Price search engine and list price comparison portals: What can they do?

12. February 2020

In the meantime, one can find a multitude of price search engines on the World Wide Web. These are usually embedded in price comparison portals and search for the lowest prices for the customer for the desired product. Perhaps you also use such portals in search of current bargains?


And maybe you have already asked yourself what is behind these price search engines? Good, because in this article we would like to get to the bottom of some questions about the price search engines!



What are price search engines?

You probably know it: You want to buy a certain product and if possible at the best price. So you do not want to pay more than absolutely necessary. That is why you have the idea to compare the prices of different suppliers. This used to be cumbersome, because you had to go from store to store to get an overview.


Today, thank God, there is the Internet and with it the Online-Shopping!


Many larger companies operate an online shop in addition to their stationary local branches in order to be able to offer their products to a broad mass. But there are also companies that sell their products exclusively via the Internet and therefore do not have branches. They have specialised in online shopping.


You can certainly imagine that because of this, countless online shops can be found on the net. But which shop offers you the best price for your desired product?


This is exactly where price search engines on comparison portals come into play. With them you can find exactly what you are looking for in the shortest time and with relatively little effort, namely: your desired product at the best price.



How does it work?

Price comparison portals work on the Internet free of charge for their customers and are usually financed by advertising and commissions from the advertised online shops. The customer therefore does not have to pay anything for the use of a price search engine. The possibility of comparing from home is of course convenient, cost-effective and time-saving.


This is exactly what makes price search engines so popular these days!


There are several ways for comparison portal operators to get the price information they want.


  1. The price information is read in directly from the retailer or online shop and compared with the database of the comparison service.
  2. So-called web crawlers search directly for the desired information from the merchant and their databases and feed it into their own databases.
  3. Through SEM activities the portals are automatically supplied with the price information. Here, the product data from the online shops are read out and sent. This is usually the case for comparison portals with a large reach.

As a customer, enter the desired product in the search field, the price search engine will search through all the information stored in the database and spit out the results relevant to you.


At a glance, you have all the prices of the various suppliers in front of you and can consider how you want to proceed. If you click on one of the results from the list, you will usually be directed to the corresponding online shop and offer. You can now read through everything again in detail and, if necessary, order directly afterwards.



Criticism at price search engines

It is in the nature of things that just about every concept has its weak points and this is no different with price comparison portals. Therefore, there are some points of criticism with which the operators of price search engines are confronted.


For example, it is not always immediately apparent to the customers of these websites where the price information given comes from and how up-to-date it is. This is because the product prices can be changed several times during the course of the day by the online shops offering the products in order to react appropriately to the offers of competitors. These short-term changes are not taken into account in most price comparison portals.


Operators of reputable price comparison portals avoid this point of criticism. They update their price information hourly or at least daily and take expected price fluctuations into account. However, this is of course also much more complex.


Moreover, the objectivity of the results is doubted. Online shops that pay for being listed in the results of comparison portals usually receive better rankings. This is in contrast to shops that do not pay. This sometimes leads to considerable price distortions.


The payment is also accompanied by the question of the neutrality of the online shop evaluations by the price search engine. In practice, however, this is not a problem if the comparison portal has strong guidelines for the equal treatment of its customers. Then paying and non-paying online shops are equally listed in the price lists of the price search engines.


Another criticism is that the different shipping costs of the various online shops are not immediately apparent to the customer. Only when you are on the corresponding online shop page and want to order do you discover the additional shipping costs.


However, since 2009 this has come to an end. In the meantime, a BGH ruling demands the transparent presentation of shipping costs incurred for price comparison lists. You can read more about this here.



The best price comparison portals

Again and again, a test report website makes it its business to test and compare the different price comparison portals with each other.


These tests are usually based on a randomly selected product to determine which price comparison portal finds the cheapest dealer. Of course, these tests can only serve as random samples, as the results can be completely different for a different search query. If, however, an online shop is often in the top positions in the ranking of comparison portals for various search queries, you can assume that this provider offers the lowest product prices in several areas.


If you take a look at the results of such tests, you will notice the same candidates in the first places again and again:


At the top you will usually find
The portal is followed by the websites, and
Further down in the ranking are, price search engine.en, and



Price search engines explained simply

This brings us to the end of our contribution. We have shown you more precisely what price search engines are all about. In addition, how these websites work and above all, which comparison portals are currently the best.


Then there is only one thing left to say at the end: We wish you much success and joy with your next bargain hunt!


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