Nexus S or iPhone? Kindle Fire or iPad? Samsung TV or LG TV? When people try to make such decisions, they usually look for as much data as possible so they can compare choices. For many gadgets, that’s relatively easy because you can compare similar specs such as CPU speed, RAM, screen size, etc. But what about for everything else? That’s what the startup GetComparisons is going after.
They aim to be the “Epinions for comparisons,” founder Akshay Arabolu says. The service is all about gathering user-written product reviews and formatting them in such a way that it’s easy to compare things. While a service like gdgt does a great job of this for gadgets, Arabolu found a pain point in trying to figure out if he should use WordPress or Tumblr for blogging. So that’s the service he set out to build.
“We want to own the mindshare for comparisons on the web,” Arabolu says. “But we don’t want it to be Britney Spears versus Lady Gaga — we want to focus on products and services that people spend time and money on,” he continues, noting that they started with web products but are now broadening their scope. It’s all about what comparisons the users are interested in seeing, he notes. Anyone can request a review on the site.
And again, it’s the users who then populate the reviews. “We provide a template for the reviews,” Arabolu explains. “It’s somewhere in the middle of Quora and Yahoo Answers,” he continues, noting that they wanted to make it as simple as possible, but also make it robust enough to provide good information. Reviews feature individual attributes that go from one to five stars (I don’t love the one to five star system, as I explain here). But there’s also plenty of room for users to explain their ratings.
In terms of the fear that people may game such a system, Arabolu says their commitment to transparency in the reviews will mitigate that. In fact, the plan is to let official representatives for companies fill out specs and explain features of products as long as they’re properly identified as employees of the brand.
Arabolu says that he started building GetComparisons a year ago with two contractors. In March of this year, he hired his first full-time employee, and now they are a team of five. The Atlanta-based startup came my way after I did a talk a couple months ago and agreed to sit down with one company in the audience as voted on by the CommonRed community. They beat out 52 other entries, so clearly have some people pulling for them.
GetComparisons just got done with a new redesign this week. One thing you won’t find anywhere on the site: ads. “We spent too much time on our UI,” Arabolu says.