Don't Buy Junk

Source Title:
Junk For Sale
Story Text:

We don't often cover shopping sites here, but is a little bit special. Gizmodo, who sourced from DMThoughts said "The site’s “TotalRank” system calculates advice based on natural adjustment factors used to “normalize” different types of opinions." but that's not even half the story. Check it out, it has some very neat (and quite innovative) features and looks worth the look if only for inspiration...

From the mission statement

When we set out to create this site, our goal was to provide product recommendations in the same manner a highly-knowledgeable friend might. This friend would consider direct feedback he/she had received from people, as well as articles or reviews around the Web about the products. The knowledgeable friend would also consider the personal preferences of the person requesting the recommendations, and then recommend the best possible product.

They also have a blog, which looks rather silly being hosted off-site, but if you care about such things you might wanna check it out.

thanks to Gary for the tip!


What about Freshness?

I like the concept and clean interface, but there needs to be a category for release dates. For example, with digital cameras the maximum rating level is partially based on other cameras out at the time of the review. So I might prefer a new camera with a rating of 9 over a year old camera with a rating of 10.

I think this site does a good job regarding release dates.

We do account for product freshness/lifecycles

Our ranking technology, TotalRank, does indeed account for the freshness of a product. As we all know, especially in the world of electronics and computing, a product that was cutting edge a few months ago may already have been superceded by newer products. The way we account for this "aging" of products is through our rating confidence. As our review data for a product ages, our confidence in the accuracy of the review data lowers since those reviews were written in the context of products available at that time.

TotalRank ranks products based not only on the ratings but also the confidence in those ratings. In your example, a camera with an overall rating of 10 but with reviews which are a year old will have a fairly low confidence. In fact, once the confidence drops below 50%, we no longer provide a rating for the product since the reviews are now considered to be too unreliable. A product with an overall rating of 9 with very recent reviews will likely have high confidence. At some point, the older 10-rated product will likely fall below the newer 9-rated product in the digital camera rankings. There are also several other factors which go into our confidence calculation such as amount of review data, consistency, credibility, and others.

We are always eager to hear feedback from our users so if you have any further comments or suggestions, please let us know. Thanks!

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