Price Comparison on Become.com

July 31, 2005

I talked with Michael Yang about Become.com’s new price comparison service a couple days after the service launched…I’ll add another post after I’ve had a chance to sign up as a merchant and test out the merchant center.

On design…
“In terms of design goals for the homepage, we wanted to make it simple, elegant, and functional. We wanted to get away from the first generation search engines with a directory structure and a lot of clutter. We added a ‘Shop’ button and kept the dynamic suggestions. We are helping consumers make the best decision for their buying needs. Rather than push things for people to look at, we’d rather have people tell us what they want. Traditional portals want to push something at you. They say Click Here, Click Here. We want to get away from that and give you the best information possible. Merchandising is not our core competency, UI and technology are. We think far more people will be comfortable typing in what they want.” Read the rest of this entry »


The New MSN Shopping

July 31, 2005

Since the new MSN Shopping is now live, here’s are some thoughts on MSN’s entry into the comparison shopping arena…

This post is long, so in a nutshell:

1. I don’t currently see MSN fully behind the new MSN Shopping. There is no shopping/product tab on MSN Search and MSN Shopping is below the fold on MSN.com.
2. In a lot of ways, MSN Shopping resembles a glossy catalog or offline shopping experience, not a traditional comparison shopping engine.
3. Look for interesting opportunities around personalization. The ‘Recently Viewed’ feature is probably just the beginning.
4. There’s a lot more that MSN Shopping could do in terms of RSS feeds.

Now if you’re interested in learning more…

1. Why isn’t MSN Shopping integrated into MSN Search? All of the other top search engines have a ‘tab’ for shopping/products. Furthermore, if a user just performs a general search (not clicking on the shopping/products tab) on the top search engines, he is still presented with product results – Google lists the products at the top of the page between the Sponsored Links and the first organic results, Yahoo! does the same although it’s not very well presented, AOL lists the products at the top or bottom of the page through a module powered by Shopzilla, and Ask Read the rest of this entry »


ComparisonEngines.com Job Listings – July 27, 2005

July 27, 2005

I’ve just sent out the first ComparisonEngines.com job newsletter. You can sign up for the weekly newsletter here.

There are 3 jobs this week:
1. FatLens – Senior Infrastructure Engineer
2. SquareTrade – Collaborative Engineering in J2EE / Open Source
3. Become.com – Account Manager

Go to the Job Listings page to find out more about each job.

ComparisonEngines.com’s readership is growing extremely quickly…
We accept all types of jobs from vertical search and e-commerce companies…
List your job on ComparisonEngines.com for FREE.


PriceRunner Announces Launch in the US

July 26, 2005

I’m talking with Martin Andersen, GM of PriceRunner (a ValueClick company) tomorrow, but here’s the official press release. One really interesting aspect of PriceRunner is it’s integration of offline listings. The company employs ‘In-Store PriceRunners’ who “visit stores in your local area with a pen and pad at regular intervals to collect prices on assigned products that will be posted on the Pricerunner website.” (http://www.pricerunner.com/jobs.html)

I applied (you have to e-mail your request) to become a merchant on PriceRunner (my test store is PersonalProtectionStore.com), but never heard back from the Content Manager.

More soon…


Captain Picard and SideStep vs. Captain Kirk and Priceline

July 26, 2005

SideStep has a new company spokesman: Patrick Stewart who played Captain Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). This is obviously (as the WSJ points out) a “direct challenge to rival Priceline.com, whose ads have long featured William Shatner, Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek.”

Really smart move! (Ok, I’m biased…I’m a TNG fan).

Read the full WSJ Story.

This news comes a couple days after the death of James Doohan who portrayed Montgomery Scott on the original Star Trek.


Upcoming Posts, Google Rumor

July 22, 2005

There seems to be a rumor floating around the valley that Google is re-launching its homepage. I’m not going to even call Google for confirmation. No company comments on rumors. Just look out for a new Google homepage very soon.

Ok, now that the Always On Innovation Summit is done, I want to let you know what’s next for ComparisonEngines.com:

-Travel comparison engines (expect to see interviews with Kayak, SideStep, and others very soon)
-Review of MSN Shopping Beta
-Interview with Michael Yang about the launch of Become.com’s comparison shopping service
-A brief history of comparison shopping
-Interview with Shopzilla
-Interview with Smarter.com
-Interview with PriceRunner
-eTail2005 Conference – Now that I’ve talked with most of the shopping comparison engines, it’s time to talk to the merchants. Even after the Shopping.com and Shopzilla deals, shopping comparison engines are still flying under the radar screen of most merchants. Through my own tests, I’ve found the ROI through shopping comparison engines to be 3-5x greater than through other popular online marketing channels.


CEO 5 minute Pitches – Peerflix

July 21, 2005

Update: Peerflix won the CEO Pitch Award at AO Innovation Summit!

Please note that this is off-topic for ComparisonEngines, but there are many innovative companies/technologies out there, and I want to share some information that I find interesting.

Billy McNair, co-founder of Peerflix made the pitch.

Ok, this is one to really pay attention to. Smart and simple business. You will definitely hear a lot about this company in the future. Here’s the deal: 75% of househoulds have a DVD player. Last year, those households bought on average 19 DVDs. Most people just watch a DVD once and then put it on the shelf to collect dust. While owners could sell those DVDs at a local store (like Tower) or trade the DVDs in for discounts on new DVDs (Blockbuster has a program like this), Peerflix allows people to trade their DVDs. As a member, you creat 2 lists: the first is a list of the DVDs you own, the second is a list of DVDs that you want. Peerflix sends you a welcome kit with envelopes for the DVDs (you pay for postage). The trading then begins. Peerflix charges a $0.99 fee per transaction. No membership fees, no monthly fees. The company has no inventory, no distribution centers. Peerflix is starting out with DVDs, but there are obviously many other products to expand into.


The Money’s Back – Always On Session on VC

July 21, 2005

Please note that this is off-topic for ComparisonEngines, but there are many innovative companies/technologies out there, and I want to share some information that I find interesting.

Moderator:
Eric Janszen, President & CEO AutoCell (moderator)

Panelists:
1 – Mark Heesen
2 – Barry Kramer
3 – Julie Levenson
4 – Jonathan Medved
5 – Janice Roberts
6 – Gus Tai

What’s driving the new interest in VC? What stages of VC are private investors involved in?
1 – VC is a cyclical business. You have to look at things from a 5yr perspective. So you have to look back at the bubble to get a real comparison. Why are we getting this money? Because LPs have the money. They are looking for any place to put their capital. Eventually, you’ll see a lot of LPs very dissapointed that we’re not taking in all the money. But long term they will be happy because we’ve learned from the bubble.
2- After the bubble burst, a lot of the VCs had to spend time tending to their investments. Now that we’ve gotten through the legacy investments, VCs can turn their attention to newer stage cos. Read the rest of this entry »


Dulance – The Long Tail – What Happens When You Move Past Feeds

July 20, 2005

Update – March 26, 2006: Dulance Dead?

From my phone interview with Sergei Burkov, Fouder and CEO of Dulance

What is Dulance? How are you different than the other comparison shopping engines?
Dulance is a 2nd generation comparison shopping engine. The difference between us and 1st generation comparison engines is our breadth of coverage. 1st generation engines cover 5,000 – 50,000 merchants, and only those merchants that have established relationships through sending xml feeds. There’s a long tail which they are missing. There are many rare products which are not covered. So we went after the long tail, the rare products. Each rare product itself is negligible, but combined, the number of rare products is more than the number of popular products like digital cameras or electronics. Our goal is to cover everything and anything online.

We don’t rely on XML feeds, we spider the websites and extract the information Read the rest of this entry »


CEO 5 minute Pitches – EverNote

July 20, 2005

Please note that this is off-topic for ComparisonEngines, but there are many innovative companies/technologies out there, and I want to share some information that I find interesting.

Stepan Pachikov, CEO EverNote

Everyone would like to have a photographic memory, which means we want to:
-easily capture all types of information
-always have that information available
-quickly find what you are looking for
-share selected memos with others

Our mission is to bring to market the most effective and easiest tool to capture and reacall everything we want to remember in any place at any time. EverNote is the single place for all notes.

How it works…
Whenever you want to add information, you just type note at the bottom of the page. You can assign categories to every note. We’ve developed an application for desktops and smartphones which allow you to always have information available. We’ll make money through charging people to synchronize the information across all channels.


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