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Priceonomics Raises $1.5 MM, Users Unfazed (priceonomics.com)
123 points by omarish 1846 days ago | hide | past | web | 60 comments | favorite

This is probably the best funding announcement I have ever seen: self deprecating, funny and actually useful to the reader.

Congrats guys, rock on!


I'm sure they're aware, but for others here: decide.com does a fantastic job at price predicting products, and is founded by the same person behind the price prediction algorithm purchased by Bing ("Farecast") and he is also a tenured professor at the University of Washington specializing in machine learning. Pretty steep competition both from an engineering and business standpoint.

The difference I see is priceonmics give me a real answer $200 for a iphone 3gs

see here: http://priceonomics.com/phones/apple/iphone-3gs/

While decide.com give me a .99 cent option and no other real value ideas of that phone


For anything from long tail priceonomics seems to show pretty much random data, e.g. this is the most most popular amplifier: http://priceonomics.com/amplifiers/eagle/

(I tried amplifiers because I was curious to compare data with a toy site (500 lines of haskell for crawler+site) I built for audio equipment price trends: http://kruipen.com)

The economic (consumer choice) problem that Priceonomics is aimed at solving is the "when to buy a product" problem. Plenty of products already exist to aid consumers with the "where to buy" and "what/which to buy" problems. This paper at Microsoft Research goes through the theory:


Decide seems fine for new items, specifically electronics and appliances which is probably why the service highlights their price drop alerts.

Priceonomics really impressed me when it was able to price a Leica M4P and a set of P90 pickups. Decide had neither in their system.

I actually met Oren at TED. Super sharp guy.

I'm pretty sure my reaction to this is due to being outside YC & SV, but ...

We raised $1.5 million in 10 days and pretty much the whole time we didn’t feel very good.

Ten days? Didn't feel very good? That's fundraising? Wow. What can I even say to that? Congrats guys.


Admittedly, searching for "car" is vague, but this is just too funny of a result to not share :-)



How did you get that result? The javascript should autocomplete to our cars guide if you type in "car": http://cl.ly/0x0z2F393U20383s3b2G

You can manually override if you want to, but if it's not doing it by default that's a bug.

Thanks! I had an intentional 100ms delay between keystrokes, but I just lowered it to 25ms on my local and it's looking much better.

I'm still able to reliably bypass the autocompletion just hitting enter, any reasonably fast typist would. It's not even just the 25ms, it's the actual time to execute the autocompletion code.

Hitting the search button with the mouse also bypasses it entirely, no matter how long you wait, as does hitting tab then space or enter to activate the search button.

Perhaps when searching for "car" they could display a notice a la Google: "Did you mean to view our Car guide?".

@nknight and @olalonde thanks for the feedback guys, genuinely helpful. It's nice to see that on HN.

Feel free to email me directly anytime: michael [at] priceonomics [dot] com.

For me, it was also the last item in the autocomplete.

... What is that "car" in the picture?

Apparently a wive is really affordable http://priceonomics.com/search/?q=wife&fs=1

At prices like that, I might just pick up 2 or 3! But seriously, it'll be interesting to see how in the future their algorithms improve to deal low-information queries like that.

Did you read the article? Here's the important point:

From this perspective, comparison shopping may focus consumers' attention on differences between available options, leading them to overestimate the hedonic impact of selecting a more versus less desirable option. To the extent that the process of comparison shopping focuses attention on hedonically irrelevant attributes, comparison shopping may even lead people to choose a less desirable option over a more desirable option.

Pricenomics helps you get the best/fair price for an existing thing you were already going to buy. It is purely about making a more informed decision about one item, not comparing between somewhat different products and making the wrong decision.

Exactly. After looking at the results of some generic terms (netbook, ultrabook), they're really not equipped for general-purpose feature comparison. But when you narrow it down to a specific model, it seems like it would help you avoid ripoff craigslist/ebay deals.

Raising venture capital seems not to require building a secure product:

http://tinyurl.com/7pad22b (Click the search bar to execute the code)

Good catch -- fixing now.

Wow, you are really quick!

Just another hint: Your elasticsearch server is public accessible. Maybe you want to fix this too.

Good eye :). Fixed as well.

By the way: The search is still vulnerable: http://tinyurl.com/7wj9qoh

But I think this is the last one ;-)

Fixed. Keep them coming :).

Omar, Priceonomics should have a price page for itself

It doesn't show up when you actually search for it though:( I think this is a sev1 defect and you should fix it immediately:)

Haha, thanks!

What are you typing in? If you enter "priceonomics" (no quotes) it should redirect to /priceless.

I can't get the same result now. I might have just fat fingered it. Really like the site btw!

Would be better if they listed all the acquisition offers they had, as well as the average.

dang, yo

With the new financing, could/would you build medical pricing into your practice areas?

It's about-time for more transparency in the medical world.


This seems like a fun project. Has any of the data actually been released?

It would be nice if they tailored the searches a bit more to geo-location. I search for things and end up getting craigslist results for SF even though I'm in Canada.

Congrats! I just gave about 30 electronic items to someone on TaskRabbit to sell for me. Used ebay to correctly price them, but priceonomics was spot on when verifying them!

I hope it will work someday cause it doesn't for now.. http://priceonomics.com/cars/ford/mondeo/

Congrats on the round and really great post, guys!

Big congrats guys! I feel assured knowing we won't be eating top ramen all summer.

Thanks Forrest! We'll now be upgrading to pasta and red sauce.

I'd love to see this for salaries.

Misspelled my last name. :(

My bad:(


Better. Congrats!!

Congrats, guys! Well done.

Blog is down?

Hiring??? :D

"Recruiters, rockstars, and ninjas need not apply."

You're doing the Lord's work.

I suppose this a positive, but I'm skeptical when companies use marketing events and cheeky blog posts to trumpet funding events. Especially when they don't disclose the reason why they needed to source funding the first place. Or they never mention how the capital will help the idea move forward.

The other reason why I am skeptical is that feels like startups these days are more focused on raising money than shipping product. Is the referenced blog post an example?

This is what I hear from this post: "hey, everyone! (waving hands) - we raised a round!"

I'd rather see: "hey, everyone! check out what we rolled out today!"

And If what you rolled out today is successful, innovative, generates net income, and is backed by 500 trillion in venture capital. Fantastic!

Otherwise, why should I be concerned that you got some people to invest in your idea?

Your skepticism is mis-placed. Your concerns are lame in general and especially so for Priceonomics and this particular post. Priceonomics has a history of writing quality blog posts of interest to this audience. This post acknowledges the folly of talking about a funding and proceeds to spend most of the time supplying very useful information about the process. Asking for more detail about intended fund usage is unnecessary. Everyone already knows basically what the funds will be used for.

And you know what? Raising money is worth celebrating. Funding is critical to helping entrepreneurs be successful.

I actually thought the blog post was the opposite of how you read it.

They're basically saying "it doesn't matter that we got funding - our users don't care" (which they don't) but they also know this will raise their profile in terms of finding talented engineers.

The message being "we're hiring and investors believe in us - you should too".

I thought it was refreshing.

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