Preview : Buxr Shopping Comparison widget

BuxrMichael Glozman, of Cheap Hosting Bargains fame contacted me this morning to give me a sneak preview of his new shopping comparison site Buxr.

Buxr is the latest shopping comparison site which is targeting bloggers to promote their website. If you signed up with WidgetBucks last month then you should be familiar with how this type of affiliate widget works. Basically, you place a javascript banner on your blog to display the latest products on your blog.

The Widget

Creating a widget with Buxr is very similar to creating a widget with WidgetBucks. Buxr does allow you to create a banner targeted to one merchant which I think is a nice touch however there are only 9 merchants to choose from (compare this with the hundreds Widgetbucks gives you with Mpire).

Below is a screenshot of the ‘create a widget’ page’. Those of you with a keen eye will notice how the javascript that Buxr generates looks identical to the javscript which google adsense uses.

The Buxr Widget Creation Screen

The actual banner that the javascript creates is quite basic looking compared to the fancy interactive widgets which you get with WidgetBucks. Infact, the banners look very similar to the adsense banners of a year or so ago – perhaps they hired a former Google employee to design the backend for this project.

I don’t think that a simple banner like this is necessarily a bad thing as you can change the colours of the banner to blend in with your blog.

So will I make money with Buxr?

I do not have a high traffic blog which is suitable for running Buxr banners so I am unable to test out how well the banners convert. Also, since Buxr has not been launched yet I’m sure what is scheduled to be improved and what is not. However, the preview I have been using suggests that Buxr is far from ready.

The commission that you receive per sale ranges from 0.5% to 10%, depending on the product sold. Put simply you get about half of the money they receive from the shopping site. A $10 sign up bonus, a 10% referral commission and a low payment threshold of $20 does not hide how poor the actual shopping service is. The fact remains, you can have the best affiliate program in the world with fantastic bonuses but if the actual service you are promoting is poor you aren’t going to make any money…and unfortunately this is the where Buxr is failing and failing quite badly in my opinion.

Again, I reiterate that the site is not launched yet so I don’t know what they are planning on improving but I suspect a launch is soon if they are contacting bloggers like myself to preview it and if that is the case then Buxr is going to be another site which was launched too early.

So what is wrong with the Buxr shopping service?

The first thing that you will notice is how basic the design is. Have a look at the screenprint below to see what I mean. It isn’t terrible but it isn’t fantastic either. You need to remember that this service is competiting with established USA comparison sites like PriceRunner and Mpire and a good design is a big part of branding and promoting a company.

Buxr Shopping Service

Although you can only target 9 merchants individually with your widget there are 21 merchants currently being listed, this still falls short of the hundreds if not thousands of merchants some competitors have. Surprisingly, this is not the biggest problem, the biggest problem is the fact that there are hardly any products being listed. Take the MP3 Player category. This is a category which you would expect to be busy with a lot of comparisons however you will be disappointed to find out that they only have 9 products and and apart from a Creative ZEN Vision, none of these products are from a major brand. It gets worse! 8 of these 9 products are out of date.

Expired Product

This brings me back to the point I raised earlier. The affiliate section is sufficient however you need to need to step back and ask who would actually use this service and honestly can’t think who would use this instead of another price comparison site. And if no one is using it, you are not going to make any money and as Steve Austin used to say, that’s the bottom line!

Also, it’s unfortunate that both the shopping service and the affiliate service is only for USA based shoppers and bloggers.

Summary

I spoke with Michael Glozman via email about Buxr and he seems like a stand up guy but I have to admit that I am fairly disappointed with what I have seen in so far. The affiliate area is fine however I just don’t see how this shopping comparison site is going to compete with the established competitors in this niche.

If the shopping comparison service is not improved then I would not encourage any bloggers to sign up as you would see a better return linking to related products individually yourself by signing up to the merchants affiliate program yourself.

Once again, I have only viewed the beta version of Buxr and they have given me no indication of when it will be launched officially so hopefully they will improve the service but if I’m brutally honest I can’t see the Buxr shopping site competiting with the major price comparison sites and if they can’t do that then you won’t make money 🙂

You can receive updates on Buxr here.

* Disclaimer : I have attached my Buxr referral link in this post 🙂

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2 Comments

  1. Buxr.com November 19, 2007
  2. Kevin November 19, 2007