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Does pricewatch *really* give you the lowest prices?

By in News
Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 03:48:01 PM EST
Tags: Hardware (all tags)
Hardware

Pricewatch isn't the only hardware-price listing service out there -- in fact, Yahoo lists at least sixteen of them. If you only search pricewatch before buying hardware, are you really getting the best price?

I wondered the same thing -- so I wrote a script to scan eleven different pricing sites and show me the "best-of-the-best". Gradually that script evolved into a website so that others can benefit from it as well. Check it out at lowerbound.org


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Does pricewatch *really* give you the lowest prices? | 28 comments (28 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
High promotional value, but still, ... (2.00 / 2) (#1)
by rusty on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 02:37:53 AM EST

rusty voted 1 on this story.

High promotional value, but still, it's a cool idea. I use pricewatch all the time, and haven't yet had it fail me badly. Interesting to see a comparison engine for stuff like this-- I think we're going to see more of this kind of thing in the future.

____
Not the real rusty

this is a good topic, but I'd like ... (4.50 / 2) (#17)
by Pinball Wizard on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 03:31:05 AM EST

Pinball Wizard voted 1 on this story.

this is a good topic, but I'd like to add something to the discussion.

Price comparison sites are at the heart of a Marxian conflict between capitalism and the internet. No, you say? Well, let me explain. A BIG part of the reason stocks are tanking so badly lately is that there is just not much profit to be made on the internet, due to the failings of capitalism(bear with me for a bit) How is money made on the internet? By a shitload of extremely competitive companies: ISPs, e-commerce sites, and ad-mongers. To actually SELL something on the internet often requires that you price your product at little, no, or even negative profit. This is a sad state of affairs, my friends. But hey, its going to get worse until it gets better, I'm sorry to say. The attraction to comparison shopping is so great it will drive people away from their local stores to buy on the internet. We are rapidly approaching the point where you'll be able to get just about anything delivered to your home or office in a few short hours or less. And believe me, the competition for your business will border on the unreal.

What will happen to the economy when access to product information and the competition that it drives causes everything that is produced to be sold at no profit? The prognosis to me looks devastating.

I could be wrong. But I believe that there are severe problems inherent with capitalism and competition, and I believe that the internet will expose these flaws to a high degree. Unfortunatly, as of yet, I have no positive suggestions on what could resolve this dillema. Think about this for a bit, and let me know what your thoughts are.

Re: this is a good topic, but I'd like ... (none / 0) (#24)
by zotz on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 07:05:39 PM EST

So you don't think it is people trying to get control in a market and then set profitable prices after they are in a position to squash the competition?

Or perhaps people who believe that because of the efficiencies of the net, they do not need to make the traditional markup?

I sometimes wonder if it will make commodities of a lot more things and give us more to spend on custom goods and services.


zotz forever! ~~~the raggeded~~~

bslug.org
[ Parent ]

Re: this is a good topic, but I'd like ... (none / 0) (#25)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 08:48:31 PM EST

You talk about "stocks tanking so badly." I wish I had a copy of this chart I saw the other day, which showed the price-to-earnings ratio of all 4500+ stocks on NASDAQ from 1986 to mid-February 2000. Christ, it would make your hair stand on end to see that graph. From 1986 through about 1992 or so, the bumpy line was centered on about 25 or so. Then it started to slowly creep upward. But three years ago it became detached from reality like a hot air balloon that has slipped its guys, and began shooting moon-ward, to where it had reached over 220 by this year.

The internet-stock bubble can't stay inflated forever, and guys whose "fortunes" mainly consist of stock options in this-n-that.com may have seen their paper fortunes come to resemble cigarette papers, but there were all those high salaries to be got, and there were suppliers - advertising agencies, SF real estate businesses, vendors of computer hardware, UPS and FedEx - who already got paid in full, and don't forget the stockbrokers! If the stock market is a gambling hell, then they are the house, guaranteed to win in every single transaction.

There was no way that the U.S. savings and loans of the 1980s could make a profit, as a whole, either. But there were splendid opportunities for certain clever individuals to extract a really large haul and run for overseas, and also there were a lot more considerably easier and less arrest-worthy jobs with big fat salaries and lots of luxurious perks, at least until the bubble burst. Similarly I believe that today's NASDAQ tulipmania was the result of a deliberate con-job by the brokers and big operators to shake loose a bunch of money from Joe Lunchpail's 401K - note how the timing coincided perfectly with that wholly fictional "crisis" is Social Security publicists like the Wall Street Journal made such a fuss over, as though those f*ckers actually give a damn about anytrhing that is projected to happen thirty years in the future - and to completely clean out all those dumb wannabes foolish enough to day-trade.

Pretty soon now everybody who was selling at a loss, including amazon.com, will either jack their prices so they at least break even, or else they will be out of business. By "pretty soon," they way things are going right now, I could mean next Monday afternoon, by the way. At least those internet marketers have their state sales tax scam still in place, right? Again, for a while, anyway.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

...waiting for my email back, so I can post as "anonymous cowerd" rather than "Anonymous Hero"...

[ Parent ]

Re: this is a good topic, but I'd like ... (none / 0) (#27)
by Pinball Wizard on Mon Apr 17, 2000 at 04:44:20 PM EST

Anonymous Hero wrote -

Pretty soon now everybody who was selling at a loss, including amazon.com, will either jack their prices so they at least break even, or else they will be out of business. By "pretty soon," they way things are going right now, I could mean next Monday afternoon, by the way. At least those internet marketers have their state sales tax scam still in place, right? Again, for a while, anyway.

OK, there's a point, but... If price comparison becomes the dominant model for shopping on the internet it won't matter that amazon jacked its price up, people will just click on the lowest price and go. I hear another argument formenting already - "price isn't the only reason people buy" uh-huh, and price is not the only thing comparison shoppers can compare. A really good one could compare user satisfaction ratings, shipping time, etc. etc. As long as you had companies popping up that were willing to sacrifice profit to gain customers, you would have this problem.

Course when the Dow dips below 2,000 the banks will likely stop funding these companies. It may be too late, but that's beside the point.

[ Parent ]

Re: this is a good topic, but I'd like ... (none / 0) (#28)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Apr 22, 2000 at 01:18:36 AM EST

what your describing is the creation of a more fluid form of capitalism; not the end or obsolecence of capitalism at all. you say that competition will force all but the most efficient and fast of retailers out of operation, but this is the way its always been... to sell something on the internet does indeed require retailers to be on the very edge of profit margins. so? what are these inherent problems in capitalism and competition you speak of? how can there be a "problem with competition"? as long as there is limited resources, there will be competition for them, almost by definition... aw well. i'm done now.

[ Parent ]
Free add for a site, but who cares,... (1.00 / 2) (#2)
by Zer0 on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 04:57:50 AM EST

Zer0 voted 1 on this story.

Free add for a site, but who cares, its a good site. That most will get use out of.

hmm. it's somewhat interesting but ... (3.50 / 2) (#15)
by pvg on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 08:23:42 AM EST

pvg voted 0 on this story.

hmm. it's somewhat interesting but is it a story or an ad? The site really doesn't say much about lowerbound - does it plan/hope to become a commercial entity, if not, well, where is the source?

This is something that should be in... (2.50 / 2) (#4)
by driph on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 10:21:05 AM EST

Driph voted 0 on this story.

This is something that should be in a .sig, not an article. Sure, it's an interesting site idea, and one I'd potentially use, but unless Rusty found a wad of bills in an envelope on his desk, I don't think it should be posted.

Interesting copyright explanation on the site, btw. Isnt it effectively just a metacrawler, but only for price sites? Nothing new there as far as legalities, I'd think..

--
Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave

This is a pure advertisement.... (3.25 / 4) (#12)
by Anonymous Coward on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 11:27:51 AM EST

Anonymous Coward voted -1 on this story.

This is a pure advertisement.

I'm not sure if there is a really l... (1.50 / 2) (#8)
by shepd on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 11:39:37 AM EST

shepd voted 1 on this story.

I'm not sure if there is a really large price difference, but what I do like is that lowerbound.org affords more customized searches.

lowerbound is a nice and useful sit... (3.50 / 2) (#18)
by ken on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 12:13:38 PM EST

ken voted -1 on this story.

lowerbound is a nice and useful site, but the submission is just self promotional. Sorry, I don't think it's a thought provoking article, and I don't think it's appropriate for this site.

sounds like an ad... (3.50 / 2) (#16)
by bgp4 on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 12:21:56 PM EST

bgp4 voted -1 on this story.

sounds like an ad
May all your salads be eaten out of black hats

This past Christmas I used Deja for... (3.50 / 2) (#9)
by evro on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 12:29:45 PM EST

evro voted 1 on this story.

This past Christmas I used Deja for product reviews and DealTime to find the best prices and I was pretty satisfied with how things turned out. Dealtime has since changed their interface and I think it sucks now, but it was good way back in '99.
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"

Does lowerbound.org correct for shi... (3.30 / 3) (#10)
by fluffy grue on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 12:37:18 PM EST

fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

Does lowerbound.org correct for shipping prices, though? One of the price-gouging techniques which Pricewatch listings uses (and which Pricewatch have been trying to crack down on lately) is by listing a price barely below cost, but then charging as much as $20 for shipping.

Oh well. I think I'll use lowerbound anyway, since its browsing interface seems MUCH nicer than just having a page o' links which don't always work as expected.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Seems like a commercial troll to me... (1.50 / 2) (#14)
by soulhuntre on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 01:12:21 PM EST

soulhuntre voted 0 on this story.

Seems like a commercial troll to me - but I am not convinced. I'll stay neutral.

An anonymous posting of a website w... (5.00 / 2) (#7)
by kraant on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 01:37:09 PM EST

kraant voted -1 on this story.

An anonymous posting of a website without much of an article seems too much like a hit and run promotion for me to be comfortable with voting it in. And I'm starting to agree with the people who think that link propagation without any relevant write up is not something I want to see...

So to whoever posted this in the first place maybe get a user account here ... but definetly give us some kind of article giving a more personal insight into this lowerbound.org site and I will vote +1 on it even if it is postend anonymously
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...

Even though this guy is probably ju... (2.00 / 2) (#3)
by ramses0 on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 02:12:01 PM EST

ramses0 voted 1 on this story.

Even though this guy is probably just trying to score some free advertising for his website, it's actually neat and useful. The "copyright" information is also very interesting and thorough to read.

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]

Price isn't everything.... (3.50 / 2) (#11)
by alisdair on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 02:35:51 PM EST

alisdair voted -1 on this story.

Price isn't everything.

Re: Price isn't everything.... (none / 0) (#20)
by rusty on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 04:38:35 PM EST

That's abolutely true-- for the quality side of the coin, take a look at Reseller Ratings. They have an ongoing survey about computer reseller quality, not just price. It's very cool.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Self-promotion, but pretty cool!... (1.00 / 2) (#6)
by Philipp on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 03:33:36 PM EST

Philipp voted 1 on this story.

Self-promotion, but pretty cool!

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'

This is spam. No spam should be pos... (3.00 / 1) (#5)
by xah on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 03:45:04 PM EST

xah voted -1 on this story.

This is spam. No spam should be posted here. I hear you can buy CD's with millions of e-mail addresses on them. Maybe you should try that instead of posting to K5.

Yes and no (3.00 / 2) (#19)
by kmself on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 04:09:11 PM EST

While I tend to find this annoyingly self-promotional (though not quite spam), I don't think self promotion is necessarily bad. This person's clearly touched some raw nerves and will have to deal with the response and consequences.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

neat. ... (1.00 / 2) (#13)
by Field Marshall Stack on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 03:48:01 PM EST

Field Marshall Stack voted 1 on this story.

neat.
--
Ben Allen, hiway@speakeasy.org
"Nobody ever lends money to a man with a sense of humor"
-Peter Tork

Re: neat. ... (5.00 / 1) (#26)
by Field Marshall Stack on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 09:19:46 PM EST

Hm, I'll elaborate a bit. I was originally going to vote -1 (since obviously it WAS shameless self-promotion) but...well, it does seem marginally useful and as best as I can tell from a brief perusal of the site there's no banner ads (the presence of which would have made me enter the -1 without even thinking about it).
--
Ben Allen, hiway@speakeasy.org
"Nobody ever lends money to a man with a sense of humor"
-Peter Tork
[ Parent ]
ATTENTION: those who voted yes on this article (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by xah on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 04:55:41 PM EST

Take a careful look at this post. It's a stupid ad. It's spam. It's spiced ham in a can. Do we really want this kind of crap posted to K5? I've been particularly impressed by the quality of K5's stories in comparison to /.'s over the last week, but now this?

People, if you're going to take the responsibility of moderating submissions on K5, you have to do so carefully. If it's an ad, tank it. Let the stupid M.F. pay for one of those $59.95 CD's with millions of e-mail addresses and let him lose his ISP connection.

In conclusion, down with spam.

Intent and consequences (4.00 / 1) (#22)
by kmself on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 05:17:00 PM EST

A good troll generates useful discussion. lowerbound is going to go down as the Canter and Siegel of Kuro5hin. The Green Card (also 1 2 3 4 ) spam was one of the first widespread 'net adverts, in October of 1994. A post offering assistance in obtaining immigration green cards was submitted to thousands of Usenet newsgroups as well as many cross-posted mailing lists. While the commercial viability of the exercise to CSLaw has been hotly debated, many trace the decline of Usenet to this single action -- the subsequent S/N reduction has rendered huge tracts of it useless.

If you'll wipe the bile from your eyes, you'll note that the overwhelming bulk of commentary on this item is critical of the post itself. I've submitted an item (hint: Moderate Submissions folks!) on the topic. I think we can chalk this one up to a learning experience. I also am not yet convinced that lowerbound was intentionally malicious, though they're decidedly lacking of Clue attribute.

The discussion looks also like it's going to be a good departure point for discussing price comparison services on the Web, issues in purchasing aside from price (quality of goods/service, support), and the rest of it.

One of the things you have to realize when stepping into the fray of an interactive forum is that the community will take your words and run with them. In the case of lowerbound, the run is toward the wrong goalpost.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

A Question for the Poster (3.50 / 2) (#23)
by skim123 on Sat Apr 15, 2000 at 06:43:54 PM EST

Just out of curiosity, how many hits have you gotten from kuro5hin.org over the past couple of days?

Just curious...

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


Does pricewatch *really* give you the lowest prices? | 28 comments (28 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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