Home Jigsaw: Alternative or Complement to LinkedIn?

Jigsaw: Alternative or Complement to LinkedIn?

I am a regular user of LinkedIn, using it both for biz dev and recruiting. I am a fan of the service, but still a bit of a skeptic on the business model. I decided to look at alternatives and the one that gave some use was Jigsaw. According to RWW Companies, Jigsaw is “a provider of business information and data services that uniquely leverages user-generated content contributed by its global membership.” It claims to have 500,000 members and more than 500 enterprises using the product.

My conclusion; Jigsaw is reasonable useful, despite some flaws. It is a complement to LinkedIn and not an alternative.

Jigsaw came in for criticism when it first came along around 2006. But most services are raw when they debut, what matters is a) is the fundamental concept sound and b) can the management team continuously improve.

Jigsaw has top tier VC financing, so they can go the distance.

I chose Jigsaw to try because LinkedIn did not give me what I needed. I was searching for senior level contacts at a large company. LinkedIn gave me plenty of Level 3 contacts but I have learned from experience that Level 3 (somebody I know knows somebody who knows the contact) is not useful and can be a real time sink. So I only bother when I see a Level 2 contact.

I could pay LinkedIn to send an InMail to these contacts, but that is no better than sending a cold-mail and why spend money when there are free alternatives?

So my next stop was to Google the names. I saw Jigsaw coming up a few times so decided to give it a try. Fairly quickly I was able to get – at no cost – the contact details I needed. That is not as good as an intro but cold calling/mailing in limited doses can still do the trick.

There were some niggling irritations as with many relatively new services, but I did get value and the basic concept seems like it could be viable. Jigsaw works on a “pay or play” principle. You can just pay to get access to the contact information, as with any list. Unlike traditional lists, you can buy just one name. So this works well for selling high value stuff to senior people, not good for mass market spamming. Play means earning points by contributing contact information back into the system. They seem to have evolved good systems for managing this to avoid gaming and bad data.

So the data is user generated, as it is with LinkedIn, as opposed to scraped data from services such as ZoomInfo. Scraped data has value as well – you get the contacts that don’t put themselves into LinkedIn.

However, data created by other people is not usually as good as data created by the person in question. I noted too many errors in my short stay on Jigsaw. I earned some points by correcting them, but this also made me question of the value of the data I had extracted.

I see some value in Jigsaw, if they can keep improving. I don’t know how viable Jigsaw is as a business. It strikes me as an inexpensive service to run, so reaching profitability may not be too hard. But I don’t know whether this can be a really valuable business in its current form. It is too easy to get email addresses in other ways (Googling the name and just using the corporate email standard) and you can always call via the company receptionist.

What has been your experience with Jigsaw? Have you worked with other alternative services?


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