LexisNexis’ Accurint Business Broadens Access to Company Information
Posted On September 26, 2005
While many business information services have retreated into niche marketing and service only subscription-based clients, LexisNexis' Risk Management division has launched a Web portal that opens up access to millions of company records for prices that start at $1.99 and top off at $4. The Accurint Business service (http://www.accurintbusiness.com) allows small businesses or individuals—anyone with a credit card—to locate information on millions of public and private companies. Data is culled from files in the larger Accurint enterprise-oriented service, which does require subscriptions and, due to regulated data controls, also requires customer verification and authentication. LexisNexis acquired Accurint, as well as Securint, when it bought Seisint, a B2B information service, in 2004.
The announcement launching the new Web portal clearly focused on the value of Accurint Business for due diligence and risk assessment by the nation's 25 million (and counting) small businesses. Small businesses could use the information to validate potential customers, partners, and competitors, while individuals could access the service just as easily to check out potential vendors or contractors.
Jim Swift, chief operating officer of LexisNexis Risk Management, pointed out that the new service will not supply "people search" information, due to legal and proprietary restrictions on the use of such information. In other words, you will not be able to do a "nanny check" by name, but you should be able to find information on "Nannies R Us" if you used an agency. While Accurint Business would not tell you that Applicant A has a felony record, you could find out if the former employers listed on the person's application still exist and where they're located. Swift described Accurint Business as oriented to a broad consumer market, while Accurint is business-to-business. "Accurint requires elaborate verification. It's aimed at law enforcement, insurance companies, banks, law offices, and other larger enterprises. The only individual information in Accurint Business comes with names associated with a business." (For people information, you might try ZoomInfo, formerly Eliyon Technologies, at http://www.zoominfo.com, or you could look into the pricier PeopleWise from LexisNexis.)
Currently, Accurint Business supplies five standard reports:
- Snapshot ($1.99) contains company name/address, Better Business Bureau membership information, active phones, yellow page listing, map of the location, and URLs.
- Company Profile ($2) includes company ID numbers, corporate filings, business registrations (DBAs), property ownership, professional licenses.
- Risk Profile ($3) carries UCC filings, tax liens, bankruptcy filings, civil judgments, and Better Business Bureau complaints.
- Businesses Network ($3) offers associated people and businesses as well as businesses at the address.
- D&B ($4) supplies DUNS number, address, phone, year started, date and state of incorporation, annual sales, sales revision date, employees total and at this location, net worth, line of business, primary and secondary SICs, establishment and structure types, facility, small business indicator, minority or foreign owned information, ownership status, and executives.
Another report format, Payment Profile, is scheduled for addition soon. It will add payment tradeline and scores.
Clearly, for a complete package on an individual company, a person might have to buy several reports, but even if one splurged on all those currently offered, the total spent would only come to $10.99. Most interesting, Accurint Business has a pricing structure based strictly on output, in contrast to the historical charge-for-the-search transactional pricing in the LexisNexis "mother ship" service. In other words, the system will let users "find for free, fetch for money." Go to the Web site and enter a company name and geographic identifiers as available and the system will respond with a list of possibles. As with almost any system drawing from multiple files and public record sources, you may find multiple listings for the same firm or establishment (some look odd; e.g., they have the same street address but a different city name). Professional searchers may smile knowingly and order multiple sets of records, considering even multiple payments of $10.99 chump change compared to traditional service charges. However, end-user searchers may not have quite the same tolerance. Only time will tell.
At this point, users can only retrieve information for a company name they already have. In other words, you can check whether that guy trying to sell you pool service is legit, but, if you still didn't like his looks, you could not get a list of alternative pool service companies in the area. Swift said that the company is planning to add a list service to Accurint Business service in the "near future." It even considered adding a satellite photo to the map in the Snapshot report, but focus groups were lukewarm on the idea. Swift sounded slightly disappointed at the lack of interest. Apparently adding the data would have been no problem. That Accurint parent system must have a world of data to draw upon, not to mention LexisNexis' giant coffers. It will be interesting to conjecture how much of that information might find its way into the attractively priced Accurint Business.
Barbara Quint was senior editor of Online Searcher, co-editor of The Information Advisor’s Guide to Internet Research, and a columnist for Information Today.
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