Terron James I think it's a legitimate question, and I've heard people asking about this for many years now. Part of what makes the land niche so great is the fact that it doesn't have the same kind of intense competition that every other type of real estate does, but this also tends to generate a lot of fear about whether this low-competition dynamic will be "ruined" some day when other people find out about it.
I've actually got a blog post where I cover a lot of these concerns here, if you're interested: https://retipster.com/land-investing-competition/
The presence of competitors in the land business has to do with which markets you're working in. Some states and counties attract a lot of land flippers, and others, not so much. If you're working in a market that is notorious for people finding land deals, I would expect to bump into other investors from time to time.
It's also worth noting that "competition" can be a little subjective, and the existence of competitors doesn't mean you can't get deals anymore.
Case in point: Last year, I received five blind offers within a time span of 30 days on one of my properties in Colorado. Since that time (14 months ago now), I haven't received any. So... is there a lot of competition in that county? If you asked me this back when I got those five offers, I would say YES, absolutely. But if you were to ask me today, I would say no, absolutely not.
Is there more competition now than there was a decade ago? I would say so... but it's impossible to make a quantifiable, blanket statement about the entire United States. Some counties certainly get a lot of attention now, but others are still largely untouched.
There's a lot more that can be said on this whole subject but at the end of the day, the existence of competition ultimately gives you a lot more data to work with, which can be very helpful in valuing properties and figuring out which markets to work in. Competition doesn't spell doom for land investors, it just means we have to think a little bit differently about where we work, what kinds of offers we send, and we all have to get creative about how we're going to stand out (i.e. - don't just use whatever template you've got to work with, put your own creative spin on it and test out different variations until it performs).