Truthfully, Microsoft should pick up PriceGrabber, but MSFT is a bit busy these days with their frenemies at Yahoo.
So why IAC?
Pronto has a solid base because it powers IAC’s Ask.com. The line in Pronto’s recent press release announcing ‘Pronto’s explosive traffic growth through the second half of 2007 coincides with its entree into the Social Shopping space’ is nice, but the reason for the growth is a mix of becoming Ask’s default shopping engine and aggressive keyword buying on the PPC engines. Pronto has room to grow in both those marketing channels, but adding PriceGrabber would allow it to tackle the third leg of a shopping engine’s traffic acquisition strategy: business development partnerships.
PriceGrabber powers the comparison shopping functionality of hundreds of strong content sites. The addition of this partner network in conjunction with PriceGrabber’s established traffic base would quickly vault Pronto to tier 1 shopping engine status as opposed to a steady battle for growth through expensive PPC ads.
So is there any chance that this would happen?
IAC has the money. IAC has the ecommerce ambitions (HSN, Cornerstone Brands, ShoeBuy, Gifts.com). IAC understands search (Ask). IAC understands the power of comparison shopping/lead gen (LendingTree). And if the company really wants to play in the shopping search space, which I believe it does, buying PriceGrabber would considerably accelerate it’s growth. There are some big cultural issues to overcome, but I think if both teams sat down to look at their strengths, I think they’d realize this is a solid match.
Note: I did not talk to either party about this potential match.