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3/4 Baked

(April 17, 2006)  Ego surfing is what they call looking yourself up online. When you search for your name on Google, that's ego surfing.  Zabasearch, among others, lets you ego surf or look up the contact information on long lost friends.

We got to thinking about ego surfing during a long product demo offered by the folks at Zoominfo. A regular advertiser here and a very interesting business, Zoominfo is a people search engine with several interesting twists. We found the conversation and the concepts engaging and exciting.. We were so stimulated that the end of this article contains a number of random notes associated with our thinking about Zoominfo.

The Zoominfo database contains around 30 Million "profiles" which are detailed below. The profiles are assembled using a "summarization engine". Essentially, people with web visibility can be seen using the service. Zoominfo has assembled the beginnings of a toolkit that allows and encourages network development with people found in their search engines. It's very recruiting friendly with company wide searches, and list building capabilities.

The key question, when evaluating an offering like Zoominfo, is will it work and will it provide a return on the required investment.

We have to say that it's still early in the game. It may well be that what the company is good at today is not what they will be good at tomorrow. The marketplace has a lot of buzz about referral systems (like Jobster and H3) and online networking/social software operations like Friendster, LinkedIn and MySpace. Zoominfo's marketing folks have shaped a message that includes the glow from those offerings. The company has to transcend its  research roots in order to compete for attention in the current marketplace.

It's a little distracting. Like the ATS companies, many new entrants are losing their focus by claiming to have the latest buzzwords in functionality. Any veteran industry watcher is familiar with the cycle by which new ideas are converted into vapid buzzwords. When Zoominfo suggests that it is a social networking tool, it' is falling into that trap.

That said, new companies always have some issues reconciling the marketing reality with the product reality. The utility of Zoominfo's core functionality outweighs the marketing issues. This is a great tool for identifying and reaching out to the top 20% of the workforce. If you want people with visibility, this is the place to try to find them.

The data takes some time to get used to. Profiles may or may not be accurate and timely. The algorithms which compile web data into personal profiles are highly machine driven and subject to reconciliation (something Zoominfo encourages you to fix.)

Tomorrow, we'll wrap up our look at Zoominfo.

Random Notes

  • It's worth noting that Lou Ader is offering a Zoominfo webinar on April 27th. Register here.
  • We meant to ask them about HotGigs, which appears to be a contractor database with a rates overlay built on Zoominfo data. If you have any experience with HotGigs, please let us know.
  • It's worth reading Jason Goldberg's critique of Zoominfo. It's interesting because Jason is a direct competitor (he's the CEO of Jobster). This post from Phil Bogle (another jobster employee, will shed some light on the issue. Jobster is trying to offer similar services.)
  • Some stories about Zoominfo...here and here

Zoominfo claims the following profile distribution:

Total People: 29,836,870
Total Companies: 2,454,333
Board Members 1,706,536
Chairmen 984,821
Presidents 1,565,188
CEOs 348,311
CFOs 78,400
CTOs 28,129
VPs 1,099,141
Directors 3,084,021
Managers 2,566,449
Engineers 289,876
Consultants 391,585
Project Managers 136,844
Financial Advisors 8,431
Investors 21,437
Product Managers 58,333
Store Managers 25,931
Recruiters 19,927
Pharmacists 13,594
Lawyers 138,921
Prize Winning Novelists 4
Mimes 1,480

How does this work?

 John Sumser . - .  Permalink . - . Today's Bugler

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