DealTime Changes Name to Shopping.com

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Online comparison-shopping service DealTime Inc. has changed its name to Shopping.com Inc., resurrecting a brand associated with end-of-century Internet euphoria.


The site at www.shopping.com becomes the company's flagship shopping search site, gaining precedence over siblings DealTime.com and Epinions.com. The name was bought for an unspecified sum in 2001 when venture capitalist CMGI still owned AltaVista Co.


"Our feeling is that Shopping.com as the flagship brand will appeal to a vast majority of people," said Iggy Fanlo, chief revenue officer of the New York and San Francisco company. "The real differences will be the vast increase in both relevance of search results and comprehensiveness of merchants and offers."


Shopping.com debuts with cleaner and larger fonts, more white space and better navigation than DealTime.com. For example, Shopping.com images typically are 100-by-100, or 10,000 pixels per square inch. DealTime.com images are 75-by-75, roughly half of its newer sibling's resolution.


Plans call for a gradual phasing out of the DealTime.com brand both in the United States and Britain, which has a dedicated site at www.dealtime.co.uk.


"Not right away," Fanlo said, "but the plan is for Shopping.com to be the flagship brand globally."


At birth, Shopping.com lists more than 5 million products and features 1.4 million consumer reviews. Also, there are more than 10 million product, review and retailer listings on the site. And it aggregates pricing and availability information from 3,000 retailers.


"We felt that there is a place in consumers' minds for a truly differentiated information source for shopping," Fanlo said. "Before, we weren't ready for the promise and expectations that consumers will naturally afford to a name as comprehensive as Shopping.com."


Merchants who pay to list on Shopping.com get listed for free on DealTime.com.


The renaming of the 5-year-old holding company comes five months after the acquisition by DealTime of Epinions, a provider of consumer reviews from 150,000 contributors. The site at www.epinions.com will retain its identity.


According to Nielsen//NetRatings, DealTime.com in August attracted 11 million unique monthly visitors. DealTime revenue last year was $30 million from paid listings from retailers, with projections to double this year. Epinions posted $8 million in revenue last year.


Consumers who point their browser to DealTime.com still will reach that site. But they will get a small popup window asking if they want to try Shopping.com. If yes, they can click and connect directly via the popup. Or they can stick with DealTime.com.


The company initially will use public relations to publicize the corporate repositioning and the launch of a new comparison-shopping service. It is also using search engine marketing, affiliate marketing and distribution deals with partners like EarthLink, iWon and AT&T.


Fanlo is confident that Shopping.com will strike a chord with online shoppers looking to compare prices across various retailers. The ring of the name helps, too. Still, what is wrong with a label like DealTime?


"In a word, nothing," Fanlo said. "But for real comprehensiveness, differentiation and memorability, Shopping.com was better.


"The place exists in the consumer's mind for a truly differentiated information source for shopping, not unlike the way Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz have carved out that space in consumers' mind for travel."


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