Choosing Online Sources
When conducting research online, it is imperative to dig a little deeper to create general expectations of the sources being used. Keep your guard up…there are a lot of frauds out there in cyberspace. I find it beneficial to choose sites offering the information closest to the objective of the research. When evaluating online sources, use these ten (10) tips as guidelines:
1. Examine the subject matter to determine whether the information presented will actually be relevant to your research and add value to the ultimate objectives of the project and outcomes.
2. Try to determine if the source is reputable; information gathered from personal websites is usually biased, inaccurate, based on hearsay, or, in some cases, downright false.
3. Determine the age of the information being provided. Outdated information often proves worthless, particularly in fast moving industries like technology.
4. Determine how often the sources are updated and with what frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual, etc.).
5. Is the format of the site conducive to information gathering, searching and quick access to information? Is the site user-friendly? If the site is wordy and has poor navigation, leave as quickly as you came.
6. Are the sites well-presented and free of broken links?
7. Determine the geographic coverage of the source. Are potential competitors/products being excluded due to geographic constraints?
8. Consider pricing options before paying any information. Search and search again for free research rather than paying for some expensive report where the information you need in the report has been already dispersed for free.
9. Determine if customer support is available by the publisher, if needed. As an example, Mintel Comperemedia gives you fantastic reports and account management support if you need it.
10. Ask if documents are available in other languages. If documents were initially written in another language, there is a strong possibility developments or changes are occurring sooner than anticipated and you are being hindered simply by translation of the original source publications.
As a strategy and/or competitive intelligence researcher, always be cautious about what you’re gathering. The quality of the information is essential. If questions about the information arise, always verify your data with at least two or more sources.
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Ad Facts; Bizstats; Dow Jones;InfoBeat; NewsAlert; NewsEdge;Tracerlock; The Smoking Gun;Watchlist/Edgar Online;WebWhacker
Associations: VCA Association Directory, AIPAGIA, PIMA
Free Annual Reports;
Balanced Scorecard – Kaplan and Norton’s Site:
The Palladium Group
APQC Best Practices;Benchmarking Sources; Best Manufacturing Practices;. The Benchmarking Exchange
- Better Business Bureau online business practices
- U.S. Commerce e-commerce policy
- Customer Satisfaction
- Net Promotor Score
Browser Assistants /Language Translation
BIZlink; BRINT Research Institute; Business Directory from Texas A&M; CEO Express;Country Studies and Area Handbooks; Economic Statistics Briefing Room (ESBR); Galaxy Directory: Business and Commerce; Information Please Almanac; KnowX; McKinsey Quarterly; Mintel; National Trade Data Bank; Rice University; U.S. Business Statistics; University of Michigan; Wall Street Research Net; Webliography; .xls ;Strategy + Business
Indeed: RiteSite; Resume Reach;The Vault Career Research;America’s Job Bank Info;BrassRing; Career Web;Careerbuilder; Career Jet; Careers.wsj.com;Headhunter; High Tech Job Search; The Ladders; LinkedIn Jobs; Los Angeles Times; Monster Board; Philadelphia Online; The Ripley Guide; Yahoo! CareersNow (Hot Jobs); InsuranceJobs;Job-Applications.com.
Business.com; Company Finder;Corporate Information; Hemscott UK; Hoover Company Listings;Individual; InterNet Bankruptcy Library; IRIN; Morningstar; Public Register’s Annual Report Service;SEDAR (System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval); Starting Point;Thomas Register; U.S. Federal Subcontractor Directory; Wall Street Research Net
Competitive Intelligence Sites
Mintel; SpyFu; Manning & Napier Information Services; Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals; CI Seek; Strategis;Wall Street Transcript, Promere.
Conference Call Schedules
Bestcalls.com; CBS Marketwatch
Copywriters; Express Voice
Free Public Records; InvestQuest;SEC; SEC Info; US private Company Public Records;Watchlist/Edgar Online; 10K Wizard
Credit Report Resources
Info USA; Dun & Bradstreet;Experian; Transunion
Decision Effectiveness – See Bain & Company –
Decide and Deliver
Direct Mail Tracking/Intelligence: Comperemedia
Economic Trends – Global: World Economic Forum
Executive Compensation: Executive Compensation
AFL-CIO; ROB Magazine
Facebook News: All Facebook
Franchising – The Pros and Cons of Franchising
Knowledge Management Resources Brint;CIO Magazine KM Research Center; KMWorld; Hoovers.com
AllWords.com; How Much is That Worth Today?; Library Spot;TechEncyclopedia; Time and date.com; Travel Health Online
CBDNet; Congress and Government Resources;Environmental Protection Agency;; FirstGov; Infomine;National Insititute Of Standards and Technology; National Science Foundation; Occupational Safety and Health Administration;Securities and Exchange Commission; U.S. Bureau of the Census; U.S. Business Advisor;U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economics and Statistics;U.S. Government Online Gateway; U.S. National Technology Transfer Center
Government Issues / Contract Awards
Loren Data Corp.’s Commerce Business Daily
Healthcare – Helpful Sites: See Facts About Personal Health Records; Helpful Information Sites/Services (AHA Site/Chartbook)
PEW Mashable; UCLA Internet Law list of links; New Media;eCRM Guide; Internet PR Guide;ClickZGuide; ECommerce Guide;Internet Mail Consortium;Marketing Terms; HUBSPOT; Ed Osworth’s Internet Marketing Index
IPO Express; IPO Monitor; ROB Magazine
IT and Technology News
CRM: Best Practices from the field; Dialog; Dow Jones Interactive; Dun and Bradstreet;FT Profile; Ingenta; Knowledge Express; Knowx.com; Lexis-Nexis Universe; Market Research;McKinsey; Multex; Northern Light;PR and Marketing Network;Society for CI Professionals;Spacy Proxy; Tech Republic;Tracerlock
Ovitz Taylor Gates – Management resources for enterprise projects, offering how-to workbooks, project plans and planning guides, tools, templates and checklists. A valuable Management resource.
Ken Radio – for the latest technology news
Job Applications – hundreds of Job applications available at:
Marketing Virtual Library;Harvard Libraries; Internet Library Catalog; MIT Libraries; National Library of Medicine; The Library of Congress Catalog; The WWW Virtual Library
Motley Fool; CBS Marketwatch;Bloomberg; Wall Street City;CNBC
Marketing: Marketing Terms; International marketing; Marketing online;AMA site; WilsonWeb;
See Interactive Marketing
Ads of the World; Bizstats; Red Herring; Fast Company; Company Sleuth; Companies Online;Compere Media; Redbook;Trendwatching; Conference Board Stats; Open Secrets
Jim Novo’s Web Site
10K Wizard; Edgar Online
New Economy Sources
Industry Standard; Fast Company; Business 2.0; Red Herring; ZD Net; Wired News
Newsgroups / Message Boards
Raging Bull; Motley Fool;
Newspaper & Magazine Databases
AJR NewsLink; Newspapers.com;Yahoo; Bizjournals; The Internet Public Library
Organizational Effectiveness Simulator
Booz & Company
Patent and Copyright Information The Copyright Website; Espacenet;MicroPatent; Official Gazette;Patent Explorer; Patent Search System;The Intellectual Property Network; U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Phone Directories Reference USA; Big Yellow; Canada 411;Yahoo; Info Space: The Ultimate Guide; Switchboard; Telephone Directories on the Web; Yahoo Telephone Directories
A List of Heavy Hitters at PEGC.org; Bain (See 2012 Global PE Report)
Research Competitor’s Products
US Patents and Trademark Office;Delphion Intellectual Property Network
Better Business Bureau; US Securities and Exchange Commission
Research Consumers’ Reviews
U.S. Census;Consumerreview.com; Pew Internet Stats; U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Research Job Databases
Monsterboard; Career Path
Research Legal Cases
The Federal Judiciary; AllLaw.com
Researching Private Companies
Forbes; Red Herring
Research Public Information
Risk Management for the Enterprise:
Ernst & Young report;Coso.org;
Search Engines & Directories
FINDSPOT; Google; HotBot;Internet Resource Guide Directory; Lycos; Metacrawler;Newest Internet Resources;Northern Light; Search Engine Showdown; Yahoo
US SEC – Edgar Database
Spam/eMail Checking Software
Spamhaus; Mail Check
Riveting talks by remarkable people at TED
Statistics FedStats; Stat-USA;Statistics.com
E-trade; Netscape; CNNfn; Red Herring; NasdaqWall Street Journal
Trade Associations and Organizations
ASAE; Internet Public Library;Yahoo
Twitter Yellow Pages
Web Site Development
Useit; Web Pages That Suck;Microsoft Office Live; All Who Is;DNS Stuff; 1 and 1; Sedo, Web 2.0
Web 2.0 Summit
Word of Mouth Marketing
Some Interesting News Sites:
Today’s Front Pages – Newseum.org – PDF files from front pages of newspapers across the world.
The Paperboy – searchable directory of newspapers from around the world.
Listing of 25,000 newspapers from around the world – searchable by country and then by publication.
Clickable Map of the USA. All Newspapers within a State and a listing of newspapers.