Become Strives To Improve On-Line Shopping

Become Strives To Improve On-Line Shopping

Also Finds Pre/Post-Purchase Research Info

by Daniel P. Dern (

Vendor: Become. Inc. Product Name: Become Shopping Price (MSRP): Free Web-based Shopping/Research Availability: Now Product URL:

Tech Requirements, if any (e.g. XP, Windows Mobile)

Web browser, may work better with Javascript, cookies

Shopping for products online can be simple -- if you

already know what you want and where you want to get it from., founded by MySimon creators, is trying to improve the online shopping experience with a variety of value-add services, like also finding web-based product research -- product information, buying guides, forums, reviews, and other useful information -- for pre-purchase research, or after-the-fact product support.

The booth demo at the recent Ziff-Davis Digital Life Expo

( was impressive enough and made it

look easy; however, my at-home trials were less satisfying.

Become found what I was looking for, offering grid and list views.

At Digital Life, Become was showing off its "Nearby Stores" feature -- "Find nearest physical store, so you can see it, buy it immediately." However I'm not seeing this feature on their

site, despite a fair amount of looking.

Comparative shopping gave various results, some better, some worse, in terms of prices and info-value. turned up the best price before Become did -- Become found it the next day, thought. Google's Froogle shopping site, after one or two search tweaks, found local stores and good prices. gave the worst prices -- including some ABOVE list price. C/NET's gave a good range of prices and stores -- but its "local store availability" seems lowish on useful info beyond "in stock," given that I fed it my zip code. (Like, where are these local stores.)

Become -- and other shopping sites -- have what I consider an

unacceptable sensitivity to browsers and feature sets -- many need Javascript, but don't alert you if your browser doesn't have it on, or

are cookie-intensive. Become works gratifyingly well with both Firefox and Opera -- response was worst with MSIE, in fact.

Alongside Become at DigitalLife was Frucall (, with an interesting spin aimed at mobile cell-phone-toting shoppers looking at something in a store, and wondering if there's a better deal available. : Simply call FruCall, keypad in the barcode (or ISBN number) and your Zip code.

Frucall searches sites like, Amazon, and Yahoo!Shopping, read outs the top several prices and sites, and offers to let you buy them, via your phone. Interesting and impressive.