Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 3.227.249.234

Forum Moderators: phranque

What are your competitors doing right now?

Anything worth learning from? waste of time? copying you?

     
3:56 pm on Oct 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GT 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 30, 2006
posts:1613
votes: 163


I'm still creating content and posting. Never worried about competitors but I had a close call, someone did something better than me but this guy is not alone, it's something different to compete this way -a team- vs a one man band. Most competitors tried to emulate what I was doing on my largest site, many asked in forums what kind of CMS I was using, etc. And some copied my content and pictures, the worst modified the text so far you can tell it was based on my content but too far to build a copyright complain.

Part I. I tried to build a team but failed. Creating quality content is difficult, expensive and time consuming. I managed to create good content but not as fast as to post daily, I also manage other websites. Friends who had potential proved a failure because couldn't learn the skills, it's like teaching someone how to trow a basket ball but not worth the time to watch them because it's not entertaining. Hired people but seemed worse to me (personal experience), you have to train people and risk sharing your experience and skills, only to (most times) watch them go away. During my years at the media company I watched them trying to succeed in the areas I was doing great on my own websites, only to fail. Hired (experienced) writers took around a year to get where needed. I couldn't afford this myself, paying for this? no way. And so I got back at being just me writing the stuff, good, great results, after all it took me years to learn what I know (and still have many things to learn, the web is in constant change) I'm not where I would like to be in those terms.

And so one of my competitors took higher risks, this guy managed to get money from investors and bought a big domain that for years was on sale. Expensive stuff, needed? that would be a separate discussion, some domains are expensive for valid reasons. And so he got a team together and manages to post good stuff, faster, and climbed the search engine positions to the point that this affected mine.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Part II. Copying but not copying. Like other competitors this guy started copying my content but so highly modified it would be difficult or impossible to build a copyright claim. Surprisingly many of their notes had research credits including masked links to my website (shortened urls). It's interesting because in many ways my content helped them. And they used pictures from web galleries posting the corresponding credits but NEVER one of mine. Why? already had an issue with his brother stealing my content and I went after him. Well they learned their lesson. I guess using my content and pictures would be too obvious, not to mention I use watermarks on my images making this more difficult.

After a while I stopped posting (wrong attitude and questionable strategy) but it was frustrating seeing derivations of my content being posted. Yet... it was fun to see they struggle to find new content, new sources, sure it made their "work" more difficult.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Part III. The challenges of growing, can you do it fast enough?. For quite sometime I went against myself for failing in terms of business because I couldn't grow fast enough. I witnessed what a competitor would as close to what I was doing with more resources and thought "damn, I failed to see the potential there". I learned my lesson (did I?) but I don't think growing that way is the way to go, sure there was potential back then, there must be potential right now, what would I do now? surprisingly: I will keep doing things the same way because new lessons appeared on the map.

    If someone asked me what's the web I would explain it's a network, etc. But if some webmaster (web...master) asked me the same question I would say the web, the internet, it's not a network, it's a moment. Blink... it's gone.


Part IV, the 10 secrets to... make it big on the web. Well not exactly. Growing fast and big, risking time and money that way doesn't sound as my personal goal, and so I'm happy with my lifestyle. I still sometimes have small issues looking back and thinking about the challenges or delegating and hiring people, having a medium size team, etc. Sure I don't change my lifestyle for that one being in constant meetings.

Besides... this 2019, this big competitor is not doing so great. What are your competitors doing?, this one, the largest one now copies content on a daily basis, low quality content (news, events) posted everywhere. Media news and PR (public relations releases) that's cheap. Sure they invested big on FB reaching 1M likes but it's pure smoke. And now their main content is based on "10 places to drink beer", or "5 webmaster forums" and stuff like that, purely stealing bits and bits of content from other sites and building one page with those bits.

I thought the lessons were over, I guess there are many things to learn from that place... but it seems I'm still for a show (I mean, about to watch an interesting show).

So, what are your competitors doing right now?
4:10 pm on Oct 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Dec 11, 2013
posts:383
votes: 110


1. Create fake "reviews" websites that post fabricated "reviews" of their own network of sites with the highest ratings.

2. Buy links on failing, but established media sites (especially on their "blogs" that are nothing else but spam keyword articles).

3. Create fake "sponsorship programs" to get links from non-profit organizations.

4. Point automated scripts that search for your domain and keywords on Google, visit the site, and quickly bounce-back to increase your site's bounce-rate.

5. Scan and scrape your entire site and post a full copy on free subdomains to create duplicate content issues.

6. Write false "About Us" pages and manufactured credentials on social media sites to boost their credibility.

7. Pretend to be a "dissatisfied customer" by posting fake reviews of your business on different "established" review sites (Google raters are supposed to read such reviews and believe them).

8. Buy "endorsements" from popular social media accounts for mentioning their domain on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook etc.

9. Submit false DMCA requests to remove your pages from Google.

10. Steal your content by using automated translators and posting it in foreign languages on free hosts (sometimes with ads on it).
8:41 pm on Oct 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from CA 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 25, 2003
posts:1339
votes: 438


My sites are basically in maintenance mode, which still requires occasional new page content, more frequently page updating. I also never worried about competitors albeit would check in once or twice a year to see if one or another had had a bright idea; mostly they continue being interchangeable bog standard blah.

Scraping/copying has been a continuing problem; less than it might be due to rather robust bot blocking. Still, I send copyright infringement notices, including DMCAs, pretty much daily and take court action once or twice a month.
Note: Happily, to date, collected judgements cover costs.


Creating quality content is difficult, expensive and time consuming.

Yup.

I chuckle when I read all those webdev/SEO posts about 'quality' long form article writing in miraculously short time frames. Many/most folks who actually do create such work require one to four days. Text only; add time for original imagery, graphics, media... The real deal is severely human labour and creativity intensive.

Sadly, SEs are unable to directly discern quality so that while the average query return 'quality' tends to rise over time actual quality and it's faux variants get lumped together; it's just that the bottom threshold gets levelled up now and again to the dismay of the minimalists caught out (and the regrettably ever present false positives).

While still rare and mostly still at a research level there are various inter/over locking automation methodologies, however such knowledge, tools, and skill sets are bleeding edge proprietary not off the shelf accessible.


Part II. Copying but not copying. Like other competitors this guy started copying my content but so highly modified it would be difficult or impossible to build a copyright claim.

Yup.

Fortunately, while highly irritating, such scrape and mash sites tend to have fairly short half lives. Unfortunately, their sheer number can oft negate that solace.


Part III. The challenges of growing, can you do it fast enough?. For quite sometime I went against myself for failing in terms of business because I couldn't grow fast enough.

I was fortunate, being right place with right stuff at right time, to grow far bigger far faster than initially expected (than even imagined possible). That said what I consider of critical importance is that, as I did/do not have the intention of building an empire nor of selling out1, is that I did not grow beyond being a one man2 business.

1. Initially I developed in twice as many niches as practicable so timely selling of half both raised capital for expansion adventures in remaining and removed major time sinks.
2. I have and still do contract out some stuff such as imagery and multimedia production to specs. But I have no desire for employees or similar responsibilities.

Note: I tell folks that the web is the GUI of the Internet. :)


Part IV, the 10 secrets to... make it big on the web. Well not exactly. Growing fast and big, risking time and money that way doesn't sound as my personal goal, and so I'm happy with my lifestyle.

As previously mentioned I have made it far bigger far faster than I ever imagined. That aside, software leverage allows scaling not possible for a sole proprietor in a B&M world. One gets to not only be owner but also author, illustrator, editor, publisher, customer interface et al reaping the ROI of each albeit at a still severe cost of time.

Balancing my preferred lifestyle (simple but comfortable with family and friends; budget desserts and luxuries first!) against the continuing whack-a-mole opportunities I keep encountering in webdev space, I do tend to get distracted by obsessions... The serious competitors to that lifestyle are my own fascinations and imaginings that lead me astray without a Tardis or modified DeLorean or Wellsian machine to regain such lost to temptation time...

So, what are your competitors doing right now?
Chasing Google down that SEO rabbit hole...

<afterthought>
Actually some of them are enterprise sites to whom I sell direct ad space; sometimes also have an affiliate relationship... Keep your friends close, and your competitors closer. :)
10:27 pm on Oct 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 29, 2005
posts:10457
votes: 1091


My competitors? Falling flat, most of them, waiting for me to provide another "creative direction" as they slobber all over themselves re-hashing same old same old ...

And churning dollars with a work force and VC capital.

I keep my "content reveals" on an unpredictable schedule ... just for fun! Generally takes "them" a week to ten days to "spin it" ... by that time my content has the "authority" ... even if the thundering herd ends up diluting it in the weeks and months following. The spin masters generally fail at #1 ... I only file DCMAs when the content is patently MINE (keeps costs low).

What I have observed is the users are getting a bit smarter. Are they learning to see the game? I suspect some are, but it really is a numbers game and reliance on the instant gratification the average user seeks.

That said, protect your content as needed, and be the best there is ... and if your genius is in coming up with CONTENT the users want keep that going, as "NEW" is the best place to be.

I have noted that all too often the "big houses" with all those salaried folks tend to be dumber in user engagement as there are often too many cooks for the broth.

YMMV

.
4:28 pm on Oct 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User

5+ Year Member

joined:June 30, 2011
posts:23
votes: 2


Buying up old sites that have crashed and merging them into super sites.
9:26 am on Oct 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 30, 2019
posts: 96
votes: 17


Hello-

I look at my "competitors" to find out what I should NOT do. I mean, I focus to produce original sites and contents. So, to try to pop out from the crown, I am looking at what others, in my niche, are doing, and I try to do something different. I am not trying to copy them, which, in my opinion is pointless, there are already too many sites looking the same, or being very similar in their content or even in their page layout. When this happens, then , it's not surprising that Google ranks sites "randomly" (seems to), it doesn't really matter to which site visitors are sent, since they'll find the same thing in all of them.