Original History (2006-2007)
The idea for priceTrackr was originally conceived by Bryce Boe on July 22, 2006 while procrastinating the writing of a paper. Bryce had recently purchased parts for a new desktop system and thought it would have been nice to have a service which allows one to make more informed decisions about the items they're purchasing. Having a little money in pocket the domain name "thepricetracker.com" was registered.
After a few more days of procrastination, a Newegg crawler was written and the first data was collected for 20 items at 10:37 PM PST on July 31st from Bryce's home computer. The first data set did not include savings, rebates or shipping prices and the crawler was adapted to collect this information. Regular data collection began August 4, 2006.
Upon discussing the idea with some friends, a suggestion was made to register "pricetrackr.com" to mimic sites like flickr. Thus on August 7, 2006 the domain was registered and the name was changed to "priceTrackr". The next day a very cheap, shared web host was purchased to host Bryce's various websites.
A few weeks passed by before Bryce thought priceTrackr was ready to go. The night of August 27, 2006 he blogged about priceTrackr, though this blog posting had hardly any impact as very few people visited his blog at the time.
On September 5, 2006 Bryce thought it was time to let the world know about priceTrackr. Utilizing digg he linked to his blog posting with great skepticism. To his surprise priceTrackr reached digg's front page on September 6, 2006 and very shortly there after Bryce's web server became a victim of the digg effect. A more detailed recollection of this event can be read here.
Within a few days caching was enabled and the digg effect subsided allowing priceTrackr to resume normal operation, which it did for nearly four months. On January 5, 2007 priceTrackr's hosting company explicitly stated that the update scripts (crawler) was not to run anymore, thus ending priceTrackr for the foreseeable future.
Relevant History (2008)
Though priceTrackr was lying dormant online for nostalgic purposes, not all of its code went unused. The Newegg crawler, written in the python programming language, was used as the basis for a highly distributed web crawler, CRAWL-E. CRAWL-E was in the data collection parts of a few research projects with more to come.
Current History (2009+)
After years of priceTrackr wanting to get priceTrackr back up and running, but having neither reason nor the resources to do so, Bryce finally received the resources and some time for making it happen. priceTrackr's Newegg crawler was updated to use the CRAWL-E framework and began crawling November 15, 2009. This time around priceTrackr doesn't just crawl a few items from Newegg, but rather nearly 100% of Newegg's items.
priceTrackr was reintroduced into the wild on November 10, 2009... (more to come)
If you have any questions or comments regarding priceTrackr please email them to contact __at__ pricetrackr __dot__ com. Additionally feel free to post comments on Bryce's relevant blog entries.