A couple of weeks back, I posted a piece on Open Ratings that suggested they might be getting into a new business. Fortunately, an alert reader chimed in with a comment to my post: "Open Ratings has been in this business for many years -- at least five. It's called "Past Performance Evaluations" and they are primarily purchased by companies doing business with the government." Following the post and this comment, I reached out to Jim Lawton, who runs marketing for Open Ratings, to learn more about this supplier-paid service. According to Jim, the PPE product has been around since 1999/2000. D&B created it in arrangement with the Federal and state governments to ensure that suppliers meet performance standards. Shortly after the arrangement was created, D&B gave this business to Open Ratings, as it was a better fit with their business model. The way it works is suppliers pay to essentially have Open Ratings complete a mostly automated background check on their performance based on 10-20 references. After this research is complete, Open Ratings processes this information through its analytics engine, and if a score falls with in a certain range, the supplier is able to pay an additional sum for the rights to issue a press release.