History Of Price Comparison Sites

Price comparison sites started as client-side add-ins to the Internet explorer and Netscape browsers and required further software to be downloaded and installed. Price comparison sites later migrated to web servers so that the service could be accessible to anyone with a browser.

During the late 1990s, as more people gained access to the internet, a wide range of shopping portals came into existence and listed retailers for particular products or services. The listed Retailers paid the website a fixed fee for appearing. These were like an online version of the Yellow Pages. With improvements in technology, a newer “breed” of shopping portals were created that brought both a change in business model, features and functionality of price comparison sites. These price comparison sites do not “aggregate” data-feeds from suppliers; they search and gather the data directly from the supplier website. This enables a more complete list of suppliers and the ability to refresh the data in real-time.

Portals and search engines created similar websites including companies that wished to benefit from the rise in internet shopping launched similar sites. Many of these types of services have since ceased.

From 1998 and 1999, various businesses developed technology that queried retailer sites for prices. Consumers could then search for a product or service, and find a list of retailers and prices for that product or service. Advertisers did not have to pay for listing, but paid for every ‘click through’. Other comparison engines have also evolved to provide consumers advanced price-monitoring tools, such as price alerts and price history monitoring. Learn more about price comparison sites here.


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