I notice that EDGAR Online has discontinued its more feature-modest cousin, FreeEDGAR. Here is what a notice on the FreeEDGAR site says:

Since 1995, FreeEDGAR has provided millions of SEC filings to individual investors, professionals, students and journalists. As a service of EDGAR Online, Inc., FreeEDGAR’s basic functionality allowed our visitors to experience the power of our premium services including EDGAR Online Pro.

As we have expanded the functionality in our EDGAR Online Pro product significantly over the last year we are no longer continuing to support the FreeEDGAR website.

I wrote about these sites in the second edition of my book, The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web, awarding them my highest rating of five stars. Here is what I said in my book:

Another top-notch destination for EDGAR research is EDGAR Online, although it suffers from a confusing case of multiple personality disorder. Several years ago, EDGAR Online, a subscription-based service, purchased Free Edgar, a free service, and then added IPO Express, a related but still different service. If you go to EDGAR Online, you find no mention of Free Edgar, but go to Free Edgar and you find yourself frequently directed back into EDGAR Online. A visitor can become exhausted trying to sort through the differences between the sites, because nowhere on either site are the differences clearly explained.

As one might expect, the differences are in price and features. EDGAR Online requires a subscription, currently priced at $44.85 a quarter, while Free Edgar is, as the name suggests, free. Free EDGAR allows searches by company name and ticker symbol and shows the current day’s filings. EDGAR Online allows more sophisticated full-text concept and keyword searching of the EDGAR database. Both services formerly offered a personalized, e-mail alert called Watchlist, but now that is available only through the paid service. In addition, EDGAR Online’s “My EDGAR Online” feature allows you to create a portfolio of up to 25 companies, tickers, industries, regions and types of SEC data to track, with real-time e-mail notification of new filings matching your criteria.

EDGAR Online differs from its free cousin in these other extras:

  • Word processing and spreadsheet capabilities that allow you to take data from any SEC document and import it into a Word, WordPerfect or Excel document.
  • A hard copy option, providing printed, bound copies of any EDGAR filing, delivered to your office overnight.
  • IPO Express, delivering e-mail notification of new public offerings.
  • EDGAR Online People, for researching corporate directors and executives. Type in a name and obtain the person’s salary, stock options, history of insider trading, and other information.
Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.