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Infonautics Launches Preview Version of Company Sleuth; Corporate Version Coming Soon
Posted On November 16, 1998
Infonautics, Inc. has launched a preview version of Company Sleuth, a free service that uncovers hard-to-find business information on the Internet. The free service, from the creator of the Electric Library service, is aimed at the mass market, for consumers and investors. According to a company representative, the preview version will eventually become advertiser supported. The company also announced plans to launch Company Sleuth—Corporate, which will offer a subscription service for companies with upgraded features and options beyond those that the free service provides.

With Company Sleuth, users receive a daily e-mail report detailing the business activities, financial moves, and Internet dealings of up to 10 selected companies—often before they are officially announced or reported. Currently, Company Sleuth tracks U.S.-based, publicly traded companies. There are plans to track private companies soon. Company Sleuth searches the Internet and delivers financial and business news and information on a particular user's competitors, investments, prospects, and clients. The service also searches content available behind password-accessible and subscription-based sites (such as an article from Business Week)—something that Web search engines miss.

In today's information age, companies are leaving a paper trail of information online," said Joshua Kopelman, executive vice president of Infonautics. "Company Sleuth uncovers hard-to-find and seemingly hidden business news and information for users so they don't have to simply rely on old news or intuition when making investment and business decisions."

Company Sleuth provides an interesting range of types of information, which would take a lot of time to gather from individual Web sites. The service checks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for issued patents and newly applied-for and registered trademarks. Company Sleuth also tracks and reports newly registered domain names and Securities and Exchange Commission filings; provides stock market reports; highlights stock transactions from company insiders, officers, and directors; reports on
changes in analyst recommendations and earnings estimates; and uncovers online job postings from company sites and from a number of job listing sites.

The service also reports on recent postings regarding selected companies on the Yahoo! and Motley Fool message boards, and tracks Usenet news groups for breaking news and information. Finally, Company Sleuth delivers business headlines and press releases on the selected companies.

According to the company, Company Sleuth would have found the scoop when Open Market registered its first patent on e-commerce and when Walt Disney company and Microsoft registered the domain names "" and "," respectively. Moreover, Company Sleuth has uncovered's recent registration of the domain names "" and "amazontelevision" and that the Coca-Cola Company has filed for the trademark "JAVALAIT" in the frozen-coffee beverage category.

Company Sleuth—Corporate
The subscription-based Corporate version will offer many more features, sources, and control over customization of the service. According to a company representative, there are eight major enhancements in the Corporate service over the preview version now available:

1. More Coverage—While the free service limits the number of companies tracked to 10, the Corporate version will offer an unlimited number of profiles per user.
2. Collaboration—Company users will be able to share and arrange for automated distribution of any or all profiles among all or selected users.
3. Customization—Corporate users will be able to set up custom profiles, request unique delivery formats, and links to internal content.
4. Intranet Option—Companies can choose to post company profiles and new information to intranet pages, and still deliver the information on e-mail to some designated employees, either daily or weekly.
5. Reporting—The service can provide enterprise-wide and user-specific statistics on usage: "Who used what, when, where, and how."
6. Archives—Companies can store retrieved information for later research, which can be useful for determining "fact patterns and event signals." The free service provides each user just a seven-day archive.
7. Priority—Corporate customers get first of the morning delivery, with priority over the users of the free service.
8. Branding—Companies can suppress all ads, and choose to place their corporate logo on all pages.

Corporate customers will also be able to integrate the public source content from Company Sleuth with the premium content in the Electric Library—Business Edition, also a subscription service. A minimum subscription for up to 100 desktop users will be $6,000 a year for Company Sleuth—Corporate, and for Electric Library—Business Edition an additional $10,000. All pricing includes unlimited use, and volume discounts are available. Complex installations that require substantial additions, changes, or intranet work will generate additional integration costs. Company Sleuth—Corporate is available now, with the understanding that service installations will require a few weeks lead time to implement.

Infonautics Inc., founded in November 1992 and based in Wayne, Pennsylvania, is an Internet information company that provides online information services for schools, libraries, consumers, and businesses. Its Electric Library service for schools and libraries now serves more than 9,500 institutions in all 50 states. According to the company, Electric Library is also one of the largest paid subscription sites on the Web, with more than 50,000 paying subscribers. The company also provides custom content-management and online archive services to major publishers and other content creators.

For more information and to sign up for the free Preview version, go to For more information on Company Sleuth—Corporate, call Corporate Sales at 800/806-4377.

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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