I have Amex and I'm not afraid to use it.
December 17, 2008 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Is there a comprehensive shopping search engine? Ideally, it would search all shopping sites (including small vendors), ebay and craigslist. The prices would be regularly updated and sortable. I'd love an estimate of shipping costs, but that's optional.
posted by 26.2 to Shopping (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Froogle? It doesn't search craigslist, but it does search ebay.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:29 AM on December 17, 2008

Searching Craigslist is impossible from a shopping search engine site for a few very simple reasons: A Craigslist post is not formatted in any machine-readable way. Since a user can easily input in a listing that something is NOT something else: (AMD X2 6400 NOT Intel Core2Duo), any basic parser would fail. Moreover, listings on Craigslist are freeform; nothing is put into categories or broken down into metadata that can be easily sorted, and listings are a complete nightmare based on the intelligence of the user creating them.

eBay and the other sites listed on Froogle actually use a connection scheme to dump their database into Froogle, which ensures that the quality of their data is high, accurate and consistent. Finally, CL listings are for one-off items, so showing a CL item price is useless since the chances that a good CL deal still remain by the time you find it in a cached search are about nil.

Froogle is your best bet. PriceWatch is good for computer components. And then, remember that you're probably not going to get much cheaper than Amazon for most anything new. Just search CL manually to do a gut-check and see a range of what people are asking.
posted by disillusioned at 9:56 AM on December 17, 2008

2nding disillusioned that trying to parse Craiglist data is next to impossible. I like PriceGrabber.com and Froogle.com for comrehensive product price checking.

FWIW I use Newegg.com (tech) and Amazon.com (everything else) for browsing products, then Froogle.com and PriceGrabber.com for price checks. I'll use eBay.com and Craigslist.org as well depending on the item.
posted by Kupo? at 12:00 PM on December 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: What disappoints me about Froggle is that lots of stores seem to be missing from it. For instance, I did a search on Spira Genesis Running shoes on Froggle. Amazon doesn't come up, but Amazon has them in stock. The same with Moving Comfort Cara Sports Bra and Injinji Running Socks, about a third of the places that I know have them don't come up in the Froggle list.

For craigslist I'm currently using this search tool http://pixelspotlight.com/craigslistsearch.html. It's not perfect, but it's better than manually clicking in every CL ad.

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll play with pricegrabber and newegg today.
posted by 26.2 at 9:26 AM on December 18, 2008

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