If you’re a company and want to pick a vendor, you can check out what products companies you admire use (see SafeGraph’s list of vendors on Siftery (a service of G2 crowd)). You can browse tools they use and discover tools that make sense for your company.
But there is no way to do this in your personal life.
Want to learn what the best mattress is? The most efficient way is to either go to a definitive review site (like WireCutter) or poll your friends on Twitter/Facebook. It would be a lot better if many of the people you know have already logged what mattress they use and what they think about it.
Of course, this is true for everything you use. What to find a plumber? What about a good tennis racket? How about where is a good kid-friendly resort near Tampa?
Note: This is a series of my free open-sourced business ideas. Feel free to copy, fork, use them, etc. All I ask is that if you become a bazillionaire, you must take me to dinner.
Getting a graph of your friends and colleagues today is cheap. It is easy. You can pull down graphs from Facebook, Twitter, and your mobile contacts.
But 15 years after the social networking revolution, it is still amazing that most of these services are 100% aligned to get you to spend massive time on the site (all about user engagement) rather than focused on giving you more value. Most social graph services are just about time wasting rather than making you much more productive or knowledgable (which is where their real power comes in).
There should be a service to help you understand what you want to spend money on and giving you tools to more quickly and efficiently make purchases. This is still a holy grail of the Internet that has not yet fulfilled its promise.
You can get a full list of someone’s purchases or actions by asking them to auth their email (or credit card or physical location). You can get a graph of their friends from email mining, Facebook, Twitter, auth’ing contacts, and more. Combine what you bought and who you know and you have real power to help people!
People spend a crazy number of hours researching things to buy. They research and research and research. And then research some more. Sometimes it is a local search (like house cleaner, plumber, doctor, dentist, or car repair). Sometimes it is more of a global search (like the best bluetooth earbuds). Many people spend more time planning their vacation than actually being on vacation.
Imagine a service where one can put in past purchases and it uses that data to recommend products (purely unbiased). The service should be acting in the REAL best interest of the consumer (not like most recommendation services which are specifically designed or gamed or hawk specific higher margin products) so one can implicitly trust the service.
Purchases can be anonymized for privacy reasons (so the service does not broadcast to others that “Auren Hoffman” bought the headphones … but instead it aggregated to give real value AND protect sensitive information.
Of course, the simple revenue stream is affiliate links. But once you get the trust of the buyer, you can also add an ad-words-like feature (which would be incredibly compelling to an advertiser to get in front of a person right at the time of purchase).
Summation: UltimateReviewer is another billion-dollar idea that I will never do … so offering the idea up for free to all of you to take on.