From the email sent to PriceGrabber merchants:
PriceGrabber.com is proud to announce a strategic partnership with AOL. PriceGrabber will become the exclusive comparison shopping partner for AOL Shopping, providing an extensive catalog of thousands of merchants and millions of products. PriceGrabber merchant partners will benefit from a marked increase in already highly qualified traffic and placement on one of the world’s premier Internet destinations. We expect this increase in traffic to have a positive effect on partner ROI and continue to illustrate our value proposition to all partners. Building and strengthening our respected distribution network is yet another way we are able to continue to be the most trusted, innovative, and effective comparison shopping service. PriceGrabber’s position as AOL’s exclusive comparison shopping partner truly indicates the leadership position we have taken in the landscape of Internet shopping. We are very excited for the launch of our AOL partnership and know that this strategic alliance will create a significant increase in demand for our merchant offers.
This new partnership will provide a nice cushion if (when?) PriceGrabber loses the Ask.com (IACI) deal to Pronto (I can’t imagine this not happening, it’s just a matter of when Pronto is ready for such a deal).
While I’ve heard that clicks from AOL (NYSE:TWX) provide a very small percentage of Shopzilla’s revenues (Shopzilla is the current AOL Shopping partner), it’s still a potential blow to Shopzilla as the company is trying to recover from the potholes over the last quarter. Part of me wants to say that this is part of a strategy to cut down on poor performing partners, but Shopzilla continues to provide high conversion rates for the merchants I talk to/work with.
So where was Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) when all this happened? Back in December of 2005, when AOL partnered with Google, I thought that Shopzilla might get replaced by Froogle. However, with Google’s focus on Base as opposed to Froogle, I guess it’s hard to justify a partnership as Base doesn’t have a monetization component (at least not yet).