Q: What are people’s thoughts on signing up for your competitor’s online service using their free trial period to spy on them? I’m currently doing this to compare the competitor’s onboarding process and features.

It’s fine.

Don’t overanalyze this. Almost every software vendor is remaking another vendor:

  • Microsoft MS-DOS remade CP/M
  • MacOS remade Xerox’s attempt here, and Windows remade MacOS
  • Google remade Yahoo!, Atlavista, etc.
  • Salesforce remade Siebel, etc.
  • Workday remade Peoplesoft. It was even the same team.
  • Slack remade Basecamp, RTC, Yammer, a trillion chat apps
  • Office remade Lotus 1–2–3, etc.
  • Zoom remade WebEx. A lot of the same team, again.

Not every app remakes an older one. My estimate is that about 70% of them do: About 70% of SaaS Unicorns Are New Versions of Existing Categories of Software | SaaStr

But it’s what you do. You observe. You improve. And yes, you copy.

Assume your competitors are in your app. On your webinars. Reading every tweet. Testing your onboarding. Indeed, assume that they are in every deal.

And it’s fine to do the same back.

A bit more here: How to Steal a Customer From the Competition | SaaStr

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