In a somewhat surprising move, Smarter.com just announced that they’ll be making rate changes, a lot of them drastic, across the board on their shopping engine.

Beginning March 1st, you will see both increases and decreases in your Smarter.com CPC minimum bids. This adjustment will allow us to remain competitive in the upstream marketplace and continue to acquire high quality traffic on behalf of our merchants. Simply put, we are bringing our rates in line with other comparison engines.

The full rate card can be downloaded here, but to quickly sum it up all of the major categories are seeing rate increases, some by as much as 3 times what it is now.

Below is a chart illustrating the changes and the number of subcategories that it affects:

At first glance it appears that most categories are seeing a rate drop, but the 1212 categories that saw a drop are all in the media section (books, movies, magazines, and music).

Below we examine the changes in the main channels:

One of the biggest advantages that Smarter had as a shopping engine was that they generally had one of the lower CPC rates across their categories, which made them profitable for merchants even if their traffic didn’t convert as well as other engines.

By pushing themselves closer to the top tier engines in terms of CPC rates, their traffic is going to have to convert considerably higher in order to keep the same profitability that merchants are used to now.

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