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Tried shopping at one of the major online comparison shopping portals lately?

If so, you’ll probably have gotten wrong or misleading information.

Patrick Carter, founder of a startup called Digital Folio, recently tracked the pricing trends of a particular camera, the Nikon L26 Camera, over 10 days and found that the major portals — Google Shopping, Nextag, Pricegrabber, theFind, RedLaser, Decide.com, and others — were completely wrong a surprising amount of the time.

The reason is that these portals are relying on stale links. Retailers are always one step ahead of them.

To be clear, Carter has his own horse in this race. Digital Folio, his company, tracks price changes at major retailers real-time and seeks to mobilize the crowd to make sure pricing data is accurate. I haven’t been able to look at Digital Folio in detail, but Carter said the company was the only one to show the correct pricing data during his 10-day test of the Nikon L26 Camera.

More interesting, though, is the insight his study shows about just how dynamic pricing for electronic good has become. The price is changing all the time. Take a look at the chart above for a glimpse at the price-change patterns. He’s also made a video, called “Shopping Data is Broken – 10 days in the life of one camera’s price,” which I’ve pasted below.

We’ll continue to track Digital Folio, to see if it really does better than the others. Let us know what you think.

shopping data broken


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