We are a small startup, just released a MVP and are now in the promotion phase.
As part of the promotion we are seeking to get the message out by writing articles on other (related) sites etc.
There is a relatively well established player in our sector (with VC backing from ebay amongst others). Our product is better than theirs (no, really), but I am wondering if we should post articles etc with back links to our site there. Our "fear" being that they can (with all the resources they have), "rip off our website" and add in all the features which make our website better than them.
So, in a nutshell, their website provides us with the sort of target audience we are looking for - BUT, if we go in there, we may incur the wrath of a potential competitor who has far more resources at their disposal than we can imagine having - so, what to do?
Do we dare go into the dragon's lair or 'skirt around' in the shadows and avoid them all together?
I Voted you up because this is a genuine question that I am sure someone here will have over and over again.
I had this fear before here too, I didn't post my idea here. Tell us who your competitor is, and what you are doing. We can help you better like that, update this question if you want to add your idea, I will check it as soon as you update
Once again, writing articles won't get you a lot of traffic, I'd say your promotion phase would go a fail if you focuz only and only on articles. Worry about at least Twitter and Facebook. They'd give you many times more traffic than writing articles. And to be honnest, articles is like those old days thing (almost). You should try participating on sites that are in your similar market (for example, if you are in Game market, you can go on a tech site and participate there too!). This is really helpful you have almost no competition there when you participate.
Also, know that you'll have to confront them eventually. So don't skirt around or hide in the shadows. Take them on, read this article 6 Strategies to Take On an Established Competitor.
And they won't rip off your site. At first they'll think its stupid anyways (even if its "better"). If their website has some sort of community connect thing (like Facebook, or heck even this site), go there and unleash hell.
If you really really want people to visit your site, don't focus on articles. Focus more on social media marketing and SEO. I'd suggest reading Inbound Marketing by Dharmesh Shah. He'll teach you exactly what to do, he'll basically spoon-feed you like you are a new born.
This is really a tough question, because I don't think there is a magic recipe that you can simply apply in this case.
Bear in mind that it is not that easy for somebody to copy what you do. Even if you think that your product is better than theirs, they may not see it that way. History shows that time and time again companies are reluctant to admit that somebody is offering something better. And if they do accept that truth, it may take them a while to copy it and implement it.
On the other hand, if your product is genuinely better, how long do you think it is gonna take them to realize that without you even going full scale? Without them even knowing that you exist?
I know that this is not an answer to your question, although I would probably say to go ahead and launch, but I am just trying to help you structure your thinking and help you see other angles to the issue that you may (or may not) have overlooked.
I wish you the best of luck!
This is a great question and I am facing the same trouble with my startup. I have MVP and its better than the established bigger competition. I have customers who want to switch over to my product, but I am afraid in letting them use my product because that puts me out there and the bigger competition will see me, the small guy coming in and taking away their customers.
I decided to stay low for round 1 till I have funding and I have reached a good development speed and am able to iterate fast. Them being a big company makes them slow to embrace new things and copy them over. On the other hand I being an initial phase startup with no employees and funding, can't iterate fast enough as I have way too much on my plate from marketing to relationship building to development.
My advice to you: stay low and duck till you are ready. And when you are ready, go for the knockout. Hope this helps :)