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Wize: reviews aggregator tallies user feedback

Wize: reviews aggregator tallies user feedback

ViewScore is not the only site that collects product reviews and attempts to present users with useful summaries of them. Like ViewScore, Wize also assigns 0-to-100 scores from the reviews it parses. Its rating scheme is different, though: Instead of attempting to assign a score to each review it reads (as ViewScore does), it determines if each online review is simply positive or negative and returns to the user the percentage of positive reviews.

Wize also parses user reviews, including reviews on sites that don't run independent editorial reviews, such as Amazon, Target, and other online stores. As it does with professional reviews, it returns the percentage of user reviews that are positive.

It's very useful to have a site that brings together professional and user reviews from diverse sources. But I take issue with Wize's oversimplification of reviews conclusions and just grading them all pass or fail. In matters of taste, and in areas where there are a lot of professional reviews, this can work; see Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes . But in choosing between products that are much the same (say, laptop computers) and for which there are only a few professional reviews, it seems to be too blunt an instrument.

Wize does, however, have a much larger product catalog than ViewScore, and it covers more categories (such as laptops, electric shavers, and baby strollers) than ViewScore does at the moment.

Technical outlook
Tantek Celic, from the blog search service Technorati, has been pitching me on microformats. He'd like specific content types, like reviews, to adhere to XML protocols (still in development) that would make it easier for machines to read them. Using the "hReview" microformat, for example, the body, the conclusion, and the numerical score of a review would be marked so that sites like Wize and ViewScore could read them directly, instead of requiring algorithms to figure out what's what. hReview would also make possible the development of more readers that people could use to easily compare reviews from various sources side by side. I think it's a great idea.