RealTime IT News

So, You Could Ask Jeeves About the Price

In a deal that expands its reach in the crowded price-comparison field, PriceGrabber.com inked a deal with search operation Ask Jeeves to provide comparative shopping information.

The Ask.com search engine launched a new shopping channel and e-commerce search operation, launching with nine categories: books, computers, electronics, movies, music, toys, software, video games and office products.

The deal will include a melding of technology in which Emeryville, Calif.-based Ask Jeeves' natural language technology will be combined with PriceGrabber's comparative shopping engine, said Steve Berkowitz, president of Ask Jeeves Web Properties. Financial arrangements were not disclosed.

Price comparison is a crowded field. Competitors include DealTime, CNET's mySimon.com, BizRate.com, NexTag PriceScan.com and PricingCentral.com, among many others. There also are a whole host of item-specific price comparison engines.

The Ask Jeeves shopping guide allows users to search for items that meet specific requirements such as features, price and manufacturer. And Ask Jeeves shoppers can determine the complete cost of an item, including tax and shipping fees, merely by entering their zip code. That latter feature makes use of PriceGrabber's "BottomLinePrice" technology.

Other search engines have shopping arrangements too. Alta Vista, for instance, is partnered with DealTime and Yahoo! has a whole shopping category with a research and compare area and a relationship with Consumer Reports. Last September, Yahoo! launched the Yahoo! Shopping Tech Center.

And of course Rival retailer Amazon.com offers customer ratings on its electronic products.

Los Angeles-based PriceGrabber, launched in 1999, offers calculation, detailed product information, merchant ratings, e-mail notification of the best prices on the Internet, side-by-side product comparisons, merchant and product reviews, and wireless access from WAP-enabled phones and other devices.

Ask Jeeves also operates multiple-reply search site Teoma.com and the Ask Jeeves Keyword Network, the company's advertising services network.