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How to approach a competitor or not?
Help, I'm stuck
jimbo_mac

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 9:44 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Lets say my site is about selling houses. I started a doorway page a few months ago (lets call it my lawnmower page). After a lot of tweaking here and there I am getting respectable traffic from my lawnmower page on a few keywords.
Being happy with the results, I thought about adding an opt-in email subscribe service to build a db and in return try and sell the subscribers as well as advertisers a service. I also have an add a site link for sites involving houses but not lawnmowers.

Today, I received an email from one of my future competitors asking to be listed on my lawnmoweres page!!!!
Future, I say, because they are doing exactly what I am planning to do.

How would you approach this?
Thanks in advance for any advice.

jimbo_mac

 

Nick_W

WebmasterWorld Senior Member nick_w us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 9:50 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Go ahead and list them, they'll be a competitor anyway. Might as well have them where you can see them. It will also allow you to monitor what you're sending them and possibly tweak here and there...?

Nick

jimbo_mac

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 9:55 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Tweak here and there
Hhhhmmmm, now you have got me thinking :)

hurlimann

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 9:59 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Don't list unless you can gain more than he gains.

jimbo_mac

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 10:15 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>>Don't list unless you can gain more than he gains.

Thanks Hurlimann, I was thinking along the same lines - wasn't sure if I could somehow turn it into an advantage :)

Key_Master

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 10:21 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Some of my best allies on the net are competitors. I would consider offering to exchange links with them.

hurlimann

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 10:29 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

>wasn't sure if I could somehow turn it into an advantage.

Maybe you can. Think offline would you promote them in your store or brouchure?

fathom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 10:30 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Actually I believe... keep your friends close and your enemies closer!

Competitors that is!

List and see where it leads.

If your competitor gains more than you do, he should realize this as well and this is valuable leverage.

Breaking the link at some future point will have the competitor asking for it back and now you have the leverage.

If nothing materializes, then you have lost nothing!

hurlimann

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 10:44 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Do McDonalds promote Burgerking.
Do M&S promote House of Fraser.
Do Coke promote Pepsi.

or of couse does Microsoft promote Linux.

dcheney

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 10:49 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Do Coke promote Pepsi.

Maybe not, but Pepsi sure likes to use the Coke name a lot. (i.e. taste comparisons, etc.)

jimbo_mac

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 10:56 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

I would agree with hurlimann's on that.
Do McDonalds promote Burgerking.
Do M&S promote House of Fraser.
Do Coke promote Pepsi.
or of couse does Microsoft promote Linux

Fathom, I would agree and disagree on your points.

>>>If nothing materializes, then you have lost nothing!
Disagree.Your competitor has gained sales?!?! for nothing from you, as well as free advertising.

>>>Breaking the link at some future point will have the competitor asking for it back and now you have the leverage.
I have to agree with that point.

jimbo_mac

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 11:03 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thank you all for all your answers and the valuable advice.

jimbo_mac

volatilegx

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 11:06 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't link to him unless he provides a reciprocal link. Also, keep in mind that such linking can be good for both competitors. If you're selling advertising and collecting names for a list, it doesn't hurt you that people on your list visit your competitor's site. Also, you could get some traffic from his site. I don't see how you can lose if you get a recip. link.

fathom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 11:17 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

The use of corporate giants really don't fit into this equation, so they are really non-relevant.

Why? I doubt jimbo_mac has a similar corporate structure such as marketing budget and branding power as these companies nor do I believe the competitor has a similar design.

Question #1

Do you have a 1% "global" market share?

If the answer is no the international examples don't apply.

Honestly, these giants spend 100's of millions of dollars on market "each" in an attempt to capture more market share!

I don't think jimbo_mac and his potential competitor are a serious threat.

So...

If your small and rather insignificate in the global market and your "local" competitor wherever that may be is the same, then assisting each other to both grow which, IMO is better than letting sales go to someone who doesn't know me from ADAM!

Leverage is everything!

buckworks

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 11:31 pm on Jun 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Try the link exchange and see how it works. You'll still be competing with each other, but if you do things right you'll both rank a little higher than before against 67,315 other potential competitors.

These days "survival of the fittest" includes "survival of the most co-operative."

Reflect

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 12:51 pm on Jun 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I did just this but a step further. The company that I did this with was in the same industry but I knew what I sold and what they sold where different customer bases. I actually gave them a full page, using my site template/images, I let them craft their own text even. They let me do the same thing, my content though was extremely optimized. I even gave them the file name and title name. After the SEs this site ranks highest for giving me converted traffic. She states the same. Win, win.

Brian

4eyes

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 1:38 pm on Jun 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Do McDonalds promote Burgerking.
Do M&S promote House of Fraser.
Do Coke promote Pepsi.
or of couse does Microsoft promote Linux

Irrelevant - they would if they could get more customers by doing it. Cartels are illegal in most countries, but on the net a 'search engine cartel' can work to benefit the ranking of both sites and disadvantage other competitors.

A better analogy would be:
"would MacDonalds and BurgerKing cooperate to prevent another burger chain from opening up on the same high street"

D*mn right they would

hurlimann

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 11:17 pm on Jun 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

fathom and 4eyes it is not irrelevant: I use the multi nationals as the examples because we all know them but it applies equally to a mom and pop operation.

We don't have 1% of the "global" market share but do have a significant UK market share. We are not ever going to link to a true competitor in any meaningful way.

Of course I agree the multi's cooperate but they don't promote each other.

brotherhood of LAN

WebmasterWorld Administrator brotherhood_of_lan us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 411 posted 11:29 pm on Jun 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

take the link, and make him aware of all the beautiful PR gains he will have.

Blah him something about advertising then you may get to know his future plans.

Just bear in mind that your the established one, when this guy is relatively new - he must need you more than you need him! But I'm sure some choice keywords in the hyperlink may help you some.

Maybe you could even put his link in javascript. If he notices it then you know your dealing with someone with considerations in mind! :)

fathom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 12:03 am on Jun 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

In this context though hurlimann, 1,025,000 companies linking to Amazon.com are wrong?

Would this be classed as a "true competitor".

Wouldn't Toy R Us be a true competitor to Amazon.com

Isn't IBM a true competitor to Microsoft.

Seem like the best partners and alliances are formed based on "true competitor" status.

When you are offline your competitors are generally within your local reach (and their local reach).

Online the local reach is global.

Personally I would prefer competing in the top 10 on a term with a company that is a true competitor but has a relationship with me than competing with one the had nothing to do with me.

In other words the less "orphan" I am the more reach I have.

True competitors are great and I'll link to them any day since most others won't and my reach grows faster and further than yours and theirs... my original comments inferred LEVERAGE!

4eyes

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 411 posted 8:21 am on Jun 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

fathom and 4eyes it is not irrelevant: I use the multi nationals as the examples because we all know them but it applies equally to a mom and pop operation.

OK

Should 'Mom and Pop Brown' combine forces with 'Mom and Pop Smith' to prevent 5 other Mom and Pop businesses from opening up on the same street selling the same product?

If you link selectively with the right competitors you can make it very difficult for others to move into the top ten in the SERP.

Its not right for every market, and may not be right for jimbo_mac's particular circumstances, but to close this door in every case is to allow the smarter competitors to leapfrog your ranking.

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