'Ireland too small for comparison sites to survive'
Published 09/03/2010 | 05:00
The price-comparison website sector in Ireland is still small and underdeveloped compared with other EU countries.
A few commercial sites are up and running, but it emerged last month that one of the most popular and heavily backed commercial price comparison websites, uchoose.ie, is to be wound up.
The company had apparently run out of funds and was unable to get more investment to keep going.
Site users could compare features and prices on services like broadband, insurance, credit cards, digital TV, hotels and car hire. "Ireland is simply too small a marketplace for a multi-product price comparison site to survive," says Peter Kinahan, of Mycash.ie, a financial products comparison site. "It also takes massive sums to build a brand in this area as can be seen with the kind of media visibility of sites like Moneysupermarket.com and Confused.com in the UK."
Mycash.ie operates as a paid brokerage rather than offering advertisers a fee per click-through. "We're primarily looking for quality in the relationship and the price-comparison aspect is just one part of the site offering," he said.
Hugh Durkan, of Compare.ie, says "crowdsourcing" may be the way of the future for many price comparison sites. "Some of the better-funded sites in the UK have teams of people who visit shops and take note of prices for various products, and also allow shoppers to submit price-check information."