SquareTrade Releases SideBar Version 1.0 for Smarter, Safer Holiday Shopping Online

New Proactive Comparison-Shopping Tool Is Free to Consumers

Oct 13, 2005, 01:00 ET from SquareTrade

    SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- A new comparison-shopping tool
 called SquareTrade SideBar becomes available today, just in time to help
 online shoppers make smarter, safer purchase decisions -- not to mention
 relieve stress and save money on gas by choosing to use their fingers to shop
 rather than their four wheels -- for the hectic holiday shopping season.
 SquareTrade SideBar is free to consumers at www.squaretrade.com. It takes less
 than a minute to install on your web browser.
     SquareTrade SideBar is an always-on application that acts as your online
 shopping assistant so you don't have to remember yet another website. It
 detects when you are shopping and automatically delivers relevant information
 necessary to make a better-informed purchase -- pricing comparisons,
 availability, reviews and seller trust ratings. SquareTrade SideBar makes
 shopping more convenient and comprehensive by displaying a broader range of
 purchase options -- from retail stores to auctions and classified ads.
     The first release of SideBar is focused on delivering great results in one
 of the largest gift-giving and online shopping categories:  consumer
 electronics, for which industry research indicates that over $20 billion in
 U.S. online purchases will be made in 2005. Over time, SquareTrade plans to
 roll out additional product categories, as well as expand the retail outlets
 it draws from.
     "Our goal is to eliminate the time-sink and complexity of online shopping
 and give people peace of mind that they got a great deal," said Steve
 Abernethy, SquareTrade CEO and co-founder. "Shoppers experience a lot of
 stress and waste hours -- or even days -- hunting for the best deal online,
 especially during the holidays. In fact, our research indicates that many
 online consumers visit up to 10 sites per day over multiple days to assure
 themselves of a good deal."
     "We also see that consumers aren't just looking for the cheapest price,
 they want to have the peace of mind that they are buying from reputable
 merchants," Abernethy continued. "We can help consumers drastically reduce
 their efforts and get great results."
     SquareTrade's peace-of-mind promise also extends to a common menace in
 online shopping today:  fraudulent web sites. SideBar is the first
 comparison-shopping tool to incorporate anti-fraud and anti-phishing
 technology. This protection incorporates specialized databases shared by
 consortiums that include eBay, Microsoft and Visa.
     Since its first public showing at the tech industry's DEMOfall05 forum
 last month, SquareTrade SideBar has been lauded as one of the most interesting
 new products for the coming year. Among the accolades for SideBar, PC Magazine
 online wrote:  "Similar price-comparison tools have often been the purview of
 adware companies, but SquareTrade says there's no monkey business in SideBar.
 In fact, in addition to helping you find the best price, SideBar will also
 alert you when you visit fraudulent, 'phishing' web sites."
     "SquareTrade SideBar is a well-considered application that eliminates some
 of the complexity and inefficiency, and gives people the assurances they
 demand in their online shopping experience," DEMOfall Executive Producer Chris
 Shipley said.
     About SquareTrade
     SquareTrade is the leading provider of online shopping services addressing
 the "trust deficit" in ecommerce. Established in 1999, SquareTrade delivers
 industry-leading merchant verification, post-purchase protections and online
 dispute resolution. SquareTrade works with eBay, Yahoo! and other leading
 brands, as well as with thousands of online merchants to help millions of
 consumers shop safely every month. SideBar -- a smarter, safer online shopping
 assistant -- is the latest in the company's growing portfolio of services
 helping consumers shop more confidently and safely online.  Privately held,
 SquareTrade is headquartered in San Francisco. For more information go to
      Betty Taylor
      Krause Taylor Associates for SquareTrade, Inc.
      Patricia Pane
      Krause Taylor Associates for SquareTrade, Inc.

SOURCE SquareTrade