SearchReviews’ New Web and Mobile Tool Aggregates Millions of Consumer Reviews

2/15/11Follow @wroush

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bought his last minivan on the strength of a recommendation from friends who had children of the same age.

SearchReviews earns money, for the moment, through pay-per-click Google text ads on search results pages. As the company grows, Kumar says it plans to partner with review and e-commerce sites, which might bring in fees for lead generation and commissions on purchases. Kumar is funding the four-man startup so far out of his own pocket, using money he earned through previous ventures such as Sharetivity (a social search startup that sold key patents to Google), Personic (a job applicant tracking system bought by Kronos) and AT Systems (an IT consulting firm bought by Monster.com).

SearchReviews’ search results can be a little unpredictable for products outside the mainstream. For example, I scanned the barcode on the box for Tune Up, a program sold by a San Francisco startup of the same name that helps Apple iTunes clean up their track and album listings. SearchReviews got the name right, but it apparently couldn’t find any reviews of the software itself, so it returned an odd set of results that included Tune Up Cafe in Santa Fe, NM, and a Craftsman lawn mower tuneup kit.

But that’s probably just a sign of how new SearchReviews’ system really—Kumar says the whole idea was spawned just five months ago, in October 2010. And as the company moves beyond simply scraping the content of review sites to partnering with them, the data may improve. And Kumar’s ambitions are to make the site even more social, so that the algorithmic results would be supplemented by live advice from other people inside or outside the user’s social circle. “If you’re doing a search query about storage devices, we can connect you with someone else who did similar searches, depending on your privacy settings. At the end of the day, that’s what a review is—people on the Web being good Samaritans. That’s really where we want to get to.”

Here’s a video of Kumar demonstrating SearchReviews’ mobile app.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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