Gunspec: Doing what Google Shopping Now Refuses to Do

Yesterday we figured out that Google Shopping is no longer providing its service to the firearms community. Turns out there’s already a site out there that does what Google Shopping used to do, but better and geared specifically towards firearms and related equipment. Gunspec.com, which has been online since 2011, already searches listings from everyone from Gander Mountain to Brownells to the Sports Authority to find the best firearms and equipment deals and does it quite well. You should give it a glance. Make the jump for Gunspec’s words to the firearms community…

With Google no longer representing firearms or related material within their shopping engine, we at GunSpec are ready to take their place.

For the online world, retailers in our industry don’t have the same access to innovative shopping applications available as for example, retailers in the appliance industry. I can easily shop for microwaves based on their size, wattage, weight, etc. Their are sites for this as well as a variety of web applications. It allows every customer to efficiently search for goods that are suitable down to the level of features available on that product. If I just want to know what is available by retailers in the 1200 Watt microwave range, I can certainly find it.

Every day, new applications are being built for the web, iPad, and mobile phones. It is a breath of fresh air when you see something tailored to the gun industry vertical.

GunSpec provides the same shopping format. However, we’re just focused on the Firearms, Hunting, & Shooting Sports industries. Imagine searching multiple retailers at once for a 1911 barrel, but besides sorting by price, you can sort by barrel length? Perhaps you needed to see all of the available retailers offering a Pink Kel-Tec .380? How about finding all scopes offered by retailers with a 3-9x power reticle?

Using either our keyword search bar or “Search by Specification” menus on the left side of our shopping pages, you can do this methodically on GunSpec.

As a gun owner, I want to explore every corner of what’s available by not just price, but also by features. I think it’s fair to say as gun owners we take the prize in being well informed, yet picky shoppers. The features have just as much impact in your purchase decision as the caliber of gun itself. As a retailer, I want my products to do as much work as possible finding those that are looking for what I have to offer. GunSpec allows retailers both large and small to let your individual product features help drive traffic and promote your store’s brand. It also provides an outlet for smaller retailers to promote new to market products and not have to spend their days fighting for page ranking.

We at GunSpec will do everything possible to accommodate retailers coming from the recent ban on firearms and related accessories at Google’s shopping engine. We are in the process of offering multiple service levels to accommodate displaced retailers online.

As we add more products, build our categories and provide a better experience for both retailers and users, we hope you’ll enjoy the ride as much as we do.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Dennis Bella, President

comments

  1. avatar Aharon says:

    I have never used Google Shopper so I have no frame of reference. I did two searches on GunSpec and based on the results it seems like another site just featuring results for the physical products OR advertisements they are paid to feature. I did a search for the Ruger SP101 and received one result. I did a search for the Becker BK2 knife (a very popular knife made by KaBar) and received two results (both at Amazon). I’ll stick with my non-google search engines.

    1. avatar Indeed says:

      +1, I did a few very common searches now like for Hi Point, and Mossberg 590, and it did not yield a SINGLE result (I used the categories, too) … it just came up with everything that I WASN’T looking for. What a huge waste of time! Two thumbs DOWN.

      1. avatar GunSpec says:

        Well, to tell you we have everything on the planet the day after google shut down would be doing you a disservice. We’re working on this but it is a function of suppliers working with us. If we don’t have their feeds, we have to acquire them. Did you keyword try to keyword search Mossberg?

        Mossberg 590
        http://www.gunspec.com/keyword=mossberg%20590/

        Hi Point Carbine
        http://www.gunspec.com/keyword=hi%20point%20carbine/

        We can make plenty of products keyword searchable instantly, but it takes time to make them “spec searchable” on the left. These are things that are not standard to a google product feed such as caliber, barrel finish, trigger pull, etc. Google never gave suppliers this option. They have to be set individually.

        If you want something, just request it. We want to hear from you. We’ll have a user forum up soon to make requests as well.

        Does that help? Unlike Google, we’ll be communicating with you for the best search functions.

        1. avatar Indeed says:

          Ok thanks, I appreciate the reply. I checked it out and now it works. I might well try it out some more down the road for searching needs. (The problem is when the editors of this blog hype things sensationally, and then hopes get unrealistically high) Ok well no hard feelings, good luck

      2. avatar GunSpec says:

        Hi Indeed,

        In regards to your last response – no worries and I appreciate you giving us a shot. We’re working on everything in overdrive this summer so you’ll see changes ahead. We started in November so the best thing that could happen is a huge wave of users giving us direct feedback. We’re also in the process of adding more products. Don’t blame the editors, they were just trying to be resourceful in light of the news (google). We should have re-tooled the search bar before our announcements. Please join our user forum once it’s up!

    2. avatar GunSpec says:

      I have just imported a list of Ruger SR9c and Ruger SP101 for you:

      http://www.gunspec.com/keyword=sp101/
      http://www.gunspec.com/keyword=sr9c/

      Thanks

  2. avatar Mitch says:

    So much for “net neutrality.”

  3. avatar Grant says:

    I just did a search for “S&W M&P.” They apparently have trouble with the ampersand, because my search for “s-w m-p” came back with zero results.

    Color me unimpressed.

    1. avatar GunSpec says:

      Character issues such as & , “, : have been fixed. Try it out and let us know. Thanks!

  4. avatar TS says:

    I just did searches for guns / grips and all came back with plenty of legit firearms results.

    Ruger 22/45 – results
    S&W M&P – results
    Remington 700 – results
    M&P 556 – results
    Del-Ton 556 – results

  5. avatar Qajaqon says:

    You can still do a ‘web’ or general search on Google eg.(AK-47 suppressor for sale) and get results. At Gunspec.com you have to be a registered seller and buyer to gain its complete use. therefor it will not be complete.

    $ and fear is what everyone seems to be acting on.

    Shame

    Nous Defions

    1. avatar Bob says:

      I’ve noticed your signature “Nous Defions”, which I have determined is French for We Challenge or We Defy. Why did you choose French? Is this a slogan that was used during the French Revolution, or by French guerillas during WW2?

      1. avatar Qajaqon says:

        Yes you are correct. “We Resist”. “We Challenge”. “We Defy”. “We Dare”.
        Several Resistance Groups in WWII. The British SAS. And
        US Army Special Forces (1984-1990 for me).
        Thank You..

        Nous Defions

  6. avatar UtahLibertarian says:

    Results at gunspec.com are not even close to what google shopping used to return.

    From what I hear Google, as a CA company, was in fear of CA laws concerning gun dealers. Sucks for me, though.

  7. avatar GunSpec says:

    Hi Aharon,

    We do have combination of unpaid (google affiliates), paid affiliate (Brownells, Gander Mountain, etc. ) as well as direct advertising listings. As we grow you’ll see more volume of direct customers listed on GunSpec. We especially want new retailers and new to market products to help give entrepreneurs visibility.

    We’re adding products everyday, so its a function of who comes to us. In order to get an audience, you need products. In order to get products, you need suppliers. With the google recent news our operational tempo has increased tenfold.

    I also urge you to read our recent site update. We’re committed to making this happen for firearms enthusiams and we also want your input.

    http://blog.gunspec.com/featured/site-update-2/

    You can also email me directly with input but would love to see you on our user forum soon!

    Thank you

    GunSpec

    1. avatar Oddux says:

      Another firearm friendly resource is always appreciated. Best of luck to you, I hope you grow quickly.

      1. avatar GunSpec says:

        Thank you, we really appreciate it. I personally find it impossible to have a vertical shopping engine specializing in guns with out any kind of real time user feedback. It’s our compass.

  8. avatar Pascal says:

    I did a few searches, and they all came up with “Gander Mountain” only and in many cases the gun was not even in stock. Maybe they will get better, but they are pretty useless right now. The idea is good, but if they are only signing people up versus crawling the sites, they are not very usefull

  9. avatar GunSpec says:

    In regards to the keyword search were working on this. You’ll see problems with the & and / as well as some other quirks. We’re working on this as we speak. Please bear with us! We’re “little people”compared to Google. Try to be as basic as possible and use search within category to narrow down or search in description to broaden.

  10. avatar Sanchanim says:

    One filter I would request is the “in stock” filter.
    For those looking it is all well and good but if the part is not in stock well then it helps less.

  11. avatar GunSpec says:

    Hi Pascal,

    We considered crawling sites and in some ways are still looking at that. The problem lies within the crawler being able to distinguish accurate results for example Colt 45 beer vs Colt 45. 1911 vs the year 1911. We may use this in a limited case.

    1. avatar Pascal says:

      I assume you would only crawl gun related website thus removing that problem.

      1. avatar GunSpec says:

        Hi Pascal,

        Yes you are correct but then how do we organize the results so they are searchable besides by keyword? Someone or some entity has to slot them into various categories, subcategories, and searchable by specification so users have a pinpoint way of find things. I’m not talking about price or anything like that, how about by barrel length or how about the inches ” symbol? Will the crawler capture all of the data such as .45acp or 45 acp or will some specs not get populated? Will it populate some spec menus and fill the rest with gibberish? Some retailers use different nomenclature which could throw off results, even when only searching in gun related websites. The crawler would have to account for every permutation of spellings, misspellings and formats to look for as far as I understand. Crawling the site as a whole must be followed by recognizing what terms to look for and then how to populate those terms back at GunSpec. Finally after you have all of this information and providing this service to users, who do you send the bill to? If you’re Google, you’re so rich that there are no such thing as bills and hence you can enjoy never-ending product development. Don’t get me wrong were still considering crawled results but we’re just hashing out how best to approach it in the future.

        Google Shopping uses product feeds submitted by retailers directly. This service was free from Google but that has recently changed as well. It does not crawl the shopping results (as far as I’ve ever heard) for the majority of retailers you’ve been searching within the Google Shopping Engine. Crawling general web page results is a different story.

        Pascal, can you please join our user forum once we have it up? I think you could definitely help us as the site progresses.

  12. avatar GunSpec says:

    Hi Sanchanim,

    In stock filter is something else we’re working on. For affiliate results, each retailer has their own format – some use in stock, some don’t. That gets tricky. For direct clients this won’t be a problem – they can update their inventory individually for now and we’re going to add real time update depending on the quality of the client’s feed.

  13. avatar GunSpec says:

    By the way, there are number of Google feed results that are floating on GunSpec. Google actually kicked us out of the affiliate program due to the gun change policy and 503’d our ability to login and add more products. All google ad products on GunSpec are unpaid results.

  14. avatar Ryan says:

    Just searched:
    M855 Ammo
    5.56x45mm Ammunition
    Only ammo from “Lucky Gunner” was returned, and the site seems pretty glitchy. Google shopping it is not…

    1. avatar GunSpec says:

      Try this one

      “5.56 ammo”
      http://www.gunspec.com/keyword=5.56%20ammo/
      Keep in mind we are at the mercy of product titles as well. Companies list their product titles in different formats. If we had to tell every company they needed to change their product titles we would have mutiny on our hands. Some say 5.56×45, some say simply .223, or some people give a combination of both. Also, use “search in description” & “search in category” to help narrow down products. Direct retailers also currently have the power to include additional search keywords for each product that may help people find them easier. Hence, more to come in the future. Believe me we wish we had google’s resources.

      1. avatar GunSpec says:

        Hi Ryan,

        Here is another way to approach it, if you select Ammunition … Rifle Ammunition … then use Spec Search on the left for 5.56mm /.223 Remington under “Rifle Caliber” you’ll get more results.

  15. avatar Shaun says:

    Hey Gunspec…looking good so far. You’re obviously a fledgling site, but I bet you’re crazy busy lately! Keep it up, and I’ll keep an eye on it for sure. We need this! I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more here.

    Good luck!

    1. avatar GunSpec says:

      Thank you, keep checking back when you can!

  16. avatar g_karlweiss says:

    Dont wanna waste time knocking GUNSPEC.COM service capabilities. Looks like they’ve taken enough already. At least they exist!
    > However, I did play with some basic [9mm ammo] searches… and it failed.

    ** SO KEEP AT IT, GUYS. DONT GET DISCOURAGED. PERSISTENCE is the AMERICAN way. In fact, KEEP AT IT and ur bound to become AMERICA’s TOP (& ONLY) SEARCH ENGINE FOR THE GUN CROWD – which is a HUUUUUUUGE, HUGE market – and sorely needed!! ’nuff said.

    HAPPY 4th of JULY, AMERICA!!!!!!!

    1. avatar GunSpec says:

      g_karlweiss,

      Nail on the head man. Thank you and Happy 4th. Stick with keyword searches for now as we fine tune our menu searches.

      9mm
      http://www.gunspec.com/index.php?keyword=9mm&search=go&option=com_symaffiliate&view=listproducts&catid=53&Itemid=2

      Take care!

  17. avatar JLR says:

    I had tried searching for magazines for my M&P15-22 the other day, and found it odd that Google Shopping wasn’t returning any results. Then I happened to check a few gun blogs, to find out about Google’s policy change. What a shame.

    Based on this article I decided to check out Gunspec. Any time I do a search on anything M&P it seems to convert the text to “M-P” and fails to return any results. Given that I own a S&W M&P15-22 and two M&P pistols, a lot of the accessories that I search for are going to have “M&P” in the name. So that makes this site, sadly, of relatively little use to me.

    1. avatar GunSpec says:

      Hi JLR,

      We are fine tuning searches with characters such as &, “, or in some cases /. We should have the fix by end of next week. Check back when you can. In this case, we just left out the “&” for “smith wesson” which yields results below:

      http://www.gunspec.com/keyword=smith%20wesson/

      Let me know if this helps.

    2. avatar GunSpec says:

      JLR,

      Character issues such as & , “, : have been fixed. Try it out and let us know. Thanks!

  18. avatar KevinARFanatic says:

    A pretty poor attempt at filling the void Google has left. Good intentions GunSpec but clearly this is a hacky Affiliate driven site created by a “one man show” that has zero experience in comparison shopping.

  19. avatar GlockMan says:

    Agreed. I actually just read about them on AmmoLand and found my way here after. Clearly based on the feedback so far this guy is doing everything he can, God bless him, but he’s out of his league with this. Great idea but as Kevin mentioned this is clearly a gun enthusiasts with no comparison shopping experience trying to be an entrepreneur. I wouldn’t be drawing attention as the savior to Google’s announcement when your site is as awful as it is right now and be forced to plea with everyone that you’re working on improvements. I hope you make some strides but you’ve damaged your reputation already to everyone whose used the site so far. I expect to see plenty more of these chasing the opportunity but one dominant force will eventually come in and crush everyone.

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