Price Comparison Site – Review

Wanting to pick a site to review, I referred to the latest revision of Yan’s Popular Price Comparison Sites series and found that went up in traffic by 59%. But on going to the website, I could not find anything about price comparison, but about IRead (totally not about shopping), their Facebook application. Googling found this link, which talks about a lawsuit and other issues. Summarizing quickly, UGenie (allegedly) happily ripped (scrapped) off another website gig’s of data to build a course textbook search engine. Though scrapping is done very often, Ugenie has scrapped from a single source very valuable data worth a lot of human hours (details about courses and their linked textbooks). And now UGenie is gone. However inner links like this are working.

Now again wanting to pick a site to review, I picked the youngest baby among the latest revision of Yan’s Popular Price Comparison Sites series, is actually the second youngest in the list (next to ugenie, which should no more be in the list) and the second best performer last month (30%, again next to’s 59%).

First look at the home page (this is the first time I have ever been to the site): looks different compared to most popular price comparison sites. A quick read on the home page suggests that “search” is their strength. So, I am going to try the same set of searches I tried on PriceGrabber and Cnet Shopper.

So the first search term is “Canon Powershot” and returns correct information as expected. The information returned from the search is pretty impressive. Every search result can be quickly previewed in a callout box. Refining is possible based on: local results (based on my IP), “New” items and “Sale” items. There is one more refining option which cool - “Color”. It took me few seconds to realize what it meant. When you click on color, a box shows some of the popular colors, on picking it; you can use a slide bar to make variations to that color. Once you pick the color and hit update, the engine finds all results, with images containing a shade of the color you picked! Though not heavily useful at first thought, for a girl searching for the pink camera, this is a direct shot. This can be very useful in non-tech stuff like clothing etc. You can also change the location it guessed for you, from your IP as well as refine by price. This page also shows related searches.

theFind screensot

Before continuing with the next search, I should write about some small annoyances I found. The page has a Mac FishEye like menu for the tabs on top of the search results. While it is a cool one, it annoys the user while moving the cursor across the page. Coolness is important, but not at the cost of annoying the user.

We will now continue with the searches and then return to see the product details page. Now I search for “Elph” expecting various cameras and related printers, which worked perfect. On searching for “2077B001” a manufacturer part no, the result was right with all of the individual stores carrying it getting one spot in the results. Next, Digital Recorder (purposefully skipped the word ‘Voice’ in-between) and the results were perfect. “Recorder” listed a variety products like Digital Voice Recorders, DVD Recorders etc – perfect. “Nikon Powershot” - Purposefully goofed up, I expected all Nikon products as well as Canon Powershot cameras to be listed, worked as expected.

So overall, search engine works perfect, in view of my limited testing. The product details page is pretty simple. A very small description about the product and with all the stores and their prices listed is no particular order.

The site offers to save items viewed and these items appear in a sticky curved box on the bottom of the screen. However I found it annoying that the box occupied a significant portion of my little screen, while I never saved anything. does not allow to shortlist items based on technical features etc. Nor does it carry product/seller ratings. So this site is all about finding a product and getting the lowest price. So let’s see, how good is in what it is supposed to do mainly: find the lowest price. Here I am testing with Canon EOS 40D SLR Digital Camera Body Only (1901B004).

I should here write that the tab on top of the search results have options like All Stores, Mall Stores, Boutiques etc. From my limited analysis, I guess that Mall Stores refers to some of the huge retailers like Staples, OfficeMax, Bestbuy, Wal-Mart etc who have a location close to you. In this particular search (Canon EOS 40D Body), I see one sponsored listing on top of “All Offers” which takes to a page with about 15 of the prominent online stores. The lowest price possible from the 15 stores is $1099, which needs to be found manually, as there is no sorting option. This price was from and Pricegrabber was able to find one for $1064 from US1Camera, but as I have told in my previous reviews, no one knows how good/reliable these stores are, so these comparison engines should only be used to find the lowest range possible.

However if I do not restrict my self to that “Sponsored” result, I see the camera for $1000 from Aeronautic Pictures, which is a Amazon Associate store, with the camera actually listed for $1098 ! The “non-sponsored” results, have a lot of unheard stores and there are a total of 197 results and it is definitely not worth scrolling through every page. So, I would say, just see the sponsored results to get the range and that’s it.

theFind screensot

Overall, good search functionality and some cool features like refine by color etc. Some overload of JavaScript coolness is obvious. Also, a lot of crappy never heard stores with some inaccurate pricing.

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2 Responses to “Price Comparison Site – Review”

  1. 1 Siva Kumar Apr 3rd, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Thank you for reviewing our search engine, While we do work well for electronics items like digital cameras, our technology was built to better address mainstream “lifestyle” goods like clothing, home/garden items, sports and outdoor, family/kids, health/beauty, jewelry/watches, etc.. that are served poorly on the major and newer comparison shopping sites.

    A few searches for common and uncommon lifestyle products would show (a) major stores missing in the comparison engine results (requiring searches on still other sites), (b) inability to find some items or poor results matching, and (c) poor experience tailored to encourage clickouts rather than browsing.

    “Soft goods” have a lot more variety than electronics/computers and are sold by a very large number of stores and many of these stores are well known “mall” and “department” stores local to the consumer. This is why comprehensiveness of search (by crawl and feed) and marrying local search with online are important.

    The better shopping search experience we bring to these categories is why we are getting more and more consumers using our site.


  2. 2 SKay Apr 4th, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Search for espadrilles on – awesome pictures. I can look at them all day :)

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