Services & Software

Buzzillions is a better shopping experience

PowerReviews' consumer-facing shopping site is relaunched as the fully Web 2.0-hype-compliant Buzzillions.

When we last checked in with PowerReviews, the company that powers user review feedback for online retailers, the team had just launched a user-facing site to aggregate reviews from its clients. I liked it, although I had some criticisms. This week, PowerReviews launched a new site, Buzzillions, which addresses some of the early site's issues and adds a few more features. (It's too bad the name sucks, though.)

The new site does a much better job of clumping products together. You're less likely to find 15 different listings for the same camera now (one for each store that carries it). Now they're listed together, and you can compare feedback from people who bought the product at different places.

Buzzillions also offers a few ways to find a product beyond searching by prices and brands. In some categories, you can select products based on personal attributes. For example, you can find cameras suited to people getting started in digital photography, or that are good for travel, or both. These criteria are based on what people have tagged the item for when they wrote their review. You can also search for more free-form tags. For example, in the furniture category, "comfortable" is an option.

Buzzillions lets you find products based on consumer-tagged attributes. CNET Networks

It's a more contemporary, Web 2.0-ish experience than what many shopping sites offer, although there are some archaic user-interface elements still on the site. For example, when selecting a price range, you can't choose your own range, like "$200 to $225." Instead, you have to choose from one of a few predefined ranges, which can be a drag if your intended range spans two of the Buzzillions ranges.

But all the other features from the last PowerReviews consumer site are there, such as the useful Brand Compare feature.

I like Buzzillions not just because it's got a nice product finder interface on top of a rich mine of data, but because the way the company got its data is so clever (see that previous review for more). We're seeing a lot of very creative apps these days, but few truly innovative businesses. Buzzillions is both.