AuctionSHARK smells blood in the shopping comparison market

Denver based AuctionSHARK is exploring the idea of aggregating real time auction listings, classifieds, and e-Commerce sites. The result is pretty neat – my search for “Barbie Dolls“* turned up 44,000+ results from 21 sites in under 2 seconds. Cool!

Very cool, but will people use it? They use and shopzilla, so why not? Now you get real-time eBay results too, at least.

To me, eBay makes its own “perfect market” for most popular items. I can buy things used or new there. I trust the market on eBay (after all it is already The Perfect Store). Can I really learn more and save substantial dollars by scowering Best Buy, WalMart, and the like? Probably not, but if you add in Craigslist, I can save something else pretty substantial – Time. Now I can see that there is just as good of a deal here locally that I can go and get NOW.

AuctionSHARK’s current search result leaves a little bit to be desired with that end result in mind. First of all, it doesn’t yet support classified sites like Craigslist, but the founders say that it soon will. I’m wondering if they can really make that work, since nobody can seem to figure out how to monetize online classifieds. The affiliate model here will yield 0% of $0. And it will bastardize AuctionSHARK’s real referral dollars if they start sending people off to free sites that don’t give them a kickback. I suspect that maybe this is why the Craigslist support really hasn’t been implemented yet.

Beyond that, I find the search result to be cluttered and non-obvious. I’m sure they’ll tweak this based on such feedback. Additionally, many of the features (including getting results from certain sites) seem to require a login to operate properly although I’m not sure why they’d want to impose this restriction.

The other thing AuctionSHARK is harping on is their tools for auction site users. They want to focus on the auction buyer instead of the auction seller. They plan to let you monitor your wishlist, create wanted alerts, etc. Cool ideas, but they aren’t there yet.

Check out AuctionSHARK and use it next time you’re considering using eBay or an e-Commerce site and let me know what you think.

* (I too find it strange that “Barbie Dolls” was the first thing that popped into my head, but this is not the time or place to discuss this other than parenthetically)

file under: Blog, Startups