No need to fear Shopzilla. It's not a monster, but a shopping search engine that lists more than 100 million products from several thousand retailers. Shopzilla offers clothes, electronics, and other consumer items to more than 40 million shoppers through several websites and brands, including bizrate, Shopzilla, and beso in the US; Shopzilla.co.uk and bizrate.co.uk in the UK; Shopzilla.fr in France; and Shopzilla.de in Germany, among other sites. Shopzilla has was founded in 1996 by entrepreneurs Farhad Mohit and Henri Asseily, and David Reibstein, former vice dean of The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania. Private equity firm Symphony Technology Group acquired Shopzilla in 2011.
Symphony Technology Group acquired Shopzilla from previous owner Scripps Networks Interactive for $165 million. (That price tag was significantly less than the $525 million Scripps paid for Shopzilla in 2005.) Scripps divested the business because it did not fall in line with its focus on lifestyle media brands, which include HGTV and the Food Network. The deal was part of Symphony Technology's strategy of acquiring companies that present opportunities for growth, and the new owner plans to continue and accelerate the expansion of Shopzilla in the online retail space.
Shopzilla earns money from referral fees paid by participating online merchants. The retailers pay a fee when consumers using the Shopzilla sites click through to the online retailers' websites. Shopzilla also earns money from search engine marketing and optimization fees via search partnerships with companies such as Google and Yahoo!. In 2010 Shopzilla posted an increase in revenues and net income. The company benefited from a recovering economy that saw higher ad spending by marketers. Shopzilla's improved earnings were also the result of better search indexing. In addition, the company had stronger operating results in Europe.
Throughout its history Shopzilla has focused on expanding its service beyond its primary comparison shopping site. In 2010 it launched its Shopzilla Solutions in Europe at ShopzillaSolutions.co.uk, ShopzillaSolutions.co.de, and LesSolutionsShopzilla.fr. The sites are designed to help European retailers grow their online businesses by sharing consumer-generated product and service reviews, pricing information, and case studies. Also in 2010 the company launched US site TaDa in order to more directly compete with the increasingly popular Groupon. The "deal of the day" site offers limited-time only sales. – less