Speaking of Onvia, the IPO documents sent to investors make interesting reading for customers, too. In Securities & Exchange Commission filings, the Seattle company admits that a serious security breach occurred at its Canadian operations last July. "An outside party was able to gain access to the private account information, including credit-card numbers, of some of our customers," the filing says. Records of about 20,000 customers were open for several days to anyone surfing the Web.

Onvia, an online partner of frontier, says it hired Deloitte & Touche to do a security audit and added state-of-the-art encryption gear. Sounds encouraging, but the filing nonetheless warns: "A security breach could occur again in the future." That's probably true for any Web site.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE