Jigsaw offers corporate data free of charge, partners with SaaS CRM

Seeking to take on Hoovers, the user-generated contact database Jigsaw is offering corporate data free of charge and partnering with on-demand CRM vendors.

Jigsaw, a business information provider that relies on a user-generated content model to keep its database of corporate and individual contact information up to date, today announced plans to offer its corporate data free of charge.

"In essence, we're open sourcing our corporate data," said CEO Jim Fowler. "Corporate data is close to becoming a commodity. We're going to make it a complete commodity."

Designed as an alternative to companies like Hoovers, Jigsaw offers both corporate data, like headquarters, industry and contact information, and contact data, such as direct phone numbers, email and titles for individuals.

Jigsaw users can pay for the contact information via a subscription service and earn additional points for updating records with up-to-date information.

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Dubbed the "Open Data Initiative," Jigsaw is partnering with leading on-demand CRM vendors to bring its corporate data to their CRM systems. Entellium, Landslide, Maximizer, NetSuite, Oracle, Sage and SugarCRM are all making it possible for customers to download Jigsaw's data via CSV files into their on-demand applications. Microsoft's CRM online is not part of the program.

Fowler said, however, that Jigsaw now has about 9 million contact numbers and 2 million company records -- a far cry from D&B subsidiary Hoover's 25 million corporate records.

Jigsaw is also making Web services application programming interfaces available to let developers access and integrate Jigsaw data with their applications.

"Any time that you make that amount of data available for free or even cheaply improves a lot of the marketing outreach that companies do and should be quite valuable," said Denis Pombriant, managing principal with Stoughton, Mass.-based Beagle Research.

Traditionally, CRM vendors could simply direct their customers to companies like D&B, and companies simply considered buying those lists part of the marketing budget, Pombriant said. That may be changing.

"If you go back a few years in the prime CRM 1.0 days, when people were more or less doing no social networking, there wasn't a lot of reason to change," Pombriant said. "Today, not only do you need to know basic demographics but you probably need to start a drip marketing campaign. If a service like this is available, I think forward-thinking companies and companies in CRM 2.0 are going to be looking at that as a key part of the equation."

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