Did you know that Facebook used to be called “The Facebook”, Twitter was spelled “twttr”, YouTube started life as a dating site.
Or, did you know that if you type “relentless.com” into a browser it redirects to Amazon? To find out why that is, keep reading!
This hack requires the usage of archive.org or the “Way Back Machine” as it is also called.
For those that don’t know, “archive.org”, more correctly known as The Internet Archive, began in 1996 by archiving the Internet itself, a medium that was just beginning to grow in use.
Like newspapers, the content published on the web was ephemeral – but unlike newspapers, no one was saving it. Said simply, if the site was detected by their bot then it would periodically take a screenshot of the homepage. Their archive contains over 330 billion web pages!
So, what’s the hack?
If you’re interested in a competitor, go and see what worked for them and what didn’t.
For example, what services did they try to launch? If they aren’t still offering that same service then clearly it didn’t work for them. Conversely, see what products or services remain prominently on the homepage. If they stay consistent then that tells you that that particular feature has always been popular.
Homepage split-testing can be a costly exercise and requires a lot of variations and tweaks to find the right tone and message. With a hack like this, you can pull up monthly or quarterly screenshots of your main competitor(s) and see how they evolved over time.
All in all, I’d highly recommend you use this tool, known as the “Wayback Machine” on archive.org when researching your competitors.
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