HealthPricer Sees CPC As Near Death

    October 8, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Cost per click? Even the resources of HealthPricer can’t find a cure for the demise of CPC, as cost per action (CPA) becomes more appealing to retailers.

Why should a retailer settle for CPC action on a shopping engine when CPA offers a better return? Why should shoppers work with a site that features retailers based on their bid, and not their ability to best satisfy a customer query?

In healthcare comparison shopping, Mike Brown of HealthPricer thinks CPC and customer needs don’t work out well together. As he told WebProNews in an interview, the CPA model works much better.

HealthPricer’s index spans some 400,000 products, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, contact lenses, supplements, and beauty/hygiene items. Brown said their 400,000 unique visitors per month has helped them attract attention from portals as a content provider and a sales facilitator.

He touted the advantages of using CPA for consumers, and showed how HealthPricer products show all of the costs with shipping, handling, and rebates accounted for in the price.

“CPA lets them get all the data to show the best price,” Brown said. “CPC just lets advertisers get to the top of a list. Comparison shopping engines need to be consumer-biased.”

Brown also touted the legitimacy of retailers HealthPricer has in its engine. He cited a certain competing site as an example, and claimed none of that site’s results for pharmaceuticals contained a link to a single legitimate pharmacy.

In finding good prices and CPA arrangements for real pharmacies, HealthPricer visitors will note a number of search results coming from Canadian drugstores. We asked if this might bring about FDA interference, but Brown thinks these sales aren’t taking a big bite out of Big Pharma in the US.

Besides the CPA model, Brown sees HealthPricer’s data normalization practices as a key point of difference between his site and competitors. Simply put, they have more information, better information, and higher-quality providers participating in the site.

There’s always room for improvement. Brown sees a need to add community features and greater interactivity, and to build more expertise in product knowledge beyond what they have today. As a standalone firm willing to partner with health portals, those can help accent HealthPricer’s value.

If HealthPricer does catch on, (Brown cited ongoing discussions with a few portals), a solid performance by them could push CPA harder with comparison shopping engines, through virtue of making that type of content delivery expected by Internet users.

Since people are going to try to find what they need online, why not give them a site that can help point them to legitimate sources with upfront pricing details? That could be the prescription for change in the use of CPA versus CPC in comparison shopping.