Back during the boom years, Epinions (which secretly went by the name Round-One) built up ridiculous levels of hype based simply on the fact that they were founded by a bunch of people who had lucked out with earlier big name dot coms. Then they announced their business plan and there was a big silence - as people couldn't understand why anyone thought a consumer review site was a big deal. Over the years, Epinions has continued to struggle to find a niche for itself, despite raising millions of dollars. At the same time, the comparison shopping space was growing in popularity and Dealtime thought that they were going to be the next big IPO - until everything collapsed. So, now, these two over-hyped, struggling companies with somewhat complementary business models are going to merge. It's tough to tell if there's really a business here, or if this is just a last ditch effort to prove they can build a real company. The article claims that Dealtime wants to ride the wave of popularity in "search technology" to position itself as the "Google of comparison shopping" - something made a bit more difficult since Google wants to be the Google of comparison shopping with their Froogle service. Update: Here's a non-NYTimes version of the story.
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