Can competitors be friends? Of course they can… At least that is what I always believed. The hosting industry is ultra competitve, and at the same time a fairly tight knit group. Those that have been in the industry for a long time either know personally or at least know the names of others that are in the industry. When I am talking with someone in the “know” about web hosting and drop a name or two of someone I know in the biz, chances are the person I named, and the person I am talking to know each other already. Such is the web hosting business.
Since it is such a tight-knit group I have made an effort to reach out to many of my competitors to at least introduce myself and to complement them on some aspect of their business that I admire and would like to emulate at bluehost. While often I am well received and have a few minutes of polite conversation the “talks” quickly turn to what are some of our strategies for business, and what some of their strategies are. This is great. Sometimes I have advice that I believe the other companies really needs to hear, and othertimes they let me have it, and tell us where we can improve as they see us from a different perspective than we see ourselves.
The most common reaction however that I get is basically, “Why do you want to be our friends? We are competitors.” I didn’t know the two were mutally exclusive. The hosting market is a HUGE market. There is room for me to help out others and not hurt my own business. Don’t get me wrong. I want signups, and I want them BAD. We are VERY VERY aggressive marketers for bluehost, and we try and earn your business every step of the way. It just means we don’t have to step on our competitors in a negative way to do it. In fact, I think we can learn a lot from each other along the way if our pride doesn’t get in the way. That benefits us and our customers. Everyone wins!
I guess I am saying BEAT YOUR COMPETITORS, but buy em dinner afterward OK – Now lets all hold hands and sing kum-ba-ya 😉
Matt Heaton / Bluehost.com