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Commentary about Hoover’s online

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Alternate/previous data source names: Hoover’s

Service/portal name: http://www.hoovers.com

Source description: Hoover’s Online delivers company information in the form of short company capsules and longer company profiles. It also contains industry snapshots, market intelligence, and sales prospecting tools.

Significant portions of Hoover’s database (company capsules) are available for free, and the more in-depth sections are offered on a subscription basis.

Hoover’s targets sales, marketing, business development, and other professionals who need to retrive a standard bucket of company, industry, and competitive information on a regular basis. It also works well for interviewees, small businesses, and personal investors.

Pricing: Hoover’s is very reasonably priced. With three pricing structures in place, Hoover’s Lite, Pro, and ProPlus (in addition to Hoover’s Corporate), a user can choose the level of access.

Options begin at $50 per month or $400 per year for individual subscriptions to Hoover’s Lite. A Hoover’s Pro subscription starts at $1,995/year for a 1-5 seat license, and Hoover’s Pro Plus starts at $4,9995/year for a 1-5 seat subscription.

Hoover’s offers a large amount of information for free, and icons indicate what is available for no cost and what is available to subscribers with their fee.

Source content: Hoover’s Online contains four linked parts that are described below. Companies & Industries, IPO Central, News Center, and Information Marketplace.

1. Companies & Industries. Hoover’s covers more than 18,000 public and private companies worldwide, 300 industries, and 180,000 corporate executives, as well as over 12 million companies from Dun & Bradstreet and 9,000 non-U.S firms from Mergent.

From a company capsule, one can find the top competitors and access Information Marketplace, News, Investor Information (SEC filings), and Key Executives.

Company profiles contain in-depth company descriptions, financial comparisons with competitors, and industry benchmarks.

Each industry snapshot contains a description of industry along with a list of trends provided by Plunkett Research, a glossary of industry terms, and lists of associations, selected Web sites, and print resources.

The Hoover’s Industry Snapshots are an excellent source for an overall look at an industry and its players.

2. IPO Central. Here users can search for IPOs (initial public offerings) by company name or ticker symbol. Subscribers can also search for IPOs by location, underwriter, industry, filing or trading date ranges, offering amount, price range, or annual sales.

Once IPOs are identified, Hoover’s links to the Companies & Industries section of the database.

3. News Center. This section can be searched by keyword, ticker symbol, date, or phrase. Archives are searchable for up to ninety days.

News items are selected by Hoover’s editors and are derived from NewsEdge, so they are primarily press releases and articles from Fortune, Business Week, For Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. The News page also links to company press releases.

4. Information Marketplace. This section includes over forty-five thousand reports from more than ninety publishers, including Dun & Bradstreet, Datamonitor, Freedonia, Harris, Jupiter and Reuters.

These reports are available for fees ranging from $5 for a D&B Credit Report to approximately $500 for as industry report. The reports are described in enough detail to make a purchase decision.

Source evaluation: Hoover’s licenses a good deal of content and puts it together in an easy-to-understand format. Nevertheless, the licensed content is available in many other sources.

The narrative on companies and industries are what the Hoover’s brand known for, forming the strongest part of this resource.

They are well written and interesting and provide useful information, and unlike more analytical sources, they are jargon free.

The profile are well written, with an eye toward providing a lear description of the issues that companies and industries face. Hoover’s narratives are also licensed to other information providers, such as Bloomberg and LexisNexis.

Dun & Brandstreet acquired Hoover’s in March 2003. This will add more companies to Hoover’s roster, but the acquisition is not expected to significantly change Hoover’s Online. Hoover’s is now part of Dun & Bradstreet’s E-Business Solutions Group.

Site design revised: Hoover’s launched a redesigned site just as this volume was going to press. Following are the highlights as reports by Hoover’s public relations director:

Improved Site Design
• The site is cleaner and less cluttered, making content and tools easier to find.

• A clear log-in page for free versus paid users more clearly differentiates the user experience, content access levels, and quantity/type of advertising.

• The user can more quickly understand all options for finding information using the new search box on the streamlined home page.

• Company and industry records share consistent, clear organization, including new record navigation in blue.

• A new, gree toolbox on every page showcases all relevant tools for finding, manipulating, and downloading information.

• Intuitively renamed features and tools reflect the content or the function performed; for instance, Advanced Company Search is now Build Company List.

• A new Financials page for each company, listing auditor, stock price, and other popular elements on a single page, thus saving time.

• Fewer ads on the subscriber site. Subscriber pages are personalized with customer’s name, and they consistently contain only one standard ad in the same place on each page.

• Instead of getting a simple “denial of access” page, users will hit “incentive” pages that detail what they’re missing and provide an example.

Enhanced Tools and Content
• Industry coverage expands from three hundred Hoover’s defined industries to over six hundred.

New industry records offer basic information, news, and industry codes for more than six hundred industries.

More than six hundred newly created industry codes were classified in an orderly and systematic process to make searching companies and products much easier. Includes the addition of NAICS Codes, Industry Keyword Search, and access to industry news.

• Even more parameters have been added to advanced searches, such as Build Company List and Build Executive List.

• Links to external content are clearly identified and open in a new browser window so you don’t lose your place.

• A report repository exists on each content page, with relevant pay-per-view third-party reports.

• More search results are downloadable, and users can choose the data elements to include in the download.

• Deeper subsidiary information is available, with a new hierarchical display that shows indirect relationships.

• ProPlus with Downloads features additional fields for searching (Net Income Range, Net Income Growth, Industry Keyword, and SIC or NAICS Codes0 in addition to the expanded Hoover’s Industry Names list.

• The Small Business Finder features additional fields to further fileter and refine your search (SIC, NAICS, Metro Area, Asset Range, Company Type, and/or Fiscal year-End).

• Users can set up news alerts for any of more than six hundred industries and can set up multiple ticker symbol alerts through one interface.

New Tools and Content
• A unique “reverse” search capability called Find Similar Companies locates companies with similar attributes.

• Users can easily track companies and industries with the Add News Alert tool, available on company or industry records.

• Every industry can be found with a specific keyword using the new Industry Keyword search.

• Users can browse lists of companies organized by stock index, geography, industry, and more.

• An extensive database of over forty thousand pay-per-view third party reports can be searched using Report Search. All pay-per-view third-party reports are grouped together intuitively on one page.

• SIC and NAICS codes are offered for industries and for Hoover’s companies.

• Users can see how a company has changed over time with the new archived Products and Operations Charts.

• Applicable 10-K filings can be quickly found using a stand-alone 10-K page.

Source value rating: All of the data source reviewers were asked to rate each source on the basis of the following eight categories using “10” as the highest rating and “1” as the lowest (“80” being a perfect score):

1. Relative cost-to-value:   9
2. Relative timeliness of data:  8
3. Relative comprehensiveness of data:  7
4. Ease of use:   8
5. Search options available:  6
6. Level of support services:  7
7. Level of training offered:  6
8. Amount/kinds of special services offered: 9
Total Rating: 60

Useful tips
• To start working in Hoover’s, explore the Help Center and the FAQ section (in Help).

• Become familiar with the link for Companies & Industries, and investigate Industry Snapshots.

• Practice using the Search drop-down menu, which allows a variety of searches by Company Name, Ticker, Keyword, and other fields.

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