In the flood of sourcing tools and (sometimes) cluttered marketing messages around them, one type of tools stands apart and is worth your attention. It's no replacement for LinkedIn or for job boards; it's a new concept, introduced in 2011, that can be combined with existing resources and can make a difference for some of us.
This is a new generation of People Sourcing Tools. People Aggregators are the systems that collect social data about the same professional across the web into one profile and allow the users to search within the aggregated database of these profiles.
While the idea of aggregating profiles is the same across these tools, they vary widely in: specific networks, industries, and locations they cover; numbers of aggregated profiles; quality of gluing together pieces of the same person’s profile; accuracy and freshness of the data; ease of use; search facets; advanced search syntax; correct handling of locations; supplementing the contact info for profiles; availability of export; integrating with Applicant Tracking Systems; and more.
Some tools have extra functionality (on top of people aggregation and search), as an example: sending and tracking emails; predicting when a person may be open to a job change; or giving access to a browser add-on to display the aggregated data while browsing networks. I feel that as long as the main function of aggregation and search is done right (which is a challenging task!), extra functions are not that important. Dice is the only job board where aggregation is integrated with a resume database.
Due to LinkedIn being protective of its data, it presents a challenge to all of the people aggregator developers. All of the existing tools cover software engineering in the US; many of them cover other industries and territories as well. All of these tools are paid.
Want to learn more about people aggregators? Ask the vendors for a demo.
P.S. Check out a comprehensive List of Sourcing Tools - 2014 on my blog.