Podcast interviews, Energy costs, TheFind sinned

Podcast interviews with financial bloggers

As I already mentioned before, I enjoy reading personal finance blogs a lot lately. The perspective they give me to some financial questions is very valuable.

I recently stumbled upon a collection of podcast interviews with many of these bloggers and I am tremendously enjoying learning about these people firsthand. Check out these links to the interviews with bloggers that I frequently visit.

MoneyBloggerPodcast (via WiseBread)

What is up with my electricity bill?

Dean from MrCheapStuff, who just stole my blog template ;-), has uncovered an interesting tool that allows you to calculate the approximate energy usage and cost of most major electric appliances. It might be an eye opener for some to find that most of the electricity costs come from heating and cooling, and not from lightening.

Energy Costs Distribution

Electric Appliance Calculator from Wisconsin Public Service

TheFind — you have sinned!

Starting up a business is not an easy thing. As much as innovative your idea can be, the temptation may be high to cut some corners here and there to make the results look better than they really are.

Guess what, TheFind, the price comparison engine that consistently raises in the list I publish monthly, was caught red-handed. It looks like among other things they are not were not highlighting the sponsored results for the terms you are searching. Is there a greater sin a search engine can commit?

Thefind, the search engine, not as clean as we thought at VetureBeat

See also:

10 Responses to “Podcast interviews, Energy costs, TheFind sinned”

  1. 1 Larisa Hall Apr 5th, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Hi there – Siva Kumar, CEO of TheFind, posted his repsonse to the Venture Beat story on our blog…

  2. 2 XynamaX Apr 5th, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    Use a kill-a-watt to find out which appliances are the real hogs.. You’d be surprised what some of those “wall wart” power supplies pull in, along with other appliances.

    Using home automation, X10, and programmable thermostats you can really save on energy costs. My house is setup so that the climate adjusts to our schedule. If we’re sleeping, only the upstairs temperature is regulated, the downstairs is shutoff. There’s tons of ways to save on electricity costs (timers, CFL energy saver bulbs, dimmers, etc). It costs up front, but you’ll realize the savings in the long run..


  3. 3 Scott Apr 5th, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    Now what if something is sponsored and that listing is socialized by a social shopping mechanism? Or in this case maybe a spider. It can still remain sponsored through a price comparison, but should it be labeled as such in the product display?

  4. 4 Yan Apr 5th, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    You will have to clarify what product display you are talking about. I understand the issue is that when comparing products it is important to highlight the advantage that sponsored results have over the rest.

    This compares well to me writing a paid post and not disclosing the fact. I believe you have every right to know that my objectivity may have been affected so you can adjust your point of view appropriately.

  5. 5 Scott Apr 6th, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    I’m trying to imagine if thefind were a social shopping site. What if they include affiliate datafeed products which are sponsored and a member posts one of those products? Should this product remain “Sponsored” even though it was socialized by the member?

    Sites like thisnext and kaboodle take products socialized by users and append affiliate URLs thus making some of the products sponsored. But they make no indication which products are sponsored or not.

  6. 6 Yan Apr 6th, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    I don’t see problem in hiding sponsorship when displaying a collection of products picked by users. There is no conflict of interest here since it is the user who picks the product.

    I do see a problem with doing so in search results. Search engines are perceived to list the results in the order of relevancy. If this is not the case, they will fail as a successful product long term.

  7. 7 Scott Apr 6th, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    So what if you search a collection of products picked by the users? Considering there is no special preference given to sponsored listings and the relevance isn’t hindered I think this is okay.

    Seems the problem with thefind was that the sponsored listings appeared first regardless of relevance.

    So if there is no “Sponsored” label on thefind, but sponsored products appear within the results and not first, would this be a different story?

  8. 8 Yan Apr 6th, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    I don’t see any problem with hidden sponsored listings as long as they don’t affect the order. I believe TheFind are still listing many unmarked affiliated/sponsored listings since part of their feeds come from affiliate networks, according to the article linked in the first comment. Click on any product by Amazon in the search results and you will notice “fatlenscom-20″ at the end of the URL.

  9. 9 Scott Apr 6th, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    So as long as the sponsorship doesn’t affect the ranking it doesn’t need to be disclosed. Makes sense to me.

  10. 10 Gary May 3rd, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    This is simply not true. TheFind has *always* marked the sponsored results with a “sponsored” banner. Check out this post on dated Feb. 10, 2007.


    From the beginning the sponsored result have been marked. The misunderstanding is that not every search has sponsored results. In those cases, the first two results are unpaid and won’t be marked.

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