© Jim Edwards – All Rights reserved
Imagine you find yourself in the market to buy a new digital
camera and, before you part with your money, you want to
comparison shop for the best price online.
If you do a search for “digital camera” on Google.com, the
Web’s top search engine, you’ll get back over 7 million page
Refine your search to a specific model, such as the HP
Photosmart 935, and you get back 137,000 page results. Now
do a search on BestBuy.com, CircuitCity.com, and Amazon.com
and you’ll only find it listed one time, and on that site it
costs $60 more than I paid for it at Target.
Even though the web makes it easy to search out the products
we want to buy, sometimes that mountain of information makes
it almost impossible to find the best deal.
To solve this problem there are “personal online shoppers”
which help you seek, find, and comparison shop multiple
offers for just about any product you want to buy, online or
An online personal shopper-type service enables you to log
on to a single site, enter the product details you want to
search, and then have the website give you back a list of
prices and places where you can purchase the item.
The personal shopping assistant sites that rate the best
don’t accept commissions for the sale of items through their
services because getting paid based on what the customer
buys would eliminate unbiased product comparisons.
The best services make their money by selling targeted
advertising to merchants and only displaying products in
their search results based on price and features.
~ MySimon.com ~
MySimon.com ranks as one of the oldest personal shopping
assistants on the Internet.
Highlights of the service include an extensive homepage
directory to help you choose the correct product category to
search and a database of millions of products.
On the negative, MySimon.com does manipulate their merchant
listings pages based on how much money the advertiser pays
to show up in the results.
~ PriceScan.com ~
Pricescan.com does not accept money from advertisers to
manipulate their search results, though they will show
targeted advertising on the search results pages.
A very nice feature on this site involves the ability to
enter features you want in a particular item (such as a
computer) and then search all makes, models, and
manufacturers matching those features.
You’ll find this especially valuable when comparing things
like computers, which often carry many different variables
~ Froogle.com ~
Operated by Internet giant, Google.com, Froogle.com allows
you to search for specific items you want to buy and then
sort them by price.
You can also specify a price range you’re willing to pay for
the item and Froogle will only search for and display those
items that fall within the range.
Froogle also clearly draws a line (literally) between
unbiased search results on the left side of the page and
advertisers on the right.
In the testing for this article, Froogle consistently
returned the highest quantity and most relevant search
results for specific product names entered.
About the author:
Jim Edwards is a syndicated newspaper columnist and the
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