Monitoring Your Competitors

Staying on top of your competitor’s, or friend’s, actions can help you adjust your own roadmap. Read this little story to learn how.

Monitoring my niche

I used to work on a small productivity tool called Code Dog, a Slack Pull Request reminder for GitLab and BitBucket. Naturally I’ve configured Syften to help me with my marketing as well as with a little spying on Pull Panda. Pull Panda is a similar product for GitHub ran by a mr. Abi Noda. These were my filters:

// code dog  
"code dog"  
slack gitlab  
slack bitbucket  
"pull panda"  
"abi noda"  
site:indiehackers.com author:abinoda  
site:news.ycombinator.com author:abinoda

This provided me with a stream of information allowing me to stay on top of my niche. As me and Abi were not in competition I could also observe and learn what worked for him and what did not.

In addition to that I wanted to see what’s going on in the Slack bot world, so I added an extra rule:

// misc  
site:indiehackers.com "slack bot"

A challenger appears

I’ve forgotten all about my filters and went back to coding when just a week or two later I saw this among my matches:

Sounds familiar. A quick glance at the website reveals that mr. confact is working on a “Slack bot for Gitlab Merge Request reviews”. Exactly what Code Dog does. Maybe he saw how awesome Code Dog was and decided to copy it. Or more realistically, he never knew that it existed. In any case, I better keep an eye on him, I’ve expanded my filters:

// code dog  
...  
site:indiehackers.com author:confact  
mergecrush

A new Syften alternative

Why shouldn’t I at least consider this guy’s ideas? After all, great artists steal. I found this potential new player by monitoring old, bigger players:

// Syften  
awario

Tracking Reddit ads

It’s worth mentioning that Reddit Ads are just promoted posts and will show up among your results just like a regular post would.

Summary

To stay on top of your niche make sure to monitor the product names and URLs of your competitors and those in a similar, but not necessarily competing market.

Learn their account names on social news sites and track those too. The easiest way to do that is to search for the URL of their product and examining the people who posted it.

If you work in a small niche it’s possible to monitor it in its entirety. Keep your finger on the pulse.

Resources

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