Although not obvious to the first-time visitor, CorporateInformation (http://www.corporateinformation.com) is both a metasite and a search engine. It focuses on providing access to Web-based information on companies throughout the world, and is well-designed and well-annotated. In fact, it's almost frighteningly useful, particularly given its deceptively unsophisticated Web design. Clearly, all the energy goes into content, not a glitzy presentation. Built and maintained by George Regnery of the Winthrop Corp., it started out as a collection of sites for his own convenience, but has grown to become a much more substantial site which he now maintains through his employer.
So, what do you get at CorporateInformation? For starters, it includes links to sources of company information from 127 countries. There are separate pages for about half the countries; these country-specific pages have additional links to information such as the business environment (the Invest in Sweden Agency), industry sector-specific sites (Kazakstan medical companies), online brokerages, and press release sites. They usually also include basic information on the country, with links to the currency exchange rate, U.S. Department of State Country Commercial Guides, and the CIA World Factbook.
The U.S. page also includes 68 industry-specific pages. Under the Apparel category, for example, are links to the Footwear News Directory, Large Sport Licensees, even the Hoover's snapshot of the apparel industry.
The annotations are thoughtful and informative. For example, the description of the Malta External Trade Council is: "The exporter's directory," Located in the "business directory" area, is quite good: it lists name, address, phone, fax, contact, number of employees, and products for hundreds of MaLtese companies. Organized by sector. The "Corporate profile" section is not very comprehensive.
In addition to providing well-structured access to company and business information on a country, CorporateInformation supports metasearching of the almost 350,000 company profiles included in its database. A search for Toyota, for example, turned up links to company profiles in sources such as Multex, FreeEdgar, Zack's Earnings Estimates, Vault Reports, and Japan Financials Profile. Note, though, that its metasearch feature does not pick up entries from all the sites included in CorporateInformation. For complete coverage, go to the pages of the countries where the company has a major presence and use the individual resources listed there.
CorporateInformation also has the ability to search a number of stock-related sites by ticker symbol. Type in TOYOY (for Toyota Motor Corp.) and you'll get links to the appropriate pages in Morningstar, BigCharts, StockSelector, Multex, Hoover's, and other business information sites.
My only small quibble with CorporateInformation is that the site offers so little explanation of its capabilities. In fact, it's so understated that the banner on top of the main page simply says "Corporate Information: what you need to know." It isn't clear that you can search for company names within the sites listed; at first glance, it looks like it's just an annotated Webliography rather than a searchable metasite.
On the other hand, I'm not paying a penny to use this well-designed and constantly updated business information site. If the only trade-off is that there isn't a nice user manual or in-depth help file, that's something I can live with. This is a tremendously useful site and a valuable addition to any business researcher's toolkit.
Communications to the author should be addressed to Mary Ellen Bates, Bates Information Services; 202/332-2360; mbates@Bateslnfo.com; or http://www.BatesInfo.com.
Product In Brief
Metasite of searchable links to company information from 127 countries
1000 Lafayette Blvd., Bridgeport, CT 06604
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|Author:||Bates, Mary Ellen|
|Date:||Oct 1, 1999|
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