Whether you’re a job hunter seeking to bypass corporate gatekeepers, or a small business owner trying to identify fresh marketing leads, this “double whammy” of site recommendations might come in extraordinarily handy. Representing the cutting-edge of lead generation technology available today, both the Jigsaw and Spoke sites allow users to identify millions of hard-to-find contacts at various organizations — and more importantly, to uncover the corporate e-mail addresses of these people so that you can contact them directly without your correspondence being screened or intercepted.
As you’ll note from a quick review of each site, the technology driving these resources is extremely clever, powerful, and user-friendly. The catch? Unlike many other contact-identification websites such as LinkedIn and ZoomInfo, these two sites charge monthly membership fees (unless you’re willing to trade your own contacts in exchange for others) and also contain the e-mail addresses of many people who, quite frankly, may not want this information publicly shared. Why is this the case? Because the primary method these sites use to acquire content is to vacuum up names and e-mail addresses from the contact management systems (i.e. Outlook, Act for Windows, etc.) of the members who actually join the site — and who are willing to open their electronic Rolodexes up to this sort of scrutiny.
This being the case, we’ll confess we think these sites tiptoe awfully close to the ethical line in terms of the information they offer and how they obtain it. To their credit, however, they each provide very clear disclosures about the steps they take to protect member privacy — and the “open network” concept they promote is not really all that different from how networking works in the real , non-digital world. So for better or worse, we’d encourage our readers to at least visit these two sites to learn more about them, and then arrive at their own decision as to whether these resources might be potentially useful!