Harry Gee told me about an interesting story that appeared recently in the New York Times (April 14, 2008). "He wrote 200,000 books (but computers did some of the work)" is about Philip Parker, a professor at INSEAD and the founder of the ICON Group International, who produces books on demand using artificial intelligence that gathers publicly available information from the internet. If you don't recognize the ICON Group they are contributors to the MarketResearch.com database. Their reports cover many industries in many countries (ususally not covered by other market research firms) and focus on forecasting demand or benchmarking industry data.
Here is part of the description of a recent ICON report: "This report does not discuss the specific players in the market serving the latent demand, nor specific details at the product level. The study also does not consider short-term cyclicalities that might affect realized sales. The study, therefore, is strategic in nature, taking an aggregate and long-run view, irrespective of the players or products involved.This study does not report actual sales data (which are simply unavailable, in a comparable or consistent manner in virtually all of the cities in the United States). This study gives, however, my estimates for the latent demand..."
It's worth reading the article if you are going to demonstrate MarketResearch.com to a class.