How can a simple call change our view of a competitor?

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Carlos Icaza, Ansca Mobile

I was in a call the other day, getting ready to bolt out of the meeting to go catch a flight to Miami. During the call (a business call, as usual) the conversation turned into the number of visitors to our site on a daily basis. It is our policy not to disclose this information for many reasons which I will not go into, but you would have an idea of what they are if you were in a similar position.

The calling party then had the gall to disclose a competitor’s number of visitors during a specific period of time. Now, I didn’t ask in any way for this information, it was volunteered. It was at this moment when I realized how keeping mum on certain company information is worth more in silence than its price in gold — that could have been our information being disclosed to a competitor of mine.

Here is where it gets interesting: I was pressured to disclose what I consider vital information for the success of our business. I continued to decline an answer to the point where the calling party thought I was nowhere near the amount of traffic this specific competitor had to our site. He was trying hard to make me cave in and disclose this information.

Secretly, I knew that our number of visitors was higher — much higher, actually, than the number the caller stated. I just didn’t know an exact figure off the top of my head.

After the call, I was left with a bitter taste both from a business call perspective and sour business practices. Goading me, at whatever cost, to get what I would consider sensitive data was highly petty and unprofessional.

Well, without sounding like I’m gloating, here’s what I’ll share:  I ran analytics of our traffic, and it took me four tries to get our data down low enough to anywhere near said competitor’s traffic. For half the time range as our competitor, our traffic was in the seven digits; cutting down our time range to a quarter, the traffic was in the six digits; cutting down our time to a month’s worth of traffic, the data was still in the six digits. Then, sarcasm kicked in and I decided to cut our time down to a four-day period — and our traffic was still higher by 27,000 new visitors!

That data blew me away.

Basically, in four days, we had as much (if not waaay more!) traffic than that competitor has had over a 12-month period!

There is a lesson here somewhere, I just don’t know what it is. Had this caller not provided me with someone else’s data either public or private, I would have not known how we fared against them. At the same time, I wish I would have not learned of their data, for I now know where we are in relationship to them. Still, that doesn’t mean we can sit on our laurels and not compete as aggressively and tenaciously as we always do. In business, one misstep and you can become a statistic and that of the dead pool. There is no way we are headed to the dead pool.

Maybe our competitor is judging from their traffic. But we certainly are not. 😉

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This entry has 6 replies

  1. Corona SDK rulz says:

    Maybe – gamesalad? 🙂

  2. Bryan says:

    The calling party should have simply waited until you wrote this blog post 🙂

  3. slushe says:

    Good for you. No need to bring this out into the public view. Keep it clean, keep it professional.

  4. Glenn says:

    When I was searching for a game sdk or library for android 6 months ago Corona did not appear in most of my search results. In fact I was disappointed when it was only available for Mac and not Windows.

    But, today it is available for Windows and Android. Every day Corona is getting better. No doubt the quantity of traffic Ansca is getting is because of the quality of its Corona game sdk.

  5. David says:

    It’s tough dealing with pushy clients. But I’m glad to hear you stuck it out. We have clients like that… Your story reminded me of at least 2 recent phone calls at the office…

    Although it was advantageous to glean information about a competitor’s website, what you wrote here is an ample reason for NOT disclosing your private information. The fact that you don’t want competitors to know this information means you simply don’t divulge it.

    I think one lesson is: Don’t be afraid to justify yourself and stick to your principals, even in the face of a (potential) client. Check.

    On the other hand, statistics are important to clients. Perhaps another lesson might be to have “acceptable” information available when you feel it’s not appropriate to give out more important data. That way the client is pacified and you stay in control. =)


  6. DocNasty says:

    Reading this, I’m surprised about the actual ability for companies to mine data on the internet. Really, if you wanted to search out ‘who gets more traffic’ or a trend info, you can get that from or a similar site. For instance, if you lookup ansca and gs, you get a good trending idea…

    I would expect that a company that really wants to know this information could use google to find a rankings site instead of burning a bridge or stressing a relationship.

    Good call on not tipping your hand tho. If they really want to look at numbers tho, tell them to count the number of apps on the market that are built on your platform.