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A BETTER WAY TO SHOP CYBERMALLS?

HAS SOMEONE BUILT A BETTER BOT--those tiny software programs that travel the Web to find the best prices? Sunnyvale (Calif.) startup mySimon Inc. thinks it has. Its Web site (www.mysimon.com) debuted on Oct. 26, and it is providing technology to Big Yellow and other shopping-geared Web services.

What's different about mySimon's bot? The company uses real, live shoppers to train its software. mySimon has a squad of employees who explore shopping sites and feed information about them back to the company's Virtual Learning Agent shopping engine. Later, when consumers use the technology, mySimon's bots know where to go for the information they need and how to get it quickly.

With many shopping sites mapped out, the company can provide up-to-the-minute prices. Other bots, such as the one offered by Junglee Corp., don't search the Internet in real time. They keep prices in a database that may be from a previous day. mySimon has already scouted out 800 online merchants, and it's adding about 50 more per week.

By Steve Hamm
EDITED BY IRA SAGER


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Updated Nov. 19, 1998 by bwwebmaster
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