Looking for software which would mimic hipmunk search

Posted on 2011-05-03
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
We want to build a web application for our website, which will allow users to search for the best Gas/Electric prices in their area.  We would be using wordpress as our website, so was wondering if any plug-ins could do this?

Our boss likes this site (It is a flight search, but would like a similar type of application for Gas/Electricity) Hipmunk.

I'm struggling to come up with a google search term, which i could look for similar4 types of software for this. What would i be looking for?  Would it be a custom build, or is their software outthere which can be used ?
Question by:jonathan1978
    LVL 37

    Expert Comment

    I don't think it's possible. Most utility companies don't post their pricing on the web in some easy to parse way like the airlines do. Try searching for other sites that do the same thing and you only find ones in the UK. I assume from your timezone that you are in the U.S.
    LVL 37

    Expert Comment

    The reason it's so easy to do it for flights is that there are only a few major airlines. There are literally thousands of electric companies, many of them cooperatives, so it would be virtually impossible to partner will all of them to show pricing.

    Also, most areas only have two or three options at the most for utilities, so there's not much need for a site to find the lowest. I would suggest abandoning the project entirely because it will just be a waste of your valuable time.

    Author Comment

    Ok,  Maybe if it is just one company. You would enter your details, and it would give you a list of pricing plans that the company offers.  You could then add options, and it would visually add to the price total ?

    The users will not actually be buying online though, so not like a shopping cart,  they would select a list of options, and see a list of plans which fit their criteria,  clicking on one of the plans would take them to a call-to-action page, where either a phone number would be given, or a rep calls the user. Is software like that available ?
    LVL 37

    Accepted Solution

    You would have to go to that company and either ask them to give you access to that info or if they have a website, you could try parsing the data on it, but then if they change anything, you'll need to update and you'll also have to be careful that you aren't violating copyright laws.

    Most of the flight websites have deals made with the airlines. Most get a commission if you buy the ticket through them.

    If you are only doing it for one utilities company, why not just link to theirs? If they don't have one, maybe you should offer to develop it for them.

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