sources to find this information and the advantages and disadvantages of each source.
LinkedIn, Jigsaw, and Hoover’s are the top websites that provide free company information. Since June, 2008 Jigsaw provided all its company data for free under their ‘Data Independence Day’ initiative. It has a powerful advanced company search tool and users can browse or download company information for free.
LinkedIn also provides company information for free which they call ‘company profiles’ to help their users explore and find the right companies to work for or do business with. This service is still in its beta version and like Jigsaw it provides information on the company's industry, type, size, addresses, and website.
Hoover's website features a database of information on more than 30 million corporations and organizations, but most of these information are for paid subscribers. It is arguably the largest proprietary company information database with detailed company profiles and information. The database has detailed company overviews, locations, addresses, financial figures, competitors, news releases and key executives for each of these companies.
To compare between the three websites we will perform a simple query on Google to compare the number of indexed results which will give an indication of the real number of company records each website has. Searching in all industries and company types in the U.S., LinkedIn has the largest number of company records and Hoover’s has the smallest number of results. However, this is because Hoover's provides only 43,000 public and non-public US and international companies for free and to access the information of small to mid-sized companies you have to subscribe to their service.
As for the quality of information, all three websites provide similar information, however, LinkedIn and Jigsaw are user-generated content contributed by their members. Another difference is in their search capabilities, where Jigsaw and LinkedIn provide free advanced search features but Hoover’s limits its advanced search to 10 results only for free users.
Finally, ReferYes Sourcer the passive candidate sourcing tool that searches for resumes and candidate profiles on top search engines and social networks, has added a new cross-searching feature to search for business information on LinkedIn, Jigsaw, and Hoover’s. The value of this feature is that it provides search results from the three websites simultaneously in a unified search interface, which makes it easier to find company information and to compare the results.
Try the new business search feature on ReferYes Sourcer at: http://www.ReferYes.com/source_people.htm