In case you can't read from the screenshot above, Blippr lets users browse and rate commercial products including books, video games, movies, and music. The twist is that these reviews are incredibly short at just 160 characters, or the limit on an SMS message on your mobile phone. Twitter, the popular micropublishing tool pioneered this idea, and the folks at Blippr think it might work on product reviews.
The fact that I need to write more about it is also one of the reasons that Blippr doesn't fit he bill for what it was created for. Sometimes reviews just need to be longer to give a product or service justice.
Coming back to the review system, the written reviews are coupled with a 1-4 rating system that uses emoticons (aww how cute) to establish a metascore for how good an item is. In addition to the rest of the Blippr users scores, you can get see a quick friends score as long as your Blippr friends have rated said item. These scores are shown at the top of each review and help sort through content.
Blippr doubles as a social bookmarking tool, letting you create custom lists and subscribe to the day's hot list of products that are getting buzz. There are no ads on the site, so to supplement an income for the creators, the entire thing runs off affiliate links to various online retailers.
Here's the thing, I like this service at a very visceral level. It rips off a lot of GUI from Flickr, but I'm OK with that because writing 160 word reviews is simple and brings that same publishing happiness that Twitter does. What I don't like is that same limitation ends up amounting to something more like one-line comments on a blog post than something constructive or substantial like you'll find on the native user review systems on popular Web retailers such as Amazon and Netflix. Sometimes the details really do amount to something.
The service is in private beta, although the folks at Blippr were kind enough to offer Webware readers some invites. To get yours, click here. More shots after the jump.