Shop till you drop Use product review search engine, Wize.com, to source product insights

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 29, 2009 at 11:41 am

wize search engine logoProduct recommendation sites have evolved beyond good product/bad product reviews.   The new breed actually looks at search behavior and serves up products based on specific customer needs.

Take Wize.com for example.  It gathers and analyzes product reviews from hundreds of sites, including  Amazon, BestBuy, CNET, Target, and Walmart.  Wize recently rolled out some new features and an upgraded search algorithm.  The gist being, customers don’t have to sift through countless product reviews to find “the best dishwasher for energy efficiency” or “the worst camera for night shots”.  Wize finds these results for them.

wize product review search engine

While this is an impressive feat from a semantic search perspective, we think marketers could use a site like Wize.com to their advantage.   For example, what features are being highlighted about your product?  Who are your competitors by feature?  Not to mention, the obvious – are the reviews favorable?

Wize is geared towards consumer goods, so we wouldn’t recommend it for a service industry or general brand monitoring.   The idea here is to learn how customers are searching for/finding your products – and more importantly, what is leading to a sale.

Wize also pulls in results from social sites. In addition to customer reviews, users can read real-time tweets that mention the product they are interested in.

Overall, we're pretty impressed with Wize's offering. The site is easy to navigate, and it succeeds in being a useful shopping resource. You can search by product/brand name, category (health & beauty, electronics, etc), product type, or browse Wize's recommendations based on their own search algorithm.

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  Nosey, but in a good way Crowdsource recommendations while you’re on the go with the Aardvark iPhone App

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 17, 2009 at 12:29 pm

AardvarkYou may recall Aardvark from the Long Nose of Search.   Aardvark is a social search engine that taps into your Facebook account to round up subject-matter experts.

The service has gained a nice following, due in part to a quick turnaround time (questions are typically answered in 5 minutes or less) and the convenience of email and IM chat integration.  The latter has made Aardvark a permanent fixture on my chat.

Keeping with a formula that is obviously working, Aardvark recently rolled out an iPhone application.   The app offers the same question and answer functionality, while taking advantage of the iPhone’s push notification system (users get an alert when their question is answered).  Given that I’m an Aardvark IM user, the app interface is a welcome change of pace.   It’s nice to see (via Facebook profile images) who is asking and answering the questions.  Plus, the app offers a degree of control over when and how you interact with Aardvark.  The IM version has a tendency to pester you with incoming questions if you don’t tell it you’re busy.

So here’s the rundown with Aardvark for iPhone:

  • Ask Tab – Type a question or see your Aardvark question-and-answer history.
  • Answers – Browse open questions from other Aardvark users.  Answer only those you want.
  • Friends – Send out Aardvark invites or see who among your friends has already signed-up.

Aardvark has become my go-to resource for sourcing restaurants and shopping venues.   Having a mobile version is just another layer of convenience.   The ability to ask real people for recommendations when I’m out and about – and to get a response back within 5 minutes – is worth more than the free pricetag for this app.

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When you fire up the Aardvark app, it asks if you would like to use your current location (via the iPhone's built-in GPS), so it can source Aardvark answerers in your area. This is a very handy feature if you're in a new city and trying to get the lay of the land.

Aardvark works like a modern phone tree. It starts out by looking at your Facebook network, then it looks at your network's network, and so on until it amasses a list of people who are qualified to answer your question, based on the information found in their user profile.

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  Finger-lickin' Good Find and qualify social content on Delicious with their new advanced search functionality

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 7, 2009 at 12:41 pm

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Sometimes, it’s not about what’s new and trendy, but rather, when an established tool or service improves their feature set.  Social bookmarking site, Delicious, just unveiled some long-overdue upgrades, including an advanced search bar.

Most people use Delicious for their personal bookmarking needs (I know I do), but it’s also a great tool for monitoring social content.  A brand that doesn’t perform well in a diluted search market may have several bookmarks on Delicious.  You can also use Delicious to see which sites and bloggers hold the most influence in your industry.

Problem is, as the site has become more and more popular, navigating through the sea of bookmarks is difficult.  A simple search for “social media marketing” yields almost 50,000 results.   With Delicious’s new search functionality, I can filter those results by tag – either choosing tags I like, removing tags I don’t, or looking for tag overlap.  I can stipulate a timeline (e.g. bookmarks only saved from January 1, 2009) or confine the results to bookmarks in my personal network of Delicious users.  Delicious also offers up search suggestions, which taps into parent company Yahoo’s search assist technology.

Using the same example, lets say I want to launch my own social media marketing campaign.  Specifically, I’m looking for case studies and articles about social media strategy, so let’s remove the “web 2.0″ and “blogs” tags.  I’m also going to use a Delicious search suggestion and narrow the time frame to the last year.

delicious search screen

Immediately, I shed about 47,000 bookmarks. I’ve filtered out the riffraff and general bookmarks for sites like Mashable and Tech Crunch (sorry, compadres).  What I’m left with is more inline with my original intentions. Since, I’m using a bookmarking site instead of Google, I can further qualify content by its popularity.  For example, 62 people have bookmarked 360i’s Social Marketing Playbook.

There’s actually a lot of new functionality on Delicious, so much that we can’t cover in one article.   Check out their What’s New page for the full rundown.

Delicious appears to be jumping on the Twitter bandwagon, as well. They've updated their homepage with a real-time "Fresh Bookmarks" tab and have given account holders the ability to tweet their bookmarks.

You can also use the timeline filter to monitor search trends. "Social Media Marketing" was peeking rather slowly until mid 2007. Could this correspond with Twitter's emergence on the scene or after it won the SXSW blog award in 2007?

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  The Long Nose of Search Crowdsource answers within your own network with Aardvark search

Posted by maggie.hunsucker July 6, 2009 at 8:02 am

AardvarkGoogle does a great job of matching information to your query, but by design, it is not subjective. So if you’re looking for a solid product recommendation or the perfect date spot, you’re letting a search algorithm make the decision for you.

That’s where Aardvark comes in. Aardvark isn’t your traditional search engine; it’s powered by human conversation, not keywords. When you post a question, Aardvark seeks out the right person within your network (and their extended network) to answer. It does this by tapping into your Facebook account (Facebook Connect makes a cameo again) and matching related topics and areas of interests in peoples’ profiles.

Aardvark

You can ask questions through your web-based Aardvark account, email, or instant messenger. The latter actually adds an Aardvak contact to your chat list and lets you message the service with your question. Depending on the nature of your query and how big your social network is, you can expect a couple of responses within 5 minutes.

Aardvark recently made its way out of private beta, and while it’s a free service, you will need to give it access to your Facebook, IM, and email accounts. We don’t see it competing head-to-head with Google or Yahoo (or the newly branded “decision search engine”, Bing), but rather, introducing a more intimate form of search.

If you're iffy on Aardvark contacting people on your behalf, you can exercise measure of control by creating an Aardvark group.

There are several Q&A products on the market, thanks in part to the success of Yahoo Answers . Aardvark is hoping that answers from your friends, family, and colleague are more relevant than crowdsourcing and open forums.

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  Paper route Use DocMazy to search for a variety of documents online

Posted by maggie.hunsucker June 29, 2009 at 12:54 pm

docmazy logoSearch engines don’t index document content well, so if the information you are looking for is buried deep within a PDF or Powerpoint presentation, you could be searching for awhile.

Try using DocMazy; it’s a document search engine that returns text, MS Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and PDF results.  You can filter results by specific file format (say, you only want PDF’s) and even preview the document before you download.   The latter made possible by iPaper, an idea we discussed in Cogito, ergo

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We don’t want to spread false information.  The major search engines can, and do, include documents in their results, but this is not their primary function.  For example, if you want to find a document in Google, you have to go to the “Advanced Search” settings and specify the file type you want.  Not to mention, documents are not optimized the way web pages are.

Really, it’s just a matter of choosing the right tool for the job.  If you want to sample a little bit of everything out there, stick with your go-to search engines.  If you want to find a specific document, like a sales presentation or financial results, try DocMazy.   You can even download the DocMazy toolbar, so document searches are quick and easy.

From our friends in the SEO department - If you make documents available for download on your website, you can improve their searchability by going into the document properties and adding keywords and an optimized title.

There are a few options for document search engines on the market. Most borrow functionality from Google and Yahoo (thanks to their open API's) to narrow search results to documents only.

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  • wize search engine logo
  • Aardvark
  • delicious-logo
  • Aardvark
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