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My Best Idea, 1 Year Too Late

pricecheckah.jpgI have a million ideas for products. Literally.

Ask anyone who has ever worked with me, especially Andrew, who I’ve dragged along on a million cockamamie plans to strike it big.

(My biggest fault is that I have difficulty following through with new ideas, but that’s a whole other story.)

Now when it comes to product ideas, it’s easy to think of something that serves little to no purpose and has no chance of making money (see: Web 2.0).

So when I was browsing the DVD rack at Best Buy last year, I came up with what I thought would be a useful and potentially profitable idea.

You see, I always have this problem of not knowing when a “deal” is actually a good deal. Is that TV show boxset actually a good price? Is that thing cheaper here? How would I know?

These days, the answer is an iPhone (no, I did not have the idea for that — someone else did). But if you don’t have an iPhone, how can you comparison shop when you’re no where near a computer?

Simple: SMS information about the product to a service, which spits back prices from Amazon, Froogle,, etc. Then you know if you have a deal or not.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Too bad I was one year too late on it.

iPhone users have their own application for it, pricecheckah. And even Amazon is getting into it, offering products for sale by text message.

Obviously, it’s a good idea, if there at least three services doing it (or something like it). I’m not convinced it’s a dumb idea to try and run with it, but I’m not nearly as excited about it as I once was.


  1. During the .com heyday, I knew of one company that was trying to incorporate barcode readers into cell phones so that you could just scan the price and then see a number of competing prices. I’m not sure why it never took off, but it always sounded like a pretty good idea to me. One could always text message a product ID code to a service, but it wouldn’t be as convenient as just clicking and letting it beep.

  2. Andrew

    I remember when you had that idea. I can’t remember why we gave up on it.

  3. I’ve been playing around with Buy It Later ( which is a firefox addon for Amazon. It adds an extra button to Amazon pages, and once you click that it tracks the pricing on that item and tweets you when the price drops.

    It still needs work, but has potential. One problem is that it watches the 3rd party prices, which are often used. I’d like the option to just track Amazon prices. And the other is, of course, that it only works on Amazon stores.

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