Decide.com Now Recommending When to Buy and What to Buy

Decide.com, which tells consumers whether the price of products will rise or fall, is now also helping consumers decide what products to buy.

The new feature, called Decide Score, analyzes ratings and reviews from across the Web, to provide a score on a scale from 1 to 100 for a variety of products, from consumer electronics to vacuums to outdoor grills.

Think of it as Consumer Reports, except that that the results are driven by data and not people.

“We are stripping out the bias to return a subjective data-driven score,” said Mike Fridgen, CEO of Decide.com. “More and more people are going directly to Amazon to begin their search, but the problem is, they don’t give you a clear idea what the best products are.”

To get the scores, the company sifts through more than 200 terabytes of data, including two million user reviews from online retailers, such as Amazon and Best Buy, as well as 7,000 professional opinions from online reviewers. The service launches in beta today for more than 22,000 consumer electronics and appliances across 16 categories.

The technology that goes into the product was built by the Seattle-based company, which is the brainchild of the folks behind Farecast.com, which helped predict whether it was the right time to buy an airline ticket, or if a price drop was coming. Farecast was purchased by Microsoft three years ago for $115 million, and is now Bing Travel.

In a demonstration, Fridgen showed me how a TV set on Amazon can have great reviews, but only gets an average review on Decide. From there, Decide recommends other TVs that have better scores and are cheaper. The problem with Amazon is that “it’s one source, and it’s only user reviews, which doesn’t tell the whole story,” he said. “We’re looking at experts and user reviews. There’s all types of bias in sources, and Amazon regularly has higher scores.”

However, getting consumers to change their behavior from starting their shopping experience on Amazon to starting their search on Decide will be a difficult one. ”No doubt about it, that will be a challenge for us,” he said.

When consumers do go to Decide first, Fridgen said that people follow its recommendations and are three times more likely to click through and purchase. Third parties that are using Decide’s content, like Bizrate.com, are seeing positive metrics, as well.

Right now, the company makes money from affiliate fees when people click through and make a purchase, but Fridgen says they’ve been more focused on making a good product. Over the past year, Decide has made more than seven million recommendations, and has saved consumers $75 million. Its mobile app has been downloaded more than 100,000 times.


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