Most product review sites fall into one of two categories: professional or community driven. Sites like CNET Reviews and blogs like CrunchGear pay their staff to review the latest gadgets and give you an authoritative, and hopefully unbiased, opinion on what tech toys make the grade. Community driven sites like Epinions and Amazon rely on the kindness of strangers to post reviews, which are presumably honest and useful when taken in aggregate. There is a whole other class of startup that is trying to aggregate user reviews from a number of sites. See our roundup here.
The latest spin on product reviews has been to combine the two systems. In a talent search less glamorous than American Idol, review sites are turning the their community members to find the best reviewers in exchange for a little more cash.
SharedReviews is soon to launch review site in this category. The site will be a community of reviewers each with their own profile consisting of their reviews (video, written), their experience related to the products they review, and a rating of their skill as a reviewer. Reviewers will be able to post reviews to the site directly and through widgets using their API. There’s a sneak peek of the site to the right.
From there it’s just a matter of separating the wheat from the chaff and rewarding reviewers. By taking a look at the flow chart below, you can see what SharedReviews has in mind. They want to create reviews, sell advertising, and then share the wealth with the community and reviewers. Shared reviews will take 50% of the ad revenue, and then split the remainder with the reviewers ranked by proficiency along with the community that voted them there.
They’re looking for private beta testers with plans to launch this fall. If you’re interested, you can sign up here.