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for, compared and bought online products and prices in the past, has already paid too much at one point because of out-of-date price data.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 search result page:
Product page with loading prices:
Product page fully loaded: