BeatThat pays you to find online deals

Like getting good deals? How about finding good ones too? A new commerce site called BeatThat is vying to help out both.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read

I've mentioned in the past that I'm a frequent Slickdeals and Fatwallet user. The two are must-bookmark sites if you want to stay abreast on big savings for consumer electronics. Newcomer BeatThat might be more lucrative to deal submitters though, the voracious group of users that feeds these sites with the best deals. BeatThat is trying to woo people like this away from those sites with something a little more useful than community cred--cash.

The site is paying users up to $2 per deal on an item that's lower in price than any pulled in by its price-grabbing engine. Competitor Pricegrabber has been doing this for years, but has offered no way for users to add their own links to the mix.

To avoid gaming the system, each deal must be verified for users to get paid. There are also some strict stipulations meant to level the playing field, like requiring the item to be in stock for a minimum amount of time, as well as any special coupon codes that go with it. Products must also be new, and the retailers must accept credit card payments--all things that might keep you from getting a big deal on refurbished and factory-restored products; the typical deals site fare.

To compare BeatThat's results, I did a product search on five popular products: the Canon Powershot SD1100is, a popular Sony HDTV, an iPod Nano (8GB black), a Garmin nüvi 350, and a popular HP desktop printer, then compared the top result against that of Pricegrabber and Google's Product search engine.

To my surprise, BeatThat's engine came out on top nearly every time. Included are all the usual things like retailer ratings and a final cost, which factors in things like local taxes and shipping. What makes the system a step up from the others is that you can rank a deal with a vote up or down, similar to Slickdeal's rep system that promotes items to the front page. BeatThat's engine works the same way, although manages to add in an editor's picks section, too.

Despite the low prices, there are some things missing from BeatThat that I'd like to see added. For instance there are no tie-ins with product reviews--neither professional or amateur. Also, while you can rank a deal, you can't actually rate the item itself. Missing too are some important categories like software and video game hardware.

Current shortcomings aside, BeatThat is a compelling entrant to the deals market and definitely worth bookmarking if you're doing an online product search. Combined with something like Retrevo that gives you a metacritical score, and RetailMeNot which maintains its coupon code database, and you've got a pretty good state of mind going into a three- of four-digit purchase.

BeatThat gives you the lowest prices by rank. Missing however are things like product reviews from professionals and consumers. CNET Networks