Or not so quietly, if you are promoting your website for traffic.
Many years ago I got my first taste of competitive intel, while working for a marketing agency in New York. Later, in New Jersey, I was surrounded by pharmaceutical companies and their execs and managers, whom I met through my own work with a consumer products company. They outsourced everything, while the marketing people planted their own spies. Either way you view it, competitive intel was powerful and a necessary activity.
The information age enables competitive intel on several facets, obviously, but quiet intel is the most effective. There’s no reason to talk about the Golden Aged couple who had split up to work at competing plants 20 years ago, gathering intelligence that each then sold to the other’s company. They lived with their children, as if single, but vacationed all around the world together like lovers on the lamb. They returned to their families, and jobs, fresh with new information on the competitor. This went on for many many years before my side of the equation discovered the connection, and even then management kept it going. Quietly.
Today Fortune (via Techmeme) highlights an example of modern competitive intel exposed on purpose. It’s a fun read, and demonstrates one application of CI (imports) that is promoting it’s availability.
Use your imagination. Start a business. Have fun.