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Monday, September 7, 2009

The Second Method Of Creating Comparison Shopping Engines - Data Feeds

The second method of creating a comparison shopping engine is through the uploading of files called "data feeds"

The following description of data feeds is also taken from

"Some comparison shopping engines use crawling for at least some of their results, but the difficulties with this method have led most of the established shopping engines to use the second method: "data feeds" from the merchant stores. Data feeds are basically special data files that the merchant prepares and makes available to the shopping engines.

The advantage of using data feeds is that all the information is provided in a nice format which is easy for the shopping engine to understand and analyze. It's much easier, faster and more reliable for the shopping engine to get its information from a data feed than by trying to crawl a merchant website."

Developing a Comparison Shopping Engine Through Crawling Programs

The following piece is taken from and will discuss the first of two methods in setting up comparison shopping engines, called "crawling". This is the more complex form of developing a comparison shopping engine, but understanding this step may help readers understand how comparison shopping engines actually work.

"If you set out to build a comparison shopping engine, there are basically two ways you can approach the problem. The first way is to "crawl" merchant (online store) websites in much the same way that a search engine like Google examines and indexes the information in web pages. This means that you build a software program to visit the merchant websites, analyze the HTML pages and find the information and prices for the products they offer.

While crawling works great for general web search engines, it much harder to build a comparison shopping engine this way. That's because the information on and the format of merchant sites varies widely. The product description and even the product title can vary among merchant websites, so that it can be difficult for the shopping engine to even be sure that it is comparing identical products. Also, any time that a merchant changes the format of its website, the crawler may stop working properly. Of course, a crawler needs to continuously visit the merchant websites in order to insure that information is up to date."

Getting Different Results From Different Comparison Shopping Engines

Considering the fact that there are several comparison shopping engines that compare products on a price basis, it would be reasonable to think that all the comparison shopping engines would display the same results. However, this is certainly not the case in this situation. Every comparison shopping engine gets it's product listings from different sources and therefore provide different search results. Consumers have the option of comparing prices on the comparison shopping engine they first use and take the best product they can find from those search results, or they can do the same search on several comparison shopping engines to see if they can find any better results on another site. Using several comparison shopping engines is the only way to ensure that a consumer will find the best results for the products they want to purchase.

What Are Comparison Shopping Engines?

Comparison shopping engines are quickly becoming a very popular shopping technique for online shoppers. The biggest comparison shopping engines are offered by companies like Google, Yahoo, MSN. However, there are many other comparison shopping engines like, Shopzilla, Bizrate, MySimon, Nextag, PriceGrabber, etc. When a consumer uses a comparison shopping engine he or she expects to find a couple different sets of information in their search. The idea is to find a comparison of products with the lowest possible price or to find information and reviews about those certain types of products. Most shopping engines are focused on comparing pricing. Comparison shopping engines serve as both a powerful tool for merchants looking to get their products out to a larger audience and a powerful shopping tool for consumers to compare prices, information, and consumer reviews of the same products from a variety of merchants.

Blog Purpose

This blog is intended to provide readers with useful information in understanding what comparison shopping engines are, how they work, how consumers can use them, and how they benefit merchants. I will discuss the various comparison shopping engines available like Google, Yahoo, and MSN as well as several others. Thank you in advance to all my readers and followers and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to leave me questions in the comments section.

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