It's Not Spying, Just The Next-Best Thing



Web retailers face a daunting task: In the physical world, monitoring the competition down the street or across town is a relative snap, but keeping track of a global base of online competitors is all but impossible. Or at least it can be.

For $150,000 a year, RivalWatch.com will keep a close eye on as many competitors as a company can identify, keeping clients up to date on the competition's pricing, product assortment, availability, and even promotional activities. And best of all, no IT prep work is required of the client, as RivalWatch.com's exhaustive research can be accessed entirely through the company's Web site.

RivalWatch.com VP Phil Lumish is quick to point out that his company isn't spying. All the information that's gathered is publicly accessible; RivalWatch.com is simply doing what its clients don't have the bandwidth to do themselves. "It's the kind of stuff that's been done in the brick world for years," Lumish says. "Nobody identified that the same capability needs to be transferred to the click side of the business."

The annual subscription includes regular reports that are compiled at whatever frequency the client wants, as well as unlimited changes or additions to the base of competitors being monitored. Some companies are apparently taking full advantage of the service: Lumish says RivalWatch.com monitors as many as 1,000 products from 12 to 15 competitors each day for some of its customers.

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