BillShrink, the startup that looks to help users save money across verticals including cell phones, credit cards, and savings accounts, has just announced that it has grown to 1 million members since its launch in April 2008. Alongside the milestone, the site is also announcing that it has found “$1 billion in savings on everyday bills”.
That second statistic is a little confusing. BillShrink basically means that if its users had signed up for the top matches generated by its cost cutting tools, they would have saved a total of $1 billion. Of course, not everyone who uses the service decides to change their cell phone carrier or credit card, so the total amount of money saved isn’t that high. That said, this is the first time BillShrink has disclosed the size of its userbase, and it’s clear that the site is getting some solid traction.
BillShrink has been gradually rolling out its cost saving services in new verticals over the last year and a half. The site kicked off with support for finding the cheapest cell phone plan in 2008. Since then it has expanded to include a service for picking the best credit card, saving money on gas, and choosing the best saving account or CD. Most users are interested in the wireless service though, in part because of a marketing push from T-Mobile, and also because dealing with hellish cell phone carriers is something nearly everyone has to do.
BillShrink is able to expand to new verticals relatively quickly because of the technology that’s working in the background. The site is essentially taking unstructured data from across the web and converting it into searchable structured data. That’s a feat that’s harder than it sounds — Google is trying it with Google Squared with mixed results. Granted, BillShrink is dealing with a smaller set of data than a search engine that can query any term, but the site’s backend is more tech-heavy than you might think.
Looking forward, CEO Peter Pham says that the site will be launching some new verticals next year, some of which will include major new partners. Pham says that BillShrink will likely be exploring the ‘Triple Play’ deals offered by cable companies for internet/cable/phone service, as well as a service looking at mortgages (a space that Google has recently entered).
Image by Don Hankins