Chris Porter Company Information Providers Under FreePint's Scrutiny
Jinfo Blog

Tuesday, 26th August 2014 Sign in to MyJinfo or create an account be able to star items Printable version Subscribe via RSS to get updates as soon as Blog items are added

By Chris Porter


FreePint contributing editor Chris Porter introduces a new collection of product reviews and related articles looking at the ever-popular topic of company information. The collection takes a probing look at the breadth and depth of company profile coverage from a range of established providers and assesses how well the profile data is integrated with company-related news. In parallel, FreePint is also taking a look at some emerging providers who are seeking to provide a new approach to company monitoring.


How important is information about companies to the information professional?

According to the annual FreePint Survey: News Needs & Preferences, very important indeed - look at last year's survey results and you will find company news ranked as the second-most-important attribute that users look for in a premium news service, fractionally behind industry news. (Watch out for more information soon about this year's annual survey).

A Variety of Information Requirements...

Researchers typically have several kinds of need relating to a company:

  • They are likely to be looking for news articles to help understand its current activities and strategy and glean hints as to what it might do next
  • They may want a detailed insight into recent and historical financial performance
  • They will often need to quickly get up to speed with major developments relating to it over the past few years
  • Beyond that, they may wish to benchmark a company's performance against its peers, whether financially or in terms of business activities or news coverage
  • They may also have a need to build and maintain lists of comparable companies, whether to sell to them, compete with them, invest in them or assess whether to buy or indeed sell them.

... Requires a Variety of Vendor Solutions

Vendors seeking to support these multiple buyer needs tend to have approached them from one of two perspectives:

  • Some vendors have their origins as specialists in the provision of structured company profiles and have extended their capabilities to cover news as well
  • Others have taken the opposite route, starting as news aggregation specialists and adding structured company data.

Several established vendors have made moves over the last year or so to enhance their offerings; and new vendors have entered the market, seeking to shake it up by tackling it from a different angle.

Market Moves

One major development in this segment came earlier this year, with the relaunch of well-known company information vendor OneSource under the name of Avention.

As shown in an in-depth FreePint Report: Product Review of Avention and an interview with the company's then-CEO, Jonathan Flatow, the changes went well beyond the cosmetic, as the vendor boldly came to market with a new product, stressing its innovative features.

The Avention launch has prompted FreePint to take a fresh overall look at the market for company and executive information services. A collection of product reviews and related articles is in the pipeline.

Reviewing Company Information Providers

FreePint will be digging into the details of company profile coverage from a variety of vendors, looking at just how much data you are likely to be getting for both listed and privately held companies.

The product reviews will also assess just how easy (or not) it is to acquire a holistic view of a company by switching between profile information and current and historical news.

As a minimum, in addition to FreePint's previous coverage of Avention, expect to see articles on:

  • The LexisNexis Dossier suite, with a focus on Company Dossier, the add-on company research tool sold in association with LexisNexis and
  • Factiva Companies & Executives, previously separately sold but now very much an integral component of the Dow Jones Factiva
  • Orbis, the flagship service of company information specialist Bureau van Dijk
  • Owler, a start-up with offices in California and India, which says it provides "noise-free" news alerts as well as company profiles, and community polls - Owler's founding team were behind the crowdsourced people information service Jigsaw, which was acquired by in 2010
  • Red Flag Alert, a business information service covering some 6 million businesses in the UK, with a particular focus on helping to monitor the financial health (or otherwise) of a potential customer or business partner.

Suggestions for further coverage are welcome, please contact

« Blog

What's new at Jinfo?

Focus on Value Chain

Document the value chain, and transform the way you think about, manage and report on your product portfolio and your information service contributions to your organisation goals.

Focus on Value Chain

Focus on Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is a required process for a healthy information department. It gauges the ability of your services, team, portfolio and overall value to withstand stress.

Focus on Risk Assessment

Sorry, there seems to be a problem with Webinar and Community listings. Please let us know, by email to Thank you.

Benefit from our research

Our proven processes, resources and guidance will help your team make the shift from transaction centre to strategic asset.


Designed around the most common challenges and pain points for time- and resource-strapped information teams

Supercharge remote productivity and value
Holistic content portfolio management
Future-proof your information service
Executive-ready communications


A tailored overview of our research and active discussion with your Jinfo analyst.


Measure your starting point to articulate your strengths and set priorities for future improvements. Assessments gauge risk, capacity, value and more.

Read case studies, and start the conversation:

Consulting benefits

Connect your team with the practical tools, original research and expertise to build and support information strategy in your organisation.

A Jinfo Subscription gives access to all Content (articles, reports, webinars) and Community.

Subscription benefits