Comparing SMS price comparison services

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People say that mobile devices will be the key platform of the future, but there are quite a few things you can do already with good old SMS. The launch of Mobsaver this week got me looking around at a number of similar services for price comparison by text message and here’s what I found. Even with a web enabled mobile device, being able to quickly send a text message to one contact number and get information back from a variety of sources is very appealing. These services are smart, simple uses of affiliate links, APIs and ubiquitous mobile devices. The short reviews below appear in order of my most to least favorite ones. There are other options that work outside the US, but for this write up I tried only systems that work in the US or return prices in US dollars.



TicTap will accept messages containing UPC codes, ISBN numbers or search keywords. When I searched for a particular audio CD, TicTap sent me back new and used prices on Amazon, the number of reviews that have been written there and the average number of stars given by reviewers of the CD.

TicTap can also be asked for recommendations of products similar to the one you are looking at just by putting the letter r in front of the item’s number. Your search results are all saved on a page tied to your mobile number and on that page you can request that an email alert be sent to you if an item falls below a price you set. Your searches can be viewed later by RSS, meaning you don’t have to log in or check on the system’s page for your account. TicTap says that its prices are synched with Amazon every 24 hours, so I don’t know how well the alerts would work for high demand products, but it’s interesting none the less.

I’m also encouraged by the fact that this service is in active development, having just released a WordPress plug in for contextual advertising, for example.


MobSaver got me thinking about all these types of tools and it’s got a lot going for it. Its very simple and usable, though it doesn’t seem to work well with Verizon (Verizon’s fault, it appears). An ISBN or UPC message to MobSaver will bring back results from both Amazon and eBay. New and used prices are returned from Amazon and the range of prices currently available from eBay.


Smarter searches by product model numbers. That could be confusing. I couldn’t get any results back from this service. I wish they would just use UPC codes like the two above. This is only one of many services this site provides.

Other options

Two other options I found were UpSnap, which appeared to return a list of local stores related to my search terms, and Scanbuy Shopper, which requires software to be downloaded. I like the ability to SMS one contact in my phone and quickly get back helpful information.

Ringfo does a text to speech search in Amazon by phone call. It’s funny to hear a robot say “be sure to check Ringfo for a list of your items,” to remind me to click the affiliate links.

I would love to be able to search Craigslist by SMS, but at a certain point it makes more sense to use a mobile device with a browser. This is a very logical way to combine affiliate links with ubiquitous mobile phones and I expect that increasingly sophisticated services will become available if services like these prove able to make a profit.

One risk, of course, is that users will cost the services the price of sending the SMS messages and will then buy online directly without using the affiliate links provided by the services above. That makes it all the more imperative for them to add extra value to their services, like the email price alerts and who knows what else in the future, that will bring shoppers back to the service they texted.

For more mobile coverage, make sure to check out MobileCrunch.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan_Irvine/7704457 Ryan Irvine

    This is actually going to be extremely worthwhile for people who are going to use EC2 for an entire year. Under the new pricing plan a small instance is 587.80 per year (base, not counting transfer) while the normal hourly rate would be 876 a year. And obviously usage over 3 years would become even cheaper.

  • james

    wow…very tempting! The 3 year deal is a no brainer almost, especially for the small instance. Amortized in 3 years it comes down to $30-$40/month.

  • http://longworthvp.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/cloud-computing-grows-up-with-amazon-ec2-reserved-instances/ Cloud computing grows up with Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances « Longworth Venture Partners Blog

    […] is great news for AWS customers for a couple of reasons. For one, they could save quite a bit on the cost of running an EC2 instance—one of the commentators at the blog post above works this […]

  • http://blog.xdite.net/?p=1087 Blog.XDite.net » Amazon EC2 推出 Reserved Instance (長期租用)!

    […] TechCrunch 上看到的,Amazon 新推出了 EC2 新的一種租用模式:長期租用 […]

  • Markus

    In summary, Amazon now offers a 33% discount on 1 year (partially) pre-payed instances.

    Not bad at all.

  • Neno Brown

    All we need know is Solo card support and where ready to role.

  • http://www.azurejournal.com pthomas

    Not bad!

  • http://www.azurejournal.com pthomas

    I Just Saved A Bunch Of Money By Switching To EC2 Reserved Instances! In our case, we’re running on 2 small instances full time, by switching to the new reserved model, we have an extra 572/year in our pockets. Not bad. I bet lots of small startups are in the same situation.


  • http://www.6zap.com Dror

    This is all very nice, but s3 and EC2 have had the same price for the last 2-3 years. Prices of CPUs and disks have been coming down since then. Amazon’s pricing needs to reflect that or people will start moving to more competitive solutions.

  • http://twitter.com/johntreadway John Treadway

    @Dror – such as?

    • laughing

      @John – You beat me to it! :)

  • http://soeet.com Chris

    cdn.soeet.com is opening in 2 weeks.

    cloud computing services will be offered as well as CDN.

    Prices will be half that of it’s competitors, and bandwidth and storage will be extreme. If you are interested check that url in 2 weeks. It will be worth your wait.

    • http://soeet.com ChrisATSo33t

      coupon code: UNMETERED-FREEDOM

      – 10% at Soeet CDN, and cloud computing store.

      Your prepaid use will be unmetered at cdn.Soeet.com

      We have a large cluster of dual Xeon servers loaded with massive HDDs and RAM for your enjoyment.

      CDN customers will just have to add a DNS A record for http://www.mydomain.com to point to our CDN server, and pay a small fee to start using it.

      We’re also including a free easy to use control panel and are working on an API for web storage.

      ETA 2 weeks until you can immediately use the services at minimal cost.

    • http://soeet.com ChrisATSo33t

      We’ll also be offering video, and messaging CDN solutions as well as advanced telephony systems based on GPS, enterprise LDAP and easy software deployment and enterprise resource management, via mobile.

    • http://soeet.com ChrisATSo33t

      I didn’t specify the cloud services.

      specifically, you will be able to prepay monthly for virtual server images of your choice to be spawned on

      up to:
      20 2.6Ghz Xeons
      120GB RAM
      115MBPS – no metering, burstable*

      No region to region data transfer fees(we have 1 region right now). No on LAN data transfer fees on the switch.

      Since we do not have a good Windows hypervisor, nor care to support it, this will be limited to Solaris and Linux.

      * extra cost

  • http://jp.techcrunch.com/archives/20090312amazon-web-services-rolls-out-new-pricing-model-for-ec2/ Amazon Web ServicesがEC2の新料金モデルを開始

    […] [原文へ] […]

  • http://www.kgrand.jp/index.php/2009/03/13/amazon-web-services%e3%81%8cec2%e3%81%ae%e6%96%b0%e6%96%99%e9%87%91%e3%83%a2%e3%83%87%e3%83%ab%e3%82%92%e9%96%8b%e5%a7%8b/ Amazon Web ServicesがEC2の新料金モデルを開始 | KGRAND ONLINE NEWS

    […] [原文へ] […]

  • Bret
  • Hareem Haque


    Really…. last time i checked.. only gogrid was there to cause them trouble. They are good but for instant scalability they are not the best.

    The only other vendor that beats out EC2 is 3tera with their applogic product. However, its designed for really high end enterprise usage. So prices are not from this world.

  • http://brontesaurus.com/blog/2009/03/amazon-ec2-pre-payment-plan-makes-ec2-even-cheaper/ Amazon EC2 pre-payment plan makes EC2 even cheaper | Brontesaurus Blog

    […] Techcrunch] Share and […]

  • MicroCopyMachine

    Based on recent Microsoft copying, I’d say Amazon is in the safe zone. When Microsoft takes the iPod and spits out a Zune, well, do you own one?

  • http://soeet.com ChrisATSo33t

    For example 1 small server virtual image on Amazon is .10 an hour, so 2.40 a day or $72 per month.

    Our service will be ~$40 per month for a small virtual image that can be hypervised with several others.

    So once that one time fee is paid, all metering is turned off for the entire month. You can reserve and prepay as many months as you’d like. And you will be able to shut down your images and reboot them from the web. Unmetered.

    Please give us a shot when we’re up and running.

  • http://gadgets-ja.ihouse.sg/2009/03/13/amazon-web-services%e3%81%ae%e3%83%ad%e3%83%bc%e3%83%ab%e3%81%ae%e3%81%9f%e3%82%81%e3%81%ae%e6%96%b0%e3%81%97%e3%81%84%e4%be%a1%e6%a0%bc%e3%83%a2%e3%83%87%e3%83% このガジェット&テクノロジー関連のニュース » Blog Archive » Amazon Web Servicesのロールのための新しい価格モデルEC2アウト

    […] 1時間ごとに使用料を”営業費用を比較しています。 “ techcrunchit March 13th, 2009 in Tech Industries, […]

  • http://gadgets-de.ihouse.sg/2009/03/13/amazon-web-services-rolls-out-new-pricing-model-fur-ec2/ Amazon Web Services Rolls Out New Pricing Model Für EC2 @ Gadgets & Technology News

    […] techcrunchit Tech Industries, Web […]

  • http://gadgets.ihouse.sg/2009/03/13/%e4%ba%9a%e9%a9%ac%e9%80%8a%e7%bd%91%e7%bb%9c%e6%9c%8d%e5%8a%a1%e6%8e%a8%e5%87%ba%e6%96%b0%e6%ac%be%e5%ae%9a%e4%bb%b7%e6%a8%a1%e5%bc%8fec2/ 亚马逊网络服务推出新款定价模式EC2 @ 工具及科技新闻

    […] techcrunchit Tech Industries, Web […]

  • http://www.dollareuroconversion.com conversion

    Prices keep going down, down, down, thanks in part to the competition. Lots of opportunity in this exciting space.

  • http://www.portal-gestao.com Nuno

    As usual, prices go down for consumer’s sake.

    This is really great!

  • Steve

    Competition and innovation form the magic that is capitalism, the consumer automatically wins due to the profit motive of businesses. This is one of the fist larger scale applications of cloud computing open to the “general public” that I’ve seen. Cloud computing does come with its own security risks though, many of which have been discussed here at tech crunch. That’s why I frequent this* security site.

  • http://johngannonblog.com/2009/03/17/are-cloud-based-memory-architectures-the-next-big-thing-high-scalability/ Are Cloud Based Memory Architectures the Next Big Thing? | High Scalability « Yet Another VC Blog

    […] Amazon Web Services Rolls Out New Pricing Model For EC2 (techcrunchit.com) […]

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