In the last week, I have read a couple of articles related to CSEs that were not really positive. Among those:
TechCrunch UK – Price comparison sites are going, going, gone…
“[…] For now though, PriceGrabber is not the only one ‘on the block’. Yahoo has been looking to sell Kelkoo, which operates in 10 European countries, since October last year (here are some good reasons why). Elsewhere, Pricerunner, launched in Sweden in 1999 and bought by ValueClick for £16m, seems to be losing momentum as bigger players have won the traffic and marketing game […]“
Interactive Investor – Is it the end for price comparison sites?
“[…] Since then the cost of attracting traffic to such websites by bidding for Google key words has risen dramatically, thereby eroding profit margins. And with the US economy on the brink of recession and the UK economy suffering a slowdown, consumers have less disposable cash to spend online or offline. […]” (for those who don’t like suspense, the end of the article seems to conclude that: “no, this is not the end” ;) )
The Independent – Price site shake-out
“[…] One of the key issues for price comparison sites is that the market has become overcrowded which means that only the most successful are likely to survive. […] And the market for companies which focus on retail products is even more saturated. One analyst said the barriers for entry for those comparing retail products, such as flat screen televisions and DVDs, were lower than those comparing financial products, such as mortgages and insurance, which meant there were many small players in the field.[…]“
Those articles are following the recent news that PriceGrabber is for sale; and also the less recent news that Yahoo! was seeking to give more autonomy to Kelkoo, and previous rumors that Shopzilla may be for sale (which seems to be false in the end, by the way).
I’m really not good at business, so I’m not here for great business analysis, just a few thoughts: