Business information: key web resources


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Slides that were the starting point for a workshop on business information resources organised by TFPL and held on November 15th, 2012 in London.

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  • 25/11/12 (c) Karen Blakeman 2012
  • 25/11/12 (c) Karen Blakeman 2011
  • Advanced Internet Search Strategies 25 November 2012 (c) Karen Blakeman 2010
  • 25/11/12 (c) Karen Blakeman 2011
  • 25/11/12 (c) Karen Blakeman 2011
  • 25/11/12 (c) Karen Blakeman 2011
  • 25/11/12 (c) Karen Blakeman 2011
  • Advanced Internet Search Strategies 25 November 2012 (c) Karen Blakeman 2012
  • 25/11/12 (c) Karen Blakeman 2011
  • Business information: key web resources

    1. 1. Business Information: key web resources TFPL, London, 15th November 2012 Business Sources Presentation available at:
    2. 2. Recommended readingBusiness Information Sources:A Beginners Guide(Paperback) by ChristineOHarePublisher: Facet Publishing(18 Mar 2007)ISBN-10:1856046036ISBN-13: 978-1856046039Much of the content is stillrelevant25/11/12 2
    3. 3. What is business information? Companies competitors, suppliers, customers, potential partner, potential employer, joint venture, takeover target, investment Industry sectors Markets Legal and regulatory environment News, social media, rumour, gossip Anything that is needed to conduct business25/11/12 3
    4. 4. Why not just Google?Content of many business resources not searched by Google,Bing etc. - information held in databases - may be password protected even if free - priced services not accessible to most search enginesBest source of information may be way down your results listGoogle personalises and “tailors” content depending on yourlocation, computer, browser, past searches, your socialnetwork.... and anything else it can think ofCan be more effective to go direct to relevant starting points andknown sites25/11/12 4
    5. 5. Use more than GoogleThe Disruptive Searcher (Sanity checking Google “if I hadn’t searched across more than Google for data on a small, new company that I was asked to research recently, I would have missed out on some very significant information that Google just wasn’t showing me.”Others to consider: Bing (, DuckDuckGo (, Blekko (, Million short( 5
    6. 6. Free vs. FeeFree FeeBasic company information, Full company accounts, historicalcontact details, search for data, search by multiple criteria,companies by name/number one analysis and report featuresat a time, simple print outAnonymous statistics, total Detailed market share bymarket/industry figures company name, product/brandCurrent news - free text Indexed content, easier to searchsearching, many key industry for historical information by eventpublications not free, difficult to type, more flexible search andfocus search print optionsMay be limited in coverage, time More likely to be comprehensivespan and have more extensive archives25/11/12 6
    7. 7. Social media and professional networks Where people and organisations share, discuss, comment and ask questions It is where the conversations are happening It is where a lot of marketing takes place Use for research, competitor intelligence, reputation monitoring Google and Bing automatically incorporate social and professional networks, blogs, Twitter etc in results25/11/12 7
    8. 8. General starting pointsBusiness Sources on the Net - Business Essentials on the Web – – “a one-stop shop for website listings for entrepreneurs and SMEs, covering topics such as ‘business planning’, ‘grants and finance’, ‘marketing and PR’ as well as industry specific pages.”British Library Business & IP Centre in London Industry guides - (Scottish Business Information Service) – – federated search – – discussion list for business librarians and researchers – (login required) – FAQs at 8
    9. 9. Company informationOwnership, structure, accounts, activities, newsAvailability depends on – type of company • sole trader • partnership • “privately” owned • limited liability e.g. Ltd, LLP • companies with publicly traded shares e.g. PLC – business size (large, medium, small) – country • state or region within the country25/11/12 9
    10. 10. UK Companies Act 2006Some of the main changes: – memorandum of association now only needs to state that the founders of the company wish to form a limited company – directors no longer need to apply to withhold their private address, for example if they believe they may be targeted by activists. Can now choose to supply a “service address” – requirement to have a company secretary removedUK Companies House – – details of registration and filing requirements – examples of documents – search for companies for free, some information free, accounts and other documents priced – free Disqualified Directors search25/11/12 10
    11. 11. ExemptionsFor UK small and medium sized enterprisesMay prepare and file abbreviated accountsMust fulfil at least two of the following conditions to qualify Small Medium Turnover not exceeding £6.5m £25.9m Assets/balance sheet not £3.26m £12.9m exceeding Average number of employees 50 250Exemptions not available to public companies, banking, insurance or shipping companies25/11/12 11
    12. 12. UK filing requirements Small Medium Large companies companies companies Balance sheet Abbreviated Full balance Full balance balance sheet sheet sheet signed by a with notes Director Profit and loss Not required Abbreviated profit Full profit and and loss account loss account Turnover Not required Not required Required Auditor report Special auditor Special auditor Required and report if required report signed by an auditor Director report Not required Required Required and signed by an officer of the company Notes to the Not required Required Required accounts25/11/12 12
    13. 13. UK Companies House – – free, subscription, and document pay per view options – documents £1 each25/11/12 13
    14. 14. Company documents Companies House charges £1 per document and there can be lots of them, need to decide which ones you really need The list of company documents may be all you need to see25/11/12 14
    15. 15. Company Check UK companies Uses Companies House data Provides 6 years of figures and graphs for Cash at Bank, Net Worth, Total Liabilities and Total Current Liabilities free of charge Some info free, some free with login, some pay as you go Monitor company for financial changes and when new accounts are filed – email alerts (free) Lists directors of a company – links through to Company Director Check – 15
    16. 16. 16
    17. 17. 17
    18. 18. DUEDIL 18
    19. 19. DUEDIL 19
    20. 20. Official company information – other countriesLists of official company registers – Official Company Registers • – Company registration around the world • – Companies House Links • – listed companies – SEC Edgar IDEA – Interactive Date Electronic Applications - listed companies – SEDAR 20
    21. 21. European Business RegisterGateway to official company information in 26 European countries – http://www.ebr.orgUK distributer is GBRDirect – service 25/11/12 21
    22. 22. 7side serviceUK companies and documents, directors information, insolvency reportsCredit reportsInternational registry and documents service – 1 hour registry and documents service – translation service available – have agents "on the ground", can quickly tell you what is available in that country and what may not be available25/11/12 22
    23. 23. Skyminderwww.skyminder.comPulls together company information from a variety of sourcesfrom across the worldRegistration required, free to search but many documents arepriced25/11/12 23
    24. 24. Company information – selected priced services7 side – van Dijk (BvD) and Bradstreet UK Emerging Markets Research, News, M&A, Statistics, Economic Indicators, Islamic Finance Information - - Reuters - 24
    25. 25. Other resourcesInvestEgate – – comprehensive source of announcements from UK quoted companies, customised email alerts availableWikinvest - Investing Wiki with Research about Companies, Investment Concepts – – as with all wikis treat with caution but has some good information – can be useful for background on industries as well as companiesOpencorporates – – Open database of the corporate world25/11/12 25
    26. 26. OpenCorporates 26
    27. 27. Historical annual reports – SCoRe (Search Company Reports)Catalogue of printed company reports, both current and historic, held in UK librariesLibraries that hold copies of the reports are listed together with the earliest and latest years of a collection’s holdingsA good place to pick up clues on past corporate relationships25/11/12 27
    28. 28. Types of companies & company - Company Extensions and SecurityIdentifiers – of business entity – Wikipedia – Formation Survey – Business - Measuring Business Regulations - World BankGroup – 28
    29. 29. Who owns a website?• good starting point for identifying who owns a domain name but.... – may be hiding behind an agent – may be using a service such as Privacy Protect ( – if in the UK and an individual with a personal page then contact details other than name are not publicly available (Data Protection)• Run a Google or Bing search on the ‘registrant’ or agent and see if you can find out anything more about them25/11/12 29
    30. 30. Domaintools check on – good news25/11/12 30
    31. 31. Domaintools check on - bad news25/11/12 31
    32. 32. 25/11/12 32
    33. 33. 25/11/12 33
    34. 34. LinkedIn.com25 November 2012 Karen Blakeman 34
    35. 35. Google site: search of LinkedIn25/11/12 35
    36. 36. More on searching LinkedInBoolean Black Belt-Sourcing/Recruiting Ellen Bates Ten Top Tips for Searching LinkedIn PDF 36
    37. 37. Publicly traded companies – share pricesFree – current share prices delayed by 15-30 minutes – real-time prices if you have a share dealing account with a broker e.g. TD Direct Investing ( – only cover companies currently listed on the exchange – some historical data as charts or figures (e.g. Yahoo Finance and Google Finance) – Yahoo and Google cover major stock markets – go direct to the stock exchange web sitePriced – for more detailed analysis – full historical data – stocks no longer traded or merged with another company25/11/12 37
    38. 38. Share pricesYahoo Finance (major stock markets only) – finance (US, UK, Canada, some European stock markets, Australia, Hong Kong, China) – – – Markets, Equities sectionGo direct to the stock market site – RBA Stock Markets and Share Price Information – services – Reuters, Thomson Reuters DataStream, Bloomberg25/11/12 38
    39. 39. Yahoo Finance25/11/12 39
    40. 40. Google Finance25/11/12 40
    41. 41. Databases for information on smaller companiesConfirm contact details using telephone directories – Mint Free Directory search – – only basic contact details free of charge, additional information pricedDirectories such as – Applegate – Europages – solusource – Kompass – see also the list of directories at “Company and Telephone Directories” 41
    42. 42. Databases for information on smaller companiesFITA – and select Really Useful Links from the left hand menu and then Business Directories and Trade InformationImport/export directories – Sometimes have more information about small companies than official company registers • size, number of employees and turnover • contact names e.g. marketing director, sales director, export director • export markets, sectors/products exported – Search using export directory combined with country and/or industry sector • e.g. export directory switzerland25/11/12 42
    43. 43. Mailing listsRBA Direct Marketing – – – wide range of mailing lists – free searching of lists – can test out a list by selecting first 50, 100 etc. results – pay as you go25/11/12 43
    44. 44. Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)Search free news on the web (e.g. keywordsDetailed information on rumours, deals in progress andcompleted deals usually pricedMergers and Acquisitions –’s Mergers and Acquisitions Portal – – news, features, summaries and basic deal information are free of charge – free reports reviewing recent activity in M&A – free reports discussing industry sectors where there is increased activity – links into the Zephyr database – full reports on deals are priced.25/11/12 44
    45. 45. Statistics and industry dataFree – government statistics – industry overviews – executive summaries – press releases – trade press - possiblyPriced for – industry specific market shares – named companies – brand names – detailed rankingsWhen carrying out research often have to use data from different sources25/11/12 45
    46. 46. Bits and pieces from everywhere?Is there a problem?Not necessarily but – must be aware of the context • why and how was the original research conducted • what sources were used • when was the data gathered – free resources may take information out of context • press releases and news articles focus on single issues • background and methodology often missing • may be several times removed from original research or data collectionMultiple free sources are often used to build a picture of a market piece by pieceNot comparing like with like25/11/12 46
    47. 47. Statistics and industry dataUse advanced search options to limit your search to file types orformat: – pdf or doc/docx for government or industry/market reports – xls/xlsx for data and statistics – ppt /pptx or pdf for presentations – for example UK CO2 emissions filetype:xlsSearch in both Google and Bing for a comprehensive searchLooking for experts on a topic, presentations, generalbackground on a subject, information on an organisation? – advanced search ppt or pdf format – Slideshare 47
    48. 48. Search: biofuels UK public transport25/11/12 48
    49. 49. Industry data and market researchGoogle Numeric range search – can be weights, distances, years, prices – use Advanced Search screen – or the search box on the Google home page – search term(s) first value..second value unit of measurementExamples: – beer per capita consumption uk 2008..2012 – TV advertising spend forecasts 2012..202025/11/12 49
    50. 50. Starting points for statisticsStatistics Sources – Statistics on the Web – Official Statistics – – often get better results by running a Google advanced site searchWelsh Assembly Government StatsWales – Government | Statistics - (Scottish Business Information Service) – Library Business & IP Centre – 50
    51. 51. 51
    52. 52. UK Official Statistics 52
    53. 53. 53
    54. 54. Guardian Data Store and analysis on topics that are in the newsLinks to the original datasets are provided 25/11/12 54
    55. 55. Guardian world government data 25/11/12 55
    56. 56. Zanran – searches charts, tables, formatted data – 56
    57. 57. Open Data Directory 57
    58. 58. Google Public Data Explorer of Googles best kept secrets!25/11/12 58
    59. 59. UK Trade & Investment 59
    60. 60. Business Essentials on the Web - Industries also 60
    61. 61. Finding market research - aggregatorsPull together reports from many publishers and make themsearchable through a single interfaceCan purchase reports through the one serviceAggregators may not be comprehensive – many publishers embargo reports for weeks or months – many publishers withhold reports from aggregators – check the publisher’s own web site or email them to see if there is additional or more recent research available – may get a better deal by going to the publisher direct – use aggregators as an index to see who is publishing on your topic25/11/12 61
    62. 62. Examples of aggregatorsAlacrastore – Emerging Markets – – – Buyer – and Markets – 62
    63. 63. NewsMost newspapers and magazines are on the webFree services – may not be complete publication – may not have archives – search facilities may be limited – print stories one by oneMany news and trade press titles are free but some are pricedOfficial company press releases‘Listed’ companies – major news, developments and changes affecting their operations have to reported to shareholders via the stock exchange announcements for example UK Regulatory News Service – Various sources e.g. FE InvestEgate | Company Announcements 63
    64. 64. NewsFor tracking down individual newspapers – – News – latest free news usually 30 days – advanced search options limited and not always reliable – no source list and sources frequently change – key industry publications may not be included and definitely not included if subscription – older and Archive News may be pricedUse Google news and web search to identify specialist news portals or aggregators for your subject and monitor those direct25/11/12 64
    65. 65. Google News Archive25/11/12 65
    66. 66. Google can seriously damage your newsExperiment by Mary Ellen BatesIs Google really filtering my news? - Librarian of Fortune – google-really-filtering-my-news.htmlGoogle can seriously damage your news – damage-your-news/Highlights – More than a quarter of the stories showed up in only one searcher’s results – Almost one in five searchers saw a story that no one else saw – Only 12% of searchers saw the same three stories in the same order25/11/12 66
    67. 67. Silobreaker free resources:news, blogs, video,imagesGeographical locationof stories, people,networksUse as a starting pointfor in depth research 25/11/12 67
    68. 68. Priced servicesThe Times and Sunday Times – Times (priced for full access) – – – subscription service, prices on applicationFactiva – – subscription service, prices on application – also a pay as you go option25/11/12 68
    69. 69. Google Video Not the same as Youtube25/11/12 69
    70. 70. Video Bing Videos YouTube Blinkx - November 2012 Karen Blakeman 70
    71. 71. FacebookBusiness and commercial pages now allowed on FacebookOvert promotion and market researchCompetitive intelligenceHow are companies using it?"Anti" groups and pages25/11/12 71
    72. 72. Blogs and TwitterMany experts, academics, researchers, industry gurus haveactive blogsGreat way to tap into expert knowledge especially with new andinnovative technologies and industriesEssential for competitive intelligence and reputation monitoringBut Twitter limited to current data & selected networksTwitter up to the minute but skewed view of what is happeningBlogs – or use the Blogsoption in the menu on the left hand side of your results page25/11/12 72
    73. 73. – web realtime search25/11/12 73
    74. 74. (rather erratic and slow but worthinvestigating)25/11/12 74
    75. 75. whostalkin.com25/11/12 75
    76. 76. Icerocket.com25/11/12 76
    77. 77. - create your own newspaper25/11/12 77
    78. 78. – keyword 78
    79. 79. – company 79
    80. 80. Keeping up to dateBUSLIB-L – business information email discussion list – Business Information Service – Twitter alerts @ScottishBISKaren Blakeman’s Blog – Weiss – Find It Out: Research secrets and more! – November 2012 Karen Blakeman 80