Spy On Your Competition!


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This tip, and the idea for this blog post are courtesy of Kim Roach at Traffic Dashboard

Want the inside scoop on EXACTLY how much traffic your competitors have…and where that traffic is coming from?  You can!  There’s a little bitty — or bit.ly — trick that will let you spy on the statistics of any bitl.y URL.  ANY bit.ly URL…not just your own.

If you’ve been online for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with bit.ly, one of the most popular URL shortening services online.  Did you know it also gives you lots of cool analytics data like number of clicks,
locations, referrers, time of clicks, etc.?  (I didn’t!)

To view the stats of any bit.ly url, simply add a “+” sign to the end of the URL.  For example, http://bit.ly/aDB4eU would become http://bit.ly/aDB4eU+.

See how it works: enter http://bit.ly/aDB4eU+ into your address bar, and presto! Instant competitive intelligence.  No dangerous stuntwork required.

The link above was from a Warrior Forum banner ad, with the bit.ly URL tracking the traffic they’re getting from the ad.   It’s just a bonus that WE get to peek at all of their data as well.  Pretty cool, huh?

Now take the trick to the next level.  Want to see how much traffic Mashable.com gets from Twitter?  Simply go to their Twitter stream – http://twitter.com/mashable — and add a ‘+’ plus sign to the end of any of their tracking links.  (Mashable has a custom version of bit.ly so the links look different, but the tracking works the same.)

Now change http://on.mash.to/gwPXIc to http://on.mash.to/gwPXIc+.

You’ll notice that link has received well over 5,000 clicks.  It also shows you the number of retweets, Facebook Shares, Likes, and Comments.

Some other URL shorteners that allow you to use this same strategy include:

These links — and many others — are all custom versions of bit.ly using bit.ly Pro Version.

Let me know if your spying turns up any “Top Secret” insider information for you!

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5 Responses to “Spy On Your Competition!”

  1. Melanie Kissell Says:

    Well, I’ll be dipped!

    This is new news to me, Stacy, and thanks for showing everyone how to spy on everyone else with bit.ly URL’s.

    Now are we “sure” we really want to do that?? 🙂 LOL

  2. Stacy Ryan Says:

    I never cease to be amazed at how our every move is tracked. And yes, we now know how to spy on the competition…the downside is now they know how to spy on us. Perhaps we SHOULD keep this to ourselves!

  3. Tweets that mention Stacy Ryan » Blog Archive » Spy On Your Competition! -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Melanie Kissell and Danielle McGaw, Stacy Ryan. Stacy Ryan said: Spy On Your Competition! http://t.co/2Oz7GOY via @@followstacy #blogboost […]

  4. Maureen Hunter Says:

    Thanks Stacy, amazing what Ive learned as part of the Challenge…will have to go and try it out 🙂

  5. Stacy Ryan Says:

    I’ve learned a lot from this Challenge, too, Maureen. Let me know if your super-sleuthing turns up anything juicy! 🙂

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