Using Follow That Page for competitive intelligence

Follow That Page is a free web service that helps track any changes in your preferred websites. It’s not unlike InfoMinder, a similar application which we reviewed last year, although there are some differences between the two.

Like InfoMinder, Follow That Page offers the ability to maintain and monitor a list of websites for changes and updates, as well as notify you when there are any. It might sound simple and basic, but it can be an excellent competitive intelligence tool if it’s used correctly.

Follow That Page notifies its users by sending email reports to them, detailing any changes made to the monitored webpages as soon as they are detected. The service does not discriminate in its data - any change in content is noted and highlighted, unless explicitly told to ignore by the user himself.

As a result, almost any information can be tracked, such as:

  • Blog posts on corporate blogs and social media activity, where company announcements may be displayed
  • New products and price updates listed in online catalogs
  • Changes in the job listings page
  • News updates regarding a popular product, or the company itself

One big advantage Follow That Page has over its peers is that its service is completely free. There is a ‘Pro’ version that offers a much higher update frequency (1000 daily checks as opposed to 100), but the free version of the service may likely be sufficient for most businesses looking for a cheaper alternative to other alternatives like InfoMinder, which charges a flat rate of $30 a year for its most basic package.

The e-mail generated reports are also a big plus for those who are constantly on the go, and do not have the time and patience to log in to a separate website for updates or open new attachments. Follow That Page skips all that by listing out the changes as plaintext in the e-mail itself, which keeps it lightweight and easily accessible within mobile devices.

That’s not to say that Follow That Page is a flawless application, however; there are a few unavoidable issues that any user may have to deal with on occasion.

Firstly, it is possible for the e-mail updates to get lost in the Spam folder occasionally. Getting them recognized as a trusted sender is simple enough, but it’s an unnecessary hassle either way.

The other minor flaw is that some webmasters may choose to disable access to the websites that one might want to monitor, effectively shutting out Follow That Page’s service. To be fair, Follow That Page asserts that any lists of tracked websites by their users are kept private, so it’s impossible for webmasters to willfully deny access to anyone.

In the competitive intelligence arsenal, Follow That Page is a basic web-monitoring service that does what it says on the tin, but little else. It’s a highly useful application suitable for any business, but those wishing for more features may want to look for other, more professional alternatives.