Back in August, I wrote an article (Entrepreneurs Need To Drink...) about how painful and time consuming it was to find a coffee maker that matched my needs. I ended that article with this note:
Venture Capital Note: The process of finding and reading user-generated product reviews is really painful and time consuming. Nobody has found a way to build a great social networking site around reviews which attract, rate, build a reviewer’s reputation, and rewards them for their contributions. Or, a site that aggregates the reviews of the hundreds of shopping sites with proprietary review engines.
I noticed today that Bijan Sabet of Spark Capital has come to the same conclusion, with examples around planning travel or finding the right Italian restaurant that is kid-appropriate:
For example, I'm planning a vacation in March. This morning I spent a bunch of time going through TripAdvisor. But I'm not sure that the people on the site have the same requirements as I do. Does John Doe want to spend as much or as little as I'm prepared to spend. Does John Doe have three young kids? etc etc. So when they say a resort is "wonderful" there isn't any context for me.
Bijan's article, User Reviews 2.0, does a nice job expanding on my points. We feel each other's pain.
So, where's that next great review site?
The company that can figure out how to do this right and make it 10x easier than it is today will have enormous opportunities for revenue generation and value creation. They will have my business and the business of millions of other consumers.
Also, be sure to read BijanBlog. High quality and entertaining posts put it in the list of feeds that I read daily. I like that he talks about his kids (who are off-the-charts cute) on his blog.
Tags: Reviews, User-Generated, Web 2.0, Venture Capital, VC, Brian Berliner, brianberliner