Will Honesty Be The Best Price-Comparison Site Policy?

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A new price-comparison site went beta this week. On its own, that's certainly not worthy of note as new such sites crop up fairly often. But this site—called www.pronto.com--is making two interesting claims. First, it's billing itself as world's most comprehensive comparison-shopping site, backing that up with a further claim of 45 million products from 50,000 retailers. But the second claim is that it will display results with no influence from ads or purchased placement.

Traditional comparison sites today only show products that retailers want to be shown, while Pronto claims to show all, just as the very initial meta-sites did, in the early days of the Web. "Many top retailers advertise less than one-third of their inventory on leading comparison shopping sites and consumers pay the price for this lack of comprehensiveness," said Pronto CEO Dan Marriott. "Most people don't want to shop in a store where two thirds of the retail space is empty so why would they do so on the Web?"