Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Part I of Q & A With Jim Fowler, Jigsaw CEOQ.) What exactly does Jigsaw do?
A.) Jigsaw Data Corporation (http://www.Jigsaw.com) is an online global marketplace where marketers, recruiters and sales people buy, sell and trade business contact information. All of the 1.7M contacts on Jigsaw have been added by members. Members join Jigsaw to get access to these valuable contacts, every one of which has a phone number and an email. Contacts cost points. Points are earned by adding and cleaning contacts. They can also be bought from other members who add and clean a lot of data and wish to sell their excess.
The point system results in a self-correcting model where members are rewarded for adding good data, and penalized for adding bad data. Some members only buy data (with points), some members only sell data (by selling their points instead of using them to get data), and some members do a little of both.
Q.) Exactly what type of company is Jigsaw? Data, auction, social networking...?
A.) Jigsaw is a data company that uses collaboration and a community to build and maintain a database. Jigsaw has nothing to do with social or business networking. Jigsaw does not show how people are connected together. Members use Jigsaw to get contact information for people they need to contact directly in order to sell or market them something. Jigsaw is somewhat eBay-like in that members buy and sell points (which Jigsaw brokers). There is, however, no auction â€“ just the marketplace.
Jigsaw's mission is to map every business organization on the planet, contact by contact and keep them current through a collaborative effort. The resulting database will make the process of selling and marketing far more efficient.
Q.) How does Jigsaw make money?
A.) Jigsaw is a subscription service. Members are given the option to pay $25 per month, or pay by adding 25 new contacts every month. Jigsaw also makes money by brokering point sales that occur between members. Members and corporations with large data needs spend thousands of dollars per year on Jigsaw.
Jigsaw's primary market is sales people, marketers and recruiters. One of the fastest growing markets for Jigsaw is small businesses. Most have never bought data before as, heretofore, it has been too expensive. At $25 per month any small business can afford a Jigsaw account.
Q.) Are you importing contacts from sites like LinkedIn, Hoovers & others?
A.) No. Every contact in Jigsaw has been added by a member. We started with 20K contacts and now have over 1.7M (and growing by 10K new contacts per day). Even if we wanted to import contacts from other sites we couldn't because Jigsaw requires every contact to have complete information including phone, email, title, etc. Phone numbers and emails are hard to get and are usually not provided on other sites.
Q.) Can members batch process submissions?
A.) No. Quality is paramount and if we allowed members to upload their data without looking at it first much bad data would be entered. Members upload their contacts to a staging area in mass and then click them in one-at-a-time. Members who play (pay with 25 contacts per month) can add their monthly quota in about five minutes.
Self correction is a fundamental part of the Jigsaw model. If a member puts in a contact that is not challenged by the community she gets two contacts in return. If a member purchases a contact (with points) that is bad, and challenges the contact, she gets a double refund and the person who added the contact loses the equivalent of two contacts (in points). Adding contacts one-at-a-time and offering a double refund for challenging contacts has resulted in the cleanest set of business contacts in existence.
Q.) Where did you begin your advertising and where/how do you advertise now?
A.) As mentioned, Jigsaw is a community. Like most successful communities, our growth is primarily driven by referrals. We offer points as an incentive to refer.
To complement word of mouth we do a modest bit of keyword search advertising on Google and Yahoo. Many of our small business members come from this channel.
Finally, we've been fortunate to get some great press. We get a lot of blog action and have had major hits in publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post.
It's me again, the next post deals with the juicy topics like privacy issues and such but I wanted to get you warmed up with the company backgrounder before we got into the issues that have caused a stir in the blogosphere. Read Part Two of our interiew with Jim.
By Jason Dowdell at 10:21 PM | Comments (2)