What type of programing do larger price comparison websites like pronto.com run on?

I have seen a lot of relatively simple scripts that are utilized for price comparison available, but I was wondering what type of configuration does a website like Pronto.com work off of? Would a site like that process all of their data collected from daily feeds internally or do they just have a more attractive interface that connects through various site’s APIs ?

Just read the Pronto site and you’ll see there are enough clues to put together how it works.

– For small individual stores, they upload their product feed to an FTP site which Pronto downloads and indexes daily.
– Pronto indexes the APIs/feeds of major stores through comparison shopping aggregators like ChannelAdvisor, Channel Intelligence, etc.
– Pronto downloads the product feeds of merchants participating in affiliate networks like Commission Junction and Performics


Thanks for pointing that out I had dug around on their site somehow I must have missed that part. Their visual presentation is much better than a lot of the other comparison sites, but the guts of what drives a system like that even on a smaller scale is it very complex to replicate something similar ?

Sorry for the naive questions. I have been trying to understand how systems like this work so if I decide to add something like that to might site in the near future I know what I am looking at from a development perspective. I have seen free scripts, cheap scripts, $500 bids on outsourcing sites & even $10k bids outsourcing sites for price comparison development. Needless to say I am still looking for a little clarification on how involved something like that is…obviously it would only be a part of my site, I have no interest in trying to necessarily compete in that category.

Large sites normally have their own in-house development team. Your not talking building a site and forgetting about it. Your talking a a team that has developed the site and are constantly maintaining it, updated features and what not. Its not a question of tens of thousands of dollars but hundreds of thousands probably more in the realm of millions.

At that size set it and forget it isn’t realistic. I am just curious as to how difficult it is to have a comparison engine that is driven by various APIs like Ebay, Amazon & etc. developed. I have seen several that although aesthetically not necessarily pleasant seemed to work tolerable.

I wasn’t sure how much of what I liked about the presentation on Pronto was the visual aspect and how much was related to the code. Is relatively feasible to put something together on a much smaller scale that could look similar to what they have done?

Making an interface that looks just like theirs is easy. Pay a designer. Making it work (actually populating all those categories and lists and such) is hard.

Haha …yea isn’t that how it always is. I wish I knew more about what all was involved so I could make a determination about how much i was interested in tackling. Thanks for your help so far