Wanted to validate my photography niche idea so I called a bunch of photographers off google and asked them if the offer this kind of service...most said they had never done it before but could easily incorporate it into their workflow and talked prices and procedures.....perfect! I now validated the idea (still need to validate customer side) Was that sketchy... should I tell them that it was an idea and perhaps they would like to partner or will they be displeased to hear their potential customer is another photographer...I thought it seemed fair because they just gained knowledge of a potential new rev stream for themselves.
Could it be called Sketchy? Yes. Does everyone do it in every industry to get insider info on competitor pricing and presentation.... Pretty much.
With that said if any do present as people you would like to work with, then for sure let them know what you were doing, that they made the cut, and that you would be honored to work with them.