Archive for the ‘SocialShopping’ Category

Retrevo launches gadget research engine

September 27, 2006

Retrevo

Retrevo has launched its vertical search engine at DEMOfall that makes decision making about product purchase quicker and easier. Retrevo is currently focused on enabling an easier way to perform consumer electronics product research by providing current and aggregated information. For any product you search at Retrevo, it brings back the related Product documents, Manufacturer Information, Review & Articles, Forums, and Blogs.

Retrevo is located in Sunnyvale, CA and is headed by Vipin Jain. Vipin Jain had previously co-founded Telseon, a pioneer in Metro Ethernet network technology, which was acquired by OnFiber in 2002. OnFiber was acquired by Qwest Communications earlier this month.

Vipin himself a gadget geek found that any product research process is very time consuming and inefficient. He came up the idea of providing a platform which will provide comprehensive information about products and their entire ecosystem. Work on Retrevo was started last year and was initially bootstrapped by Vipin. Earlier this year Retrevo had raised $1 million from Alloy Ventures. Retrevo team includes 9 people, all of them located in US.

Retrevo has developed its own algorithm for content aggregation, semantic analysis, classification and ranking, which provides up-to-date and relevant results. This combined with the nice adjustable 2 pane UI provides a very good user experience. I tried searching for my favorite device Nokia 770, and Retrevo came back with its ‘Top Results’, which include Nokia 770 User guide and 3 results each for Manufacturer Info, Reviews & Articles, and Forums & Blogs. If you want to dig deep into a particular result type, just click on the required tab on the left. You can either preview the results on the right pane of search results or you can jump right on the site. Currently the only collaboration feature offered is sharing of results through email. Still, it’s a great user experience.

Currently Retrevo is free of any form of advertising, although they might be looking at sponsored results in future. In my conversation with Vipin, he mentioned that Retrevo will be continuously evolving in the next couple of years, with major features being introduced every quarter.

Looking at the current feature set and consumer needs, I feel that decision about a purchase depends heavily on the price and rating, areas not covered by Retrevo. I don’t know if providing pricing and rating content is in their future plans, but will definitely like to have it there. Wize, which I had discussed earlier, does a great job at rating products, but lacks Retrevo like comprehensive product data. Also there should be option to save research data, ability to subscribe RSS feeds for review and blog posts, and related social features.

Links:
Retrevo

Retrevo

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Get aggregated product reviews from Wize.com

September 20, 2006

Wize.com wants to play the web2.0 shopping game bit differently. Wize aggregates product reviews and prices from over 4500 websites including Amazon, Shopping.com, and Yahoo.com to help users find great products. Product range is pretty comprehensive ranging from Computer, Electronics, Photos and Optics, Office Equipment, and more. Wise, founded by Doug Baker, opened the website in August and is located in Minneapolis, MN.

Each product on Wize has a Wize Rank (0 to 100) that helps people find the best products fast. Wize Rank takes into account the user reviews, expert reviews, and buzz around the product. These user and expert reviews from independent sources across the web. Wise provides description for each product and lists out number of user and expert reviews found on each of the monitored sites. Wize quantifies the buzz around a product by comparing the count of reviews in the last 60 days against the review count of similar products.

Wize also provides the price of product in various stores and can also give you tax and shipping according to you zip. Products can also be narrowed down by price range and other options depending upon the product. Wize has a daily updated list of products called Wize100, which are obviously the top 100 products at Wize.

Wize uses content aggregation technology from Jux2 to power Wize.com and Wize Rank, which is an award-winning metasearch engine. Doug Baker had bought Jux2 in a sale on eBay, last year, for $101,000. Wize does not aim to index every product available but aims for products with critical mass. If a product doesn’t have multiple reviews, it might not show up on Wize.

User can add products to their “My Research” area for reference purpose. However the user reference area is cookie based that means you cannot access the same account from multiple machines or if you delete cookie, you delete your saved products. This seems to be a weak point in otherwise a great product. I think Wize should provide RSS feeds for product reviews and prices, which can be very helpful when researching new products.

Wize derives revenue from sponsored links on the bottom of each product page. Wize.com’s offering seems to be pretty strong. Right now most of us have to consult number of websites before we can come to the conclusion whether the product is worth the money or not. Wize does seem to make this task easier. It needs to be seen how dependable Wize Rank and its algorithm are.

Links:
Wize
Wize Blog

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Zazzle – Use Create-Product to earn 17% of sale

September 1, 2006

ZazzleZazzle, the customized products marketplace for consumer enthusiasts, has announced a new marketing tool – Create-a-Product API. Idea is pretty simple, easily integrable, and great for websites having huge number of photographs. Basically visitors on your website or blog can automatically generate customized products from any image or text on your web site, and for any purchase made from your API links, you will earn 17% in commission(10% Royalty + 7% Referral). You can even add logo or text to each of the products created using the API. Custom Apparel’s, US Postage, Custom Mugs, and custom cards can be purchased using this API.

Setting up Create-a-Product API is easy. You need to get your contributor and associates account on Zazzle, create your product template to define how your products will be generated, create the links and add them to your site and you are all set.

I think this is a smart thinking on the part of Zazzle given that all kinds of widgets are floating around in the blogosphere. It will be a nice idea to integrate Create-a-Product API with major photo sharing sites like Flickr/Photobucket(copyright issues still remain), or stock photo sales sites like Gettyimages/Fotolia. All someone needs to do now is write a small plugin for wordpress and most of the blogs are set to earn.

Zazzle.com, based out of Menlo Park, CA, was founded in 2003 and is one of the well funded companies in the area of customized products. Zazzle has received $16 million in Series A round of financing in July, 2005 from Google fame venture capitalists John Doerr and Ram Shriram. Zazzle was founded by Robert Beaver and his two sons, Bobby and Jeff who were still attending Stanford University.

Links:
Zazzle
Create-a-Product