After hearing about a new price engine add-on, we decided to catch up with Steve Kovsky from Dynamite Data, a San Diego based company, about their new technology. In short, this program installs as a browser [Firefox, Ed.] add-on and captures the lowest tech goods prices in real time and lets you know if the price you are looking at is indeed the lowest price.
BSN*: Hi Steve, what do you do within the company?
Dynamite: I am the VP of business development, and director of research, so I focus on forging partnerships with other businesses that can benefit from our real-time e-commerce data, as well as working to create the next generation of competitive intelligence research and analytics. The huge amount of data we collect – as well as extraordinary depth and timeliness of that data — is really unprecedented, so it’s been a very exciting opportunity.
BSN*: Why did you guys invent this technology?
Dynamite: We saw a need in the market to replace the inefficient data gathering techniques that were being used by merchants and manufacturers to keep track of their products and their competitors. At the same time, we saw that consumers were being misled in many cases, believing that the current shopping comparison sites (or "shopping engines") were working on their behalf, and showing them the best prices. In fact, these sites don’t collect any data directly, but simply display data from "feeds" provided by merchants. It’s 100 percent advertising. We saw an opportunity to create something that was not purely "pay to play," which was capable of really displaying the lowest price on any item, in real-time, and delivering true value to the consumer.
BSN*: How does it work?
Dynamite: Rather than just displaying potentially out-of-date and often inaccurate data from feeds, we scrape prices directly from more than 14 million individual "buy pages" at online merchants. This has never been possible before on such a large scale — at least not with any accuracy or reliability. We use several proprietary technologies to accomplish this. In addition to pricing information, we also collect shipping, availability, promotions and rebates, etc. We believe that this new level of transparency we are providing in the e-commerce market is going to be truly disruptive (hence the name "Dynamite Data").
BSN*: How did you pick those specific e-tailers that are available to compare?
Dynamite: We scrape more than 500 merchants worldwide right now, and are adding more all the time. Our aim is to support all of the top online merchants in every market. To identify which merchants we should track, we solicit recommendations from our business partners, and from consumers who provide us with feedback directly through the toolbar.
BSN*: What are your future plans for this technology?
Dynamite: Today, our focus is on consumer electronics, but in the future, we plan to track all products present in the worldwide e-commerce channel. Our technology is extremely scalable.
BSN*: Will this software eventually cover the entire internet?
Dynamite: Yes. We will expand to support all major browser platforms and product categories, and all geographic regions.
BSN*: How do you guys make your money off this technology? Is it similar to what pricegrabber, pricewatch and other price comparison sites do? Many of us seem cheated by some of these sites as they seem to not always be the lowest prices as they claim.
Dynamite: Our main focus is on the business-to-business side, providing merchants and manufacturers with a new class of data to make their operations more competitive, efficient and profitable. The toolbar is sort of a by-product, but we will be able to monetize it based on lead-generation and the ability to serve very targeted banner ads. Imagine that you were a TV manufacturer, and you could deliver a message to people who were already sitting on a merchant’s Web page, about to buy your competitor’s product. Advertising doesn’t get any more targeted than that! Best of all, we can accomplish this without detracting from our ability to display the "real" low price on every product, and providing real value to consumers.
In terms of comparing us to other price comparison tools and Web sites, we really are a completely different animal. It all comes down to how you get your data. Those other sites are strictly "pay to play." No price is displayed unless it was included in a feed of products provided by an advertiser. They don’t scrape prices, so they can’t show you the true low price – in fact, they can’t show you any price — unless it happens to be "on ad" that day. We have no such restriction. We can show any price from any merchant, and we are committed to always showing the best price we can find, regardless of the merchant’s ability to pay for the listing.
Also, since we don’t rely on feeds, our data is always current, always accurate, always verified, and it can’t be manipulated with bait-and-switch tactics or other games that are sometimes played — at the consumer’s expense.
BSN*: What other applications do you plan for this in the future?
Dynamite: Along with the current toolbar for Firefox, we will be releasing a version for Internet Explorer very soon. We are also very busy refining our existing products and creating new ones for Web site publishers, manufacturers and online merchants. There is more detail on these B-to-B products at our Solutions site, if your readers are interested.
And there you have it, Dynamite Data gives you the low down on their new technology and tools for anyone looking for the best hardware deals on the Internet. Only time will tell will Dynamite Data follow the suit of Google and StumpleUpon, or develop into a shopping searching engine. Should Froogle be worried?
For a video demonstration of this technology check out the local news station in San Diego for more.
Also, for those who want to download the extension/app ASAP go here