March 8, 2007, 12:00 AM

Cost per acquisition offering cost option at some comparison shopping sites

Newer comparison engines such as Jellyfish and TheFind.com offer to let online retailers pay per sale versus per click as an option. Some of the larger comparison shopping engines like Shopping.com may move in the same direction.

Online marketers have been grumbling about the rising cost of paid search adverting for a while. But comparison shopping engines are providing an alternative, both in their rising number that gives marketers more places to be found besides through web search, and-in some cases-pricing models that offer an alternative to cost per click.

While most comparison shopping engines revenue is based on cost per click, there’s definitely a new trend toward cost per acquisition models, according to Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor Corp., a provider of e-commerce technology and marketing services for selling on the web. “A lot of the newer comparison engines like Jellyfish or TheFind.com are offering as an option or making it their entire business model to go for a percentage of sale,” he says.

Making moves in the same direction are pilot programs at some of the large comparison engines, Wingo adds. For example, Shopping.com late last year debuted a new shopping cart that would allow it to implement a cost-per-acquisition type of model. “There are also what we can think of as hybrids between comparison shopping engines and marketplaces that typically charge a percentage of sale rather than for clicks, such as Shop.com," Wingo adds.

There’s interest among retailers in the pay per acquisition model because it’s a less risky proposition in that they pay only when they’ve made a sale, Wingo says.

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