Sometimes having better data isn’t enough, even in search. You have to present it in an intuitive way that is easy to grasp. Kevin O’Connor, the founder of FindTheBest (and before that, DoubleClick), has been working on a very hard problem: how to help people compare different products and services so that they can quickly figure out which is the best one. “How do you communicate what is better?” he asks. “How do you take a bunch of dry, mind-numbing data and communicate it back?”
Today, FindTheBest is taking another major step towards that ideal with a revamp of its site design. Instead of mind-numbing rows of data comparing everything from smartphones to ski resorts, the site is introducing more intuitive color-coded cues and a new “Smart Rating” system. The Smart Rating is a single, normalized number between 1 and 100 (replacing the old 5-star system). It is based on a combination of expert ratings from outside sources and FindTheBest’s own quantitative rating based on factors such screen size and battery life for a smartphone, or skiable acres and vertical feet for a ski resort. They figure out which are the most authoritative sources for a given category and weight them accordingly.
So far the site is growing slowly but steadily with more than 2.5 million unique visitors per month. O’Connor is taking his time getting this right, and he’s raised $6 million from Kleiner Perkins.
“We want to tell companies what drives decisions,” he says. Already, they’ve discovered out some interesting correlations. The No. 1 filter used for picking a ski resort is not average snowfall or vertical feet, but whether or not there is a children’s ski school. And FM receivers are a big deciding factor for phones.
O’Connor wants FindTheBest to become a “big funnel for purchase intent.” People go to his site to make decisions, which is the most valuable time for advertisers and merchants to try to get in front of them. In order to get more distribution, FindTheBest is also launching badges and syndicated buyer’s guides to other sites.
Below is a screenshot of what the site used to look like, and below that is a clip from a Founder Stories where O’Connor explains what he is trying to accomplish with FindTheBest.