In a blog titled, “Maintaining the Trust of our Members,” LinkedIn recommitted itself to a members-first approach. The Microsoft subsidiary frames its decision-making with the question, “Is this the right thing to do for our members?”
Along with a members-first policy, LinkedIn employs four principles to frame decisions:
Members maintain clarity, consistency, and control over their data. This goal is manifested in a broad set of privacy settings, observing the stated wishes of each member, and protecting their data. Microsoft employs a global GDPR standard and does not transfer member data to other companies. For example, LinkedIn Sales Navigator limits data access to member-data view-only access, which displays profiles within CRMs and other partner applications but does not transfer data to those platforms.
LinkedIn will remain a safe, trusted, and professional platform. The firm removes content which violates their Professional Community Policies and removes fake profiles, jobs, and companies.
LinkedIn is committed to removing unfair bias from its platform so that individuals with equal talent have equal access to opportunity. “To achieve this goal, we are committed to building a product with no unfair bias that provides opportunity to all of our members. There is a lot of work still to do, but we are focused on working across our company, with our members and customers, and across the industry to close the network gap.”
As a global platform, they are committed to respecting the laws that apply to them and “contributing to the dialogue” about legal frameworks.
LinkedIn Advertising is subject to an initial review. LinkedIn vets ads to ensure they are non-discriminatory:
“Even if legal in the applicable jurisdiction, LinkedIn does not allow ads that advocate, promote, or contain discriminatory hiring practices or denial of education, housing, or economic opportunity based on age, gender, religion, ethnicity, race, or sexual preference. Ads that promote the denial or restriction of fair and equal access to education, housing, or credit or career opportunities are prohibited.”
Blake Lawit, LinkedIn General Counsel
The statement of principles comes at a time when other social media firms are struggling to develop rules and policies around political advertising. LinkedIn does not carry political advertising and also restricts adult content, illegal, health, gaming, weapons, multi-level marketing, alcohol, tobacco, and financial (payday loans, cryptocurrency) products.
LinkedIn continues to grow its customer base with 660 million members across 200 countries and 30 million companies. The top countries are the United States (165M members), India (62M), China (48M), Brazil (40M), and the UK (27M).
LinkedIn maintains offices in nine US cities and 24 international locations. The platform supports 24 languages.
In a ninth Circuit Court ruling last week, the Court sided with hiQ Labs which had been barred from accessing LinkedIn for the purposes of scraping public profiles. hiQ Labs, a data analytics company which identifies employees who may be looking to depart, won a preliminary injunction against LinkedIn. This is the second court which has evaluated the case and sided against the Microsoft subsidiary.
argued that scraping after a cease-and-desist letter was “without
authorization” under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), but hiQ
Labs argued that the content was public and that scraping public data was not
akin to hacking.
ruled that “there is little evidence that LinkedIn users who choose to
make their profiles public actually maintain an expectation of privacy with
respect to the information that they post publicly, and it is doubtful that
continued, “LinkedIn invokes an interest in preventing ‘free riders’ from using
profiles posted on its platform. But LinkedIn has no protected property
interest in the data contributed by its users, as the users retain ownership
over their profiles.”
Law Review summarized the case:
Most notably, the Ninth Circuit held that HiQ had shown a likelihood of success on the merits in its claim that when a computer network generally permits public access to its data, a user’s accessing that publicly available data will not constitute access “without authorization” under the CFAA.
In light of this ruling, data scrapers, content aggregators and advocates of a more open internet will certainly be emboldened, but we reiterate something we advised back in our 2017 Client Alert about the lower court HiQ decision: while the Ninth Circuit’s decision suggests that the CFAA is not an available remedy to protect against unwanted scraping of public website data that is “presumptively open to all,” entities engaged in scraping should remain careful. The road ahead, while perhaps less bumpy than before, still contains rough patches. Indeed, the Ninth Circuit cautioned that its opinion was issued only at the preliminary injunction stage and that the court did not “resolve the companies’ legal dispute definitively, nor do we address all the claims and defenses they have pleaded in the district court.”…
On appeal, the parties offered dueling visions of what the law surrounding the CFAA and scraping should be:
LinkedIn: “[A]uthorization from LinkedIn—the server’s owner—is ‘needed’ to avoid CFAA liability, regardless of whether those servers also host data that LinkedIn generally makes available on its website. hiQ lacked that required “authorization” once LinkedIn sent hiQ its cease-and-desist letter and implemented additional technological barriers restricting bot access.”
HiQ: “LinkedIn does not grant permission to access its public content because those pages are, by definition, open for all to see and use. hiQ, like any other Internet user, simply requests LinkedIn’s public pages, and LinkedIn’s servers automatically provide them. There is no “authorization” for LinkedIn to revoke. Reading the statute in accordance with the language’s ordinary significance, “without authorization” refers to circumstances where authorization is a prerequisite to access.”
National Law Review
access without authorization under the CFAA generally covers hacking and
employee access after permission has been rescinded. As public profiles
are not subject to passwords, the question of whether the CFAA applied was in
likely that when a computer network generally permits public access to its
data, a user’s accessing that publicly available data will not constitute
access without authorization under the CFAA,” wrote the Court. “The data
hiQ seeks to access is not owned by LinkedIn and has not been demarcated by
LinkedIn as private using such an authorization system. HiQ has therefore
raised serious questions about whether LinkedIn may invoke the CFAA to preempt
hiQ’s possibly meritorious tortious interference claim.”
ruling supports web scraping of public sites. What it doesn’t address is
whether harvesting member data for the purposes of generating datasets which
counter the interests of social media sites and its members is against the
public interest. This question may be more of a public policy question than
a legal one. Members join LinkedIn for the purposes of professional
networking, job searching, and self-marketing. While public LinkedIn does
not publish emails or direct dials, it includes work and educational histories,
interests, affiliations, and other personal content. Furthermore, it is
easy to guess at emails making it fairly trivial to assemble email files for
spammers. It is very possible, that the HiQ Labs ruling conforms with US
law but due to the Personally Identifiable Information content being gathered
is counter to European GDPR. The result could well be the loss of public
LinkedIn profiles or a thinning of publicly posted profiles.
focused on the CFAA and did not evaluate other arguments when granting relief.
“State law trespass to chattels claims may still be available. And
other causes of action, such as copyright infringement, misappropriation,
unjust enrichment, conversion, breach of contract, or breach of privacy, may
also lie,” stated the Court.
Orin Kerr, a
law professor at UC Berkeley called the ruling a “major decision for the
open internet. It doesn’t establish that scraping websites is completely
legal, but it goes a long way toward establishing that it’s not a federal
In the case
of HiQ, they offer predictive attrition models which could result in
individuals not being hired or employees not being promoted. “Keeper is
the first HCM tool to offer predictive attrition insights about an
organization’s employees based on publicly available data,” says the firm.
While some high-value employees may enjoy additional leverage due to
these models, others may be mistrusted.
imagine other detrimental use cases such as credit companies tracking
employment and lowering credit scores. The result would be higher
interest costs and a lowered ability to find a job. The result would be
decreased transparency and truthfulness on LinkedIn.
As such, the
scraping of LinkedIn data could undermine the trust members have in LinkedIn or
limit the permissions granted to LinkedIn. If LinkedIn played
fast-and-loose with member data, they would have less standing, but LinkedIn
does not permit downloading of member data to Excel or the uploading of member
data to CRMs. Sales Navigator treats member data as view only in its SNAP
connectors. Thus, LinkedIn is placing data privacy rules on itself that
it cannot place on third-parties that gather LinkedIn data. More broadly,
parent company Microsoft has committed itself to GDPR as a global data privacy
David Raab of the Customer Data Platform Institute had a tongue-in-cheek view
of the case: “In what I like to think of as CSI: Obvious Division, a federal
appeals court ruled that LinkedIn can’t block scraping of published member data
because people had no expectation of privacy for their public profiles.
It’s rather amazing LinkedIn thought they could win with that one.”
When conducting account based (ABM) research, it is necessary to develop a broad view of your customers and prospects which includes company, contact, and industry research. Unfortunately, open web research is quite time-consuming and your sales reps are unlikely to consistently engage in general research, so consider Sales Intelligence vendors with editorial research teams.
Executive research should go beyond the Leadership page and LinkedIn profiles. One option is Boardroom Insiders which gathers rich executive profiles on CxOs written by business journalists.
For industry research, look at Vertical IQ, IBISWorld, or First Research. Vertical IQ and First Research are strong offerings for sales teams that sell broadly across many segments but are not verticalized. They are written in plain English and include Q&A sections. The content in IBISWorld is more formal but better suited for verticalized teams.
At the company level, consider Dun & Bradstreet Hoovers, InsideView, or DiscoverOrg. All three provide company and contact profiles, list building, and sales triggers. D&B Hoovers goes deeper on global coverage, family trees, and industry profiles, DiscoverOrg offers the deepest set of technographics and rich bios, and InsideView provides excellent sales triggers and social media intelligence.
I profiled SalesIntel and its human-verified contacts last summer but failed to cover a series of announcements from them over the past nine months (they were covered in my newsletter, but didn’t make it into my blog).
SalesIntel continues its database build out with company intelligence alongside their database of nearly three million high-quality US contacts. Each of these contacts is reverified each quarter, providing a smaller, but significantly higher quality email and direct dial dataset than other vendors. The exception is DealSignal which is performing overnight data validation so also delivering recently verified contacts.
Along with high-quality contacts, SalesIntel added company profiles which provide contact context. Company profiles are accessed by performing a company name search and clicking on the company name in the resulting contact list. The new profiles contain the following sections:
Company logo and name
Executive Intel — the names and titles of the top-level executives at the firm. Users can click on the executives to view their details.
Firmographic data from Owler
Industry & Sector info
Tech Intel — vendors and product deployed at the company
Contact Intel — a grid containing the number of executives available within SalesIntel by job function and level. Clicking on a number takes the user to a list of contacts for the company at that function and level. Users can also obtain filtered lists by clicking on the totals by job function or level.
The most recent enhancement is the incorporation of Owler firmographics into their database. SalesIntel users can also view Owler’s real-time news alerts for their prospects including IPOs, Funding, and Acquisition news.
“Owler helps sales teams work faster and smarter. We provide accurate and up-to-date information about companies and their top competitors, as well as deliver real-time actionable insights about the companies that matter to your pipeline.”
Tim Harsch, CEO of Owler
SalesLoft released sales engagement connectors for Outreach and SalesLoft late last year. Duplicate checking is performed. Records are tagged and assigned to SalesLoft cadences and Outreach sequences.
A HubSpot connecter was also released. The integration allows users to select contact owners and assign exported contacts to a workflow. Duplicate record checking is supported.
New targeting features include US metro areas and technographic searching. Users can screen by product, vendor, or category. The technographics file was licensed from HG Insights (FKA HG Data).
Category searching may be performed by keyword or navigating a technology category tree. Technographic searching is a component of the company module.
Contacts are sold in annual plans with contact records beginning at a dollar per record.
SalesIntel was launched last summer. Ramnani said his firm is receiving “very positive feedback from the market.”
The acquisition moves DiscoverOrg into the number two position in the Sales and Marketing Intelligence space with $230 million in joint revenues. Only LinkedIn Sales Navigator has a larger market share.
leaked the deal on January 25th indicating that “Zebra” was a direct
competitor. According to Debtwire, DiscoverOrg was “pitching its unrated
buyout loan package on strong recent growth and a story that the whole will be
greater than the sum of its parts, said five buysiders familiar with the
deal. Meanwhile, levering up the capital structure draws attention to the
borrower’s ability to meet synergy projections – which could crimp its free
cash flow, especially amid an ambitious technology integration plan, they
indicated that the acquisition was priced at $800 million, a three-fold
increase from Great Hill’s summer 2017 acquisition price of $240 million for
Zoominfo. Debtwire also indicated an FY18 management adjusted EBITDA of
$62.7 million for DiscoverOrg and $17.7 for Zoominfo.
Revenue growth for both companies is strong. DiscoverOrg has made the Inc. 5000 list for eight straight years and Zoominfo for the past four years. Debtwire indicated revenue growth figures of 26% and 30% over the past two years for DiscoverOrg with revenue hitting $152 million in 2018. Zoominfo has grown at an even faster pace over the past two years with growth rates of 63% and 44%. Thus, Zoominfo revenue grew from $39 million in 2016 to $91 million last year.
Based on the
Debtwire revenue numbers for 2018 and historical revenue figures from the Inc.
5000 list, DiscoverOrg had a seven-year CAGR of 61% and Zoominfo of 34%. Zoominfo’s
growth rate is mostly organic while DiscoverOrg’s organic seven-year CAGR,
after adjusting for RainKing revenue, is around 53%.
firms are strongly complementary. Zoominfo provides the deepest set of
B2B emails and direct dials with content mined from email signature
blocks. DiscoverOrg offers deep technology profiles (technographics and
project plans) alongside human verified bios (skills, responsibilities,
education, work histories, emails, direct dials, and social links), org charts,
and company profiles. DiscoverOrg’s human verification supports a 95%
data quality SLA for its contacts. Zoominfo’s Datanyze acquisition
provides DiscoverOrg with additional NLP tools for determining products and
vendors alongside market share analytics tools for marketing and competitive
data is rapidly changing and your data platforms must be built to adapt,” said
Zoominfo CEO Derek Schoettle in September. “ZoomInfo has the largest,
most complete data set of companies and contacts and a goal to enable our
customers to automate, process, curate, and present the data on-demand and in
real-time. Delivering industry-leading technographics, the Datanyze technology
will be a significant addition to help us deliver the right data, at the right
time, to the right person.”
deep, research-verified, actionable insights coming together with ZoomInfo’s
comprehensive coverage of 100M business professionals is an unrivaled combo,”
said the firm. “We each employ different, but highly advanced
technologies and tools to gather, cleanse, and maintain at an unparalleled
“To effectively capitalize on growth opportunities, companies of all sizes need accurate firmographic, technographic, contact, and intent data. Combined, DiscoverOrg and ZoomInfo deliver the trifecta: B2B data of the highest quality, quantity, and depth.”
DiscoverOrg CEO Henry Schuck
past few years, sales intelligence has moved from a standalone browser research
service for sales reps to an integrated workflow solution tied into CRMs,
Marketing Automation Platforms, Sales Engagement Platforms, Chrome Browsers,
and email. DiscoverOrg has been at the forefront of these integrations
with a broad set of platform connectors. CEO Henry Schuck emphasized
these workflow tools during the announcement. “High-quality data is the
fundamental go-to-market requirement for growth. In the near future, CRM and
marketing automation systems will be defined not by their empty-box
capabilities – but by the data that is housed inside them.”
complementary, the combined companies remain weak with respect to deep company
profiles. DiscoverOrg recently added family trees, but they are to the
subsidiary level, not branches. They also lack public company financials,
US and UK filings, SWOTs, and industry research.
DiscoverOrg acquired rival RainKing in August 2017, CEO Henry Schuck stated the
following goal, “The path to rapid revenue growth is paved with highly
accurate, actionable, and predictive sales and marketing data, and the
combination of RainKing and DiscoverOrg means that our joint customer base has
access to an extraordinary portfolio of data, contextual buying insights, and
predictive intelligence. We are building a company that is to sales and
marketing intelligence what Salesforce is to CRM.”
vision was updated today:
“Every sales and marketing team will have a go-to-market operating system that identifies the prospects that should be engaged every day, week, and month based on buying signals and intent data collected in a multitude of different ways. Even better, they have deep insights on the buyers who are making the purchase decisions with accurate contact, org chart, technographic, and firmographic data. It’s all at their fingertips and it’s all served to them dynamically – wherever they are working.”
stated that support, service, and sales for all products will continue.
Both platforms will be sold for the next six to twelve months “with highly
coordinated sales and marketing efforts to ensure customers realize the most
value from the platform(s) that best serve their needs.” In March, joint
customers will have a light integration between the two platforms followed
quickly by DiscoverOrg customer access to Zoominfo company and contact data.
combine the best of both platforms over the next year, customers will have the
best, bar-none, B2B intelligence platform -the highest quality data with the
broadest coverage and deepest actionable insights,” said the firm.
company has 15,000 active customers and 120,000 active users, with the Zoominfo
acquisition trebling the customer count.
stated that there are no plans to shutter any of Zoominfo’s locations and that
hiring will continue for all Zoominfo offices. Zoominfo has more than
doubled its staff over the past year with headcount spread over six locations:
Waltham (MA), San Mateo (CA), Grand Rapid (MI), St Petersburg (Russia), Kazan
(Russia), and Ra’anana (Israel). Zoominfo moved into a new headquarters
location in Waltham, MA just last month. The lease provides space for up
to 450 employees. Globally, DiscoverOrg has over 1,000 employees.
DiscoverOrg’s investors include TA Associates, The Carlyle Group, and 22C Capital.
Dun & Bradstreet is looking to modernize its D-U-N-S Numbering system to support
digital businesses which may not have a phone number or physical
location. D-U-N-S Numbers, which are the de facto global company numbering
system, were developed by Dun & Bradstreet in 1963 and have long captured
business locations including headquarters, subsidiaries, and branches along
with firmographics and corporate linkage. Currently, there are over 300
million D-U-N-S numbered active and inactive global businesses. But this
model fails to capture the emerging nature of digital businesses and the gig
economy. The expanded definition will shift from location to “point of
“You can be a digital business. You can be a business that
is a two-person startup right out of a coffee shop and you’re accepting PayPal
as your form of payment. That doesn’t require a physical address
anymore. You could be part of the gig economy. You can be an Uber
driver. You can have an Airbnb property. Those don’t necessarily
fit under the mold of traditional businesses,” said Saleem Khan, Digital Leader
of Data Innovation at Dun & Bradstreet.
“That idea of point of commerce subsumes everything. It subsumes the digital location. It includes things like the Internet of Things and the gig economy as well.
Saleem Khan, Dun & Bradstreet, Leader of Data Innovation
The rise of the Internet of Things also calls for a broader
definition of businesses to assist with master data management and business linkage.
“There are 11.2 billion Internet connected devices out there, half
of which are doing B2B commerce,” said Khan. “It’s a ship coming into a
port and being scanned automatically. Wouldn’t it be nice to know which
businesses are tied to that particular Internet connected device? And so,
with respect to the D-U-N-S Number, what we’re doing is moving away from
business at a physical location in favor of business at a point of commerce.”
An expanded definition also benefits government agencies and financial
services companies which often require D-U-N-S Numbers for business
verification (e.g. anti-money laundering, know your customer), sub-contracting,
and credit and supplier risk analyses.
Tim Baskerville, Chairman of Rhetorik Global, noted that the consolidation dance is likely to continue:
“These days in the data/AI space It’s something like a high school dance. Players on the main dance floor are strutting to prove they’re attractive acquirers, whether it’s a football hero preening in front of envious fans or a second-string guy trying to lure a niche player who has a valuable point solution. The musical chairs game is underway, and everybody except the most nimble fear they’ll be left without a chair when the music stops. The catchword is “scale,” and not many have it. The deals announced recently are a tiny fraction of what’s being discussed out there, and both the money people and the operators are scrambling to figure out who is predator and who is prey. Some will be both. Check back in 24 months and our world will look very different.”
Next week I’ll be discussing the two Technology Sales Intelligence deals (Zoominfo acquiring Datanyze and HG Data acquiring Pivotal iQ).
Technographics, which were a relatively small segment five years ago, have grown rapidly and are in the midst of a consolidation phase. Three years ago, DiscoverOrg acquired iProfile and then picked up RainKing last August. This week, HG Data acquired London-based Pivotal iQ, Zoominfo acquired Datanyze, and DiscoverOrg rebranded.
Both acquisitions expand the scope of coverage of the acquiring firms. Zoominfo had limited technographics prior to the Datanyze deal and now holds a deeper set of technographics along with analytics and visualization tools. HG Data has expanded beyond product / vendor data to include contract and spend intelligence.
By my research, the IT sub-sector represents 18% of the sales intelligence space with DiscoverOrg in the pole position. Overall, the IT sub-sector is $170 million and it is growing faster than the overall Sales Intelligence market.
“The recent acquisition activity shows the value and appetite for technology data enrichment,” said HG Data VP of Product and Marketing Kineon Walker. “This consolidation cycle is happening as new companies continue to enter the space. As technology data continues to evolve and become more valuable to businesses of all sizes, we expect this sector to continue to grow and flourish.”
What we are seeing is the transition of technographic intelligence from a delighter five years ago to a must have content set for sales and marketing intelligence products. Ten years ago, it was contacts and SMBs that made this transition. Eight years ago it was sales triggers. Four years ago it was emails and direct dials. Now it is technographics.
Next up it may be third-party intent data and the integration of first-party visitor intelligence into more sophisticated lead scoring and prioritization.
I will be covering both acquisitions over the next few days.
It only took twenty-five years, but Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports are finally available through the Library of Congress. Members of Congress have long released the reports to third-party databases, but now the reports are available directly from the Library of Congress. As the research is paid for by taxpayers and conducted at the behest of Congress, limited access to this research has long been an affront to legislative transparency.
According to their FAQ, the CRS is “a federal legislative branch agency located within the Library of Congress, [which] serves as shared staff exclusively to congressional committees and Members of Congress. CRS experts assist at every stage of the legislative process — from the early considerations that precede bill drafting, through committee hearings and floor debate, to the oversight of enacted laws and various agency activities.”
CRS research is non-partisan and takes a multi-perspective approach to current issues and legislation. Reports are both on demand and anticipatory. “CRS approaches complex topics from a variety of perspectives and examines all sides of an issue. Staff members analyze current policies and present the impact of proposed policy alternatives.”
CRS services include reports on major policy issues; tailored confidential memoranda; briefings and consultations; seminars and workshops; and expert congressional testimony.
“With public policy issues growing more complex, the need for insightful and comprehensive analysis has become vital. Congress relies on CRS to marshal interdisciplinary resources, encourage critical thinking and create innovative frameworks to help legislators form sound policies, reach decisions on a host of difficult issues and address their constituents’ concerns and needs. These decisions will guide and shape the nation today and for generations to come.”
Congressional Research Service FAQ
The CRS database was included in The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. “We worked closely with Congress to make sure that we had a mutual understanding of the law’s requirements and Congress’ expectations in our approach to this project,” said Carla D. Hayden, Librarian of Congress.
As governmental work product, CRS research is not subject to copyright. Thus, CRS research may be broadly disseminated without permission. However, some research may contain copyrighted third-party images or material.
The new website provides the same search functionality as Congress and is keyword searchable. Full-text searching is available along with filtering by topic, date, author, and additional keywords.
North American Sales Intelligence Market Sizing Model (Excel)
The 2017 Market Size of North American Sales Intelligence Vendors. Includes vendor product features, market share, and notes. GZ Consulting Copyright 2018.
For the past few years, I have been sizing the North American Sales Intelligence Market. This is the largest of the markets as Europe and AsiaPac are more fragmented (the UK is the only other mature market).
In 2017, I estimated the market at $950 million with LinkedIn Sales Navigator as the top vendor. While new firms continue to enter, the top four vendors earn two of every three dollars in the industry. The top four concentration increased 7% last year, mostly due to the acquisitions of Avention and RainKing.
The industry grew 17% over the past year with the majority of this growth being captured by LinkedIn Sales Navigator, DiscoverOrg, and Zoominfo. TechTarget, which was off my radar in 2016, has also seen rapid growth in 2017 and 2018.
DiscoverOrg acquired RainKing at the end of August 2017 so two-thirds of its revenue was recognized as RainKing and one-third as part of DiscoverOrg. Combined, the two firms earned around $118 million least year with DiscoverOrg ending the year with a $130 million plus ARR. DiscoverOrg raked in two of every three dollars within the technology sales intelligence sub-segment.
LinkedIn holds a nearly 30% market share. It has grown rapidly while remaining under the radar of its peers as it is often used as a complementary service to other sales and marketing intelligence services.
Data.com’s 2017 revenue was stable but Dun & Bradstreet forecasted a 30% drop in 2018 (D&B is a revenue share partner on the service). I anticipate that much of this revenue will shift to other vendors in 2018 and 2019. Dun & Bradstreet is in a strong position to take much of this share, but other vendors are pushing hard to acquire Data.com clients.
Zoominfo was ahead of the other sales intelligence vendors in recognizing the value of adding marketing functionality alongside their sales tools. This has put them in a strong position for data services. They also built the deepest set of global contacts with emails and direct dials and were early to build out connectors (CRM, MAP, Sales Engagement, and Chrome).
I am making my market model available for license (See PayPal button at top) as an Excel spreadsheet. It includes revenue numbers by company along with market share, key features, and notes.