Yahoo! Finance, the popular portal site that offers access to news, market information, financial data, research, and personal finance guides, recently inaugurated a new Industry Center (http://biz.yahoo.com/ic). Yahoo! has also expanded its longtime content agreement with Hoover's to include Hoover's Online industry information in the new Industry Center. Barron's recently picked Yahoo! Finance as the best overall of the investment super sites. Now this new and handy access to industry information should make it all the more useful and attractive.
From the main Yahoo! Industry Center page, one can link to centers of information for 17 key industries, including aerospace and defense, biotechnology and drugs, computer hardware and software, energy, healthcare, telecommunications, and more. Each Industry Center then presents news, press releases, research reports (abstracts are free, reports are available for purchase), a market summary, an events calendar (with both upcoming events, like earnings conference calls, and recent events, like upgrades and downgrades), the top-10 companies, industry profiles, and industry buzz. The Industry Buzz section is unique. For each industry, it lists and links to the top-10 most-viewed news articles and to the "most active" and the "most unusually active" message boards.
From Hoover's Online, each Industry Center page features a Hoover's Industry Snapshot, which includes an in-depth profile; information on key people and the top-10 companies within that industry; and links to industry glossaries, associations, and organizations. Clicking on one of the 10 companies provides a company capsule, contact information, subsidiaries and affiliates, and top competitors provided by Hoover's. Also offered are links to news, quotes, a profile (from Market Guide), reports, and SEC information on that company available from Yahoo! Finance.
Hoover's Snapshots are great for getting up to speed quickly in an area, and for understanding some of the issues, growth areas, and market estimates. Of course, Hoover's is hoping that the broad exposure to its high-quality information will lead folks over to Hoover's Online for more in-depth information available with a subscription. Hoover's has been supplying Yahoo! Finance with company information from its IPO Central database since 1998, and it continues to do so. Go to http://biz.yahoo.com/ipo for information on filings, withdrawals, news, resources, and IPO lists by industry and company.
The news presented on the Yahoo! Finance Industry Center pages is not as up-to-date or comprehensive as it is in Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com). For example, there were only a few news stories highlighted in the Internet Industry Center, while Yahoo! News-Technology-Internet provided links to many more stories, some indexed within the hour. So for comprehensive news coverage, use the Industry Center in combination with other sources.
Another useful Web resource for industry-specific information is the directory/search portal site Business.com, which calls itself "The Business Search Engine." While it doesn't aggregate information like the profiles on Yahoo!, it does offer targeted searching within hierarchical directory categories and links to Web sites, news, and other resources. According to information on the site, the Business.com directory is organized into 26 major industry categories and now contains more than 400,000 listings within 25,000 industry, product, and service subcategories.
Another site I stumbled on recently (thanks to recommendations by Bob Berkman, Genie Tyburski, and others) is called Industry Data Finder. It's produced by the Cole Library-Rensselaer at Hartford (http://www.rh.edu/library/industry/industry.htm). This handy resource points users to industry-specific information on the Web (and in Cole Library). It lists useful resources for 23 industries, including industry profiles, financials and statistics, industry forecasts, news, current issues, trade associations, government and regulatory agencies, and links to companies. It's not as handy as Yahoo!, since it provides a link to the Hoover's Industry Snapshot (rather than the text itself), but it does cover a lot of good territory. I particularly like the gathering of sources for statistics. The site also links to research guides prepared by the library, and lists appropriate databases and journals for specific industries.
Professional searchers would likely use these free resources in combination with the professional services that they regularly use for access to industry-specific information. For example, now that Factiva.com has made its Intelligent Indexing available directly from the search page, searchers can easily combine industry-specific information into a search using controlled indexing. It's simple to pinpoint narrow areas within an industry, such as "Online news/business information" or "Portal software" within the Internet/Online Services industry category. These can then also be combined with free-text terms.