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Precise information assists in the running of a successful business

  • August 08, 2006
  • by PInow Staff

Accurate information, as everyone knows, is the lifeline to a successful business.

Work with good information and you're a hero. Work with poor information and you're shortly out of the business. Being able to sort good information from the bad takes more than just tapping into the internet and clicking your way into someone's databases. You have to have an insatiable appetite to figure out puzzles, and enough curiosity to keep digging even when there's one dead end after another.

I had the good fortune to spend a number of years working with national level intelligence agencies. When these agencies first received information it was usually greeted with interest, but also with skepticism. If that information was corroborated by a second, independent source, it took on an air of credibility, and if a third, separate independent source also reported the information it was considered to be reliable, subject to verification.

The same is true with the information I work with daily. I don't believe everything I read or hear. I double check all of my data, and it does not become fact until I verify it, for example, by going to an address in question and finding what I expect to find.

Over the years I have had accounts with a number database brokers. Some have disappeared. Some have consolidated. Some no longer sell information to investigators. And a couple I've dropped because their information was frequently inaccurate and often months old.

At the present time I have accounts with Merlin Information Systems, Locate Plus, Skip Smashers, and PallTech. Day in and day out I find their information to be the most accurate and up-to-date. I also use DataQuick to access real estate information nationwide, and I typically buy DVDs with all of the US listed telephone numbers sort-able in a variety of ways, and specialty DVDs with information consolidated from several sources. I also make extensive use of the numerous free and fee based on-line databases provided by city, county, state and federal governments.

The information-for-a-fee data brokers are typically the fastest way to tracking down people, but you have to know how to get the information you want out of the specific system. Don't laugh. It's not always easy. It is not always inexpensive. And, by the way, you must be vetted to acquire access to the brokers I use. I anticipate pricing changes in the industry, and some realignment of available data because of privacy issues, but most changes will occur because of business decisions by the owners of the products. They are in the business for profit and that is the driving force in the industry. We sometimes forget to factor that in when we moan and groan about the changes that are affecting us personally.

The end result of using data brokers is that I can acquire, assemble, and evaluate a lot of information in a short period of time. The costs are miniscule compared with the time and effort it would take to get the same information in the "old fashioned way" of hand massaging public records and tromping door-to-door as a field investigator.

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