COVID & arson. Online search: What’s going to impact your business and industry?


Katherine Doyle at The Washington Examiner reported yesterday (April 7, 2020) that “Internet search queries for ‘how to set fire’ are spiking amid the downturn from the coronavirus pandemic, which experts say is a sign that some people may be planning to commit insurance fraud.  Search term data compiled by Google shows that the number of users looking for information on how to start a fire grew by 125% year-over-year in the last week of March. A massive 700,000 jobs were lost during the month.”   Find the article here.

This poignantly demonstrates the value search professionals (info pros) deliver to companies.

Skilled searching is part of how I generate useful market research and competitive intelligence services for clients.   This goes beyond just, “Oh sure.  Anyone can type in a search on Google and find things.”

To demonstrate skilled searching from another perspective, a client came to me several years ago with a conundrum.  “A low-level competitor is suddenly and unexpectedly gaining noticeable market share against us.  We don’t know how they’re doing it.  Can you find out how they’re doing it?”  “Sure,” I told them, “I’ll see what I can do.”   After several days of effort, I logged into – yes – LinkedIn and did a search for people whose LinkedIn profiles reported having worked for both my client and my client’s competitor.  Voila.   I found a former employee of my client who self-identified on LinkedIn that they had left my client’s firm to work for the competitor several months before the competitor started gaining significant market share; the person’s profile further indicated that they had also stayed on at my client’s firm during the first month of also working for the competitor.  That employee was in a position to share info with the competitor that could have been used for competitive advantage.  When I uncovered this information, my client immediately brought this information to their firm’s legal team.

I sometimes describe my market research and competitive intelligence services as being an “MBA Librarian” (I do have the MBA) or a “jigsaw puzzle magician” who finds data, pieces it together like a jigsaw puzzle, and provides clients with information and analysis that usefully drive productive business decisions.

In uncertain times, being competitive and keeping clients onboard is challenging – making it more essential to have insightful information and analysis to guide your ability to be competitive.    Give us a call at Burkhardt & Co.


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