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Search Engine Facilitates Reserve Price Shopping With RSS

Staff Writer
Published: 2004-11-08

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Dulance launched its comparison shopping service in RSS format. Dulance is the first search engine to use RSS technology to facilitate reserve price shopping.

The new feature effectively transforms any third-party RSS reader into a personal shopping agent. Shoppers with a particular item and price in mind can now initiate a search once and rely on their RSS reader to repeat it automatically, until at least one seller drops the price below the set level. "Trying to snag a product the moment it goes on sale requires users to frequently visit search engines or comparison shopping sites to manually repeat the same search over and over again until they see that the price has dropped. It's a tedious process that requires time and resolve that most shoppers don't have," explains Dulance founder and CEO, Sergei Burkov. "At Dulance.com, they can now automate the process. It changes the game when a bargain hunt costs near nothing in terms of time and effort."

At Dulance, shoppers can run a search for a desired product indicating their price limit. Dulance returns a list of shops that sell the sought product below that price. Now they can opt to subscribe to a RSS feed of results based on the same criteria. Subscribing to a Dulance RSS feed works much like subscribing to a news feed or blog elsewhere. The Dulance feed contains links to individual online stores selling the particular product, along with current prices. A "news" event is triggered when Dulance finds a new seller or a change in price. It is picked up by the shopper's RSS reader, as any other piece of news.

This new feature is a function of Dulance's unique ability to extract prices and product availability from unstructured webpages in real time, milliseconds after downloading fresh copies of product pages off the live web. This allows Dulance to report news of dropping prices to RSS readers seconds after they occur.

"Even if Google, Yahoo and other search engines made their search results available in RSS, their feeds wouldn't offer timely news of changing prices. Standard practice for most search engines is to fetch information from copies of webpages stored at their own servers, not from the live web. The update cycle ranges from a few days to six weeks," explains Burkov. "In contrast, Dulance does not maintain any web caches. Instead it relies on its artificial intelligence algorithms to dynamically extract the current prices."

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