Microsoft buys Jellyfish comparison-shopping search engine

Summary:Microsoft has purchased Jellyfish.com, a comparitive shopping engine, for an undisclosed amount, Microsoft officials confirmed on October 1. Jellyfish and Microsoft seem to share some similar thoughts, in terms of where current Web-based advertising models break down.

Microsoft has purchased Jellyfish.com, a comparitive shopping engine, for an undisclosed amount, Microsoft officials confirmed on October 1.

Microsoft buys Jellyfish comparison-shopping search engine
Jellyfish is a reverse-auction site. It's "like eBay in reverse," the Madison, Wisc.-based company explains on its "About Us" page on its site. The company explains its engine this way:

"You use Jellyfish.com just like you would any other shopping search engine to find the right product at the best price. But when you actually buy something from a store in our engine, we share at least half of what we earn by connecting you to that store. All you need to do is sign up for an account to earn cash back. There are no fees or hidden charges."

Philosophically, Jellyfish shares some of the ideals that Microsoft execs recently have begun spouting -- specifically that the current pay-per-click-focused advertising model may not be the best or most equitable one. Again, from the Jellyfish Web site:

"Current advertising gives too much value to search engines (have you seen how much these guys are making?) at the expense of you and the stores that pay to advertise. Instead of the search engine keeping all of the advertising, we set up a system that rewards us, you, and the advertiser fairly when you find the right product to buy online."

Microsoft has been beefing up its shopping results on Live Search. Shopping was one of the four verticals where Microsoft focused most with the fall Live Search release that the company rolled out last week.

The Live Search team posted news of Microsoft's Jellyfish acquisition on its team blog on October 1.

(Jellyfish 1. Image by Crashworks. CC 2.0) 

Topics: CXO, Browser, Microsoft

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Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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