ChannelAdvisor Launches ShoppingAdvisor

May 29, 2007

As I mentioned a couple weeks back when ChannelAdvisor (CA) announced its funding, the company is launching its ‘no IT help needed’ data feed management tool at Internet Retailer (IR) next week. Today CA broke the news to the press. See the release and read the blog post.

The company is hush hush on pricing for the service, but the word at the Catalyst conference was $1000 + a % of sales. This is a big improvement from the aprx. $500/feed the company usually charges. I’m supposed to get a demo next week at IR, so I’ll have more to report then.

Congrats to the CA team on the launch!


NexTag Sold for $1B?

May 29, 2007

As reported last week on Active Business Networking, a private equity firm supposedly bought a large chunck of NexTag for $1B. Yes, that’s a B, as in Billion. I have not been able to confirm the sale (no comment from NexTag), but 4 people have confirmed something is up, so I’m confident that the deal is either done or just about done.

When I first started covering the shopping search industry 2 years ago, I heard rumors that NexTag had offers on the table for about $750m, but was looking for $1B. Later the price tag rose to $1.3B. More recently, I had even heard the price tag was up to $1.7B. Seems like Purnendu got what he wanted. Many people figured the climate changed when NexTag actually gave out a dividend for the first time last December.

Congrats to Purnendu & Rafael, the founders, as well as the many NexTagers who have helped and continue to help ComparisonEngines & SingleFeed – Mark, Stephen, Will, & Tracy.

I love that the shopping search industry is still completely overlooked by almost everybody. Assuming the deal is legit, this will continue the streak of VC backed shopping engines having successful exits:

Jango acquired by Excite ($35m)
Junglee acquired by Amazon ($250m)
C2b acquired by Inktomi Product Search ($90m)
MySimon acquired by CNET ($700m)
Cadabra acquired by Overture ($250m)
Kelkoo acquired by Yahoo ($579m)
PriceRunner acquired by Valueclick ($29m)
Dealtime/Epinions formed SDC acquired by eBay ($500m)
Bizrate renamed Shopzilla acquired by EW Scripps ($500m)
PriceGrabber acquired by Experian ($485m)

Here are some interviews with NexTag management:
NexTag – Making Money the Old Fashioned Way – December 6, 2005
Comparison Shopping for Real Estate, Car Insurance, and Groceries? Keep an Eye on NexTag. – June 1, 2005


Google Base Learning

May 22, 2007

I’ve been disappointed with the release of Google Product Search because it’s simply working off of the old Froogle algorithm and the limited refinement options listed at the bottom of the page mean that attribute refinement isn’t a focus at this point.

However, something is afoot over at Google Base. As I’ve said for a while, Google will never be an expert in Snowboards, Makita Tools, Diamonds, or Chandeliers, but that doesn’t mean Google won’t try to learn.

As seen in the following screen shots, Google is now trying to understand more about the products in a feed through playing a game of 20 questions:

google base 20 questions

google base 20 questions

These questions seem to be coming up for soft goods such as Jewelry. For instance, here’s Google trying to understand words like ‘silver’, ‘heart’, ‘charm’, etc.:

google base 20 questions

google base jewelry search

Google Base Product Search

google base

No word from the Google Base Blog how answering these questions will impact your feed or the rankings of your products on Base or Product Search (which work off of different algorithms), but the note at the bottom of each question says “a record of your answers will be retained by Google and used to improve the quality of your feed as well as our own product and services.” We’ll see.

Maybe Google Base realized that creating proper feeds is too hard for the average merchant so Google Base is going to have to figure out product attributes on its own.


ACCM Show, Internet Retailer

May 14, 2007

I’ll be speaking at the ACCM Show in Boston next week and then I’ll obviously be at Internet Retailer June 4 – 7.


Channel Advisor Raises $30m Round

May 14, 2007

A belated congratulations to Scot, MJ, and the entire ChannelAdvisor team on raising a $30m round of venture capital, “led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) with participation from current ChannelAdvisor investors Kodiak Venture Partners, Advanced Technology Ventures, Southern Capitol Ventures and eBay.”

From the release:
“The company also announced that Bill Brown has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer to manage all of the company’s financial activities.”

“Bill, a 25-year financial and accounting veteran has served as Chief Financial Officer at several Massachusetts-based Software-as-a-service (SaaS) on-demand companies, including Lightbridge, a Burlington, MA company Bill helped take public in 1996. Bill received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the School of Management at Boston University.”

A snipet from Newsoberver.com:
“the business has 3,900 customers, revenue that’s on track to grow 67 percent this year”

Good interview at Business 2.0 Beta.

ChannelAdvisor is set to launch it’s self-service shopping feed program at Internet Retailer. Gotta love this space!

So when’s the IPO?

Related Posts:
SingleFeed Closes its Series A Financing – April 5, 2007
Channel Intelligence Rasies $15m – November 29, 2006


ConsumerSearch.com Sold to About for $33m

May 7, 2007

ConsumerSearch.com was sold to About for $33m in cash, according to the NYTimes. Congrats to Derek, Max, and the rest of the crew!

I’ve mentioned ConsumerSearch here just once, but talked to the company a couple times as I still think there’s a great opportunity to help people understand what to buy – not just how much to pay and which merchant is the most trustworthy. I also recommended that a number of newer shopping engines team up with ConsumerSearch to syndicate their reviews.

Looks like ConsumerSearch started to monetize their traffic a lot more over the last year…I see Google Adsense ads, Shopping.com links, Shopzilla links, Chitika modules, eBay links, and Amazon links. In some cases they took this to the extreme (as I think some pages are littered with too many ads), but I’m sure About will help them clean up a bit.

Not sure what this means in terms of the shopping comparison engine relationships that ConsumerSearch currently maintains, but About uses PriceGrabber for its shopping site, so I’d expect ConsumerSearch to eventually make the move to them. With 3m monthly uniques (according to the NYTimes article), it’s not going to make or break Shopping.com, Shopzilla, or PriceGrabber, but it’s worth a footnote.

At the same time, it helps to put a price on competitors like Reviewed.com.


Pronto Now Powering Ask.com Shopping Search

May 3, 2007

Pronto is now powering Ask.com shopping search, replacing former shopping search partner, PriceGrabber.

Congrats to the Pronto team!

P.S. Don’t feel too bad for PriceGrabber, they did pick up the AOL deal.

Related Posts:
Why Pronto Will Succeed – October 2, 2006
Pronto to Take Over Ask Shopping Soon? – February 26, 2007
Rumor – IAC Launching Shopping Comparison Engine – May 25, 2005
Red Carpet Launching Soon – November 3, 2005
RedCarpet – December 21, 2005
Pronto – January 10, 2006
There’s more – just do a search for Pronto.


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