Today I got a call from D&B (Dun & Bradstreet), asking me to confirm our company’s details which they hold in a database. They asked for our company and trading name, mailing and physical address, phone and fax number, number of employees, a primary contact’s name and if that contact reports to a board. When I asked why they wanted this information she stressed that she was not asking for financial or confidential information.
She finished the call by talking about a service D&B are offering called “D&B ImageScope (TM) Plus”. For the low low price of $297.50 we could use this service to compare ourselves to others in our industry.
Hmm, I thought to myself, that sounds mightily similar to the (free) service FreshBooks is going to start offering, described by Mike in a recent blog post, and reported on by Zoli from the Office 2.0 conference.
Fred Wilson calls this phenomenon the “zero billion dollar business“:
“It describes a business, like Craigslist or Digg, that enters a market, like classifieds or news, and by virtue of the amazing efficiency of its operation can rely on a fraction of the revenue that the market leaders need to operate profitably. These zero billion dollar businesses are highly disruptive and change the economics of their industries over time.”