The Hi-Tech Investor: Are you mad for bargains?

The internet should be the world's largest and most competitive market. Buyers and sellers will meet through a few clicks of a mouse, and prices will fall as consumers search the web for the best deals.

But the problem, for most individuals, is finding that information. One alternative to trawling through a vast number of websites is to turn to a specialist shopping service.

One of the highest-profile shopping sites is Valuemad, which is backed by Asda. You tell Valuemad what you want to buy, and it searches the internet - or more accurately, a selection of internet stores - for the products you want.

Valuemad concentrates on electrical hardware - including televisions, hi-fi equipment, video recorders and white goods - as well as books, music, computer software and travel.

The idea behind Valuemad is promising, and the site is easy to use. Unfortunately, although Valuemad is convenient, it does not save shoppers money.

A search for a Philips wide-screen digital television was frustrating. Dixons has a 28-inch model for sale at pounds 1,099.99, an attractive price, on its own website; Valuemad failed to find a match. A search for books produced a range of prices for JM Coetzee's Booker Prize winner Disgrace, but none bettered Amazon's own price of pounds 7.35 plus postage.

There is nothing wrong with Valuemad. But given the range of good deals on the net, it is something of a missed opportunity. If the service searched for prices from a wider range of suppliers, it would be a real draw for the internet's bargain hunters.

www.valuemad.com

Cut your bills

Buy.co.uk steers clear of anything as glamorous as a television set. The website offers a similar service to Valuemad in seeking out the best deals, but it concentrates on day-to-day necessities like gas, electricity and water. It also covers the complicated area of mobile phone prices.

Buy provides some other interesting services. The e-lephant site reminds visitors about offers and promotions such as coupon deals in newspapers.

There is a section detailing the best online shopping services, ranging from cars to computers and electrical goods. Usefully, there is a facility to compare prices in the UK with the far more competitive US market.

You might not save thousands using Buy, but shaving pounds 30 off the gas and electricity bills will cover the cost of a good few hours on the net.

www.buy.co.uk

Stephen Pritchard can be contacted at Hi-tech-investor@dial.pipex.com

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power