How much money did Amazon.com make last year? Are pharmaceutical companies as profitable now as they were in Q1? What's the name and contact information for the CEO of DuPont? You don't have to be a super-sleuth to benefit from corporate intelligence; you just have to be well-informed. Just a few shrewd clicks can lead to a deluge of data on the hottest market trends, industry facts and statistics that will assist in making critical investment decisions or provide direction for your burgeoning business.
Take, for example, the vast information repository housed at Hoovers.com. While industry news, career management advice, and tips and trends in business travel are excellent, the link to companies and industries is indispensable. Not only can anyone access Hoover's current picks for the best and worst industries, but users also have access to encapsulated information on the products, staff, management and financial profiles of hundreds of companies. This is definitely the place to vacuum up the dirt and numbers on a company or industry of interest.
While not as potent, but incredibly flexible, SpyOnIt.com will allow you to monitor a specific company, a stock price, a top-named executive or any other small bit of data you want to keep a close eye on. It's also a cinch to track non-business-related info, such as airfare prices, auction transactions, sports teams and current events.
If Net news is what you're after, you can't beat Jupiter Communications (www.jup.com) and Forrester Research (www.forrester.com) for free info. Ideal for those of you who don't have the thousands of dollars needed to purchase full reports that detail the trends in the Internet economy, Jupiter and Forrester both offer trustworthy and thorough press releases and media briefs on hot, chaotic markets. These are sweet spots to target if you're looking for stable updates on erratic fields, such as wireless Internet, e-commerce, consumer shopping habits and more.
Karen Solomon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a San Francisco-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Industry Standard and Wired News.