Yesterday in Denver, Jake and I had lunch with a few nice folks from NewsGator, one of which was Jeff Nolan. As you may know, Jeff writes Venture Cronicles. In friendfeed, I noticed that Jeff had posted to his blog, so I went to have a read and ended up reading several posts. This one caught my eye.
The company mentioned prominently was RivalMap. They are a service purpose built for tracking competition. I took a look at the site and watched a good overview of the service (haven’t signed up). Overall I really liked their UI and found it very simple and intuitive and they do a nice job of focusing on the tracking of competitors although I would have liked to see a bit more automation to the process of gathering information (ie. google alert integration, etc).
The real question for me on RivalMap was its applicability to the typical user at a company. Of course every company has competition and they need to stay abreast of it, but does it warrant its own dedicated solution? Will people spend the time to add the content to make it valuable? Wouldn’t companies be better served by a more generic service that allowed say groups for competitor discussions, or similar?
My sense is that very large companies with dedicated competitive intelligence teams would absolutely love this service. I could see those teams signing up and running their organization on RivalMap, but again, how many of those teams are there?
In the end, I have always thought that you should spend your time on your customers instead of your competition, so not a large focus for me, but I have to commend RivalMap for building a product that looks great and goes after a specific challenge. I hope they do well.