For IT executives with little time to kill, having access to more information than ever before is often a case of winning the battle but losing the war. Finding information about competitors, prospective customers, or even their own personal stock portfolio needs to be quick and easy without a lot repetitive search-engine queries and fruitless link clicking.

Hoover’s Inc.’s, based in Austin, TX, is a fitting Web destination for professionals with little time to conduct long, drawn-out searches. For busy IT executives willing to pay an annual subscription fee, Hoover’s offers several online features and benefits.

Range of features is organized into navigational tabs based on six subject groups:

  • Companies and Industries
  • Money
  • Career Development
  • News Center
  • Business Travel
  • Purchasing Center

Although the News Center, Money, and Business Travel tabs are fine resources, the information these sections offer is fairly ubiquitous across many of the popular news or portal Web destinations such as CNBC, CNNfn, Yahoo, etc. If’s features have a differentiating characteristic, it’s their attempt to narrow travel-related information to dining and lodging in and around city business corridors. For example, if you’ve got a meeting in San Diego’s “Biotech Beach” area with prospective clients, you can do a search in the city for that specific area to get a list of close, reputable restaurants.

Expansive industry databases
What really sets Hoover’s apart is its repository of company and industry information. According to Hoover’s, its staff makes hundreds of updates a day to the firm’s comprehensive databases on company details like officers, earnings, and any noteworthy events taking place in a company’s vertical industry space. In particular, a company or industry search will reveal information in the following categories:

  • Company Profile
  • Top Competitors
  • More Competitors
  • Competitive Landscape
  • Products and Operations By Segment
  • Financial Reports
  • News and Analysis

If you or your staff face a lot of vendor or client diligence in preparation for a big deal, chances are good that you’ll find something useful in Hoover’s Advanced Search feature.

If doesn’t offer a report that you need, it does offer quick links to firms like MightyWords, ICON Group, and other third-party providers who specialize in this kind of content and research.

Career resources
Although you might not want to broadcast that you’re conducting a job search when you should be researching competitors, does have a far-reaching job search function that accesses over 300 partnering Web sites. The site also offers a salary comparison tool and weekly career tips from an in-house career columnist.

Subscription rates
If you visit, you’ll get a glimpse of its offerings, but guest users’ access is limited. To get full access, you can expect to pay a healthy annual subscription rate based on groups of users:

  • 1-5 users: $1,800
  • 1-10 users: $2,750
  • 1-25 users: $3,750

Depending on the amount of diligence that you do, the price may be too steep for the occasional user. However, Hoover’s subscription rates are about 50 percent less than its chief competitors, LexisNexis and OneSource.

International scope
In addition to Hoover’s U.S.-based site, the company offers some of its features for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. All of these international sites are presented in the country’s official language, but the U.S. site is by far the most comprehensive. Hoover’s travel information is exclusive to the U.S.-focused site.

UI and navigation
All in all, is easy to navigate. The category tabs at the top of the pages are anchored and allow a visitor to migrate from section to section with ease. If you visit the site, you’re sure to encounter a few sidebar advertisements. However, as we researched this article, we saw no pop-up or animated ads of any kind.

If you’re interested in reading Hoover’s on the go, the site does offer its company profiles, searches, and IPO updates to wireless phones and PDAs.

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