Microsoft Acquires Jellyfish

    October 2, 2007

Microsoft has acquired comparison shopping engine Jellyfish, and it actually looks like a cool company!

I must admit that I’ve never heard of Jellyfish before. Considering the name, I wondered if the founders thought about the name association – “Buy with us and you’ll get stung!”. ;-)

Digging into the details, it appears Jellyfish is the type of shopping engine I wish I had found BEFORE Microsoft–’cos you just know they’ll screw it up.

So why do I like the sound of Jellyfish? Here’s what got my attention:

You use just like you would any other shopping search engine to find the right product at the best price. But when you actually buy something from a store in our engine, we share at least half of what we earn by connecting you to that store. All you need to do is sign up for an account to earn cash back. There are no fees or hidden charges.

You mean, I get paid to shop? Where’s my wallet?

Here’s an example search result, complete with details of how much you’ll get back in cash…


The great thing is, this is not just some gimmick for Jellyfish, they’ve actually given a lot of thought to their business model.

At Jellyfish, we want to pioneer a new form of search advertising we call Value Per Action. Instead of charging fees when you click, we charge our advertisers only when you actually buy, and we share at least half of this fee back to you as cash back. In other words, we connect you directly to the value of the advertising. Instead of measuring how much money WE make when you click, we measure how much value the advertiser is willing to pay YOU for your sale. With VPA, the advertising value of your attention becomes transparent (you can see it in the form of cash back) and changes from annoying advertising into something that actually lowers your end price.

A good buy for Microsoft: nice design, hot vertical, and smart advertising model. Let’s hope they don’t mess with it too much.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to waste my entire day hunting Jellyfish. ;-)