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Technology Post

  Shop Shopping

By Rob Pegoraro
February 27, 1998

Just what the world needs – another Web site that helps you spend your money! But should you have a purchase in mind, but not where to buy it, Buyer's Index might be of help. It claims to list 9,000 companies with "over 21 million product offerings" and certainly delivers when it comes to looking up merchants by name, both offline and online. For each, it lists essential phone numbers and such details as where they'll ship to, their return policy, how long they've been in business and what languages are spoken there. (While retailers can buy ads on the site, Buyer's Index lists that basic data for free.) In this respect, the site functions well – like Yahoo with a brain transplant. Its ability to search for vendors selling particular products is not so sharp, however; a search on "used CDs" turned up "BBMNet - A fully interactive online catalogue of computer hardware and software" and "Anderson Investor's Software" among the first three results. And some more obscure vendors are missing (for instance, the Chip Merchant, one of the cheapest sources for computer memory around). To repeat the oldest shopper's mantra: Buyer (and browser) beware.

-- Rob Pegoraro

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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