eBay have just signed up to a new shopping comparison browser plug in called InvisibleHand. Once downloaded if you’re browsing a product on your favourite retailer’s website if you can buy it for less on eBay, or a number of other sites including Amazon, Currys, John Lewis, Play.com or Dixons then the plug in will notify you that the item is available at a better price.
InvisibleHand works on eBay in US, UK & Germany and only works with Buy It Now items listed as new. Used items are excluded as most users are looking for new items from the retailers InvisibleHand work with, but used items are something they’re considering adding in the future.
It’s also worth noting that InvisibleHand can only find eBay products which have been correctly labeled with a valid EAN or UPC number as that’s what the comparison is based on.
The plug in which is available for all major Internet browsers works in the background and the banner only appears when it finds price information for the item you’re looking for. It will also tell you if you’re already on the shopping site that has the best price for that particular item.
I’ve never been a lover of Comparison Shopping Engines and especially disliked when they were high in Google search results, but this is a much more unobtrusive way being prompted to consider alternative sites when shopping online. Rather than directing you to a retailer before you’ve decided to make the purchase it waits until you’ve viewing the product and then informs you if it can be obtained from a competing retailer at a better price.
I’m not sure how the retailers view this, on TheHut.com I found Friends Series 1-10 DVD box but InvisibleHand showed me I could buy it 4% rather than their own website.
If you want to try out InvisibleHand you can download it for free from their website and it’s supported under Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari.
Sounds interesting. Do you know if they get access to anything else on your computer or any other personal / private info?
I also wouldn’t buy from the hut as items often take several weeks to be delivered. This has happened to me 3 times, so I will never use them again even if they are cheapest. Zavvi is also owned by the the hut group, so you have been warned.
Sounds interesting. Something to watch out for though is there are a lot of listings on eBay that aren’t quite what they claim to be and eBay doesn’t seem to do anything about it. I see this a lot in the video game category where a listing is listed via UPC but the item in question is either an empty box, game manual, or just one of the discs.
Here’s are two examples of what I’m talking about:
My examples are Used but I’ve seen this same thing done for New items as well.
Does there come a point where this kind of service become overly intrusive and the use of such services become an unethical business practice?
In the short term is seems great but in the long term the impact may be negative (killing competition and choice).
Would it be possible for a site to block access to such plugins.
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