Shopping Search Toolbars Now Obsolete?
Brain Smith of Comparison Engines does a rundown on Shopping Search Toolbars and compares their likability to that of Clippy the Paper Clip : “Remember Clippy the Paper Clip? Remember how much you hated Clippy?”. Brian has an inside track on the shopping toolbar scene after working at WhenU where he was helping to develop and market different niche oriented toolbars like the Football Toolbar, Coupons Toolbar, and an Anti-Spyware Toolbar (oh, the irony of a WhenU Anti-Spyware Tool).
On the surface, Shopping toolbars make sense. A consumer is on an ecommerce site looking at computers, he goes to a product page, and comparative pricing information pops up in front of the browser, as a sidebar, or from the top/bottom of the page.
The consumer then sees that the product can be acquired at a better rate on another site and therefore clicks through to the other merchant and orders the product. In this scenario, the consumer is happy because he gets a better price. The company providing the shopping toolbar and the comparative pricing information is happy because the consumer clicked on what is most likely (although not always) a paid link which = $$$. The merchant who made the sale is happy as that merchant’s marketing dollars were well spent on that shopping toolbar.
Doesn’t that sound simple? Everyone except the original merchant is benefiting…and that original merchant probably has his own deal with the toolbar company and steals customers away from competitors all the time. So again, on the surface, shopping toolbars seem great.
The glory days of toolbar downloading may be near an end due to the hightened awareness of the average Internet user and the dark affiliation with Spyware and Adware:
The problem with these new shopping toolbars is that in my mind, they are readily associated with Adware/Spyware. Most people have multiple spyware blockers on their computers and when you download the Dealio, SquareTrade, ActiveShopper, or NexTag toolbar (or when you run a scan) you’re told that it’s potentially a threat. Does the Dealio toolbar actually do sinister things like keystroke logging? No. Does it give you pop ups? No. But that’s no longer the point. It’s still a downloadable application which, in the mind of the consumer, could be doing sinister things.
I highly recommend reading Brian’s Shopping Toolbar rundown at Shopping Toolbars – Clippy the Paper Clip on Steroids.