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Broader, Fresher, Deeper Is ZoomInfo Mantra For 2009

by
John Zappe
Dec 12, 2008, 4:07 pm ET

“Broader, fresher, deeper.” Take that as the ZoomInfo (profile; site) mantra for 2009. ZoomInfo’s new president Sam Zales does.

Six months from now, ZoomInfo users can expect to see data that is “deeper, broader and fresher,” Zales told us in an interview today, a week after assuming his new job. More than just more, the data will be better parsed, compiled, and structured, he pledges, so that a recruiter finds Sam Zales the CEO, “not Sam Zales who worked at GM.”

“Our core product is data,” Zales declares, detailing his first task as “How to increase (its) breadth, depth, and freshness.”

Reengineering the data collection system will fall to William Wechtenhiser, who was recently appointed to the new position of vice president of engineering. Jonathan Stern, ZoomInfo founder and CEO, will retain the chief scientist title, but Zales said the company believes it is important to have “somebody on the ground, here, in the U.S.” (Stern is based in Israel.)

The accuracy of the ZoomInfo data has been one of its most nettlesome problems. Where competitors like Hoover’s use human editors to vet the accuracy of the data, ZoomInfo relies on computers to do the sifting and sorting. While Hoover’s is hardly flawless, ZoomInfo has such bloopers as listing the CEO of Merrill Lynch as Junji Okabayashi. (John Thain is Merill Lynch CEO. Okabayashi is CEO of a Japanese joint venture of the company’s.)

Fixing those kinds of problems will not be easy. Google has some of the best brains in the industry at work to improve search intelligence and develop what is generally referred to as the semantic web. But, as Google founder Larry Page has said, “We’re a long way, long ways from that.”

However, improving the currency of the data will be a step forward.

Zales says his selection as president and the hiring of a VP-level engineer “is a message of investment in this business.” ZoomInfo will invest in faster equipment, programming enhancements, and the like to realize his “broader, deeper, fresher” pledge. “We will be making an investment in our technology.”

Zales’ background in the lead generation business is a natural fit with ZoomInfo. Though basic search is free to all comers, the company makes its money selling access to its powerful search tools. It has three primary customers: recruiters, sales, and marketers. Each can use the tools to develop leads lists, then access other sites — LinkedIn is a favorite with recruiters — to help make connections.

Zales had an eight-year run — a virtual lifetime — as CEO of B2B lead generator Buyer Zone. Before that, he was a marketing vice president with American Express, making him, he jokes, a “B2B service maven.” “My legacy,” he says, “is helping customers appreciate your products.”

It probably also didn’t hurt that Zales knows how to grow a business. Here’s what was said in his winning nomination for an American Business Award as Best Turnaround Executive:

“Zales helped BuyerZone create a unique and effective customer acquisition channel for suppliers while providing a revolutionary cost and  time-saving purchasing process for small and mid-sized business buyers.”

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  1. Maureen Sharib

    The human touch is what sets (and will continue to set) Hoovers apart. Hoovers now has a function where company employees may list themselves on a roster (ala LinkedIn) – it appears to be an interesting feature worth watching.

  2. Jason Davis

    I spoke to someone at zoom a few months back and they let me know that selling to recruiters was something that was no longer a priority or something that they were going to be aggressive about.

  3. Dorothy C. Beach MBA CIR

    I always cautioned employers about the fact that Zoom was time consuming to use because of its inaccuracies and so one has to take time to recheck the web references. Zoom has its real worth in peer searching because it brings up so many web references to professonal activities. No doubt the features that help organize search data and its improved filter capability over this past year are great improvements but do not help with speed. Despite the fact that people can add and edit their profiles to Zoom which could add to the diversity of the database, that is not generally well known. I’d like to see more marketing to management outlining its many uses and also to invite editing/addition of profiles.

  4. Joseph Miller

    Jigsaw, falling somewhere between ZoomInfo and Hoover’s, is relevant and large enough to be included in this conversation as well. I think it’s going to be a battle of the business models between these three companies in 2009 and beyond.

  5. Zoominfo en XING, een partnership zonder waarde? | Recruitment nieuws | Recruitment Matters - Alles over online recruitment

    [...] zo’n anderhalf jaar later en met een nieuwe CEO bij Linkedin, Zoominfo en Xing (en de komst van Goldberg…) is het aardig om eens te kijken hoe het nu [...]

  6. Yasser Ismail

    Great news definitely! Looking forward to the changes on Zoominfo!

    Yasser
    http://www.jobstaxi.com

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