Innovation That Matters

Scoring for simpler comparison shopping


Experts bring their own biases when they review consumer products. So do the people who’ve purchased those products and later post their opinions online. But if you combine the two, online shoppers just might get an accurate picture of how good or bad the latest gadgets they crave really are. At least that’s the idea behind Wize, a consumer review site that combines Web 2.0 community features with expert commentary in a way that could herald a new method of comparison shopping. True, websites such as CNET and Amazon have long published expert comments along with user reviews. But Wize sets itself apart with its so-called WizeRank, A 1-100 scoring system that factors in both consumer and expert opinions. The consumer-expert combination can differ from the ratings experts on CNET and similar sites give products. For example Panasonic TH-50PHD8UK, a 50-inch LCD TV monitor, received a near-perfect 99 rating on Wize, while CNET’s 10-point scale rated it just 7.8 or “very good.” Notwithstanding, many consumers suffering from information overload just want a quick take on a product’s worth. Hence the value of WizeRank’s scoring system. Web publishers and bloggers who focus on consumer products can place a Wize Widget on their sites to supplement their own review, and potentially increase conversions. Plenty of opportunities still exist for entrepreneurs wanting to help online shoppers research products. Those sites could take a cue from stock market portals such as Yahoo! Finance. Enter a ticker symbol on Yahoo! and a plethora of information on the stock and parent company appears on your screen in a neatly organized fashion—everything from analyst opinions to historical price data to the company’s location and top executive salaries. Similarly, consumer review sites could create organized displays covering all facets of a product, from press releases to trade magazine articles and product manuals, all supplemented by user comments. That kind of highly granular information might appeal to people who get as much satisfaction searching for products as they do using them. And people browsing equals advertising revenues and referral fees for innovative publishers. Spotted by: Lauren Kinzler



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