By Robert Barker, Infoglide Senior VP & Chief Marketing Officer
According to Wikipedia, “disintermediation is the removal of intermediaries in a supply chain: ‘cutting out the middleman’… Buyers bypass the middlemen (wholesalers and retailers) in order to buy directly from the manufacturer and thereby pay less.” Some famous disintermediation examples are:
• Bookselling (e.g., Amazon’s long-tail marketing of millions of books online)
• Travel (e.g., Southwest Airlines selling tickets direct to consumers on the web)
• Computers (e.g., Dell selling computers direct to consumer and businesses over the internet).
Disintermediation was THE hot topic during the dot com boom, but the heady prediction that virtually every industry would be disintermediated has yet to become a reality. Nevertheless, over the past decade or so we’ve all tracked the news as one business model after another is attacked by competitors who seek a way to “disintermediate” a particular sector.
Part of the power of identity resolution solutions derives from the data sources upon which they’re based, and both the quantity and quality of data sources can affect the results. One challenging identity resolution problem we’ve written about that relies on a variety of data sources is insider trading (see Leveraging Identity Resolution Data Sources). Drawing on multiple data internal and external, public and private data sources, identity resolution unwinds multiple degrees of business, friendship, and familial relationships to uncover likely illegal stock market gains.
Now potential disintermediation plays related to data sources are emerging. CrunchBase is a well-known example, offering a free database of technology companies, people, and investors that anyone can edit. San Francisco-based CorpWatch is a non-profit engaged in “investigative research and journalism to expose corporate malfeasance and to advocate for multinational corporate accountability and transparency”. They’ve just announced an API that makes it easier to search SEC data:
“Although the SEC provides a search interface for locating company filings (EDGAR / IDEA), and the subsidiary information is not presented in a standardized format suitable for automated use or insertion into a database. The CorpWatch API uses parsers to “scrape” the subsidiary relationship information from Exhibit 21 of the 10-K filings and provides a well-structured interface for programs to query and process the subsidiary data.”
The free CorpWatch API enables identity resolution and other applications to look up the formal names of corporations, ascertain their relationships to other corporations, find their locations around the world, learn their alternate and formal names, and access other useful information. Up to now, you could only get this kind of information from relatively expensive paid subscriptions from commercial data providers.
Is it possible that the efforts of organizations like CorpWatch point to a future in which an abundance of new, free sources of data will make it even easier to create identity resolution applications?