Researching a U.S. Company

There are several publicly accessible “deep web” databases with records on U.S. companies. The records are especially interesting because, by nature of being deep web databases, one cannot find these records in these databases by simply googling for them. Furthermore, the records are usually verified, legitimate information, which is of course not always true of things on the Internet.

Company Registration

US companies register with the state government and this registration is most easily discovered by using Open Corporates . The individual states maintain deep web databases that are full of company registrations. To avoid the trouble of finding all of the databases, you can use Open Corporates. This site allows one to search the name of a person or a company and then Open Corporates searches the various state registries at a once. Open Corporates also searches for other registrations, including trademarks.

Additional Records

Publicly traded companies must file additional records on a regular basis. This is topic too extensive for this post, but the basic information is that the US Securities and Exchange Commission maintains a public database called EDGAR (the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system).

If one is interested in a publicly traded company/corporation, you can start by searching for its name in EDGAR and looking at the most recent document titled “Annual Review.”

This document includes several pages of information largely in financial-speak, but for the amateurs it includes names and senior company officials and recent company developments such as court cases.

Past Illegal Activity

A good way to evaluate a company is to see if it has conducted any actions violating laws or regulations. The Violations Tracker is a single source that queries a plethora of US government databases identifying companies that violated local or national regulations.

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