(Or “Should I Allow a Competitor to Join My Facebook Group or Email List”)
My take on it is this:
I often subscribe to the email lists of potential competitors for a few reasons:
1) I think other businesses and people are direct competitors in only the most rare of circumstances (1% of the time, usually there’s a difference in product/service, target market, approach, etc)
2) I do it to get to know someone to start building a relationship
3) It’s useful for competitive reasons to learn what other businesses are offering, how they write their emails (subject line, stories, sequence, offers, etc)
So it would be hypocritical of me to object to someone joining a potential competitors Facebook group (even if it’s my competitor joining mine).
However, there is usually an expectation of interaction and contribution. If that is not present – i.e. they don’t interact in a constructive, non-spammy way – then I’d be hesitant to allow a competitor to be present in a group. Also, straight up copyright or trademark infringement would clearly be out of line.
The bottom line is that I’m confident in my unique value proposition, and I think you should be in yours too. If you’re not, work on it.