NB: This is an internal memo of the UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, posted on the Web for future reference.

Fall, 1998

From: "Albert Schorsch, III"

To: CUPPA Unitheads and Account Managers

Subject: Shopping bot as an aid to purchasing due diligence

Colleague,

A "shopping bot" is a computer program which searches online catalogs for competitive pricing. If you are involved in purchasing for the university (or for yourself), this is a good method to obtain a quick list of prices from different vendors for a product. One such program I've been using lately is at:

http://www.consumerworld.org/pages/price.htm

This site does try to set cookies, but it will still work of you reject them, unlike HOTBOT, another popular shopping bot.

The utility of these "shopping bots" vary. They do seem to be effective at identifying a range of prices for similar items, especially computer-related items. They by no means are completely efficient, meaning they can't be expected to find all the prices for every item.

Remember, Caveat Emptor ("Let the buyer beware"). Some mail order houses have very competitive prices, but make up their differential with high shipping costs, which sometimes are listed, but often only available after a long wait on the phone for the sales staff.

Thanks,

Albert Schorsch, III
Assistant Dean
College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs
University of Illinois at Chicago

Note new address:

412 S. Peoria,
Rm. 125, M/C 348
Chicago, IL 60607-7064
Voice (312)996-2177, Fax (312)413-8095, Pager (312)556-2466
schorsch@uic.edu
http://www.uic.edu/cuppa/
http://www.uic.edu/~schorsch