What do you like best?
FirstRain has a very well thought out user interface for displaying information. This includes both textual content and graphical displays for drilling into subjects.
They cover over 200,000 companies with high precision business news. They do a good job of filtering out duplicate stories and suppressing non-business content.
The Industry taxonomy is impressive and much deeper than standard SIC and NAICs codes. This allows the user to track industries (and business topics) in a more granular manner. Unlike standard industry code structures, the FirstRain taxonomy covers emerging industries.
The FirstTweet service has a remarkably high level of precision around company and industry tweets. Tweets either directly mention the company or link to websites that discuss the company.
What do you dislike?
When deduping stories, they do not give precedence to the original story. This is particularly evident for press releases. It would be better to send the user to the press release on the company website or the Press Release service than to sites that do little more than republish other people's content.
The executive changes module is not very accurate. They need to add an editorial review team to make sure they have properly tagged the change.
Recommendations to others considering the product
While FirstRain would like to sell their service to sales reps, they do not provide sufficient company and executive depth for sales reps. Nevertheless, they make an excellent sales triggers and current awareness tool to supplement sales intelligence vendors that lack these tools.
FirstRain is well suited for competitive intelligence and strategy analysts at companies. They provide high precision news alerts and portal tools for tracking companies, industries, and key business topics.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
I use FirstRain for tracking companies and business topics. I have found the tagging precision to be quite high with few instances of false positives. I can also see which are the key topics and drill down accordingly.