Company information would appear to be a new battleground in the tech blogging space with relative new comer Tradevibes taking on the TechCrunch owned Crunchbase. As of this week (at least I've only just noticed) Tradevibes company widgets are now appearing on Mashable. So what's on offer?
Crunchbase and Tradevibes are immediately similar in the information they provide, to the point that Michael Arrington has previously described Tradevibes as a Crunchbase ripoff. It's a fair call only to a point: it's easy to argue that Crunchbase is really a well formatted free version of Killerstartups, and all share similarities to Wikipedia as well. Ultimately all are information products based on databases, and databases have been around since at least the 60s.
The key difference is in how the information both have is submitted. Crunchbase is a TechCrunch controlled database that takes user suggestions (every submission must be approved) but primarily is added to via TechCrunch employees. Tradevibes on the other hand is a user generated wiki combined with auto generated information.
People can spend hours arguing of the merits of one model or another, but it ultimately comes down to the wisdom of editors vs the wisdom of the crowd. On comparison might be Encyclopedia Britannica vs Wikipedia. TechCrunch is on the record saying they would be moving to a Wiki style model, although this was originally promised for March.Social
One definite advantage Tradevibes has is that in being generated by users it offers social features as well. Users can vote up or vote down companies (bullish or bearish) and have discussions around companies and news relating to the company. Users also get profile pages and can add companies to a watch list.
The argument against this is whether company profile information is compelling enough to support a user community. I don't have figures from Tradevibes but it would appear that the answer so far is yes, least there was a reasonable level of recent activity (25+ actions) in the hour leading to me checking the page. The site also offers forums and job boards as well.Widgets
The key battleground for Crunchbase and Tradevibes may well be with company information widgets. Crunchbase was the first to offer info widgets, but Tradevibes now offers more flexible options.
Crunchbase widget: no customization options. Does resize though to fit page
Information provided by CrunchBase
Tradevibes: customizable, with users able to remove headlines or detailed information, or even add more detailed information. For those who don't mind a little coding, there's a customization page explaining how the widget can be customized even more. The obvious negative: width isn't a variable and it presents in the one size (at least at the time of writing).
Reasons to Use Widgets
I've used Crunchbase widgets here on The Inquisitr before as a value add for readers wanting to find more information about a company featured, however one thing holding me back has been the inability to customize the widget to fit (they're rather large, and don't sit nicely on the front page). Tradevibes has width issues but I can shrink them down so they become somewhat more appealing. However both lack compelling incentives aside from offering information to your visitors to actually use them.
Crunchbase lists sites linking to each Crunchbase page in the right hand sidebar of each entry (and by linking this is 99% of the time someone using the widget) and yet the links are tagged link=nofollow in the sidebar where as the Crunchbase widget links are not: they want the Google juice but are not willing to share it back.
Tradevibes on the other hand doesn't offer automated links back, but through its community submissions does list links to relevant external content, without placing Google condoms on the links. However this is not tied into the display of Tradevibes widgets so there is no direct incentive to use one.
Where Tradevibes gets interesting is with their Mashable deal, where Tradevibes offers a co-branded page, in this case the interestingly named MashCoInfo (Pete, what were you thinking?). Mashable gets its own Crunchbase style service powered by Tradevibes and Tradevibes presumably gets more traffic and new users. I have no idea if money changed hands but I did ping Tradevibes about cobranded sites and they let me know that they are done on a site to site basis. I won't lie: it immediately has appeal as a value add for The Inquisitr, as I'm sure it may well do for other tech sites.
ConclusionI've written countless pages for Crunchbase over the last year so I immediately have a built in bias. Since leaving TechCrunch I still use the service pretty much every day and it offers a great depth of company information that is most importantly easy to find and easy to follow. However, Tradevibes is a smart setup and as a standalone, funded startup (the founders are ex-Paypal) that is only focused on their core product (as opposed to Crunchbase which is a part of the TechCrunch empire), they have the potential to become the number one destination in this space. Crunchbase will need to start offering more and soon or they risk being left behind.
Information provided by CrunchBase