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Monday, October 08, 2007

Jigsaw -- Tracking key prospects with business card information

The service at may offer you a way to speed up your research for key contacts if you simply want the direct contact information, rather than a referral or relationship-based connection (which is more likely at

The idea behind this service is that members upload their own contact information in exchange for credits which they can use to download information they don't have. (You can also purchase access to the contacts for cash). In its ideal form, Jigsaw may give you the 'private' email address or direct phone line number of an otherwise difficult-to-reach key contact. The system is supposed to be self-regulating to prevent spam or the posting of useless contact information.

I signed in and tested the contact base by following Jigsaw's instructions to upload my Outlook file.

I soon discovered the service's strengths (and weaknesses). My outlook file contains much information that should not leave this computer -- in previous months, we uploaded, for example, job seekers' names to facilitate early-stage employment questionnaires. We would be violating privacy if we distributed this information anywhere else. (Jigsaw states clearly that it only wants information available on business cards; specifically business -- not cellular -- phone numbers and office, not home addresses). Trouble is, the upload mechanism does not appear to have an automatic screen out capacity. (Maybe it does -- I wasn't going to risk it, however, and aborted the upload.)

On the other hand, I noticed that several key and important business contacts from key decision-makers on my list were already on Jigsaw's list, suggesting its comprehensiveness and utility.

If you sign up through the referral link here, I'll get a few 'points' for searches of my own, and you'll gain additional credits. Ethically, you shouldn't have any problem using the service provided you are careful about what information you input.

Jigsaw won't give you a warm referral, of course, but you may find a more direct and clear route to the person you are trying to reach.
Thanks to Upkar Bikhu at Caswell Corporate Coaching Company for telling my about Jigsaw.

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