Looking for a supplier in Asia? Jigsaw, an online marketplace that allows businesspeople to buy, sell, and swap contact information, is branching into Japan and China. The Web-based service was launched in 2004 by Jim Fowler, a sales executive at an Internet start-up in California who had become frustrated with pricey business databases filled with bad information. "Our mission is to map the entire business world," says Fowler, who also plans to extend the English-language-only database into Scandinavia this year.
Jigsaw users pay $25 a month to access contact information for 25 business leads online, or they can elect to swap information, receiving two contacts for each accurate one they contribute. The database, which so far has gathered information on nearly three million executives at more than 300,000 companies, is self-correcting. Users who fix inaccurate data receive two free contacts; those who enter erroneous details are docked two contacts. Niall Booth, director of inside sales at ESI International, an Arlington, Virginia, firm that certifies project managers, set up Jigsaw accounts for himself and 14 sales and marketing staffers. Each month they trade information on hundreds of people. "I think of it as a sniper's tool," Booth says. "Sometimes you know a person's name and company, but you can't get through the gatekeeper. Jigsaw gives you a direct number instead of a switchboard."