XooxleAnswers’ Top Ten Business Research Tools

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Alibaba.com is the best B2B tool for finding international manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and importers. If you’re looking to buy or sell toys, electronics, clothes, chemicals, machinery, or pretty much anything else that’s part of international commerce, Alibaba is the best place to get started.

This is not a simple tool to master, and your best bet is to dive in and start searching for whatever it is you need. Alibaba.com’s New User Guide is useful for getting started.

Anyone can list themselves as a seller at Alibaba, so it’s important to practice due diligence, and get to know who you’re (potentially) dealing with.

Alibaba’s listings are international in scope. But if you’re looking for a source in China, take advantage of Alibaba.com’s Gold Supplier listings of Chinese companies — I’ve found these to be a reliable and generally trustworthy source of information.

The B2B world is far from perfect — it is still far too difficult to match buyers and sellers, and to find reliable information on who manufactures what, where they are, and what their track record is. But Alibaba.com goes a long way to making the process more manageable, and thus it has earned it’s ranking as the #3 site in XooxleAnswers’ list of Top Ten Business Research Tools for 2012.

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