There’s a quick and dirty trick I’ve been using lately to do research on products and services. Whenever I’m about to make a big purchase or sign up for a new service, I like to know what my options are before I buy. So I go to Google’s home page and do a quick search on the product or service with “vs” attached. Before you click search, Google returns a list of the most searched on terms that include the the name of the product or service + vs. In under a second, you get a quick list of comparisons that others have made. It’s not a perfect solution, but you can often get a pretty good sense of what consumer shoppers doing their homework are comparing that product or service to. It’s a great way to use Google’s meta data to stumble on worthy competitors that you’ve never heard of that might be worth consideration…or even to find out who consumers think are YOUR biggest competitors. Like I said, it’s not a perfect solution, but it’s fast and serendipitous. The fact that the lists that Google is generating on the fly are based on search volume is great because it acts like a crowd-sourced vetting process, and it works often enough that it’s a useful place to begin your research.
Here are a couple of examples:
If you were considering LuLu.com to self publish a book, this might help. Did you know about CafePress or Blurb? Or that Amazon has self-publishing services?…
As with any Google search, the more specific you are, the better, and the less generic the name of the product or service, the better. ;-)