360Buy Blocks Etao Price Comparison, Price War Rages On

C. Custer
5:00 am on Aug 28, 2012

360Buy has been raging a price war with competitors Suning and Gome for over a week now. Unfortunately for 360Buy, the best news to come out of this for consumers so far is that according to Alibaba’s Etao price search engine, Amazon is cheaper than any of the price-warring companies. That’s embarrassing. What’s a chargined e-commerce website to do? Block Etao’s spider so it can no longer index 360Buy prices, apparently.

360Buy’s robots.txt file — a public file that controls which web-crawling bots can mine a website for information — now disallows the bot EtaoSpider, as you can see from the image above. This has actually happened before, but 360Buy had since re-allowed indexing of its site, which is what enabled ETao to compile its price comparisons for the warring websites last week.

360Buy, of course, claims that Alibaba’s price comparison engine is unfair, and given that Alibaba isn’t exactly neutral in China’s e-commerce wars, that makes some sense. But since it just recently revealed a third, uninvolved party to have better prices than 360Buy, the move to block Etao now looks childish and petulant. Which is probably how Jack Ma would describe this whole price war anyway.

[China Business News via Sina Tech]

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