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01. 03. 2007

Wize product ranking


Now that I no longer have a cell phone with a camera, I'm in the market for a really small digital camera that I can carry around in my purse. I figure if I start looking now, I'll be able to make a decision about which one to buy by March. It'll take me that long to read all the reviews of the cameras within my price range and then to comparison shop for the best price. Why? Because I'm a person of extremes -- I either have to walk into a store and impulsively and blindly pick something off the shelf in the interest of getting on with my life, or I have to give in to my OCD tendency and read every expert and customer review out there. There's just no middle ground for me.

But I'm happy to let someone else do that work for me if it's done right. A new shopping engine, Wize, is designed to shortcut the process for people like me who want thorough research prior to purchasing. Wize search results pull from 900,000 product reviews from experts and consumers; a company press release states that it constantly searches the web for the "most informative product reviews." Products are then ranked from zero to 100 using the "Wise Rank" system, which, based on the illustration above, presumably blends in some way expert reviews with consumer reviews and "buzz" on the web about the particular product. Their claim is that "Wize rankings are completely objective because the system's proprietary algorithm distills so many ratings and reviews that it's virtually impossible to manipulate." I'm not sure what this means, but in the case of my digital camera search, Wize's objective system excluded any reviews in blogs. Here's what it gave me:


My search turned up consumer and expert reviews from sites like CNET, Amazon.com, Circuit City, and a few other major merchant sites, plus some from publications like PCWorld. But, like I said, nothing from Engadget, Gizmodo or any other gadget blog. Same thing with other electronics searches. Under "buzz," it says something like this: "more reviews in the last 60 days than 71% of the 602 ranked digital cameras." So I take it that "buzz" means volume of reviews generated (at least within the areas searched by Wize).

So, after this, I'm a little closer to deciding which digital camera to buy, but not entirely satisfied that the search results from Wize accurately replicate what I'd find in my own search, which would definitely include a number of high-profile gadget blogs. But I'd definitely go to Wize in the future as a starting point.

Posted by Hoyun    Category: on the web
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Comments (5)

I love my Panasonic Lumix FX01 with Leica 28mm wide angle zoom lens and 6 megapixels. Very inexpensive now since they have come out with a newer model with more megapixels. The camera is very small and awesome! Get the black body.

Jon H.:

I know quite a bit about DSLRs and digital point-and-shoots and I have to say I'm impressed by the results from the screenshot you posted. Pretty good recommendations there.


I don't know about this wise rank business. I just finished several months of dSLR research (because like you, I can't drop a dime without proving quality through numerous reviews) and after doing a quick search on Wise I noticed that very few of the most recent entries to the dSLR market are included in the results. (These include the Canon Rebel XTi and the Nikon D80. . . top contenders in their field.) So why didn't they come up? Is wise rank doomed to never report on products that are too new to have a lot of reviews? If so, I'm afraid it's worthless to me. I like the latest and the greatest.

What gives?


Like James, I also don't like Wize. Their algorithm isn't very good so when you type in something like "rebel xti" three results show up with three different Wize scores for the same product! How is that going to help me decide if I should buy that camera or not? I can't even believe that the Nikon D80 isn't on Wize.

Instead, I just started using ProductCritic.com. They only summarize professional reviews though....none from regular consumers so there's nothing from places like epinions. I care more about professional reviews anyways so it's saved me tons of time. For example, the Nikon D80 on ProductCritic has 25 professional reviews linked from it. That alone saved me tons of research time.

Lee from Wize.com here. Thanks a lot for the post.

James, although the specific products you mention are on the site (the D80 and the XTi), youve hit on something that weve struggled with at Wize how to show new products in a meaningful way, and where to get great content in anticipation of the products that are soon to be released. Were recently out of beta, but as you point out, we havent got it nailed yet. (Ditto to Dmango, who raises a great point about the way customers review different versions of the same product and the need for an algorithm that makes sense of it all.)

The good news is that were working on it, and that well be piloting several new solutions over the next couple of months. My job is specifically focused on developing the product and improving the customer experience, so your feedback is right where it needs to be. Thanks again I hope youll come back to the site to see what weve done and watch us as we continue to grow and improve.

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