A Silicon Valley Web start-up hopes to become an online destination for consumers, who want to collect product advice and guidance from users elsewhere.
Epinions.com is basing its business on the power of word of mouth recommendations and is due to make its debut in August. The site will include reviews written by consumers for consumers and will inform them of not only what products to buy, but also what products not to buy.
Naval Ravikant, chief executive and one of the five co founders of the company, said: "Everyone has an opinion on something. We are not saying that we are the editorial staff who knows it all - we are at the other end of the spectrum, that says consumers know best."
He contends that Epinions is not trying to compete against organisations such as Consumer Reports, the US equivalent of the UK's Which Magazine, but will instead collect links to other product information resources on the Web, creating highly specific portals from which users can continue their research.
It will focus initially on cars, computers, electronics, sports, outdoor travel and books and the reviews will be ranked by other users.
John Robb, an analyst with Gomez Advisors, said: "There's an incredible opportunity on the Net for these new businesses. The business model for the Net's second generation strategy is to go where the big portals can't follow. Now we have a whole new set of players focused on ecommerce, on niche segments. They're not trying to be everything to everybody."
Epinions was founded by five veterans from @Home, Netscape and Yahoo! in April this year, but has already grown to more than thirty employees.
The founders comprise Dion Lim from Quote.com, RV Guha from Netscape, Naval Ravikant from @Home, Mike Speiser from McKinsey & Company, and Nirav Tolia from Yahoo! It has already received $8 million in its first round of funding.
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