Why check out one job feed when you can check out 10? Why scalp tickets in one virtual stadium parking lot when you can canvass all of them at once online? And why shop one click-and-mortar store at a time when all the results can be filtered through one slick shopping mall portal?
Aggregators are becoming the king of online transactions, from job searches to holiday shopping. Heck, you can even aggregate your own news these days via RSS. So why visit specific websites when these more robust, all-inclusive portals are doing the work for you?
WeâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢ve asked a lot of questions, and here are some answers.
A lot of times, the answer is that you just donâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢t. You donâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢t waste time searching piecemeal site by site. For example, you donâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢t waist your time shopping for plane tickets at a dozen websites when a kayak.com can do it all for you much more efficiently.
But there are some special perks to simply visiting the websites you like. Many airlines and hotels make pricing assurances, guaranteeing that youâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢ll get the cheapest rates on their sites. Also, companies look to curb the aggregator trend by cultivating mini-communities and social networking components that give users more of an incentive to head straight to their URL. And finally, some websites have proved immune to aggregators. Think of how big an industry sports is, and try to think of one viable alternative to ESPN.com. No one has been able to aggregate sports content decent enough to challenge the four-letter network. Actually, when you think about it, ESPN could be considered a aggregator and competitor to local sports sources the country.
Some websites struggle with the decision of whether to allow aggregators to sap their content. Take Monster.com and CareerBuilder, both of which decided not to partner with Indeed.com, a hugely successful compiler of job listings in every industry. Even the parent company of this blog VOIS.com, sends Indeed their freelance job postings.âˆšÃ‡Â¬â€ Sure, the job search stalwarts would benefit from an increase in traffic by partnering with Indeed, but at the same time, these major job players risk adding and abetting job seekers who arenâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ‘Â¢t using Monster and CareerBuilder as a primary destination site.
The aggregator model is an efficient resource for users who want to simply perform transactions and get the best deal without branding static. But for Web surfers who are looking for more than efficiency, traditional websites still pack a familiar and full-blown sensory experience. And until aggregators evolve into more than filters with URLs, this should remain the same.