I have been running a monthly list of popular price comparison sites for a while but I never really had a chance to check them all out, until today.
I have long suspected that many of them share the same feeds since the results often look very similar. As I looked at each website more closely, I have uncovered a few interesting facts that I want to share with you.
I hope these findings will help you to narrow your own list of sites to visit when looking for that best shopping deal.
Many price comparison sites use feeds from Shopping.com
Below is the list of websites that primarily use Shopping.com as the source of products. Some of them do offer added services on top of what they fetch from Shopping.com, and I will note those, but others simply wrap the results differently and display them back to you.
- DealTime is really the original domain used by Shopping.com team. The service was relaunched in 2003 under Shopping.com brand and ever since the old domain is left dormant. It hasn’t got nearly as many of bells and whistles that Shopping.com offers
- ShopLocal uses feeds from Shopping.com to complement their local listings. When you do the search you have a choice of shopping for the product locally or online. If you pick online, the results come to you by the way of Shopping.com
- Epinions was acquired by DealTime/Shopping.com in 2003. It probably shouldn’t be in my list at all. It is a very good source of product reviews. As a price comparison engine, you will not find there anything that Shopping.com doesn’t offer
- Mpire uses feeds from Shopping.com to supplement results from eBay, their main partner. If eBay is not one of your favorite destinations then you can avoid Mpire altogether.
- Hawkee uses the feeds to supplement their own products. Hopefully Scott Aikin, the founder, whose comments I occasionally see on my blog, will elaborate more on the integration.
Update: it sounds like my assumption about Hawkee was incorrect. Read the comments.
Bizrate and Shopzilla are really one price comparison site
Bizrate and Shopzilla are not two but one website. To be exact, the same team runs both and the websites are simply two ways of looking at the same products and stores. Shopzilla appears to be a little more stylish while Bizrate probably caters to more conservative shoppers.
I would personally sack Bizrate from my list as it produced slightly less merchants in my test than Shopzilla did, but your opinion may vary. In any case that takes care of one more website for us.
MSN aggregates feeds from Shopping.com, PriceGrabber, and eBay
When MSN Shopping launched, it was said that the company collaborated with Shopping.com and BizRate to kick start the business. Ever since they added eBay and possibly other partners as well. As for international markets, I have found a reference that MSN has chosen PriceRunner as the primary provider to feed the shopping search.
The news bits like this tell me that MSN is all about aggregating. The vast number of merchants in results from a relatively new service proves my point.
PriceGrabber drives AOL Shopping search results
AOL is another company who chose not to invent the bicycle and just used what others already offered. Earlier last month the news came out that PriceGrabber becomes AOL’s exclusive provider replacing Shopzilla who supplied products to AOL before the change.
CNET Networks owns MySimon and shares the data
In 2000 CNET bought MySimon, the leading price comparison website at that time. Ever since they have successfully incorporated price comparison technology into CNET portal while MySimon is basically left to die. It is not nearly as popular anymore as it was back in 2000. If you go to CNET Shopper, you will notice that it offers the same products but adds many more features.
Some more recent mergers and acquisitions
Price comparison industry seems to be prone to consolidation which adds a lot of confusion to online shoppers. Here are a few more affiliations that will clue you in on who eats who in the price comparison fish pond.
- PriceGrabber and BottomDollar share the same owner
- NexTag and Calibex are one company as well
- Yahoo bought Kelkoo, a leading European price comparison service, in 2004
- eBay acquired Shopping.com in 2005
- Experian acquired PriceGrabber in the same year
Photo courtesy of Wgroesel at Stock.Xchng