The consumer electronics search service Decide.com is teaming up with Consumer Reports on a new deals site which aims to help shoppers know what and when to buy new electronics. Although the companies are referring to the project as a “daily deals” outlet, they don’t mean “deals” in the sense of Groupon, Living Social or flash sale sites like Gilt or One Kings Lane.
Instead, the service is more like a blog/reviews site which features Consumer Reports’ product recommendations alongside Decide’s own data telling you when to buy the item in question.
Although Consumer Reports is not everyone’s favorite resource these days, the integration of Decide’s technology with a products reviews service of any kind is intriguing.
Today’s gadget reviews sites simply give you the straight news and/or product reviews, but don’t always answer one of consumers’ most burning questions: “should I buy this now?” That’s where Decide comes in.
For those of you who missed the news of its launch this summer, Decide.com is the creation of several former Farecast engineers, including Decide CEO Mike Fridgen, formerly the Vice President of Marketing & Product Development at Farecast, and Farecast Co-founder, now Decide CTO, Oren Etzioni.
Farecast, later acquired by Microsoft for $115 million, used proprietary technology to determine the best time to purchase a plane ticket. Decide.com and its newly launched mobile app use similar techniques, but the focus now is on consumer electronics, not airfare.
To perform its analysis, Decide doesn’t just compare current prices and availability for gadgets – it can also recommend the right time to buy based on product release cycles, historical trends, company announcements, news and rumors published by the media, and more.
Using news reports may seem like a questionable way to determine the “when,” as some blogs tend to publish poorly sourced rumors and hearsay, but Decide is smart enough to weed out those weaker signals. Not only can it eliminate the echoes created by blogs that simply republish a rumor started elsewhere, over time, it will also begin to build up a track record and a history of an individual site’s accuracy. These news analysis algorithms (which, frankly, would be awesome to see as a standalone product) will then be used in conjunction with all the other signals to make the recommendations as to when it’s the best time to buy a new device.
The Consumer Reports integration is the first editorial partnership for the company, but Decide says it’s working on APIs and blog widgets which will bring its recommendation technology to other outlets. These things are “very high” on the company’s priority list, we’re told, but aren’t available today. That’s too bad because it would be great to see Decide’s algorithms paired up with the gadget reviews I actually read. Oh well.