Shopping search engines allow you to search specifically for products for sale from online merchants. They typically provide features different from regular search engines such as price sorting, showing product availability and merchant ratings. Unlike regular search engines, most shopping search engines charge merchants to be included in their listings. If merchants don’t pay, they don’t appear — and searchers might miss out on finding the right bargains.

Google runs Google Shopping, which allows for dedicated product search, and it also surfaces some product search results within regular Google searches. Google Shopping shifted to an all-advertising format in 2012, reversing a strong stance Google had previously taken against that practice.

Google’s chief rival Bing killed its own Bing Shopping service in August 2013, but shopping ads and product listings with “rich captions” may appear in regular Bing results.

Other shopping search engines to consider include Become, Nextag, PriceGrabber, Pronto,, Shopzilla and The Find.

You can read more about shopping search engines in our articles below, and also see our Google Shopping page for articles specifically about that service.

eBay Buys Local Products Search Engine Milo For $75 Million parent eBay has reportedly acquired local product inventory site for $75 million in cash. Milo was aspiring to become the "Google of local product data." The acquisition is a bit of a surprise to me but problably came out of discussions about a strategic investment. I believe Milo and were in discussions to incorporate Milo data into results there. eBay may have decided, since Google unveiled local product inventory just a couple weeks ago, that it needed a response and that it wanted to own one of the principals in the segment. Milo had started to syndica [...]

Search Tips For Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Ladies and gentlemen open your wallets -- and start your smartphones. The holiday shopping season is upon is. This year more than ever there are scores of sites, apps and online tools to direct you to the right product at the best price. It can all be a bit overwhelming in fact. Below I've tried to highlight some resources that may be helpful as you search for gifts over the long weekend and beyond. But before we get started let me first ask the naming gods to next year revisit and banish "Cyber Monday" from the tech lexicon -- or dare I say "texicon." And maybe we need yet a third day (or [...]

Report: Google May Buy Groupon

Kara Swisher reports Google is looking at Groupon as a possible acquisition. She said she has "multiple sources" close to the deal that say Google is very interesting in making a bid on Groupon. Google did not confirm the rumors but did reply to Kara's press request in Google fashion: Per usual, we don’t comment on rumor or speculation. If we did we’d be busy 24/7! Groupon is a local deals coupon site that has grown in popularity. Clone after clone has been created trying to replicate the model. To learn more about Groupon, see our article named A Look At Social Shopping With Grou [...]

DoubleClick Founder Launches Structured “Decision Engine”

At first blush it wasn't impressive to me. I assumed from a quick look that FindTheBest was just a collection of links and "best of" lists. It thus seemed strange that DoubleClick founder Kevin O'Connor would come out of quasi-retirement to launch a basic directory site. But as we got into it a bit more it was clear there was a larger and more interesting project going on. FindTheBest is a kind of comparison engine for structured data of all sorts. It's not an alternative to search per se. In fact it will rely heavily on search and SEO for user discovery. The idea is to provide consumer [...]

Foursquare Will Make It Easier To Find Small-Town Deals

If you're using Foursquare to search for local offers and deals, you may soon find a lot more of them -- especially if you live outside of major cities. Foursquare announced yesterday that it's going to expand the reach of deals/offers in rural areas: The current location range for offers "nearby" is approximately 200 yards, but will, in the future, be variable based on the user's location. In more densely populated areas, 200 yards will provide adequate variability. In areas outside of cities, we're going to increase that range to provide better results for users in less densely popula [...]

Google Is Top Shopping Site, TheFind Passes Yahoo As The New Number Two

According to comScore data, Google Product Search has become the top comparison shopping engine online. Number two is now TheFind, which moved in front of Yahoo Shopping in terms of average daily users: Source: comScore TheFind has been quietly moving up the ladder over the past couple of years and now has surpassed all longer-established competitors except Google. Yahoo recently decided to outsource its merchant listings/content to PriceGrabber, which is number 10. However, PriceGrabber can arguably claim the largest shopping audience online with the combined reach of its own site a [...]

Bing Adds Facebook, Twitter Sharing To Shopping

There are a number of "social shopping" sites and, of course, numerous product or shopping-related blogs. Among the most visible in the first category are Kaboodle, ThisNext/Stylehive and Polyvore. They offer tools and features that allow people to share, compare and vote on products. The mainstream shopping comparison engines such as or PriceGrabber don't fully enter into this realm, although is giving away an iPad if you become a "fan" on Facebook: One could argue that the group-buying phenomenon, exemplified by sites like Groupon and LivingSocial (although t [...]

How To Use Social Deal Sites To Promote Sales

One of the most common questions I hear is "But how can I make money by using social media?" Well, if you are selling goods and can offer up some great specials, there are some direct ways that social media deal sites can help you promote your product to hungry customers. Here are a few examples of social media voting deal sites. The main factor that drives the content for these sites is user generated deals and user voting that decides whether an offer becomes popular or not. Deals Plus This is an extremely well built site by Ben Chui, the man behind one of the olde [...]

Real-Time Product Inventory Site Milo Hits 1M Uniques has undertaken a most ambitious project -- to be the Google of local product inventory data. The site, which just announced it has come out of beta with 1 million monthly users, is trying to create a massive database of real-time inventory from local (mostly big box) stores. Right now the site offers live inventory information for roughly 1.5 million products. The site likens itself to Kayak in many respects, in terms of the capacity to filter by brand, stores, ratings, and other features. There are several others in this "real-time inventory" segement, and others that have tri [...]

Two Essential Search Channels To Boost Holiday Sales

Here are a couple important areas for Industrial Strength search marketers to focus on right now, both of which are feed-based: Google Product Search and Yahoo! Paid Inclusion. Below I outline why these channels matter more than ever this holiday season, and how they can help you capture substantial traffic and sales. Google Product Search is particularly important this year—actually essential for ecommerce sites—as the shopping season gets underway. If you're not yet leveraging it, get a strategy together fast. Meanwhile it's time to grab some loot off a sinking ship—and the [...]

Shopping Site TheFind Relaunches As “Buying Engine”

If Bing can brand itself "decision engine" as a strategy to differentiate  from the leading "search engine" so can shopping comparison site TheFind. The latter is now calling itself a "buying engine" as a way to emerge from the anonymous sea of shopping search sites out there. This morning a redesigned TheFind went live with a range of new features, including enhanced product search, coupon aggregation for 50 million products, review search, local inventory and beefed up information about online stores. Beyond a somewhat new look and feel, review search and coupon aggregation are the truly [...]

Shopping Engine Wize Relaunches To Align Product Research With Word Of Mouth

What amazes me is that in more than a decade no "brand" has really emerged in shopping search. What do I mean by "brand"? I mean a site that's top-of-mind for consumers, trusted and that they navigate to directly for products and product information. One could say that the exceptions to this are Amazon, eBay (probably) and CNET in the consumer electronics category. But there are literally dozens and dozens of shopping sites that have been playing the search arbitrage game or trying their best to rank for product-related searches. But they're not really building any "brand equity" or long-term [...]

Hitwise Report: Bing Shopping On Rise Following Double Cashback

Hitwise is reporting that Bing Shopping moved up to 4th place (from 8th) in the comparision shopping tools category last week, rising to 11% weekly market share. Combining the recent Double Cashback offer from retailers listed on Bing Shopping and the fortunate timing of the annual Back-to-School shopping rush has moved their weekly market share up from just 4% of visits prior to last week. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="506" caption="chart courtesy of Hitwise"][/caption] Overall, Hitwise reports that visits to Bing Shopping have increased 169% since the week ending June 6th ( [...]

Shopping Search 2.0: Finding Deals & Coupons On Twitter

It didn't take long for commerce to move online when the WWW was invented in the early '90s, and it hasn't taken long for the same migration to happen as new social networks become important parts of our everyday lives. Don't be surprised if, in the not too distant future, you find yourself using social networking sites to shop, or at least to start the buying process. Twitter as a shopping search engine? You bet. And not only that, but there are also several sites that aim to dig through the clutter and uncover the best deals and coupons that people are talking about and recommending. [...]

How To Optimize Feeds To Maximize Your Exposure In Shopping Engine Results

Each day millions of online shoppers turn to comparison shopping engines (CSEs) to compare prices, read reviews, research products and make buying decisions. While comparison shopping engines don’t sell or ship the products featured on their sites, they advertise products from merchants to a diverse online audience. Merchants are using CSEs in a down economy to capture shoppers looking for deals. To take advantage of this growing advertising space and get more exposure than your competitors, you need a product data feed—and even more importantly, you must optimize the feed to gain maximum [...]

Searchme Launches Multimedia Visual Search

Searchme has rolled out what it calls "true" blended search results, combining web, video, images, music and Twitter results organized by their relevance and playable inside the search results page. Searchme displays results as small versions of entire web pages, in a format that looks just like the "cover flow" display in iTunes. I love Searchme as a "recall engine," using it to find web pages or sites that I've previously visited but can't remember the site name or URL. The visual display of results, with the ability to quickly scroll through mini-versions of pages makes it easy to reco [...]

Google Optimizes Product Search For iPhones, Android

Google has upgraded product search for mobile, on Android and iPhone devices, to allow users to get price, product specs and reviews information on their handsets. Google posted about it here. Users can either navigate directly to Google Shopping on their smartphone handsets (under the "more" pull-down) and enter a query or do the same in the main mobile search box and then scroll to the "Shopping Results" on the main SERP. Either way you are sent into a new, optimized mobile shopping experience. Under an "options" pull-down in the upper right of the mobile screen, you can sort by price, ra [...]

Microsoft Acquires Market Research Firm Greenfield Online To Get EU Shopping Engine Ciao

Microsoft successfully bid to acquire Greenfield Online for approximately $486 million. But Microsoft isn't really interested in Greenfield, it was after the company's subsidiary Ciao GmbH. Founded in 1999 and acquired by Greenfield in 2005, Ciao is an Munich-based EU comparison shopping site with user reviews. According to the press release out this morning: The acquisition signals a further milestone investment for Microsoft in Europe and will see Microsoft increase its European commercial search capabilities as part of its intent to make Microsoft Live Search the premier destination for [...]

Local Shopping Coming To A Mobile Phone Near You

For some time I've tried to argue that product search is part of "local search," because 90 percent or more of all products searched for online are purchased in physical stores. This is a neglected part of the local search story, which has heretofore largely been about "plumbers and pizza." But the internet is fundamentally a research tool that drives offline transactions. E-commerce is, relatively speaking, a niche phenomenon. That's why mobile applications such as TheFind's new iPhone app or Slifter and others are significant: they help bridge the gap between the internet and physical store [...]

Microsoft “Cashback” Program Aims To Lure Commercial Shoppers With Rebates, Marketers With CPA Model

Microsoft has invested heavily in Live Search and seen its search relevance and results improve but so far not its market share. The company believes its core search results are as good as what you'll find on Google or Yahoo. But its share is flat-to-declining, depending on which of the metrics services you choose to consult (Nielsen most recently found Live Search had dipped below 10 percent). The frustrations surrounding these investments (and improvements) in search without commensurate market share growth is part of what is driving Microsoft's quest for Yahoo or, now, at least its search b [...]

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