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Focus on EDGAR Online, Inc.
by
Posted On October 1, 2000
EDGAR Online, Inc. is one of the leading Internet providers of information derived from U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) data, filed by U.S. public companies under the EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval) program. Researchers and investors have grown to rely on a range of subscription and free Web-based products from the 5-year-old, Norwalk, Connecticut-based company.

One of my favorite sites for business information is EDGAR Online's FreeEDGAR (http://www.freeedgar.com), which provides full-text searching of SEC corporate filings—yes, for free. In addition to company financial data, it's a wonderful source for information on products, plans, the competition, and the marketplace.

Much of EDGAR Online's recent growth is due to its provision of SEC-derived data to portals and business sites. The company recently announced agreements to provide data to Dun & Bradstreet and OneSource Information Services. It also has strategic relationships with over 200 portal, business, and financial information Web sites, including Yahoo!, Lycos, AltaVista, and CBS MarketWatch.

The latest news from EDGAR Online is that it has acquired InsiderTrader, a leading source of insider trading and institutional holdings data, from Individual Investor Group, Inc. (http://www.insidertrader.com). InsiderTrader has been distributing Form 4 and Form 144 data over the Internet since July 1996, and now claims to be the best insider information on the Web.

InsiderTrader offers some free data, plus several levels of subscription-based products, including institutional services. Some premium information is also available on a pay-per-view basis. I found the site to provide useful free information—including weekly picks, buy/sell indicators, and e-mail alerts for up to 50 stocks—but was annoyed by the intrusive advertising that blinked and used too much on-screen real estate. For serious business users, the subscription services not only offer access to more detailed form information and alerts on a larger number of stocks, but also provide access to a number of useful tools, including interactive screening capabilities based on varying criteria.

"We will immediately leverage InsiderTrader's strong customer base and product offering across our corporate sales and Internet channels," said Susan Strausberg, CEO of EDGAR Online, Inc. "Insider trading and institutional holdings data is a must-have for banks, funds, and other 'C-level' decision makers, and we intend to aggressively market these products to the corporate marketplace."

Additional services offered by EDGAR Online include IPO Express (http://www.ipo-express.com), a service that provides easy-to-use, detailed information on IPO filings, pricings, and performance; EDGAR Online People (http://www.edgar-online.com/people), a service that allows users to conduct research on corporate executives and directors named in SEC filings; and EDGAR Online Personal, which provides real-time alerts and other personalized, advanced searches of SEC data.

The Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP) just presented IPO Express with its Annual Technology Award at the recent Online World conference in San Diego. "We were impressed by the intuitive, powerful, and free access to a very high-quality, well-indexed database," said Peggy Carr, president of AIIP. The AIIP Technology Award goes to the new product that best helps information professionals with their day-to-day operations in locating, analyzing, and organizing information. A judging committee selected IPO Express from a field of 14 nominees.

EDGAR Online was founded in November 1995 as Cybernet Data Systems, Inc. and in January 1999 changed its corporate name to EDGAR Online, Inc. The company launched the EDGAR Online Web site (http://www.edgar-online.com) in January 1996. EDGAR Online went public in May 1999, and raised about $30 million. In September 1999, the company acquired Partes Corp., owner of the FreeEDGAR.com Web site.

Despite recent strong revenues, EDGAR Online operates on a deficit (according to its own Form 10-Q, filed with the SEC and available through the EDGAR Online sites). It faces stiff competition from other providers of business and financial information, including premium providers like Disclosure and Standard & Poors, as well as free sites like 10K Wizard (http://www.10kwizard.com). EDGAR Online also competes with the SEC itself, which offers free access to EDGAR filings on a time-delayed basis of 24 to 72 hours and is working to improve its search capabilities. The future of EDGAR Online will depend on distinguishing its offerings by continuing to provide high-quality value-added services and by marketing its brands effectively.


Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.


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