How does a comparison portal make money.
Everyone knows them from advertising or uses them themselves – price comparison portals have been booming for years and promise customers the best price. In the meantime, everything from electricity, DSL, cell phone contracts, flights and entire trips can be compared online. The market for new customers among electricity providers is fiercely contested. Comparison portals advertise with new customer bonuses and extra low tariffs. But whether the portals keep what they promise – namely the recommendation of the cheapest offer?
How does a comparison portal work?
First of all, a comparison portal is nothing more than an intermediary between the end customer and the actual provider of the service or product. As a platform, it offers added value for both customer groups – otherwise there would be no incentive for either of them to visit or list on the site. A page is only attractive for both customer groups if enough customers visit the page, find a low price and then buy it.
The running costs of a comparison portal relate primarily to the operation of the website and the generation of visitors to the site. Comparison portals place advertisements on Google, social networks and on television to draw the end customer’s attention to their service. Often they sell themselves as transparent advisors. However, they cover their costs with agency commissions that they receive from the provider of the respective service.
The finder’s fee
The agency commissions are not transparently recognizable for the end customer. The operator of the site receives them either on the basis of affiliate programs or through individual agreements between the provider and the portal. Comparisons have already shown in the past that, for example, there are different best offers between the various portals.
Depending on what the contract between the comparison portal and the provider looks like, the respective portal can display a lower price than others. Sometimes there are even special tariffs that are only available via one comparison portal, but not from the provider itself or on another portal. stromvergleich ohne bonus
Change quickly with comparison portals?
Actually, switching electricity providers or comparing prices for a flight seems to be quick and easy. However, there are a number of settings that you have to click through. In the case of energy suppliers in particular, the seriousness of the provider is also important. After all, you don’t want to fall back into the basic tariff. After all, that didn’t save anything.
It is therefore advisable to ask several comparison portals with the same settings and then to compare the best results with the offer of the provider himself. Caution is also advised with portals that belong together. You should be particularly careful with portals from one and the same company. The consumer center has created some graphics here, which make the connections between the individual portals clear. Often the portals are also assumed to rank certain results higher in order to collect the higher sales commission for them.
The trick with the bonuses
Some electricity tariffs lure with particularly favorable conditions in the first year of the contract. If you forget to switch in the first year, you pay significantly more in the second year and the previously cheapest tariff suddenly becomes one of the more expensive. Many providers also pay out a new customer bonus every time they switch, but this is usually offset directly in the comparison portal. So the provider ends up further ahead, even though the actual tariff is not necessarily the cheapest.
Check24 vs Marklerverband
Only last July one of the largest German comparison portals had to admit defeat in court. The Federal Association of German Insurance Merchants had accused Check24 of unfair competition and misleading. In the judgment of the Munich Regional Court, the judge ordered the comparison portal to communicate more transparently the fact that Check24 receives commissions for the mediated services.
So do without comparison portals altogether?
Comparison portals are justified. They show the customer which tariff is currently the cheapest for them, albeit with certain tricks. As a customer, you should definitely not rely on a portal and should rather enter the same data in the competitor portal. Ultimately, however, the price comparison remains more complex than it seems at first glance. Because comparison portals are not consumer protectors, they are intermediaries and collect commissions for it.