DealTime Plans 2003 Changes After Strong '02

Share this article: was the third-most-visited shopping site in December, trailing only Amazon and eBay, according to data from comScore Media Metrix.

Those numbers show the growing popularity of online shopping services like DealTime, causing even Google to spawn a Froogle product search service in the fall.

DealTime claims its site pulled in $11 million for the holidays and $29 million for 2002, doubling for the third consecutive year. The company said it became profitable based on generally accepted accounting principles in the second half of last year.

Several factors contributed to DealTime's 2002 performance. User visits, shopping searches and referrals to merchants doubled during the year. The merchant base tripled to more than 1,500 online stores.

Also, revenue per referral rose considerably. It offered a 13.3 percent conversion rate to sale to retailers on referrals. The average sales-per-referral hovers between $5 and $15 per click.

This year's plans include the steady rollout of more dynamic navigation. The aim is to cut the number of hoops an online shopper goes through when initiating a search.

"The functionality out there on the Web today is very, very good for fixed databases, static databases where the product can exist on one level," said Iggy Fanlo, chief operating officer at DealTime.

With its new technology, DealTime hopes to peel back the layers of a tree structure -- for example, fiction, nonfiction, comedy, adventure, etc., when searching for books -- and narrow it to the most pertinent deals.

So the DealTime technology will populate across categories to capture the consumer's mood. Jewelry is the first category to benefit from this. Searches will take users only to the cuts of the data that are most relevant. Furniture, flowers and apparel are next, with a rollout to other categories every three to five days.

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