Comparison Shopping Businesses in Demand
Corporations like Yahoo Inc., eBay Inc. and E. W. Scripps Co. since last year collectively spent about $1.6 billion buying Europe's Kelkoo, Shopping.com and Shopzilla, respectively. And now marketing services giant Experian buys PriceGrabber.com for $485 million in cash.
"I think the reason why there's such fascination for the comparison shopping search business is that we operate in the sweet spot area - commercial search," said Harry Tsao, cofounder of Monrovia, CA-based Smarter.com and one of the few independent comparison-shopping services left.
Experian's Dec. 12 acquisition of PriceGrabber.com is part of its goal to become a go-to provider of online customer acquisition services. It also gives Experian access to an online database of products, services and retailers that PriceGrabber.com visitors can compare prior to a transaction.
PriceGrabber.com now is a part of Experian Interactive, whose components include other online marketing services like LowerMyBills.com, MetaRewards, Affiliate Fuel, ClassesUSA.com and Experian Consumer Direct.