It all started with a tweet. To be specific, it started with this tweet, which showed up in my Twitter stream: “@HadenInteractiv vs. Belford. And the winner is: http://ow.ly/NRTNA” The winner was, as you’ll see if you click through to check, our good friend Angela Belford.
But what exactly was she winning? Was this some Northwest Arkansas digital marketing company version of a Mayweather-Pacquiao throwdown?
Not quite. It’s Owler, an interesting tool that lets you gain inside knowledge about your competitors, customers, investments, or just companies you want to stalk.
You can line up all your competitors and see just what the Owler community thinks of them. For Northwest Arkansas digital marketing firms, it’s not a very exciting fight;
The problem here is that all the ratings are based on Owler votes. Here’s Angela’s winning profile:
I quickly put in all the local digital marketing companies that I could think of off the top of my head, and sure enough, 3 Owler followers is the top score.
Rosie thought we should encourage everyone we knew to go sign up for Owler and follow us, thus catapulting ourselves ahead of Angela and to the top of Owler.
I thought that wouldn’t be a real thing.
Larger companies have more followers, naturally, but Walmart has only 184. Most of the listed companies have zero followers and have not filled out their profiles — that is, they have not shared any information. Since everything from revenue to number of employees to how good a job the CEO is doing is crowdsourced through “Owler consensus,” the small sample size matters.
For a small business, I’d say Owler is useless. It would make a good party game, perhaps; I can see all of us at WordCamp trying to best one another and cheering as each company manages to supplant another company by adding their status as a private company or guessing whether the company will be bought.
Rosie pointed out that this tool offers info on competitors’ social media, and that it can line all your competitors up for easy comparison of social media activity, which can be a good message to those of us with a cobbler’s children going barefoot scenario. She also observes that Owler gives companies an opportunity to be competitive and manipulative in public, which has certainly been popular in personal social media platforms. “It gives them a place to behave in an obsessive way about their competitors,” she points out.
As a source of information, though, it’s currently less useful than Manta. Come back in a decade, or join now to help Owler get more data to work with.
Either way, congratulations to Angela!