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Or there is some kind of "feed" they are getting from the real shops?
[edited by: Habtom at 1:57 pm (utc) on Aug. 21, 2007]
If I'm searching for a book, and they find that Tesco has it cheaper than Amazon - or someone else is a penny more, but post free, then that helps me.
Personally I'd be grateful if they included sites that don't pay commission (I've seen a couple that claim to, but not recently).
Sure it's commercial, it's affiliation too - but so what? they have as much right to exist as, er, Amazon.
I don't think they get any special favors in searches; I often find they don't figure at all for some product searches, while others they seem to do well.
I'm all for the little guy - but we all know that it's impossible to compete head on with the big guy - on the web, or in the mall. Nothing new there ;)
It's not unbiased, it's paid for.
There's no real-time data, it's all user-submitted product feeds that they draw their results from.
I don't think that's true any more.
The smaller comparison engines rely 100% on submitted feeds, but the OP asked about the biggest of them - they have been spidering for a while, at least for larger clients.
There's usually section for merchants on these comparison engines to review their service offerings. Many allow you to submit a feed via EDI, XML, or FTP. Not sure where the idea of crawling merchant sites came from, but maybe this is because Froogle at one time would supplement their data feed results with search engine results. It didn't work very well and the search engines results were eventually dropped.
This responsibility lies with the merchants by way of merchant supplied datafeeds.
There are some engines that are crawling but that ones that are like Shopwiki, Google and Become are in the minority. Shopping.com used to crawl for a Fee but I don't know if they still do. Too, you have better control of what data gets used when you build the feed yourself. This is really important with things like GBase Attributes.
My systems ftp fresh data daily to the Comparison Engines to enure the freshness.
When you supply your own data, do many have a limited period, after which you drop out? (I know Froogle used to be 28 days).
And is there a 'standard' form for the feed, or do the comparison engines make it up as they go along?
>>And is there a 'standard' form for the feed, or do the comparison engines make it up as they go along?
They're all a little different, look for their Datafeed Spec Sheets. Or you can use someone like singlefeed or channel intelligence. Singlefeed will let you supply 1 type of feed and they push it our to all of your partners for you.