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News & Insights

News & Insights

Whither D&B?

The recent news that Dun & Bradstreet purchased data-dealer turned data management service provider NetProspex further advances two seemingly contradictory corporate storylines for the B2B data industry’s bellwether. This may be another in D&B’s string of acquisitions designed to buy the company’s way into the future. Or, this could be a case of D&B eliminating competitors who resell competitive sources of baseline company data.

So which is it?

Previous D&B acquisitions like Hoover’s, Fliptop, and Indicee were clearly designed to buy revenues to add to the company’s top line while strengthening what the company calls “modern” sales channels (CD-ROM, the Internet, social, and the cloud). Revenues from these acquisitions weren’t huge, so they would appear to be more strategic in nature than born of any great concern that they would eat into the firm’s base of subscription and licensing revenues.

Over the last couple of years, D&B has also undertaken broad strategic efforts to maintain and extend the company’s relevance:

  • incentivized vertically oriented B2B information services to append DUNS numbers via the D&B Exchange;
  • made it easier to connect D&B datafeeds to marketing automation platforms like Eloqua;
  • added the ability to purchase D&B data to CRM platforms like (via a deal with and SugarCRM;
  • reached out to strategic analytics partners like FirstRain and LatticeEngines; and,
  • incorporated reliable, international, open source data via a licensing deal with

So will D&B’s many efforts to turn their ocean liner of data succeed? On the face of it, they’re doing all the right things. They’re moving into new delivery channels (almost always via an acquisition). They’re striking distribution deals with most of the biggest marketing data movers and shakers. They’re adding more international data. But what about their data itself? Will their formidable resources now focus on strengthening their core proprietary database? Or will they sidestep (once again) the elephant in the room and continue to build out a robust distribution ecosystem without attending to the cracks in their database business’s foundation that undermine all these investments?

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