I’ve previously spoken about reverse engineering which I think is a really powerful approach that we’ve used all our lives to build businesses and solve problems.
I’ve mentioned of wayback machine as a method to see all-time archive of the websites and the iterations that they’ve done. You can see design iterations and identify what didn’t work for them and not make the same mistakes yourself. You could see how their pricing structure iterated over-time etc. It would be fair to say it’s a “change log” of every website.
Another tool that we’ve largely used is Ghostery. It’s built for something else, but we’ve used it for all kind of fuckery (pardon my language for lack of better word).
It’s a tool that is designed to block any and all kind of trackers including ads, analytics, pixels, cookies and more. It is designed so you can have faster, cleaner browsing experience but there are other things you can use it for.
The good thing about Ghostery is that it is very transparent in providing details of every single tracker that is detected on any site. Which means, we can know exactly about most apps, plugins, modules and tools that a website uses. We can even learn about what ad networks they work with, how they fill their inventory and some even more advanced use cases.
For our influencer driven content sites, our entire advertising waterfall was built by sneaking on other publishers with large amount of premium inventory, identifying their trackers, and reaching out to the advertising suppliers of detected trackers.
You’ve to be really great at copying, before you can begin to think how to innovate.