Building a Better Woot! Checker: Comparison is Key

September 25, 2008

The famous “one item per day” e-commerce store Woot! periodically holds a “woot-off”, where multiple different items are sold in quick succession, each item appearing as soon as the previous one sells out completely. The quick succession of potentially interesting items selling for steep discounts has created a proliferation of scripts and programs called “Woot checkers”, and has even lead to the creation of an official list of Woot-off checkers. All of this because of the potential of missing out on the opportunity to buy something great and get a great deal on it.

The Minutes Pass Quickly

All of the Woot-off checkers on the market do the same exact thing: check the current deal at, show all the relevant information on that item, and tell you what percentage of the item is sold so you can anticipate the next item. The problem is, some of those items are really great deals, and some of them aren’t. You never really know just how great a deal the item is until you do some research and price comparisons on it. But that research takes a few minutes of time. And while that may not sound like a lot of time, items during a woot-off occasionally sell out in less than a minute.

Differentiation: Inline Price Comparison Results

The goal for a great Woot! checker should be not only to simply regurgitate information directly from the Woot! data feed, but to also provide the information necessary for users to make a purchasing decision quickly. After all, the very reason for the existence of any Woot! checker is so you don’t miss out on a great deal. Why not take that idea to the next level to give your users at least a 15-second advantage by eliminating steps in the research process? That’s where Woot! Compare comes in.


Woot! Compare fetches the normal information from the Woot! data feed, but then it also goes a step further and fetches shopping comparison results automatically based on the Woot! item name.  These shopping comparison results are displayed inline right next to the sale item so you can compare prices to ensure you’re getting a great deal.  Since the shopping comparison process is completely automated and sometimes the product name doesn’t have a specific model number, the comparison results can’t be guaranteed to be an exact match to the sale item all the time.  That’s why the product images are so critically important in this situation.  So even if the shopping comparison search does happen to include an unrelated or non-matching item, the user can quickly dismiss it and still make a good evaluation of the Woot! item’s worth based on the other product results displayed.

So now hopefully you will be able to spot that perfect holiday gift and be able to make a purchasing decision before the opportunity passes you by and the item stocks out.

Happy shopping!


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