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zboca
12-04-2001, 11:33 PM
Hello,

Alright, I'm sure this has been done (what hasn't?),but better to find out now then later.

I'm sure everyone is familiar with the Google toolbar. This would also be a browser add-on, but will be for shopping. It will not have any ads or banners on it to annoy the user. It will have drop down menus for different shopping categories (electronics, clothing, music, etc...). Shopping sites will eventually come to me and fill out a form telling what kind of deals they will give to my users. Buy.com comes and says they will give 10% off to anyone that comes from my toolbar, so it would be Electronics>Buy.Com- 10% Off. I will have to make sure sites are giving decent deals, so this just doesn't turn into a way of advertising, but keeps its original meaning-- Discount Shopping. The toolbar will have a button labeled "Update Discounts" or whatever. Obviously when the user clicks this it will connect to my server and will update all of the discounts listed.

I'm not sure how I would charge, but I would think the best way would be by clicks. I thought about conversions, but it wouldn't be very appealing for an advertising to give 10% to my users, and then an extra 5% to me.

The major problem with this will be convincing people to download. I can of course run ads on my network, and also targeting on shopping sites, but I was thinking of something else that would return better results. It would almost be like the Krogers shopping card. On Buy.Com, if you look up routers you will get the regular price, but beside it will say "Discount Shopper toolbar Price: $75.00." Then there will be a download link or something. I get big sites to sign 6 month contracts with me, and instead of charging $.25 a click, I charge them $.15 in return for them promoting my toolbar(sample rates).

Please share your ideas with me. I think this could be profitable, especially since I can do the tracking through NexAds (http://www.z555.com/zak/4/) .
As for NexAds, we are waiting on our design to be completed and just getting a few things together. We are anticipating to launch before Christmas, in hope to run a few Christmas ads. This would just be a way to promote NexAds, and also offer another advertising solution.

Steve> Nice spellcheck option...

Czar
12-05-2001, 12:22 AM
Hey Zak,

Not a bad idea, and you certainly could make a go of it so long as your technology/business model appeals both to consumers and e-tailers, and as long as it differentiates itself from the crowd.

As you suggested, similar systems have been launched in the past (including Alexa/zShops in some respects, as well as MySimon, eBates, Gator, BottomDollar, etc), and many have failed as a result of poor management. The core proposal, though, remains valuable, and as you rightly noted, several similar systems have proven successful in the offline realm.

The value proposition online may have dimished since the dotcom bust, since price competitions are no longer the preferred method of acquiring customers, when this does little but establish a company as a loss-leader. Nevertheless, I imagine that several mid-range or specialty e-tailers would be interested in rewarding shopping agent users so long as limitations were imposed on how many items may be ordered at the discount rate, and how long the discount remains valid.

Also, you should dump the idea of charging on a per-click basis and operate purely on a cost-per-sale basis. This way, the merchant will have a better idea as to her expected ROI, which will increase the chances of them cominig aboard the program.

Anyway, the bottom line is that you need to carry out a great deal of market research so as to best position your product, and you should commission the services of a salesperson or two to pitch the proposition to merchants in order to gauge its viability. Convincing consumers to use the service shouldn't be too great a challenge, with 'free stuff', coupon and shopping sites sure to promote any CPA offer that you run in an effort to build the subscription base.

HTH.

sdarken
12-05-2001, 12:44 AM
I remember something similar. You might want to take a look at the Schoolpop shopping buddy (http://www.schoolpop.com/cgi/sb.cgi?pid=33). It is some sort of browser ad-on. The idea of this one is that when you shop at merchants that are part of the program, a % of the sale will be returned to a school of your choice.

Supposedly, if you visited somewhere like Amazon the tool bar would suggest shopping at Barnes & Noble to earn rebates for your school. (This is just an fictious example).

I installed this quite a long time ago but didn't like the idea that it was tracking my surfing habits so I uninstalled it. It may have changed since then.

- Simon

Ariakas
12-05-2001, 12:53 AM
This has been done many times before and won't work. Maybe a few years ago with enough funding but not today. Users don't like downloading any browser add-ons.

FocaJohnL
12-05-2001, 10:12 AM
zboca,

Very interesting idea, but as you have noted, if you don't get people to install it, the product is worthless revenue-wise. Basically, in the short run, unless you have an extensive, convincing marketing plan, you're not going to get big name advertisers to sign on. It's just too much work for too little return. (That doesn't stop you from joining regular affiliate programs, I suppose!)

The product itself has potential, but as also has been noted above, other people have tried (and failed). You've hit upon one of the important parts, by trying to make sure that there is something of value to the consumer. That's very important.

One other note: if the surfer has to update the deals manually, it'll never work. Surfers will in general *not* update stuff, and that will leave you with advertisers who *never* leave your toolbar (and new advertisers who never make it in). Why not something more dynamic, like hitting the Internet once per session of some such thing? Just a thought!