CamelCamelCamel & Tracktor: Amazon Price Tracking and Alerts

Amazon.com aggressively varies their prices constantly based on a variety of factors, including matching lower prices from competitors. In addition, they often run limited-time deals like their current Lightning Deals page. But how special are those deals? For example, it may be advertised as “50% off list price”, but what if the regular price is 40% off list price?

Here’s a quick tip already known to many deal hunters – CamelCamelCamel.com tracks the historical prices for nearly every product in the huge Amazon catalog. You can also get free price alerts when a product hits a target price. A similar and less-cluttered, but also less-accurate website is Tracktor.com. All you need to do is either copy and paste the entire URL, or scroll down to find the product’s ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) under “Product Details”. Browser plugins/extensions are also available.

For example, I’ve been keeping an eye on the Canon PowerShot SX260 now at $199 which is a relatively small camera with a hefty 20X optical zoom and 1080p HD video. By going to CamelCamelCamel, I can see a history of the price drops on this rapidly-depreciating, memory-keeping gadget:

Here’s the same chart from Tracktor.com. Note that it doesn’t have the correct, current price of $199.

This camera only came out in February 2012, and is already down to $199 from $349. However, I can see the last price drop was relatively recent and perhaps not permanent. With this knowledge, it may be a good time to upgrade our last small camera which came out in January 2008 and only takes grainy video.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the heads up about CCC, that should come in very handy this holiday season.

    Great choice of SX 260. I’ve had the 210 before and replaced it with 260 a few months ago. I love the night mode but a bit disappointed with the lack of the “Foliage” mode that I used to have on 210. The “Vivid” mode is similar, but in many cases makes things a bit too much colorful. Otherwise, I love it. You can check out the pictures on my blog (from August until now) if you are curious.

  2. @Dima – Thanks for the tip. A “night mode” sounds great to avoid those grainy nighttime pics. I also think the optical zoom will come in very handy without having to lug around a big superzoom-type of camera. I can’t believe they fit 20x zoom in such a small package.

  3. Cool find on CCC. Databases on this type of thing are great resources to consumers.

  4. I have used them for years and love them. They are especially helpful for high-ticket items that you don’t need immediately. It’s amazing to see the variance in price on amazon. Obviously, the benefit to CCC is increasing in the price variance of the product (and the sales price).

  5. Jonathan, I swear sometimes you read my mind with your blog posts.

    I’ve been using ereaderiq.com for the last two years to track prices of Kindle books on Amazon, and just yesterday I was looking for a site that tracks non-book products. Thank you for giving me the answer I was looking for!

  6. Thanks for the tip re CCC–very helpful! As far as cameras go I hope this isn’t your only camera as you will most definitely eventually need an SLR to take pictures of your baby girl once she starts moving!

  7. I just bought the SX360 last week. Though after picking out the camera I had decided I was willing to pay $200 for it so I picked it up as soon as it dropped to $199. I think there is a lot to be said for knowing exactly what you want and what you are willing to pay for it.

  8. Night mode is amazing. Instead of just some presets that a usual night mode is, this camera actually takes a succession of images and combines them on the fly to eliminate any blurriness. 20x zoom is also great – just when I thought 14x was decent, this blows it out of the water and the pictures seem better, while SX 210 when fully zoomed rarely resulted in good pictures unless you held it very very steady (and the subject was’t moving).

  9. Favorite use of CCC is via The Camelizer Chrome extension

    It puts the camel in your URL bar when you are on a page that it has price info about (newegg, amazon, etc.)

    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/the-camelizer/ghnomdcacenbmilgjigehppbamfndblo

  10. I use something called shoppingnotes.com and it lets you know when a price has dropped. You also copy and paste the URL.

  11. Also make note of their other sites, Camelbuy.com and Camelegg.com, which track prices on BestBuy.com and Newegg.com, respectively.

  12. While I love camelcamelcamel and have been using it for years, I kind of like http://mypricetrack.com too: while its price database is smaller, it also tracks the products sold by third parties but fulfilled by Amazon, and thus eligible for Free Super Saving Shipping (FSSS) or those with Prime Membership for Prime 2-day Shipping. And not merely the one sold by third parties, which sometimes have much higher shipping charges, so you can’t really compare them like “apples to apples” with the one fulfilled by Amazon.

    There are other websites that monitor other shopping websites price, but my experience with them was iffy, but perhaps by now they did improve.

    Finally I have high hopes in Citi Rewind which suppose to monitor and refund prices across various website that fell $25 or more.

  13. I prefer http://pricenoia.com
    It has been there longer, has similar features if not more, and it way more simple and usable!

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