Using Google Reader to monitor competing sites…

Google Reader is an RSS reader that has long been popular in technical circles as a way to track news and information on the web. Recently the folks at Google made an update that makes this web-based tool a lot more important to B2B marketers. An new feature to Google Reader is its ability to monitor changes to Web sites that don’t have RSS feeds. Meaning that you can put an competitor Web site into Google Reader and updates will appear anytime a change or addition is made to the Web site. This could be particularly valuable to companies in industries that have frequent promotions and new product launches.

How To Track A Competitor B2B Web site Using Google Reader
VXB.com sells ball bearings, a B2B product that is sold to manufacturers. As you can see from the screen shot below they company has a basic Web site, which does not have an RSS feed. By simply creating a Google Reader account and adding the URL VXB.com Google Reader creates a feed and allows me to monitor any changes the company may make in terms of hot products, promotions or warranty policies.

Example Site That Does Not Have An RSS Feed

Create A Feed
Here is the message you see when you put a Web site into Google Reader that does not have an RSS feed.

Example Of A Google Created Feed
After Google creates the feed it should look like this and can then be placed in a folder.

Small application changes like this can make day-to-day tasks much easier. This could be a great first step for B2B product teams to begin to see the impact of online monitoring and competitive analysis.

Do you see value in this feature of Google Reader and would you use it?

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