Jigsaw - The Missing Piece of the Puzzle

December 13th, 2006 | Categories: markets, networks, social media, trends

Jigsaw logoJigsaw terrorized his victims in the ‘Saw’ movies and his Internet-related twin continues to do so today. Some, including Michael Arrington in particular, absolutely abhor the company. And though most frown upon this Internet start-up, I, for one, applaud their efforts.

Contrary to popular opinion, the company isn’t evil. They identified an apparent information inefficiency and filled the niche. So what do they do? To quote the website, “Jigsaw is an online business contact marketplace”. Essentially, users can buy or trade for business contact information such as e-mail addresses or phone numbers. Some call this a breach of personal privacy and security. Others call it pure genius.

So why do I applaud this venture?

Web 2.0 is all about democratization. The new web aims to destroy information barriers. This creates accessibility for everyone. Tech executives, CEOs, and upper level management shouldn’t be considered superior to anyone. When it all boils down to it, we’re all the same species. As the historical steel wall has been pummeled, new ideas and views can now channel to the top, thereby creating a whole new business mentality and culture.

To use another popular cliche, Jigsaw has leveled the playing field. Transparency around such sought-after information should be universally accessible, allowing anyone to reach anyone else, regardless of their ’social status’.

Critics of the system cite misuse and abuse from salespeople and pesky marketing groups. Though I do see this as a downside, I truly believe that the upside more than compensates for this downfall. Furthermore, users can apply to Jigsaw to have their information removed if necessary.

From a more general perspective, verticals are quickly becoming a significant and important trend on the Internet today. Vertical search engines and marketplaces are popping up on a daily basis to fulfill the needs of different groups. So, why not a marketplace for contact information? It just makes sense.

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