Update on Jigsaw, marketplace for business contact information

I enjoyed meeting with Jim Fowler yesterday, CEO of Jigsaw (our wiki profile). Jigsaw is a marketplace for business contact information.

Some noteable data points:

+ We know from our (Nitron Advisors‘) own experience that the problem with most traditional list services is that their data is often out-of-date, whereas Jigsaw has attracted a community who are motivated to cleanse the data on their behalf. 80% of Jigsaw phone numbers are direct dial, in part because of their approach to gathering data.

+ Most Jigsaw revenues come from recruiters and financial advisors. 50% of revenue is from corporate clients, who find the data cleansing service that Jigsaw offers particularly valuable. All of Salesforce’s salesforce uses Jigsaw . Only a small percentage of corporate customers upload data, but Jim sees that percentage increasing over time.

+ 1/4 of revenue is from resellers/partners — you can see a list at http://jigsaw.com/company_information/partners.xhtml .

+ He’s identified several competitors: WillyLoman.com, 7 Chinese competitors. Jim claims that he is the only player with significant traction.

+ As with all social networks, Jigsaw has some users who abuse the system. So like all data vendors, Jigsaw has started to insert dummy records to track abuse, resale, and so on of their data.

+ Jim claims that some corporate sales brokers have stopped selling databases with emails, because of their concern that their lists will end up on Jigsaw.

+ Although many people (Michael Arrington, Rafe Nadleman) are critical of Jigsaw on privacy grounds, to date only 200 people have asked to be removed from Jigsaw, and >2500 people have asked to be added to Jigsaw so they can proactively manage their data.

+ The database is used heavily; 70% of all contacts in the system are "bought" at least once a year.

+ Jim claims that the people who are really hurt by Jigsaw are CEOs like him and me, because it makes executive recruiters more efficient—so that they can steal our employees more readily. He says "As soon as we’re cash flow positive [this year], I’ve told all our employees that we’re giving free lunches every day. We have to do what Google does, because I know that so many people are working hard to recruit our employees."