Retailers, Engines Want Standard for Product Description

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ATLANTA -- A diverse set of industry members including advertisers and search engines gathered during Shop.org's FirstLook 2006 event and agreed on the need to devise a common standard for describing products for online SKU-based advertising and comparison shopping.


Alan Rimm-Kaufman, CEO of his self-named interactive agency and one of the meeting's participants, told DM News what transpired in the Jan. 23 meeting.


"Representatives from search engines (Yahoo, MSN, AOL, Become, Shop.com), retailers (Sierra Trading Post, RedEnvelope, Bare Necessities, CompUSA, Cutter & Buck, Coldwater Creek, REI), ad agencies (Rimm-Kaufman Group, Performics, Mercent, Mars) and the National Retail Federation's Association for Retail Technology Standards met to discuss establishing an industry standard for describing products for online SKU-based advertising and the comparison engines," he said.


Retailers and engines shared their frustration at the lack of a common platform to describe products and receive advertising reports, Rimm-Kaufman said. He noted that "organizations with widely different interests all agreed that the current situation was far from good and that an industry standard would help greatly."


Participants agreed to work on an industry standard for describing products online using the expertise and process of the Association for Retail Technology Standards, he said. The group plans to meet Feb. 27 in Menlo Park, CA, to begin work on a spec.


"Such a standard would allow retailers, both large and small, to advertise online more easily," he said, "would help the engines by increasing their advertising base, and would help consumers by allowing retailers to communicate a richer set of product information to the engines, which would then facilitate improved product searching and comparing."


Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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