Hitwise, a great blog that talks about general web traffic patterns, had an interesting post this morning about Heelys the company that makes those shoes that have built in wheels. I remember seeing those shoes years ago, but only recently have I started to see them everywhere. The company went public this week and the stock did very well. It was priced at $21 a share, but opened at $38…one of the best IPO performances of the year.
Anyway this post with it’s exploration into why Hanleys was getting so many searches over the last month, really got me thinking. Ultimately Hitwise determined that the boom in search traffic was not related to the hot IPO, but instead to the fact that Heelys are a hot holiday gift item. So I’m wondering if more shopping is done online, which means that sales can be tracked in almost real time with website statistics, could one invest more wisely in retail related companies by closely monitoring web stats? I’m sure smart money is already actively doing this, but why haven’t I heard more about this? It seems really straight forward…Sign up for Hitwise (I’ve heard it’s fairly expensive, over $5-$10k a month), and then setup some keyword monitoring reports on items related to stocks you may or may not want to invest in. If the numbers look good, maybe way better than last year or better than expected, then buy (or worse, then sell). Presumably, you’d know way before most who would rely on company numbers or retail interviews.
I was fortunate enough to meet Jeff Stewart a few weeks ago, a successful New York serial entrepreneur and founder of monitor110.com, a company that scours the web to find relevant news before it hits the wires. They are providing enormous value to big traders, where knowing first can be worth billions. I think this is a fantastic service, but it’s still not quite what I’m talking about above.
I’d love to find a way to estimate sales numbers based on search numbers/web traffic trends. I bet it’s easier than you think.