Web Analytics Concepts-Comparative Search Engines (CSE)

Comparative search engine

What is comparative search engine?
Comparative search engine websites provide information about products for online sale.
Comparative search engine is price comparison service. On the internet, a price comparison service (also known as comparison shopping, shopping comparison, or price engine) allows individuals to see different lists of prices for specific products. Most price comparison services do not sell products themselves, but source prices from retailers from whom users can buy.


Where and how can you use comparative search engine?
Let us suppose a guy wants to buy a particular Tissot watch and he decides to go for online shopping. On internet you have many websites which sell watches. How to know which site provides the best at least price? Comparative search engine is an answer to this.

(site: http://www.google.com/shopping) 

Prices from Different Sites-Gives prices from different sites
Filters- You can narrow down the search by using filters.
Advertisements – Some times there are ads that are related to the search words.


Why retailers should advertise on price comparison site?

Increase in Traffic – Running marketing campaigns on the comparative search engine will drive more website traffic at low investment. Large member base – Comparative search engine has large member base. 
Higher ROI – ROI is higher on the comparative search engine when compared with ROI from regular search engine.
Comparison Shopping – Comparative search engine gives an edge over competitor if you have a special promotion.
Free customer Survey – Certain comparison site give customers an option to rate the site. This can be very helpful for the online- retailers.


Technology
Price comparison sites can collect data directly from merchants- Retailers who want to list their products on the website then supply their own lists of products and prices, and these are matched against the original database. This is done by a mixture of information extraction, fuzzy logic and human labor.
Comparison sites can also collect data through a data feed file-Merchants provide information electronically in a set format. Affiliate networks such as LinkShare  aggregate data feeds from many merchants and provide them to the price comparison sites.
Another approach is to crawl the web for prices- This means the comparison service scans retail web pages to retrieve the prices, instead of relying on the retailers to supply them. This method is also sometimes called 'scraping' information.
Yet another approach is to collect data is through crowd sourcing techniques. Sites that use this method would allow visitors to contribute pricing data. Price comparison sites that utilize this method would collaborate the data with related inputs and add it to the main database though collaborative filtering, artificial intelligence, or human labor.


Examples of Comparative search engines
http://www.google.com/shopping
http://www.pricegrabber.com/
http://www.shopzilla.com/
http://www.bizrate.com/
http://www.nextag.com/
http://www.shopping.com/
  

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