By Joe Stoddard. Chalk it up to either an idea that was too far ahead of its time or another Internet "solution" looking for a problem. Either way, the viability of online permit services seems to be fading fast. Most recently NetClerk, which had a library of 30,000 permit forms for 2,000 locales, was acquired by Chicago-based Builders Information Group (BIG Co.), and will be morphed from an online permit engine into a data mining operation. In exchange for revealing information about their projects that will be sold to any willing buyer, contractors will receive "free telephone help" with the permitting process. Whoopee.