June 18, 2011

How to Find Your Competitors' "Secret" Files Online

By Patrick Mahan

Picture it... you're surfing the Internet and suddenly you stumble upon your competitor's PowerPoint sales presentation... or an Excel spreadsheet containing all of their contacts' names and email addresses... or how about this... you find a letter written by your competitor to your biggest client in a Word Document!

These are just a few ways you can use Google Filetype Search.  Is it ethical?  Probably not.  But if your competitor has been careless enough to upload these types of files to the web, then... well, they're kinda asking for it, aren't they?

If you're not into snooping and want to use Google Filetype Search for more upstanding research projects, then consider these scenarios...

You are preparing for a sales presentation and would like to see other people's PowerPoint presentations related to a specific topic.  For example, you need facts and figures pertaining to social media.  Try this... go to Google and type this into the search bar:   "Social Media" filetype:ppt

Go ahead!  Give it a try right now and see for yourself.  It's pretty cool.  The search query will return tons of PowerPoint slide shows related to "social media".

If you're looking for a specific person or company, put their name in quotes.
Like this... "Ford Motor Company" + social media  filetype:pdf

This search will return PDF documents pertaining to Ford Motor Company and social media.

"advertising industry" + trends OR issues filetype:pdf will provide a list of reports and/or articles related to trends or issues in the advertising industry.

Pretty cool, huh?  Try it for yourself, you'll be amazed at what you can find!

(pdf = adobe acrobat; xls = Excel spreadsheets; ppt = PowerPoint document; doc = Word document).

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