InvisibleHand Blog

Watch this space for the latest news about InvisibleHand project. We'll blog here about new retailers, new countries and new features.
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Discount TouchPads Cause Shopping Surge

After the incredible news that HP were cancelling their TouchPad after only two months, several retailers in the US dropped their prices, to be followed by their UK counterparts. Many retailers, including Dixons and Currys were offering the 16GB version of the webOS tablet for only £89, down a massive £261 from the original price of £350.

Of course InvisibleHand was showing shoppers this bargainous price, and as a result the number of simultaneous server requests we received was 50 per cent higher than the previous Monday’s peak:

TouchPad Sale Traffic

In fact we briefly saw the highest ever number UK consumers shopping simultaneously online, not to mention the largest number of shoppers visiting a single UK retailer – Dixons – for the same product simultaneously!

InvisibleHand Shortlisted for Online Business Award

It’s always nice for the team to win a little industry recognition. So we’re proud to announce that InvisibleHand is shortlisted for Small Online Business of the Year at the National Business Awards.

Hundreds More Retailers Join InvisibleHand

Broad retailer coverage is crucial to making invisibleHand a useful tool. So we’ve been working hard to increase the number of retailers that are covered.

In fact, over the past 4 months, the number has doubled to 599, and more are joining every week. If you’re you an InvisibleHand user, you’ll see better-than-ever product coverage.

If you’re a retailer and would like to join InvisibleHand, just send an email to info@getinvisiblehand.com and we’ll get you integrated.

Ryanair Manipulating Prices with Cookies? It’s an Urban Myth

Yes, that’s right – we’ve undertaken research which shows that Ryanair is not manipulating prices by using cookies.

Rumours allege that Ryanair uses browser cookies to unfairly push prices up. Specifically, it has been suggested that travellers who search for a flight, don’t buy it, and then carry out the same search later are given a higher price. A few users have reported that clearing their browser cookies appears to bring the price back down again.

We put this to the test in a two-day experiment, searching 52 routes in two different browsers and found no discrepancies – regardless of whether cookies were cleared or not.

What we did…

On day 1, using Firefox we ran 52 Ryanair flight searches on randomly selected routes, including return & one-way trips, and logged the prices.

On day 2, using Firefox we ran the same 52 searches and noted down the prices. However, we also carried out identical searches using Google Chrome – simultaneously with the Firefox searches. All cookies were cleared from Chrome after every search. Cookies were not cleared from Firefox at any point during the experiment.

If the price manipulation allegations were true, we would have expected to see price discrepancies in the results between Firefox and Chrome on day 2. What we actually saw were exactly the same prices on both browsers.

Is this definitive proof that Ryanair isn’t using cookies to manipulate prices? No. We only searched 52 routes from thousands of potential flight combinations, and we don’t have inside knowledge on how Ryanair sets its fares. But what we do know is that Ryanair changes its fares constantly using a sophisticated pricing model. Any number of factors could cause price fluctuations, but manipulation via browser cookies doesn’t appear to be one of them.

Ryanair the cookie monster? It’s an urban myth.

Update: Original source data is available here

InvisibleHand Does Flights!

We’re excited to announce that InvisibleHand is now able to help users get the cheapest flights – automatically. When you search for a flight at any popular travel site or airline, InvisibleHand will automatically search for cheaper or more convenient flights – on the day & route you specified. It’ll then show a discreet notification at the top of the page, with access to the flights available via a drop-down menu.

This could be particularly useful if you’re using a travel site which excludes some airlines, or if you’re searching an airline site which doesn’t allow it’s flight to be listed on the flight comparison websites. It’ll also help you if you enter a flight-related search into Google – all without leaving the page.

The flight-search feature is available immediately to new & existing InvisibleHand users in US & UK on Chrome, Safari & IE.

It’s also available on Firefox via InvisibleHand’s beta channel

One Million Downloads!

InvisibleHand has reached one million downloads. It’s a great milestone to hit and we’re excited to be supporting all four major browsers: Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer.

Opera is currently in the process of adding support or extensions, so we’re looking forward to bringing InvisibleHand there too.

Status Update: Up-and-Running

InvisibleHand is back up-and-running. Apologies for any inconvenience that was caused by the outage in the US.

Status Update: Brief Outage

A server problem is causing an outage for InvisibleHand users in the US. If you’re using InvisibleHand on a US retailer, InvisibleHand won’t show a notification. We’re working on it and should have everything up-and-running within the next 20 – 30 minutes.

Users in the UK and Germany will be unaffected.

InvisibleHand is now a Safari extension!

InvisibleHand is now available as a Safari extension. It lacks a few bells and whistles but otherwise should work just like other version for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. Please let us know if you notice anything unusual!

Calling All Canadian Retailers

Hardly a week goes by without us receiving a stack of emails from Canadians asking for InvisibleHand to compare Canadian retailers. We have good news: InvisibleHand is coming to Canada!

We’ve already added some Canadian stores, but we’d like to add a few more before we officially launch there. If you’re a Canadian retailer (or know someone who is) then please contact us. We’ll be delighted to add your store to InvisibleHand.

Just send an email to info@getinvisiblehand.com and we’ll explain what to do.