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Jigsaw - creating a market for contact information

Anne Ferguson, my assistant, drew this one to my attention.  The company in question, Jigsaw, is trying to create a market for contact information, using a variant of the ‘free labor’ theme I’ve written about before.  Here’s the idea:  Each member adds contact information (the more detailed, the better) into the Jigsaw database.  For doing this, members get points added to their accounts.  Members can then search for all the contacts in the database and access them for a charge of points.  When you enter a new contact, or significantly update a contact, you “own” the contract.  Whenever anybody “buys” the contact, you get a percent of the proceeds in terms of points.  For points (or payment, I presume) the company will also help create customized lists for marketing purposes. 

It’s an interesting idea—you swap your rolodex for the chance to have a peek at the information in someone else’s.  Contacts, by the way, have no choice about being entered.  I checked on my own information and found that someone had put me into the database, and I hadn’t even known it.  I’m intrigued by the combination of incentives to share private information and the benefits promised if others leverage your private information.  The “sell” on Jigsaw’s overview page says:

How Jigsaw Helps
Bypass gatekeepers. Go straight to decision makers and influencers. If you’re a salesperson, recruiter, marketer or business owner, Jigsaw will save you precious time.

Interesting that the company’s main selling point is to help people bypass gatekeepers whose job it is to protect the target contact from unsolicited communications.  One wonders how long before those who would prefer their information to remain private initiate action to get Jigsaw to remove those private contact details.

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