Need to know the size of the Internet population in Finland or the projected outlook for the online travel industry? How about the number of computer owners under the age of 18?
Information and research are necessary when making savvy business decisions, recognizing potential market growth or studying an investment opportunity. Rather than pay thousands of dollars to think tanks, roll up your sleeves at the keyboard and harness the tools used by researchers and frugal small-shop owners alike.
CyberAtlas.com is an unbeatable resource for statistics and market data. The site has excellent searchability and sometimes posts information usually only available in purchased reports. Operated by respected internet.com, CyberAtlas has the ability to get you the numbers you need.
You'll also want to peruse the valuable data at eMarketer.com for useful news on the climate of several markets. The site features "eStats," a toolbox of current data from top industry analysts. The Industry Standard's Metrics (http://www.thestandard.com/metrics) is another watchdog of savvy market number-crunching you can't afford to miss.
MediaMetrix.com has its "Top 500" and other high-ranking charts that can help determine the big players in any category. And if you're looking specifically for information on marketing and advertising, SearchZ.com has some insightful columnists and useful figures.
If you're still hard-pressed to find out what the experts think, newcomer InternetStats.com can point you in the right direction. While not an information library, this database locates some of the smaller topic-specific research companies.
Web geek Karen Solomon (email@example.com) writes about technology and e-business for a number of publications, including Wired and Business 2.0.