by Bob Walsh
If you’re going to run your micro-ISV as a business, you need competitive intelligence (CI) on your competitors. You need to know what they’re doing right and wrong compared to what you are doing right and wrong. A few years back I did a project for a Seattle-based CI company — let me tell you, the competitive intelligence process can get very complicated very quickly.
Fortunately for micro-ISV’s, the following two sites make it easy to construct and maintain a fairly good CI system. What’s more, at least for now both these tools are free: is already gathering quite a buzz for how easy it makes doing CI. Just create a project, add in your competitor’s websites, and will track their traffic compared to yours, their features compared to yours and recent blog postings which mentioned them.
I especially like the dashboard, where you enter features you want to track of your competitors. Although this feature matrix is something you have to edit and maintain, it’s an invaluable tool for discovering underserved market segments, competitor weaknesses and areas of your product or site which need work. is currently in beta and free; here’s a shot of what can show me about one of my competitors:
TLA’s blog juice calculator – Text Link Ads sells, well, text link ads to bloggers. As link bait, they’ve just put together a very nice calculator that combines links, R’S subscription numbers, Alexa and Technorati rankings into a single score. Just enter your blog’s URL, back comes your score. Then compare that to one of your competitor’s blog juice scores, and you’ll see what type of strategic blog situation you and your micro-ISV product are in.
For example, my company blog — — got a 3.9 while one of my competitors — — got a 2.3. Life is Good! (On the other hand, TLA’s blog juice calculator shows me my 3.9 is measly compared to some of the heavy hitters in the GTD world: time to get posting there!)
Blog Juice Calculator
Some CI is far better than none, and since it takes about 15 minutes to set up and use both these sites you really have no excuse for not keeping track of your micro-ISV’s competitive landscape. Give them a try today!

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