June 04, 2008, 2:28 PM — Customers of a number of leading CRM (customer relationship management) systems
will be able to import large sets of company contact data at no charge through
a service from data provider Jigsaw.
The company's "Open Data Initiative," being announced Wednesday,
will allow users to export the data in file formats compatible with Salesforce,
CRM On Demand, Entellium,
Maximizer, Sage's ACT,
Landslide and NetSuite.
Jigsaw differs from other contact-list companies, as it builds its online database
through contributions from members. The new service will provide the ability
to download company information based on factors including geographic location,
industry, sub-industry and the number of employees, according to a data sheet.
Jigsaw is also planning to publish APIs (application programming interfaces)
that software developers can use to connect with its database.
The new service surpasses the capabilities of an online phone book, or other
public sources, according to the company.
"You can go to a lot of places and get company data. The big difference
is, go try to download data from anywhere," said Jim Fowler, Jigsaw's CEO.
"From here you can download 50,000 records at one time, and it's free."
But the San Mateo, California, company's offer has limitations. It is giving
away company-level contact information, but will continue to sell its much more
valuable, 8 million-plus stockpile of individual
It plans to make money off the free information by selling data cleansing and
updating services, according to Fowler.
"Some people will try to clean it themselves," he acknowledged. "We're
going to try and price [the services] reasonably."
The Open Data Initiative is the latest marketing effort for Jigsaw, which has
drawn its share of criticism since launching in 2004, but has enjoyed strong
growth. The venture capital-backed company said it will reach profitability
in the third quarter.