I came up with the term “Deceptive Competitive Strategy”, a quick google of the term will bring no valuable result around the topic because like I said – Its a word i coined by myself and its still very new.
I have actually had this concept in my head for a very long time. lets say about 7 months and have wanted to write about it but the time wasn’t right, is the time ever right? This is the “Deceptive Competitive Strategy” concept in a nutshell – A business (preferably small to medium sized enterprise) creates two (2) businesses that does the exact same thing, sells the same product and offers the same services but with different names and websites. Wait, hang on… let me explain. Am sure you are thinking and wondering to yourself like “How do you create two businesses that offers the same thing?” doesn’t make any sense and its a waste of time, resources and even money. Stay with me, I am going somewhere.
Little rewind…how I got exposed to this strategy was about a year ago when I was on a call with a client of mine and he wanted me to design a web solution for his business, while we were talking – he said “I will need to setup another website with another name that is going to act a as a competition to the main one.” Grannnhhhgg, my head started to ring! What he meant was this – He’s going to setup one website (the main one) and then create another website – a replica of the main one but call it a different name and both businesses will begin to “compete” with one another, the target customers and audiences will think its a serious competition but its basically the same company and regardless of who they choose to buy from or decide to patronize, they will be buying from the same company. Genius!
“Deceptive Competitive Strategy” – A business (preferably small to medium sized enterprise) creates two (2) businesses that does the exact same thing, sells the same product and offers the same services but with different names and websites.
Why I decided to write about it now is because 3 days ago, a friend of mine wanted to purchase a service from a UK based company and he was having issues understanding their explanation of the service offering, so he sent the link for me to take a look. I then told him I was busy I couldn’t read that page he sent but I know another company that offers similar service, I sent the link to their page and asked him to take a look and see if their description is much clearer.
To my astonishment, he came back to me saying “Bro, the link you sent me has the same content as the link I sent you earlier” … I didn’t understand at first, so I decided to check the website links and compared both pages and I found out that not only were the page content the same, the company address and some other information were the same. Then, it dawned on me that this might be the same company and they are operating the “Deceptive Competitive Strategy” , I know they might not know it as that but what they are doing basically is this – They set up two companies, with very similar names, same address location and almost similar website design. These companies offer the same services and “pretends” to be competing with each other. A quick google search for the keyword for their service shows both websites on the first page and customers would be led to believe (or lets say assume) that they are different companies BUT regardless of the one you decide buy from, you are buying from the same business.
Being a researcher that I am, I decided to engage one of the businesses in a live chat and below are the screenshots from our conversation. (I have blacked out their business name for their privacy)
As you can see, the online representative – Leah was helpful, although she did not confirm that both businesses were the same, she used the word “Sister Companies”, that’s just a nicer way of saying it, I guess. When I asked her if it made any difference which of the companies I bought from, She said “You can go with either yes, just whatever suits you” … that statement in plain words means “Regardless of which one you buy from, the money comes to one pocket”
I believe this “Deceptive Competitive Strategy” is being used by other businesses around the world and it seems to work well for businesses whose main operations are done digitally – over the web with no need for massive or expensive physical setups ( if physical setup s required, they use one address like in the case of the business above). Imagine trying to create two businesses that produces physical products like computers where the cost of setting up plants is enormous, (wait, they can actually set it up in the same place but just place different logo and branding depending on orders or something, how come I just thought of that)
I have taken time out to create a pictorial representation of the steps involved in it, see below.
Like I said earlier, I believe this concept can be used for internet based businesses or businesses whose main deliveries are digital because all you have to do set up two websites with different names and both websites can begin to rank for the keywords customers are looking for, in no time, people will start to see them as competitors when In true fact, they are the same business.
As this concept is still very new in my head, I intend to do some more research on it and expand my knowledge on the topic. What do you think about this? Have you come across any business that does this? Do you think this strategy is ethical? I would love to know what you think, please share in the comment box below
Many Thanks for reading.