Which is the better brand, Amazon.com or Acses.com? Not much doubt
now, but I suspect that many people will soon be switching their bookmarks
from Amazon to Acses.
Why? Because Acses is a comparison service for online bookshops. Type in
the name of a book or author, and its ’intelligent agent’ scampers off
round 25 (mainly US) shops on the web and lists them by price, including
the all-important shipping costs. So, for example, a Barnes & Noble book
will be listed several times according to the type of postage used.
You still get the full Amazon or B&N service - but the name you need to
remember is not theirs, but Acses’s. The first five words of this column
are, I have just noticed, a pun. Which? is indeed a better brand. Many
people in the UK have used the Consumers’ Association magazine as an
intelligent agent for decades. So when I wanted a lawnmower recently, I
got myself a 30-day trial of Which? Online (www.which.net), and printed
out its recommendations.
I bought a Qualcast, I think, but that was not the brand I was following -
it was the Which? brand.
In the US, Excite’s comparison service (www.jango.com) finds you the
cheapest computers, golf clubs, even cigars. A London-based purchasing
consultancy has set up the buy.co.uk site. For now, it tells you the
cheapest source of gas. But in the future, it will help businesses to
choose everything from lifts to cleaning services. Buy.co.uk will, it
seems to me, become a powerful brand.
It has often been said that the internet will create new types of
The comparison site is an excellent example. Good news for consumers. But
perhaps not so good for other new intermediaries, like our old friend