Consumers are spending an enormous amount of time researching and buying products on the internet. According to Pew internet, it's the 5th most popular activity with 550M people participating each month. The innovation thus far has been focused on "where to buy" products - spawning financially successful price comparison shopping engines like shopping.com. However, I haven't found a good solution to help the mass market choose "what to buy". New shopping search engines like become.com or retrevo provide lists of reviews for products but that's still too much work for the mass market. User generated reviews and comments on products are taking off but the information is very fragmented and often times hard to trust.
I believe the mass market consumer is looking for a very simple solution - just tell me the best product to buy in a category or subcategory (e.g. SLR digital camera) by distilling all the "collective wisdom" on the web into a simple rank. The economic implications of this solution are enormous as it would be the first stop for consumers researching any product - whether they buy online or offline.
After much searching, I found the best solution so far at www.wize.com. They have a slick, simple service providing users with the singular answer on the best product to buy - no need to wade thru technical specs, features, or dozens of review sites. They have created a compelling concept of Product Rank which I think will be akin to the power of Page Rank (ranking products instead of web pages using the collective wisdom of the web). Capturing and distilling the vast expert and user-generated opinions and buzz on products is the next big innovation - I look forward to watching Wize capitalize on this opportunity.