Product Comparison Standardization

October 12, 2006

eWeek is reporting that a standard has been submitted for how product data is sent to price/product comparison search engines, like Froogle and Shopzilla.  This is a good maneuver — I currently maintain about 20 modules for transmitting product information to these web sites, all of which require regular attention as the submission methods and file formats change.

I’m not going to hold my breath for the implementation, however.  It’s a great idea for simplifying the lives of e-commerce developers, but comparison search engines are still immature and extremely competitive.  My guess is that if the standards stick, it’ll take a year for it to be really useful for developers — after the big sites all decide to get on board.

Regardless, I’ll lobby for anything that makes my life easier!


2 Responses to “Product Comparison Standardization”

  1. What types of tools have to used to validate that your modules are working and to alert you when one fails? (ie, the API-owner has changed formats on you)

  2. Peat Says:

    Duncan: Unfortunately, it’s pretty ad hoc. Most of the services have a delay before they parse the files, and no active confirmation process, so it usually amounts to a lot of manual clicking around. That said, the bigger comparison engines are pretty good about posting notices about changes in format and service. It’s the newer, niche specific sites that aren’t as communicative!

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