Mpire to Unveil Power-Shopping Plug-In

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We’ve been getting “just in time for the holidays” pitches for coverage from quite a few shopping sites lately but Seattle based number crunchers Mpire have come out with one of the best new shopping products I’ve seen yet. The company’s site launched in June of this year. It compares prices on items for sale at a list of online retailers and tracks eBay auction prices for items over time. The graph acts (and looks) like Farecast airfare predictions, but for past auction price trends.

Today’s new Mpire product is a browser plug-in that pops up when looking at an item on any of several hundreds of 3rd party shopping sites and provides you cross-retailer data, related deals and coupons around the web and a fetching graph of eBay final auction sale prices rising or falling for your item over time. The screen shot following this post is fuzzy and small, click on it to open a full sized version in a new window. The plug-in, which will be available later this afternoon, is for Firefox only right now. Hopefully they will be able to offer an IE version as well. Update: It’s available now.

A browser plug-in may be the missing ingredient to drive substantial use of this very interesting product; a destination site was far more inconvenient to use. Beside the full display on the bottom of your screen, the plug-in also displays new and used prices for an item on supported sites right next to the site’s native price display. Damon Darlin of the New York Times was disappointed in Mpire’s search results in an article last week; good search is part of the challenge but making a comparison shopping tool easy and compelling to use is a huge challenge as well. I think Mpire has done a very nice job of that.

  • Matt Terenzio

    Mikey “likes” it. Life cereal will be changing its name to Live soon and Miniwheats to Microbites. “RSS is live” will be the graffiti of choice in the subways of Gotham.

    • Matt Terenzio

      And don’t think I didn’t catch the fact that the title was a James Bond film. Couple that with you being a Beatles fan and only one phrase emerges, “Live and Let Die.” Paul. Paul is Dead. RSS is dead. RSS is live.
      Anyone else seeing a pattern there.

  • mimetz

    Steve, you use the word collaboration somewhat loosely, grouping IBM cloud apps with Cisco video conferencing and Google Wave.
    Maybe we would benefit from a clearer definition of what we mean by collaboration technology.
    Does it include communications products, ie Skype and IP Telephony? Does it include messaging, eg AIM and iChat? Does it go so far as to include video management ala Tanberg?
    Or is Collaboration just an entirely new technology area with many loosely related sub-segments that eventually come together to give us an entirely new way to work, live play online?

    • Steve Gillmor

      mimetz –

      In the Y2K runup, the definition of collaboration was easier to wrap around the leading players, from Microsoft to Lotus/IBM to Netscape. In today’s environment Netscape has morphed into Google, while two major vendors at different layers of the cloud stack are making inroads. The rise of realtime technologies has provided openings for platform suites or related “features” that may look “new” but in fact extend the so-called classic elements of the previous generation. It’s reminiscent of Windows absorbing various tools (compression, visual shell management constructs, even the browser)

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