From time to time on my blog, I will do reviews of websites I've been asked to look at, sort of like a survey where I share the results with people. I receive compensation for doing these reviews, but they don't tell me what I have to say, or even that I have to say nice things. All the opinions contained herein are entirely my own.
Today I looked at a baby shopping aggregator called Become.com. Well, actually it's a shopping aggregator for a lot of things, but they have a fairly substantial baby section as well. If you're not familiar with the concept of a shopping aggregator, it's a website where you can enter whatever it is you're shopping for and it will look at different websites to see what's available and how much it costs. Ideally, the aggregator directs you to the lowest priced item available and you can buy it directly from the retailer's website.
The best way to test one of these websites is to run some actual searches on it, so that's what I did. First off, I ran a general search for baby tunnels. I think it's a crying shame that the Baby Einstein tunnel we got for Robert has been discontinued, but there are other tunnels out there. This site returned a good variety from a bunch of different websites, though it leaned very heavily towards Babies R Us and seemed to ignore sites like Amazon and Target. I learned about products I'd never heard of, and that I might not have found just looking at one site. So that was a positive.
The next search I ran was for a specific baby item, the Winkel I was talking about last night. It's currently enjoying Most Favored Toy status around here, and I've been told by experienced parents that anything especially beloved should be backed up in case of loss or disaster. It found the Winkel right away, both the original version and the alternate-color version, so that was good. What I did notice, though, was that it didn't give me a list of places that carry the Winkel, just one hit for each type, and a price tag of 13.95. I prefer my aggregators to be able to show me a list of places that carry an item, and the price plus shipping from each site. Just for reference, I ran a quick Google search and turned up three prices lower than that for the Winkel at other stores. So I'm not sure I would use it for actual shopping, at least not on its own.
Overall, I think this baby aggregator could be a valuable research tool when you're not quite sure what you're looking for. It's really nice to be able to look at a lot of different sites without having to navigate all over the place, and to compare different varieties and brands of things. For individual items, though, I think it should just be a starting point, and I would probably look at other websites as well. That's alway good advice, if you want a good bargain, you've got to shop around a little.