Krillion, a startup with deep pockets… launched the first iteration of its “localized search engine” today. The highly attractive, ad-supported service is kicking off with a dedicated appliance search… Krillion is crawling national retailer feeds for appliance availability, store location and sales info. Retailers include Home Depot, Lowe’s, Best Buy, Ikea, Sears (and in the Bay Area, Orchard Supply Hardware). In addition to providing very good product and price information, Krillion provides a click-to-call capability.
Competitors such as ShopLocal, Yokel, Nearby Now and CNET provide similar services. ShopLocal, for one, would seem to have more data sources, since it sucks in all the retailer info from its newspaper partners; Run of Press and circular ads; as well as from a Web partnership with shopping.com.
For now, Krillion says its crawling is far more extensive than any of its competitors, with 275 million pages of relevant local search results displaying local product information for major appliances in every burg in the U.S. “It is an important piece of the local search puzzle,” says [former RHD executive Simon] Greenman. He adds that most local results are like “Swiss cheese.” Greenman also says that the focus on national retailers is smart since the focus stays on big ticket items, and “you get scale issues when you go local.”
But a question I ask is: isn’t there a way to feature both the big box stores and the local merchants? Sure, Krillion turns up an impressive number of GE Profile refrigerators from several big box stores. ShopLocal, meanwhile, only turns up one (from AM Royal). But one of the biggest (and cheapest) stores in my hometown of Carlsbad,CA is actually Pacific Sales. They advertise heavily in local papers. Can’t someone find it?
Front Porch Forum’s answer? Ask your neighbors! Questions like this get asked all the time on our neighborhood forums. “Where’s the best place to buy a new refrigerator?” The writer will hear about the local versions of Pacific Sales, along with comments about service and other issues he might not be considering… “look at the Energy Star ratings” or “check out RecycleNorth for great deals on slightly used models.” Or, even… “ask for the manager, Herb, and tell him I sent you.”
Sure, research online, but then ask the neighbors and SHOP LOCAL! (By the way, that means locally owned retailers.)