IAC’s Pronto Adds Social Media Features

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Recently, “social shopping” site Kaboodle was acquired by Hearst. Indeed social shopping (community) is one of two important trends in shopping, the other being local product/inventory information.

IAC’s Pronto, which was something of an “also ran” in comparison shopping, has now upgraded and rebranded itself as a social shopping engine (it’s now also behind product search at Ask). It also claims popular momentum, citing comScore (3.1 million uniques). According to the release I received here are the new social features:

  • User Profiles – Users can create personal profiles consisting of their favorite products, brands and stores as well as personal pictures and answers to profile questions.
  • Brand and Store Level “Likes” – Users can express their interest in particular brands and stores in addition to their favorite products, providing other shoppers greater insight into their tastes and style.
  • Lists of Top Liked Products – Users can quickly see the most popular products in a category based on the number of people who noted that they “Like” the product.
  • Social Networking – Registered users on Pronto.com can invite their friends to join their personal network so that they can share knowledge and opinions on products.
  • Peer-to-Peer Messaging – Users can communicate with each other via private messages to discuss products, brands and stores.
  • Local Filtering – Users can track the hottest trends in their city by searching the most “Liked” products by region.

ShopLocal has been adding community functionality to its site as well. And there are others such as ThisNext, which offer similar capabilities. To some degree this is novelty and to some degree there’s utility there. User product reviews have been on shopping sites forever and their value is obvious. Favorites, “what’s hot” and so on are are more marginal (though a marketing tool), but still helpful in discovering products that you might not have otherwise found on your own.

Pronto

Most comparison sites leave money on the table because the dominant user paradigm is shop online/buy offline and there hasn’t been a good way to monetize that behavior (but it’s coming).


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