The shopping comparison site space seemed crowded a couple of years ago. But Shopzilla honed its way in, eventually selling to E. W. Scripps for $525 million last summer. Is there room for yet another player? ShopWiki, a start-up out of New York, hopes so. The company officially launches its site today.
How is ShopWiki different? Kevin Ryan, ShopWiki’s CEO, tells us that, instead of relying on products feeds to populate its site, as some shopping sites do, ShopWiki crawls 300,000 sites. So ShopWiki comprehensiveness is one selling point.
The other is the abiity of users to write buying guides that anyone can edit or add to. This search for coffee makers turns up this buying guide. that people can add a comment to or edit.
“Hopefully, when you read the buying guide on ski boots or fondue pots, it’ll help you figure out what you want,” Ryan said.
Editors monitor the wikis to make sure the content is relevant, and to prevent companies from trying to hype their products.
Why jump into an area that is so crowded? Because, Ryan says, ShopWiki has built a better mousetrap, and because the business opportunity is still big.
“In some ways its competitive because there are a lot of players who do it,” Ryan said. “But it’s also enormous. The number-six player is probably worth $500 million….So it’s a good business.”
The business model is, not surprisingly these days, centered around contextual advertising on the site.
Ryan started the company with Dwight Merriman. Ryan and Merriman were DoubleClick’s former CEO and former CTO, respectively. The company is self-funded.