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.

Cut your bills 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.

Stephen Pritchard can be contacted at

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments