Shop Intelligently With Smart Ratings

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Many of us are running around like chickens with our heads cut off these days and we’re going to continue to act this way right up until December 25th. When looking for computers and other electronics, the different options can be overwhelming. That’s why you may want to turn to shopping sites like SmartRatings.com. The timing of this review request couldn’t have come sooner, especially if you’re looking to buy an iPod, digital camera, or cell phone for a very special loved one.

Shopping For a Tech Geek

If the format of SmartRatings looks familiar, that’s because the website isn’t exactly original. There are tons of other shopping sites on the ‘net that offer similar information. In a nutshell, you’ll find a long list of products, accompanied by some sort of rating and pricing information from a variety of stores. The cool thing about SmartRatings — which is still in beta — is that they have aggregated “expert reviews” on these items, much like what happens at Metacritic.com and GameRankings.com.

With SmartRatings, the focus is on consumer electronics. Looking at the navigation near the top of the page, these products are broken down into three over-arching categories: Computers, Electronics, and Photography. Under each of these categories are smaller sub-categories like hard drives, MP3 players, and digital cameras. Getting even more specific, there is a search field near the top where you can look for a particular item of interest.

What Information Do I Get?

Surfing over to the Digital Cameras section, for example, you’ll find a long list of all the different items. The default listing is based on the average expert rating, but you can also sort the list by price, manufacturer, and release date.

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The average expert rating, as you’d expect, comes from an amalgamation of several official reviews. These reviews come from what SmartRatings.com considers to be authoritative sites. This includes guys like Stuff Magazine, CNET, and dpreview.com. They translate the ratings provided by these reviews to a standardized 0-100 point scale. For example, if CNET rates a camera as 8/10, this translates to a score of 80. Three stars out of five would equal a score of 60. And so on.

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When you click through to an individual product page, like for the Nintendo Wii, you’ll also find user reviews, a price comparison, and a specifications sheet (if available). User reviews do not affect the average expert rating. Let the SmartRatings methodology page explain:

We believe that user reviews are very valuable as a research tool. However, most regular users may have limited experience with a particular product and therefore the ratings they may assign may not be representative of the overall quality of the product.

For example, if a person has only bought one digital camera the rating this person may assign has little point of comparison. This is why we don’t use user ratings in calculating our overall rating.

How Does SmartRatings.com Make Money Online?

My initial reaction to the SmartRatings.com homepage was that it looked like a MFA or landing page. In a sense, all shopping sites essentially function on this model, but they offer more utility than a simple landing page. When you search through for any particular product, you are given the names of several stores that sell this product as well as their listed prices.

When you click on any of these links — powered by Price Grabber — SmartRatings.com makes money. It’s a very simple model, but it’s also a very effective one. A section of TTZ Media functions in much the same way. From the consumer’s point of view, they’re getting valuable information. From the publisher’s point of view, they’re making money. Everyone wins.

Speaking of winning…

Win a Sony 40-Inch LCD TV

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To help build some buzz around the launch of SmartRatings.com, the site is giving away a Sony KDL-40XBR4 40″ LCD TV. In order to participate, all you have to do is answer a single multiple choice question and enter your email address on the giveaway page. The privacy policy promises that they will not sell your email address to third parties and that they won’t spam you.

In the end, I feel that SmartRatings.com is a well-designed, tech-oriented shopping site, but it’s not exactly original and doesn’t offer that much beyond any other shopping site.

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46 thoughts on “Shop Intelligently With Smart Ratings”

  1. I agree with your final bottom line assessment…nothing new we haven’t seen before

    1. Yup, this is a very competitive market to get into, but it looks like they have a good start though. Maybe they just need more buzz and buy reviews everywhere. (buying a review on http://zedomax.com could be worth more for them buying a review here…)

      1. PinoyTech says:

        Why do you say it’s worth more to get a review there?

        1. Oh, because it’s tech related. Zedomax covers tech, John Chow covers money. Get it?
          reviewme’s only $200, half the price.

          1. LoL i love the way you answer to questions 😛 (get it?)

    2. Agreed. Shopping sites are a dime a baker’s dozen. Promotions such as John’s review and of course the cool TV giveaway will gring traffic, but beyond that, there’s nothing new.

  2. This type of stuff is already out on the marketplace…which is not really a good reason to launch a service.

    I wish companies would find a good damn USP before launching a new service onto the marketplace ❗

    1. Anyone with basic research skills would do as well. I wouldn’t even go that far actually.

    2. Almost anything of value I buy today I will check to see what it’s going for on eBay and go from there. I hardly ever buy on eBay, but it’s a good price point for me. I don’t think I’ve ever used a price comparison site.

  3. Here’s the thing about “average expert ratings”….most of the people who are going to buy from you are not experts.

    I’d prefer to see “average user ratings” because that will more closely approximate what I will think about a product.

    Oh wait…I can get average user ratings at amazon.com. And I can also find expert reviews there if I need them. Problem solved…thanks Amazon!

    1. Overall useless website. Agreed.

  4. Neil Duckett says:

    Good site but the list of similar sites is long, very long …

    1. I think they have to come up with some type of new feature, whether that be RSS or whatever but something that’d differ their technology somehow…

      1. PinoyTech says:

        I think RSS would be better. Nothing like getting new products and better deals updates via your reader. .

        1. BTW, I stumbled your site, anyone wanna trade stumbles?

    2. Etienne Teo says:

      I agreee that it is a similar look and stuff.

  5. That’s the problem with starting sites like this. If you’re thinking about doing it you should ask yourself “would I personally visit this site over (industry leader)?”

    if the answer is no, maybe you shouldn’t start it in the first place.

    1. nice site by the way, maybey you can sell it to John. 🙂

      1. Thanks, glad you like it 😮

    2. Good point. Its important to be your number 1 supporter! 😉

  6. Nice contest they’re running, pity it’s US only

    1. Hey you enter it and they can send the contest to my address, then I’d send it to you….lol…

      1. PinoyTech says:

        Yeah, right 🙂

        Too bad, I didn’t know it was US only.

  7. John’s upgrading the picture, he’s implying to us he’s site has been “upgraded”!

    1. What does this even mean? The Lamborghini? This has been posted before. You even commented on the post.

  8. jho2x says:

    😈

    yOU seem a little bit envy to johnchow’s blog performance…that’s why you’re commenting like that…….

  9. jho2x says:

    i don’t think so…..

  10. Gizmoactive says:

    Do you guys have any ideas as to what they could have added or done diffrently to make them standout from the front runners like Shopping.com etc. ?

  11. GemViper says:

    I expect to see hundreds of thousands of similar sites by the end of the decade, each broken down into smaller and smaller niches.

    Why? You can only re-hash products and reviews so many different ways. a “new rating system” isn’t new content that anyone will care about honestly.

  12. So many great products to buy…so little time!!! Happy Holidays!
    Holiday Chatter

  13. There are many copycat sites around. Its not always possible to have an innovative add on to a site. And sometimes being number 2 can still be interesting. Maybe they will manage and promote their site in an innovative way. Just the fact that the site is being dicussed here will bring it traffic.

  14. Marko Novak says:

    I like the design of the site.

    1. True that, it has a clean layout and easy to navigate, and at least they don’t sell emails like the folks at dealdotcom that played something nasty with me (grins)

  15. Now why would someone like me buy stuff from another shopping website?
    I don`t and there are 2 reasons for that:
    1. I have an ebay account,
    2. I can pay by PayPal.
    I can chose a product, maybe find a great deal (good product for a small price) and just buy it in seconds (getting you PayPal account linked with the ebay account – belive me it is FAST).

    my2cents
    P.S.: Be carefull before you buy to check the seller reputation, sometimes “Power Seller” and about 30-40 thousands transactions is enaught for me 🙂

  16. Frank G. says:

    I also like the site and I think it is useful. I am a frequent user of a couple of the famous price comparison sites. I find that they are missing a lot of expert reviews. I think this site is more about the expert reviews and not only about comparison shopping.

  17. Online shopping is quite saturated and very competitive. Good luck to them.

  18. WebCosmo says:

    There are way too many e-commerce sites emerged in the market last few years. Many of them offer the same functionality as this one. Unless they got good money to advertise chances are slim they will do good business.

  19. Jose says:

    I guess I’ll have to check smart ratings out before buying holiday gifts.

  20. I don’t use shopping sites, but I did just register for the TV.

  21. hts says:

    Seems like a nice resource to find good deals. And they launched the site just in time for holiday time – they should get some “ramp” in this period of time.

  22. Mike Huang says:

    Before these rating sites pop-out, they should focus on one at a time first. I’ve seen too many with 0 reviews.

    -Mike

  23. byte says:

    I think http://www.techreviewdb.com is much better, they have reviews in first plan, not prices.

  24. Very nice rating i tihnk it could be very useful for every consumer buying online, but we need to promote it more so more consumers will know this tool.

  25. Ah, much better than a lot of the other comparison engines I’ve used.
    ~ Dave

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