UPDATE: On February 28, 2001, the BottomDollar comparison shopping search engine was discontinued by Network Commerce, Inc.
BottomDollar is a widely used price comparison shopping service, with international versions available for France, Germany, Canada and the UK in addition to the US. Price searches can be performed on a wide variety of general merchandise product categories including computer hardware and software, electronics, entertainment, toys, sporting goods, videogames, home and garden, pets, office, gifts, lifestyle and auctions.
However, other shopping bots such as mySimon and DealTime have a greater breath of products and retailers covered. One reason for this is because they include free listings, while Bottom Dollar only consists of merchants that pay to be included. Small vendors and those with very low prices may not have the margins to afford to pay for a listing, and therefore would not be listed on bottomdollar.
On Bottom Dollar, the price comparison search result listings themselves contain the standard basic information, such as names of merchants, links to the product on the retailers site, brief product descriptions and of course prices. There doesn't seem to be any particular order to the initial result listing. However, you can re-sort based on merchant name or on price by clicking on the link before the search results. You should always re-sort by price since it allows you to browse the listings from least to most expensive.
Bottom Dollar can be cumbersome to use. To start with you must pick a major product category before you can perform your search. For some products this can be simple and straightforward, so it isn't much trouble. However for other products it can be difficult to find an appropriate category. Some of the other price comparison shopping services are setup to handle this much better. On them you perform your search first, and then only select your specific category if there are matches in multiple categories.
Another problem with BottomDollar is that the search results include all hits for your search term within the general category without a good way to focus on just what you want. If you add additional terms to try to narrow your search query, you may miss out on listings if a merchant does not include that word in the product description. For example, if you are searching for a particular model of printer, it is very hard to add extra terms to eliminate all the listings for printer cartridges and other accessories that dominate the low prices without potentially missing out on listings for actual printers.
BottomDollar does allow you to restrict the search results to a certain price range. By raising the minimum price up to a realistic level, you can rule out lower priced accessories. Although it does help a little, a better mechanism to focus your search results would be of great benefit.
With Bottom Dollar you can set up a personal profile with your mailing address, so that it can calculate sales tax and shipping costs. This would be a very useful feature, but it never worked during our weeklong testing period.
Although BottomDollar covers a wide variety of products, other price search engines such as DealTime and mySimon cover more products from more retailers and are easier to use. In a hurry, you would be better off going straight with one of those, but when searching for the best price Bottom Dollar can we worth using in addition to other shopping bots since it may list vendors not included elsewhere.