All About Dun and Bradstreet

Dun and Bradstreet is the keeper of the world’s DUNS numbers — a widely used system for uniquely identifying businesses, and for linking parent businesses and subsidiaries.

But D&B is much more, as it has one of the deepest, most current, and most well-respected databases on more than 100 million businesses in the US and worldwide—credit ratings, finances, executives, type of business, problem areas, contact information, and so on.

Most of what D&B has to offer is for sale, or available through subscriptions (and they aint’ cheap!), but three freebies worth knowing about are:

Dun & Bradstreet Small Business—This is a handy search function to find basic business information on virtually any reasonably-sized business (and many small businesses) in the world. Select a country, enter a business name in whole or part, and get back a basic name and address listing, and information about credit reports for sale. If you call the D&B help line at (800) 333-0505 , they are usually very good at pulling up a credit report you are considering purchasing, and letting you know what sort of information it contains.

The D&B Million Dollar Database is a one-stop source of fairly in-depth information on a few million large companies in the US and Canada, and (in the international version) the rest of the world. As D&B puts it: “Company information includes industry information with up to 24 individual 8-digit SICs, size criteria (employees and annual sales), type of ownership, principal executives and biographies…” Yeah, it’ll cost you, but it’s worth checking your local library. Many public libraries have either print versions of the database, or access to an online subscription.

Acoona is a fairly new business-oriented search engine that makes some of the Dun and Bradstreet (formerly subscription only) information available for at no charge….worth a look.

Other links to be aware of:

Dun and Bradstreet’s main page.

Wikipedia’s D&B entry.

And here’s how Yahoo Finance/Hoover’s describes them.

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