To put it simply, it’s a technology lookup tool that can be used for a variety of purposes. Let’s say you’ve created your own electric car company and want to go up against Elon Musk and Tesla (good luck with that). You’ve got lots of ambition and know that Tesla’s website traffic is driving a lot of their leads for vehicle sales. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just look up where their site is hosted, along with any marketing and analytics software they’ve been utilizing to get and convert leads?
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Now, the important thing is to really do your homework and take some of this with a grain of salt. Are they hosting with QTS because they’re the best provider in the world or because they’re getting a huge discount? Are they using Eloqua because they love it or because Musk and Ellison are friends?
Are they using Drupal because they think it’s better than WordPress or because some advertising agency talked them into it? For the most part, we’ll never know. But at least, we have an idea of what they are indeed using, even if we don’t know the reasons why.
Now most people might be thinking that they’d use this tool on their closest 3-5 competitors and that’s a fine place to start. However it’s shortsighted to only use it for that. Think outside the box. Do lookups on companies that do great marketing in general, even if they’re outside your vertical, and see what they’re using. You might be surprised what you find, and you might start using tools that your competitors aren’t even aware of.
So far we’ve discussed the discovery aspect of the tool, but let’s dive into their paid product for a second. Let’s say you’ve built a better DNS service than Neustar’s UltraDNS and want to let all of their customers know about it. Well, BuiltWith has a list of 230,000 sites using their service which you can buy via a paid subscription.
You’ll get email addresses and domain names which you can then use to create an outreach campaign. Or let’s say you want to know all the sites that use a particular WordPress plugin. Yep, you can do that too. Maybe your theme complements that particular plugin or you have a plugin that achieves the same objective in a more elegant fashion.
Now some of you might be thinking, “holy crap, that means people might be able to find a list of all my customers”. Your assumption would be correct that it’s possible someone might be using this tool for that purpose. But like anything else, you are always going to be a target for poaching and the best defense is a good offense.
That means doing what you should be doing already, creating a great product or service that makes your customers so happy they’ll delete that email your competitor sends them, whether they got the info from BuiltWith or someplace else.