nicolas leroy

Apnoti, price comparison with real-time price check

August 03, 2009

Yes, yes, real-time :) Launched today:

The world’s first price search engine smart.apnoti.com with real-time technology will be launched on 3 August 2009, marking a new era in online shopping. The technical innovation from apnoti.com GmbH, based in Starnberg near Munich, Germany, checks all quotes from over 10,000 affiliated shops in real-time for every single product and price request. With smart.apnoti.com, price-concious, smart online shoppers can finally be sure that the prices found are completely up-to-date. And that pays off: price fluctuations during the day of up to 70 percent for the same product from the same internet dealer are not uncommon.

Behind the internationally unique and complex technology is a simple yet impressive business idea: because classic comparison portals update their data on average once a day at most, current product comparison concepts can lead to price distortions and misled customers. “Almost every consumer who has looked for, compared and bought online products and prices in the past, has already paid too much at one point because of out-of-date price data. That is now a thing of the past!” announces Gerold Herrmann, founder and managing director of the successful start-up company, adding: “With over 65 million items from more than 10,000 online shops, the number of relevant search results is already very impressive. The new and unique technology is making online shopping a true real-time experience because at smart.apnoti.com, the user decides when to request the price: “current’ no longer means today, but now”.

Basically, Apnoti brings the technology used by travel search sites (Kelkoo, Kayak…) to shopping. The way it is executed is quite smart, and it offers a really nice experience. It all starts with a really basic homepage where the search form is proeminent. The search result pages are simple yet efficient:

Then the product page:

Based on the quality of product aggregation (especially on soft goods), I would have imagined Apnoti had developed some deals with merchants to get offer feeds and APIs to check prices in real-time. But it seems it relies on crawling technology:

smart.apnoti.com is a search engine using a web-indexing robot. Thereby smart.apnoti.com’s web crawler gathers information form the Internet to build a comprehensive and searchable index for search activities using the smart.apnoti.com search engine. These information is revealed and crawled because other websites include links directing to these information and documents.

Does it mean site scrapping to retrieve prices?

Overall this is a great piece of technology: a great compromise between the usage of stored data in the backend (search capacity, offers in product pages) and the real-time retrieval of prices.

Apnoti homepage:

Apnoti homepage by you.

Apnoti search result page:

Apnoti homepage by you.

Product page with loading prices:

Apnoti homepage by you.

Product page fully loaded:

Apnoti homepage by you.


5 commentaires

Cagdas T
on Aug 04, 2009 / 2pm
Have you seen pricespider? They are checking the prices real-time, as well.

Cagdas T
on Aug 04, 2009 / 2pm
Sorry for the bad link. Here it is

www.pricespider.com

nicolasleroy
on Aug 04, 2009 / 5pm
Hi Cagdas,
I didn't know about PriceSpider, it's indeed very similar to Apnoti, but it's quite slow to get price update.. At first glance, the site is also a bit confusing compared to Apnoti... Need to spend some time reviewing it anyway as real-time price check is a really interesting topic.
Nicolas

Cagdas T
on Aug 05, 2009 / 12pm
Nicolas, do you think will the shops be ok with real-time price check if the prices are retrieved by site scrapping as it will create an increase in their traffic? Or is this just what they want?

nicolasleroy
on Aug 06, 2009 / 9am
That's a real good question.

When you do a click to the merchant on Apnoti, you may notice in the URL that there is a redirection to Dealtime, meaning there is a commercial relationship between the merchants and Dealtime, and suggesting those merchants are aware of a syndication deal between Dealtime and Apnoti. In the case of a commercial relationship, merchants seem ok with the real-time check.

In 2000, at Kelkoo, we were using such approach with merchants; but we stopped it as this generated a lot of loads on merchant websites. I suppose the technology has improved and it is not such a problem anymore for them (or some of them).

Nicolas