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Axel Springer pulls the plug on European comparison sites


Axel Springer will cease operations of the comparison site Ladenzeile and its international equivalents named Shopalike by the end of this month. Reduced visibility on Google likely played a significant role in this decision.

Ladenzeile was founded in 2008 by the renowned Rocket Internet, the incubator that also helped grow Zalando, Delivery Hero, and HelloFresh. In 2011, the comparison site was acquired by Axel Springer, one of Europe’s largest publishing groups, and integrated with the previously acquired comparison site Idealo.

Email without explanation

As of June 30, Ladenzeile, which operates under that name in its home country Germany and in Austria, and the ten Shopalike sites in other European countries such as France, Italy, Poland, and Spain, will cease operations. This was stated in an email sent to partners without further explanation, reports OMR, a platform about the digital economy in Germany.

On June 30, the curtain falls for Ladenzeile and Shopalike.

“The management of Ladenzeile, together with the shareholders, has decided to terminate business operations”, a spokesperson confirmed the end of activities to OMR. “This decision was, of course, not taken hastily.” The seventy employees have been offered “extensive severance packages”.

Less traffic from Google

The spokesperson relates the end of Ladenzeile to the “changed market situation”, without specifying it further. It is clear that it has become much more difficult for comparison sites to attract traffic from Google to their websites in recent years. Idealo already took action against Google’s alleged market power abuse five years ago.

Level playing field

Axel Springer still sees potential in price comparison services but seems to want to focus on Idealo. “We are directing all our attention and resources towards growing our price comparison offering. We hope that the Digital Markets Act will provide an additional positive boost to this highly profitable and successful business model.”



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