How to Search Spoke, ZoomInfo, and Jigsaw for Free

Search smallSpoke, Zoominfo, and Jigsaw are websites that contain information on 10′s of millions of people and millions of companies. Each site has their own special method of capturing information on people and businesses. What they all have in common, however, is that while you can register and in some cases even run a few searches for free, you have to pay to really dig into their information.

So – would you like to know how to search these sites for free? 

Yes? Well you’re in luck – that’s exactly what I’m going to show you in this post.

Use Your X-Ray Vision

Searching these sites for free is actually quite simple. While the X-Ray search technique is frequently utilized to search LinkedIn and to search Twitter, it can be used to search virtually ANY site that allows Internet search engines to index their pages.  Sites like Spoke, ZoomInfo, and Jigsaw actually WANT search engines to crawl their information so when you’re on Google and search for a specific name, results from their websites come up – it’s free publicity for them and it drives people to their sites.

For example, when I search for my name on Google, on the first page of results, I find a listing for me on Spoke that’s actually ranked higher than Facebook.

Glen_Cathey_Spoke

My ZoomInfo listing shows up on Page 2, higher than LinkedIn:

Glen_Cathey_ZoomInfo

And my listing on Jigsaw comes up on Page 5:

Glen_Cathey_Jigsaw

But there is a price to be paid when you allow an Internet search engine to index your site – people can use the X-Ray search technique to search your website for free. 

X-Ray Searching Spoke

Spoke gets their data from a variety of sources - publicly available information (such as the Internet), published information, and contributed information from members. According to Spoke’s website, “Personal contact information, including direct e-mail addresses, is not made visible through the Spoke service or via the Spoke website unless a member posts it in the directory themselves.”

Be aware that information aggregated from the Internet may not be accurate or up to date. Also, don’t expect to find many direct phone numbers or email addresses when searching Spoke. However, you can search Spoke by title, industry, and location related information by city, state, and/or area code in some cases if the data is there.

Let’s say you wanted to find project managers in Maryland.

Here is a good X-Ray search string to begin with – I’m going to try and get lucky and find results with at least main phone numbers for the businesses listed:

site:spoke.com intitle:”project manager” (301 OR 410 OR 240 OR 443) (MD OR Maryland) inurl:info -inurl:index

We get 55 results at the time of the search:

Spoke_X_Ray_Search_1

Realizing that not all listings in Spoke will have a phone number, we can take the area codes out and run the search again. Be aware that Google doesn’t properly recognize the NOT operator (the minus sign) used in conjunction with a parenthetical OR statement – so we’ll have to separate all of the area codes we searched for and precede them with minus signs:

site:spoke.com intitle:”project manager” -301 -410 -240 -443 (MD OR Maryland) inurl:info -inurl:index 

 That search returns about 3910 results. To reduce the number of results to a more manageable number, we can start adding terms to refine the results. You could experiment with industry terms, technology keywords, specific cities, etc.

For example, I’m going to try to find profiles that mention defense or DoD:

site:spoke.com intitle:”project manager” (defense OR dod) -301 -410 -240 -443 (MD OR Maryland) inurl:info -inurl:index

That search returns 46 results.

Spoke_X_Ray_Search_2

Result #2 is from San Diego, CA, and result #5 is a project manager/interior designer, but most of the results are relevant. Always remember you’re X-Ray searching a site trying to target unstructured data for free – don’t expect perfect results every time.

X-Ray Searching Zoominfo

Wikipedia has a nice summary for ZoomInfo: “ZoomInfo is a vertical search engine focused on people, companies, and the relationships among them. In addition to using the public web as its source to automatically create professionally-focused summaries of the people and companies it finds, ZoomInfo has partnerships with Reunion.com and XING to provide additional data. Using natural language processing, ZoomInfo’s crawlers read English sentences. They then extract relevant pieces of information about people, such as the companies they work for and their job titles. Once ZoomInfo extracts requested data, information integration logic sifts through and organizes this data. Biographies of people found on various Web pages are assembled into summaries.”

You need to be aware that because most of the information contained on ZoomInfo is acquired by software searching the Internet for information and compiling it, not all of the information will be accurate or up to date. Having said that, ZoomInfo has information on nearly 50,000,000 people and over 5,000,000 companies – that’s a lot of information!

Let’s say you would like to find accounting managers in California, specifically in Los Angeles – you could run a search like this:

site:zoominfo.com “accounting manager” “los angeles” (CA OR California) inurl:people

That search returns 169 results.

ZoomInfo_X_Ray_Search_1

Here’s a look at the first result to give you an idea of what you can expect:

ZoomInfo_X_Ray_Search_2

I don’t see any mention of “Accounting Manager” anywhere, do you? In this case, you’ll have to either click on the “view profile” by the online sources that ZoomInfo pulled information from:

ZoomInfo_X_Ray_Search_4

Or you can simply click the “cached” version of the result on Google:

ZoomInfo_X_Ray_Search_3

As you can see, the information ZoomInfo gathered from the Internet on Mary to create her profile is quite detailed. However, Mary is not currently an Accounting Manager.

You must never forget you’re using the Internet to search for unstructured data for free – so be sure to manage your expectations. What you do get is easy access to quite a bit of data. In the case of Mary - while she’s not an accounting manager, she is a high level finance and accounting executive. If you explore the rest of the results, you will find a mix of accounting managers, directors of finance, controllers, VP’s of Finance, etc.

It does not appear to be terribly useful to try and X-Ray search ZoomInfo to find local results using area codes – so when you’re trying to find people in a specific area, I suggest targeting cities and states.  

X-Ray Searching Jigsaw

Jigsaw describes their site as “an online directory of free, downloadable Company information and more than 14 million business contacts. Every Jigsaw business Contact is complete with hard-to-find direct dials and email addresses.” You can join Jigsaw and even run a few searches for free, but in order to continue searching their site for contacts, you will either have to add contacts of your own to earn “credits” or you can simply purchase them.

Lucky for you, Jigsaw is indexed by Google and other Internet search engines, so you can search for contacts for free with some degree of reliability.

Let’s see if we can find partners with Accenture in NY:

site:jigsaw.com “co-workers at Accenture” (NY OR “New York”) partner

That search yields 57 results:

Jigsaw_X_Ray_Search_1

Diving into result #1, we can see David is listed as a Partner with Accenture in NY.

Jigsaw_X_Ray_Search_2

We also get some information on his co-workers as well as some contacts in Jigsaw with titles similar to David’s:

Jigsaw_X_Ray_Search_3

Nice, right?

Let’s shoot for people with a title including the word “manager” that work at Microsoft in Redmond, WA:

site:jigsaw.com “co-workers at Microsoft” manager Redmond WA

That search will return around 148 results:

Jigsaw_X_Ray_Search_4

In Closing

You can search sites such as Spoke, ZoomInfo, and Jigsaw for free and generate quite a few names. However, you’re searching unstructured, and in many cases old/not recently verified information on Internet data for free. There is no guarantee of the accuracy or the “freshness” of the data. Also – if you want the ability to precisely control current titles, employers and specific locations – you’ll have to pay for access to the websites containing the information you seek.

With access to LinkedIn – do you really NEED to search Spoke, ZoomInfo, and Jigsaw to find candidates and business contacts? I’m not sure exactly how much overlap there is between LinkedIn and sites like Spoke, ZoomInfo, and Jigsaw, but I am certain that there are quite a few people on the latter sites you cannot find on LinkedIn. LinkedIn profiles are created by people - most of the information on sites like ZoomInfo and Spoke is aggregated and compiled by applications drawing data from the Internet and various forms of published data. I am positive there are many people who have automatically generated profiles on Spoke and ZoomInfo that have not personally created a social media profile anywhere.

The key to being successful with X-Ray searching most websites is to experiment, experiment, experiment. If at first you don’t find what you seek, change your approach, modify your search string, and see what you get. Use alternate titles, specific companies, industry terms, and try different location criteria/terminology. In my experience, the three sites I featured in this article work best for simple title searching.

Also – pay attention to false positive results – results that mention your search terms but are not matches for what you’re really looking for, and try to modify successive searches to prevent false positives from occuring. Always remember, with this type of searching, it is nearly impossible to prevent all false positive results without comprimizing relevant results.

Happy hunting!

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About Glen Cathey

Glen Cathey is a sourcing and recruiting thought leader with over 16 years of experience working in large staffing agency and global RPO environments (>1,000 recruiters and nearly 100,000 hires annually). Starting out his career as a top producing recruiter, he quickly advanced into senior management roles and now currently serves as the SVP of Strategic Talent Acquisition and Innovation for Kforce, working out of their renowned National Recruiting Center with over 300 recruiters. Often requested to speak on sourcing and recruiting best practices, trends and strategies, Glen has traveled internationally to present at many talent acquisition conferences (5X LinkedIn Talent Connect - U.S. '10, '11, '12, Toronto '12, London '12, 2X Australasian Talent Conference - Sydney & Melbourne '11, '12, 6X SourceCon, 2X TruLondon, 2X HCI) and is regularly requested to present to companies (e.g., PwC, Deloitte, Intel, Booz Allen Hamilton, Citigroup, etc.). This blog is his personal passion and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone other than himself.

  • http://www.jobsearchforums.com Sam Diener

    WOW. Great information. Thanks!

    Sam Diener
    http://www.jobsearchforums.com

  • http://www.judson-group.com Sleuthy

    Very insightful. I learn something everytime I read one of your posts, Glen. Thanks !

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Boolean Black Belt

    Sam and Sleuthy – thanks! I’m glad you found this post helpful. Let me know if there is anything else you’d like to see me cover.

  • http://jonathanduarte.com Jonathan Duarte

    Some of the best FREE advices as always. Glen, Thanks so much.

  • Sara Chi

    Interestingly, I had a ZoomInfo Powersell demo yesterday and I must say, the paid (not cheap) Powersell version doesn’t get much better than what you’ve shown here ! ZoomInfo is a web-crawler and so it’s unstructured and very often unverified information, not sure the subscription fee can be justified in this regard; and if we want that cute “download to excel” button, it costs whopping $3,200/year just for the convenience of click ! Think it’s much more cost effective with your blog as sounding board :)

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Boolean Black Belt

    As with LinkedIn, X-Raying a site has some limitations, in terms of not being able to control some/all specific search fields. However, one has to seriously consider the cost of convenience when you can essentially search ZoomInfo and similar sites for free, as you’ve alluded to. Thank you for your comment Sara!

  • Charles

    hi
    if we can use this technique to dig email information from jigsaw?
    i tried but failed.
    anyone knows how to ?

  • http://www.cpsi-md.com Kevin Dunn

    Great info, EXTREMELY helpful. Keep the great tips coming!

  • Elizabeth Catherwood

    Great information and appreciate not only your site but also for sharing the knowledge.

    Elizabeth

  • mac

    Damn! that is great info

  • Heatherdjames

    Real easy. Jigsaw allows for sharing of contact information. You deposit email address, company name, contact name and phone number and you may withdraw a contact’s information from the system. It even allows you to see the date the contact was updated in the database last to assess it’s relevance. Cool, huh?

    Heather

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  • Mohsin

    Amazing!!!
    Thanks Mate.
    Wish I could also dig for email addresses :(

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  • chris

    Hey Glenn very informative post. Is there is a way or X ray search to find Business Schools in Michigin area only?

  • Tom Blue – Lead411

    Glen: If you want to search a people database for free, you would probably be better off using my company’s free membership. You can search by title, industry and even the titles of the job openings the company has open. This should be a good resource for your readers.