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Web Page Rates Online Rentals

5 Dec, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner

With the number of companies offering DVD rentals by mail proliferating, entrepreneur Steve Loyola has launched a Web page designed to help consumers sift through the details of online rental businesses.

Loyola, who operates the shopping-comparison service Best Web Buys (bestwebbuys.com), recently launched a new feature on the Best Video Buys segment of the Web site that summarizes the different types of online DVD rental programs and their prices.

“I was kind of surprised to find that there are a lot of them out there,” he said.

The page at www.bestwebbuys.com/video/dvd-rentals launched with 13 online rentailers listed, which were selected based on their popularity as measured by an external traffic measurement service. “There are various places online like Alexa that have a rough gauge of how popular each site is. We went out and grabbed the biggest ones,” Loyola said. “It's a continuously growing list. Our goal is to try to make it as comprehensive as possible.”

The page also has a top five list in the upper right corner, determined by the number of clickthroughs from Best Video Buys to the actual service.

“The top two [at the time of the interview] are those we list as offering adult videos,” Loyola noted.

The site includes the major players -- first mover Netflix and several of its smaller competitors, including Walmart.com, DVDAvenue, DVDBarn and Qwikfliks -- as well as smaller, niche market services like Coreflix, which specializes in action sports DVDs. Studio-backed download service Movielink is also represented, along with Gamefly and GoVoJo, which both rent video games.

Neither Loyola nor his staff of three have spoken with most of the companies on their site.

“I don't think we had really any conversations with them, because it's so easy to sign up for the affiliate programs online,” he said. “Basically all those merchants have affiliate programs. We don't get paid by the click, but we do get paid if someone goes from our site and then signs up.”

Home entertainment is not new to Best Web Buys, which launched as a comparison shopping service for books in August 1997 and added a home entertainment software comparison for online sellthrough in March 2001.

The new service got a slow start, but Loyola said that is not unusual for new features on his site.

“It was kind of disappointing the first couple of days, but maybe we set our expectations too high,” he said.

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