AtoZ Databases vs. ReferenceUSA


Thanks to the many reference staff who took a look at AtoZ Databases.  Most staff feel it’s not a bad product but seems harder to use than ReferenceUSA.  We are looking at for a cost savings over ReferenceUSA.

Here are the comments from a variety of reference staff:

  • Spent a day using this instead of Ref USA.   My opinion is that it may be cheaper than REF USA but it doesn’t give the same amount of info that REF USA does.  And the info it does give, you really need to work at getting.  When you’re on the phone with an impatient patron, every second counts  :)Most importantly from a reference point of view – the results don’t show the ultimate parent company/HQ.

    I just tried finding the HQ phone number for Bank of America and Best Buy for two different patrons.  Individual record just shows company as branch, subsidiary etc. (or whatever).  No linkage to the ultimate parent company.

    I suppose we could do a targeted search for company name and headquarters, but REF USA is a lot easier to use with the up/down arrows indicating “parentage”. Other than that point, it works almost the same (has even the same look) as REF USA.

  • It might be cheaper, but I think A-Z is harder to use. If they made the query page simpler it would be a better product.
  • I conducted some searches on A to Z, and I was impressed with the comprehensiveness of results in looking up residential info. For business searches, A to Z provided adequate info, but not as much as Ref USA when it comes to corporate. In terms of speed, I noticed that A to Z seemed as slow or even slower in delivering results as Ref USA.
  • I notice if I search for “Sain” (last name; first name Betty or Elizabeth)  in AtoZdatabases,”Sain” as well as any other last name that begins with ‘Sain” (Saint George, etc.) are displayed.  If I search “Sain” in our current product, only results with last name “Sain” are displayed.
  • I have looked over the a to z databases and here are my 2 cents.  The differences between the two are on Reference USA it told whether the Executive was a man or woman.  The one thing that I do love about Reference USA is the Corp. Tree (the button the lets you look at the higher corporations of the business and the subsidiaries).  Those are just two of my observations that I have noticed between the two.
  • It looks like it does everything Ref USA does. Sounds like a good deal to me.
  • Business Searches:
    • Not as much information as Ref USA
    • Corporate linkage (parent company & subsidiaries, also brand info)
    • Not as much information on main screen, have to go in further for more detail

    Residential Searches:

    • Appears comprehensive, but have found old addresses & new address for the same individual so currency is an issue
    • Erroneous data regarding marital status, interests (however, we do not subscribe to the lifestyle demographics for Ref USA so there is no real comparison)

    Other general comments were that the product was “okay” but did not stand up to Ref USA.  CC staff go into Ref USA several times a day & our searches are very quick, with A-Z the searching was slow & we could not quickly get to the information, if at all.  These factors consumed a lot of time when we really need a product that works quickly & is thorough.  One of the staff commented that you really had to work at it to get the information you needed & half of the time, A-Z didn’t have that information available.

If anyone would like to view AtoZ databases please contact your reference department head for the login information.  If you have any other comments about the comparison of the databases please post them here so all can see them.

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8 thoughts on “AtoZ Databases vs. ReferenceUSA

  1. I found it to be fairly similar to Reference USA but there is a problem with the sorting.

    The Advanced Search was ABOUT the same. We are frequently asked for “nearbys” from one of our patrons. I did a sample search for residents who lived on Jones Road in our town and got 375 results. When I clicked on the Address tab at the top of the results (hoping to put it in chronological order and give me the nearbys) I discovered that they put all address numbers together that start with 1, all together that start with 2, etc. So, 1375 is followed by 140. 140 is followed by 1456. This was not helpful at all. Reference USA does it completely chronologically.

    Also, I noticed that I could not put in Jones ROAD because it returned nothing for me. If I left out Road, I would get 375 hits.

  2. Good review–but there have been a lot of updates to AtoZ since April. I’m a librarian in the Allentown area and I’ve been impressed by the steady improvement of AtoZ. I’d say they’re at least up to par with RefUSA now, if not better.

  3. I have used ReferenceUSA for many years. In regards to Tom’s post…you can do a reverse phone search with one click. I find the product to be very easy to use and probably throws back the most correct information out there.

  4. I really like the Quick Lookup feature. Very helpful when i was trying to do a reverse phone lookup. In ReferenceUSA, I had to do two separate searches and still didn’t find the phone number. They really need to look at their data coverage.

    I really like the look and feel. Not sure why people felt like the search is different… What about it makes it difficult to use?

  5. AtoZdatabases has over 31 million businesses and RefUSA has 13.6 million. Reason being is that AtoZdatabases has non-store front businesses, dba’s/aka’s (doing business as/also known as), seasonal businesses, LLC’s, shell/holding companies and businesses that may not have a phone number. RefUSA uses the phone books for their business listings. So, if a business is not in the phone book, they won’t be in RefererenceUSA.

    While corporate linkage is a heavily used feature, AtoZdatabases will have corporate linkage added the first week of June. ReferenceUSA does not have “true” ownership information. If you look up McDonald’s in RefUSA, it will display all the listings and link up to Oakbrook, Illinois. If you do a search in AtoZdatabases, it will show the d.b.a. name McDonalds and then display the legal name. This is “true” ownership and this is how their corporate linkage will be displayed in AtoZdatabases. I just did a search in RefUSA to compare and don’t see the corporate family tree information displayed.

    AtoZdatabases allows a universal search where you can pull both business and residential listings in one search. This is not available on ReferenceUSA.

    I did a company name search in RefUSA for Union Pacific and received over 9,000 unrelated results. Did the same search on AtoZdatabases brought back 516 accurate results in the Entire U.S. within 5 seconds.
    I did another company name search for McKinsey & Co (consulting firm) in Los Angeles, CA and wasn’t able to find it in ReferenceUSA, but did find it in AtoZdatabases.

    The residential data on AtoZdatabases is coming from multiple sources where ReferenceUSA is from white pages of telephone directories.

    I had heard that phone book companies are now charging for businesses to be listed. With this happening, there will be less business listings found in ReferenceUSA. I had also heard that ReferenceUSA’s resources are getting cut and they are not telephone verifying as often. Might want to see what the rep says about this. AtoZdatabases is superior to ReferenceUSA because of the number of businesses, more search selects, bimonthly updates and a better price due to the tight budgets.

    Finally, while speed has been mentioned, remember that AtoZdatabases is sorting through 250 million records universally and over twice the amount of businesses versus RefUSA.

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