Yahoo! SearchMonkey, Yahoo!’s initiative to open up its search engine for third-party developers to add more flavors to the currently text-only search results, sounded like such a great idea that we jumped in as soon as we heard about it.

ShoppingNotes.com is the only one in the world, as far as we know, who has the Semantic Web technology that can scrape, uh, I mean, extract the product image and price out of any product page URL from any merchant site. So wouldn’t it make a lot of sense to use this technology to show these product images and prices right on the first search result pages? One of our SearchMonkey applications ShoppingNotes Enhanced Result does just that. To see it in action:

  1. Click on this link http://gallery.search.yahoo.com/application?smid=NLh.s.
  2. Click on Add Enhanced Results on the right to allow ShoppingNotes Enhanced Result to be shown in Yahoo! search results. You will be asked to sign in to a Yahoo! account if you haven’t.
  3. Search for products on Yahoo! Search, especially “soft goods” (clothing, shoes, bags, etc.) products, for example, donna karan dress, dior bag, christian louboutin sandal, giuseppe zanotti sandal, and so on.

If your search results have URLs coming from the over 80 merchant sites (see here for the full list) that we currently support for Search Monkey, you will see our cute little ShoppingNotes.com logo showing up below those results, which means our ShoppingNotes Enhanced Result has been triggered to show the product images and prices.

Due to SearchMonkey’s current limitations, the first time you do a search, our ShoppingNotes Enhanced Result may be folded and you’ll need to click on the blue little downward triangle to pull it down. If you repeat that search, the product images and prices are supposed to show up automatically, without you having to click through one by one to see them all, like in this picture below:

 

So what are the benefits? Well, that’s obvious. This SearchMonkey application combines search engine’s quality in ranking, relevance, and authority with comparison shopping engine’s richer product information on one search result page. Product images and prices certainly make search results more useful and attractive and therefore encourage click-throughs. Compare these enhanced results to the same searches on Yahoo! Shopping or other comparison shopping engines, and you’ll see comparison shopping engines are still pretty weak and incomplete in these “soft goods” searches.

Today there are still far more people using search engines than comparison shopping engines for shopping. Enhancements on search results like this are going to benefit essentially the entire user base of Yahoo! Search. What’s more, there is no need for merchant sites to add semantic tags (like microformat, RDF, etc.) to their existing web pages or tweak their existing systems. It just works with what we have today, not what we will have. The list of supported merchant sites can also be easily extended to include any merchant sites by simply adding more trigger URL patterns. No need to re-do the scraping information extracting work for each new merchant site as ShoppingNotes.com automatically takes care of that.

We also have another SearchMonkey application ShoppingNotes Combo, which shows product images and prices plus two convenient links to save to My Shopping Notes and to set price alerts. You can follow the same 3-step instructions above for this link http://gallery.search.yahoo.com/application?smid=fCD.s to try it out. Because this application contains links pointing to a domain different from those of the URLs in the search results, SearchMonkey requires that you click on the little blue downward triangle to pull it down.

We know the current implementation may not be perfect, due to SearchMonkey’s limitations on applications that call outside web services (as in our case). Ideally our scraper information extractor could be run at the time the search engine crawler fetches a copy from the URLs, but that would make the whole things very complicated. Nevertheless, SearchMonkey still has a pretty good start. I enjoyed working on SearchMonkey applications. And I want to give the SearchMonkey team a big applause for their innovation and execution (I was told the SearchMonkey project went from ideas to completion within only 6 months), especially Amit Kumar, the SearchMonkey product manager, who always gives quick responses in the developer group, and Paul Tarjan, the Chief Technical Monkey, who replied to my post around 02:00 in the morning.

As Microsoft just announced the acquisition of PowerSet, a Semantic Web search engine, I guess we are in the beginning to see more and more Semantic Web technology being applied to search. We at ShoppingNotes.com are proud of our Semantic Web technology, and we just showed a way our technology can be used to improve search. I think we are in an interesting position as all we do is about shopping. After all, as Michael Arrington puts it, e-commerce searches are all that matters, aren’t they?

Update: Yahoo! just announced BOSS, which opens up even more of their search platform. Looks like Yahoo! is serious about this open approach. Bravo!

Manual Trackback: We just got featured as the first one on the official Yahoo! Search blog The Latest Cool SearchMonkey Apps. Thanks!

Ideeli is having a Gucci Sunglasses Sale starting 4:30PM EDT today. This website holds designer sales that’s only open to its members (kind of like Ruelala). Leave me a comment if you want an invitation.

Bergdorf Goodman sale continues (free shipping too!) with some good deals on Manoloes (I think I’m getting kind of obsessed with Manoloes 🙂  ) I love the Fieno Sequined Sandal in black, the sequins gave it a subtle sheen that makes it suitable for work or play.  The Christian Louboutin Sequined Ballet Flat is another workable option. I’m surprised that both of them are still available in many sizes. If you’re waiting for further discount, set price alert on those now (just click on the ‘set price alert’ link below. You’ll get notified by email when price changes on the item.)

Fieno Sequin Sandal $385       Sequined Ballet Flat $495   

   set price alert                    set price alert     

 

On a side note, Barneys has gotten some new Manoloes for us to look at, like the Silver Telo, the Cuttawin and the Trampa. Love it, love it, love it!!!

 

First, go to the product that you want to watch price on (for example, Mario Kart Wii with Wii wheel), copy the URL.

Then, go to ShoppingNotes, paste the URL into the top box. Enter your email address in the box below. Click on “Get Alerts“. 

 

If you’ve never used ShoppingNotes before, you’ll receive an email requesting email verification.  Open up that email, click on “Activate Alerts“.

Once you do that, you’ll see the product image, description and price retrieved for you. This demonstrates that we can successfully retrieve the information from the URL link you’ve provided. You can be certain that any price change will be monitored and you’ll be the first one to know!

 

Please note that the URL you enter needs to be the URL of one particular product (not the entire TV section of bestbuy.com), and it needs to have a price listed on that product page (otherwise there’s no way for us to watch its price change).

To save the hassle of copying and pasting URLs everytime, you can install the Shoppingnotes bookmarklet and set price alerts using the bookmarklet following these instructions (or refer to the step-by-step illustrations for Firefox and IE).

ShoppingNotes FAQ

June 20, 2008

I’m using this post as a central location for all the FAQs I’ve written.

How To Set A Price Alert (without installing anything)

 

How To Install The ShoppingNotes Button On Your Toolbar

 

Step By Step On How To Save A Product Into ShoppingNotes (For Internet Explorer)

 

Step By Step On How To Save A Product Into ShoppingNotes (For Firefox)

How To Organize Your ShoppingNotes And Set Price Alerts On Saved Products 

 

 
 
For other questions, please refer to http://www.shoppingnotes.com/help/userfaq

 

 

 

 

 

Shopbop sale continues, there’re some pretty good deals on designer dresses:

Thakoon Arrow Seamed Dress, at $597.50 (6/25 update: sold out)

Brian Reyes Cami Dress, at $647.50 set price alert

Jennie Kayne Pleated Dress, at $662.50 set price alert

Jennie Kaye Pinched Dress with Belt, at $437.50 set price alert

Rachel Roy Whitney Dress, at $650.00 set price alert

For more sale items, check out the Shopbop Designer Boutique Sale Save 30%.

In the meanwhile, London-based Browns just started their sale*. Here’re some of my favorites:

Christian Louboutin Patent Sandal with Ankle Strap, from 310 to 220 GBP (approx. $434.65)

Christian Louboutin Sequin Shoes, from 475 to 335 GBP (approx. $661.89)

Fendi Applique Short Dress, from 785 to 550 GBP (approx. $1086.60)

Giambattista Vallie Cap Sleeved Linen Dress, from 765 to 540 GBP (appox.$1066.70)

Dolce & Gabbana Hand-painted Short Dress, from 2275 to 1365 GBP (approx. $2696.81)

Marni Cloud Print Dress, from 830 to 585 GBP (approx. $1155.74)

Marni Tie-back Berries Necklace, from 470 to 330 GBP (approx. $652.00)


To get price alerts on anything you want:

You can do it on the ShoppingNotes front page following these instructions (or refer to Illustrations in my previous post)

or using the ShoppingNotes bookmarklet following these instructions (or refer to the step-by-step illustrations I’ve written for Firefox and IE).

*pls note ShoppingNotes price alert service is not supporting Non-US currencies at this time



Here’s the Firefox user version: (I’ll be posting the IE user version in a different post)

Once you install the ShoppingNotes bookmarklet on your browser’s toolbar, you can save any product into your ShoppingNotes in just two clicks. 

When you’re on a product page at an online store, simply click on the “Save to my ShoppingNotes” button on your toolbar:

 

If you haven’t already signed in, you’ll see the screen below.  (For those who don’t have a ShoppingNotes account, we encourage you to sign up for one. It only takes 30 seconds, and gives you the benefit of accessing your ShoppingNotes from anywhere. If you click on  “Continue without Signing Up” , you’ll be able to save the product into a temporary account, which resides only on this computer you’re using now).  

 

 

After you’ve signed in, you can save the product into your personal ShoppingNotes by clicking on “Save”.  I usually do two things before I click on “Save”, first is to click on the radio button next to “Alert me whenever the price changes” (so I’ll get an email when price changes), second is to select the list that I want the product to go under and click on “Add” (this makes my life easier since I have a lot of products in my ShoppingNotes).

 

Once you click on “Save”, the product (image, description, price and link) will be saved into your ShoppingNotes in a few seconds.  Now you can either go take a look at your ShoppingNotes by clicking on the “Go To My ShoppingNotes” button or just sit back and let it automatically go back to the original product page you were on.

This is how your ShoppingNotes will look like after you’ve saved this product.  The product you just saved is on the very top.

 

 

What I’m calling a “button” is actually a bookmarklet. It allows you to save anything you see on the web into ShoppingNotes in just two clicks.

For Firefox, it’s really easy to place this button on the toolbar and takes only 5 seconds, just follow instructions here. If you want to know how to save a product into ShoppingNotes using Firefox, please see illustrations in my previous post.

For Internet Explorer, it’ll take about 30 seconds to put it on your toolbar. Please refer to the illustrations below:

Go to the Install page, right click on “Save to My ShoppingNotes” link, then select “Add to Favorites” from the pull-down menu.

After you do this, two windows will pop up, just click on “Yes” and “OK“.

Then you’ll see a window letting you select where you want to put the “Save to My Shoppingnotes” link into. To make your life easier, select the “Links” folder, then click “OK”.

To see the “Save to My Shoppingnotes” on your toolbar, all you need is to check you toolbar settings under “View” (on the Internet Explorer top menu bar). Make sure “Links” is checked. And if you want to move “Links” to a different place on your toolbar, make sure you unlock the toolbar first so you can move things around. Don’t forget to lock your toolbar after you’ve moved the “Save to My ShoppingNotes” to where you want.

Done!!!  Now everytime you want to save a product into your shoppingnotes, just click on the “Save to My ShoppingNotes” button!

To save a product into ShoppingNotes, follow these instructions (or refer to the step-by-step illustrations I’ve written for Firefox and IE).