Today everyone is trying to either save a buck or find an edge over their competition by finding new or lower cost online sites providing public records such as criminal records. When one is evaluating an online site, the typical questions often asked are “How much does it cost?” and “Is the data current?” But the questions that really need to be asked and answered are: Is ‘x’ a primary source or a secondary source? Is an online search of ‘x’ equivalent to an onsite search?
Sometimes the word-of-mouth system is a good way to find verification of a reliable online site. Sure, you can ask a colleague for a recommendation, but you are not going to obtain a full-scale analysis from a post on a social media site or list serve. And if your business depends on knowing the depth and validity of the search results when using a certain online site, you better do more than just get a referral. The resulting data is much too valuable. Firms and individuals who have taken the time to analyze the data on an online site as well as determine the rate of return for the site using certain online systems are not going to give their analysis away freely. So how do you analyze online sites?