Newfound Status

Now that entrepreneurs are getting respect on par with big companies, you can also expect to get more junk mail. That's because Trans Union LLC, one of the biggest credit information companies, has begun matching the names of 5 million small-business execs with information about their income, spending, credit--and home addresses.

Such information, compiled from more than 60 sources, is a gold mine for direct marketers, many of whom are small businesses themselves. The goal is to help them find good business-to-business prospects, on the theory that the buying habits of small companies will reflect the habits of the people who run them. The idea is to reach you at home, where there's no gatekeeper to screen your mail or phone calls.

What about your privacy? The raw databases are supposedly all public. But Trans Union does provide a spot on its Web site (, where you can get your name deleted. (Want to buy the list? It'll cost you anywhere from 1 cents to 30 cents per head, depending on the level of detail.)

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