DealTime Lowers Minimum Bid

DealTime on Monday lowered its minimum bid in an effort to encourage more retailers to try its shopping search engine.

The minimum bid in DealTime’s priciest categories — computers, office and consumer electronics — has been lowered to 30 cents. Previously, the minimum bid for computes and office products was 40 cents; for consumer electronics, the minimum bid was 35 cents. In DealTime’s 17 other categories, the minimum bid has fallen to 5 cents. Product categories had a wide range of minimum bids, from 25 cents for software to 15 cents for furniture.

“Our goal is to sign up every online merchant,” said Iggy Fanlo, DealTime’s chief revenue officer.

DealTime is not quite there yet. Its Merchant Network currently has more than 2,200 retailers, who bid on listings that appear in DealTime’s comparison shopping engine. Pricing and placement is based on the pay-per-click model popularized by Overture Services and Google in the keyword businesses, with higher bids rewarded with higher placement. Merchants only pay when consumers click through to their sites.

In addition to its destination site, DealTime listings appear on the search pages of Excite and AltaVista. The company expanded its reach in March with the acquisition of consumer review company Epinions.

In a further move to goose demand, DealTime said it would offer volume discounts to merchants listing more than 5,000 items. For each 5,000 items listed, merchants receive 1 percent off their monthly bill.

DealTime’s decision follows on similar efforts in the paid listings business by Google, which in May lowered its minimum bid on keywords to 5 cents across the board. Google’s move was against the grain, as both Overture and FindWhat had recently upped their minimum bids to 10 cents.

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