TheOfficialBoard Corporate Boards Online

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One of the quietly emerging trends being seen in websites now is the proliferation of personal data. With social networking, blogs, Flickr images, YouTube “reality” videos, and such, there seems to be a large amount of information about people out there. What about corporations? Some sites offer a few tidbits here and there: maybe a departmental phone number, or a list of email addresses for corporate executives listed thanks to a disgruntled employee. Most, however, aren’t all that comprehensive.

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Now there’s The Official Board. It’s like the Thomas Register for government, but for corporations instead.

The top 20,000 largest corporations have complete organizational charts listed on this site. In wiki-style, it’s continually updated as things change. You can tag companies and departments for watching, getting email alerts when any change in structure or personnel is made.

Members can join for free to use the service and search for companies and the people in them. Paid subscriptions can offer deeper looks and searches into the 200,000+ executive listings on the site and those already in a company can offer data in exchange for subscription credits.

Sources for contributions are kept anonymous, which might be a good or a bad thing, depending on your perspective. It encourages users to dump their rolodexes into the system, but it lends question to the data itself. Most of the data, TheOfficialBoard claims, is vetted through verification process (part of the “wiki” in its description.)

In addition, email addresses for the execs aren’t listed, but those with emails on file can be emailed through the site. This keeps people from using the site as an email gathering source, for spam.

The best thing about this site are the charts that are built for each company or department. These can often give a clear visualization of the power relationships going on in-company and how the corporate networks in the business seem to be operating.

All in all, this is a highly useful tool for those with a need to know this sort of thing. Marketers, sales people, and those who broker complex relationship networks between corporations will find it invaluable. For most of us, though, it’s a curiosity. As an outsider looking in, it’s interesting to see (and imagine) the power plays and office politics taking place.

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