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Monday, 27th August 2007

So Many Reviews, So Little Time: Summize Product Review Search with Meta Aggregation

So Many Reviews, So Little Time: New Search Resource, Summize
We're posting more and more about what we call search and intelligence resources. These include
search tools like:
+ FareCast (air fares + pricing intelligence)
+ mPire (product pricing intelligence)
+ Wize (product review aggregation and algorithm (WizeRank) that assigns a specific score to the reviews)
and others.

Today, word of a new beta that like Wize takes user-generated reviews from disparate web sites and aggregates them into a single entry with links (of course) to read each review.

Say Hello to Summize.

This type of value added service is becoming increasingly necessary especially for reviews. Why? Many reasons, one of them being human nature (for example, if you ask 10 people about a specific hotel you're going to get several different reviews. From, "this place is awesome," to "I'm almost positive I saw a cockroach crawl across my bed." Of course, it's not only hotels but books, DVD's, restaurants, video games, you name it.

Fast Facts:
+ Summize says they have 19 million reviews of 2 million products in their database at this time.
+ We didn't find much in the way of travel but hopefully that's on the way
+ Here's the Summize entry for the iPhone
++ Note total number of reviews that make up the "meta review"
++ Source List (in this case, CNET, Amazon.com, Yahoo Shopping, ConsumerSearch and others). Each hyperlinked.
++ Toggle for "Snips" and "Stars." This page does a great job of explaining how it all works. This is an assigned score.
+++ Snips. Cursor over each color and see total number reviews in that category (sweet, bad, wretches, great, etc.). Get a quick overview as each color represents a different review category. Color blind? Summize has a solution for you.
+++ Stars. Just like in a movie review. A total number of starts for the product.

Clicking on the star rating takes the searcher to more info including what Summize believes to be the "best" reviews for the product. It's also interesting to see the views over time. For example, this Bluetooth telephone headset.

Clicking the product name takes the user to a store to purchase the product or learn more. I checked for 20 different products and most were linked to Amazon.com for purchase.

Info pros will be happy to know that books CDs and DVDs are listed. Here's an example.

Overall, a very useful tool that will likely become even more useful going forward as more content becomes available. We would love to see some more:
+ Authority control (makes it easier to get the right item in the shortest amount of time). Sometimes items listed by merchant "A" as "foo" and Merchant "B" as "Bar" might be the same item.
+ More sources. How about not only user-generated reviews but also professional reviews from LJ, SLJ, PW, Kirkus, and others. This might help offset the "gaming" of reviews that goes on from time to time.
+ Finally, take a look at the right rail on most results pages. We love the direct links to see what people:
+ See just what people:
+ love
+ hate
+ disagree on
or + see all

See Also: Summize Blog

See Also: Wize.com
One useful resource deserves another. Enjoy and remember you have choices. No search tool is perfect all of the time.

See Also: ConsumerSearch.com
One of our all-time favorite sites that takes content from disparate sources and creates a meta review from different professionally written reviews. Example: A review for air conditioners. ConsumerSearch is now part of About.com/NY Times.


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