Did you know that prices on Amazon products fluctuate? Sometimes certain product prices fluctuate a lot. How do you know if you are buying a particular item at the lowest price? By using 3 camels, of course.
Don’t ask how they came up with this name because I don’t know. I couldn’t find any information on the website (CamelCamelCamel.com) or on their Facebook page. If you find out the story behind the name, please put it in a comment below.
What this site does is a rather monumental task – it tracks the prices of products at Amazon, provides a graphic chart of the price over time, and notifies you of price drops via email or Twitter.
Here’s an example. I recently bought a Toshiba 1 TB portable drive. This is what the pricing graph looks like for that portable drive:
That might be a little too small to easily read, but what it says is that the highest price they have recorded was back on November 30 of 2011, when that drive was priced at $129.99. The lowest price was just recently, at $59.99 – so it appears that now is the time to buy! As you might guess, that gradual lowering of the price over that time period is indicative of the way hard drive prices have come down overall. They get cheaper and cheaper (and the crash rate shows how cheaply they are now being made – but that’s another story).
What the site allows you to do is create alerts for the products you want to monitor. So maybe you find a certain basic patio set (small table and two chairs) and the current price is $164.30.
But when you look at the price history graph, you can see that the high price was $173.05 in January 2013, and the lowest price was $136.39 in June. So $164 might seem a bit high right now. However, you are willing to buy the next time the price goes below $150. So all you do is set your price alert at $149.99, and whenever the price hits that number or lower, you will be notified by email so you can go and buy it.
Now here’s a question for you.
This Amazon price tracking service, including the email or Twitter price drop alerts, is all totally free for you to use. Why would the guys at CamelCamelCamel go to all the trouble of setting up this website with its huge database, along with the price alert emails, and not charge any fees to use the service? Are they just being nice and providing a service to the internet community? No. They are actually making money from this.
The 3Camels website is an example of affiliate marketing. Amazon has what is called an affiliate program. If you sign up as an affiliate with Amazon, you can set up your own website and populate it with Amazon products. For example, you might create a website that is all about Little League baseball. People come to your site to read about Little League, and while they are there, they might see some ads promoting baseball equipment like bats or gloves. When they click on the ad, they are taken to that product’s page on the Amazon website. If they buy anything, Amazon pays you a commission because you sent them there. The commission is usually around 4% to 8% of the sale price.
So the CamelCamelCamel site creators are pretty smart. By providing a service, they attract a lot of traffic to their site. I don’t know what their sales volume is like, but whenever they display a product and someone clicks the “Buy” button on their site to make the purchase, they make money. Pretty clever, huh?
And it turns out they are even smarter – they created another site called CamelBuy (Best Buy price tracking service) and CamelEgg (NewEgg price tracking service). Time to start tracking your favorite items!