One of the most frustrating things people encounter with search engines is doing product research. Hard as they try, the affiliate links, spam and irrelevant content plague search results. There are a number of recommendation shopping sites and recently popular social shopping sites available to perform product research, but the information is often narrow or biased.
There’s a new kid on the block calledÂ Wize that we’ve been working with and I have to say, it’s a pretty impressive research tool for consumer products. The site launced today and it’s worth checking out.
Doug Baker, the internet entreprenuer who created Wize.com has taken the notion of collective wisdom, made popular by New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki’s 2004 book ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½The Wisdom of Crowdsï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ and combined it with the technology behind the jux2.com search engine he purchased earlier this year to create an easy to use comparison shopping and product research web site.
Wize.com consolidates expert and consumer-written reviews for over ten thousand consumer products and then sorts them by “Wize Rank”, a score between 0-100. The “Wize Rank” score is determined by the content of the consumer and expert product reviews and provides a quick metric for comparison.
This is the kind of search function that really makes me optimistic about how social media and consumer generated media can be used to make search better. That is, taking thousands and some day, millions of editorial decisions about content, in this case product reviews, and applying an algorithmic ranking to it.
Sites like Wize.com can serve consumers by providing the information they need during all phases of the buying cycle: from product information to links to online vendors for purchasing.