I am pleased to announce that we have just released the 1.0 version of iNods a few minutes back. When we started iNods, we set out to deliver the first reviews search service that allows users to find, save, consolidate and organize valuable review and advice information about products, places and almost anything that users may be researching. We had seen that there was a lot of rich review and feedback content spread out across the Internet with no real focused way for users to find it and benefit from it by making informed decisions. We also wanted to surface the rich review content written by enthusiastic reviewers who wanted to share what they had learnt, and we wanted to deliver more relevant users to their website so they could monetize the traffic, while sharing their knowledge with their users.
iNods 1.0 is a big part of our vision implemented. The past few months, since our early beta launch in January, have been exciting. We met with a lot of people, received a lot of feedback, struggled to find the best colocated server space for our requirements and spent a number of nights optimizing our crawl and fine tuning the user experience. The result is what you see here. We will be looking forward to your feedback and suggestions as we spread the message of the 1.0 release and as users search, save and organize their research on iNods.
A big part of our effort will also be to reach out to all the review content writers, including bloggers, to work with them to understand how we can better index their content and how they can save and create guides from their content on iNods to make it easier for users to find it. If you have a website or a blog with review content, you can search iNods to see if we have already indexed your content and, if not (as we are still continuing to build our index), you can ping all the review content pages to iNods with a single click.
1.0 is bringing a ton of new features for the users and a big part of our effort has been to understand the normal user experience during researching for a product review, hotel review, destination review and more, and tuning our user flows to be as closely aligned as possible. We strived hard to keep the review search process as simple as it can be:
(a) You search for whatever you are researching
(b) You browse the search results , including the sources that other iNods members found useful and saved
(c) You dig into the search results, read the reviews & advice and save the once you find useful – with a single click, and in no more than 10 seconds
(d) If desired, you can turn your research about a product, place or anything else into a Guide, again with a single click, to be shared with friends and family
Here is a more detailed explaination of the new end user features. At the backend, we have a lot of search and optimization going on which we aim to keep out of sight of the users (as well as competitors!)
Here are a few screen shots of the brand new iNods:
We are excited and looking forward to the challeging period ahead of us. With the launch of 1.0, we now will be really focused on building the iNods community, listening to the user feedback and really evolving the service every week to make it better, faster and easier to search reviews, and make better decisions. Check out the 1.0 version and let me know your comments.
The New York Times had an interesting article today based on the research findings in a DoubleClick survey of paid search and user behavior trends. Here are the punch lines:
Most prepurchase searches use only generic terms, like “hard drive.” Consumers tend to make these searches early on, and then conduct a small flurry of brand-name queries right before buying, according to the DoubleClick study.
Most consumers finish searching long before they buy. People buying travel services online, for example, tend to conduct their last search more than two weeks before purchase.
The more expensive the product is, the longer they wait, according to Mr. Larkins. “If it’s a big-ticket purchase, you’re not going to make it right away,” he said.
This is interesting and we have always assumed this fact, at iNods based on several focus group interactions with friends and family and found that the pre-buying research time is continuously increasing. This is happening as
- more choices is forcing buyeers to research more to ensure they buy the right product
- more consumers, who didn’t research as much before, are researching to ensure they make the right decisions (perhaps influenced by friends or due to a previous bad experience)
The article, however, missed a more important discussion around “how and where” are the consumers spending this increasing amount of time making up their minds – because that is the place where advertisers really ought to be. While consumers may be starting their research with generic search engines (which are far from useful to find a good critical mass of reviews and advice), they are eventually landing up on review sites and blogs where knowledgable individuals are sharing information that allows consumers to make informed decisions. This whole space is extremely fragmented thought, and lacks a rating structure. This is exactly what we set out to solve last year at iNods, with the mission to deliver a good starting point for consumers for their research as well as to build a structured system to make sense of all the fragmented reviews and advice content.
If you haven’t tried iNods as yet, give it a spin and stay tuned for our upcoming features.
Doug and Jon at Minority Rapport did a podcast with me and they just wrote about iNods on their blog earlier this week. Here is a link to the post, where you will find the podcast.
Thanks for writing about us guys and we will keep you posted on the new developments.
We just finished our next round of crawl earlier this week and added a wealth of new review content to our index earlier today. The new index is now live and you will see a better coverage of a range of products as well as expanded coverage of travel reviews and destination reviews. We had a slight glitch during the index update and there was a few minutes of downtime earlier this morning. It was fixed right away and should not pose any problems going forward.
Go ahead and search for any travel and other reviews that you might be looking for and let us know if iNods helped you to shorten your search for the right review content.
We have been reaching out to our personal networks as well as prominent bloggers to introduce them to iNods since we launched earlier this month and have been getting a lot of feedback along the way.
Seth Godin responded saying:
thanks, Vaibhav. I think crawling the review sites is great. Please feel free to crawl squidoo.com as well. The challenge you’ve got, I think, is to present the results in a way that’s really actionable.
John, a former customer of mine, said:
Wow! Amazing! ..... Review sites are disenfranchised and very hard to find. And yet, in this day and age, everyone wants to use the web to do research before they buy anything.
“Niche” rules these days. So iNods, based in San Jose, isn’t only a search engine. It is a shopping engine. And it isn’t only a shopping engine—it gets narrower than that. It searches blogs and other content related to pre-shopping, or research. You can call this a Web 2.0 company, and so as usual, TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington has the scoop..
Just got a chance to look at this as well. Great idea – as I am someone who does do a lot of pre-buying research online and always have issues sorting through the crap on Google when entering “product name and review” as so many people / shopping affiliates or other sites use those terms.. And you have plenty of nice room in your UI to sell Ad words like functionality on the search items….
This has all been very good feedback to us, amongst several others who have responded on email and through the feedback email on our site. We are incorporating it all into prioritizing our upcoming roll out of features and expansion of the iNods index. Thanks everyone for your comments!
iNods is 7 days old today and we got some good feedback, praise and recommendations from initital users who tried iNods in the past 7 days. The blogoshpere contributed greatly as you can see from a Technorati search. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to try iNods as well as the users who submitted their review content URLs to us.
We have tried to respond to some of the questions that came up on blogs but I thought it might be useful to reiterate a few points for the rest of our users.
1. Much more than shopping…
An initial perception (and we are to blame for this with out search box text) was that iNods is purely focused on shopping-oriented review content. While this is our initial focus and we have deeper content for shopping related items, iNods will cover the full spectrum of review content whether it be on electronics, music, movies, books, travel destination or review about working at a company, perhaps. iNods will accept and index all content that allows decision making. Today, you may not see all the segments covered as well, but it will happen in the next several weeks to come.
2. Structure not required…
Does iNods require review content writers to structure their content in any particular format (like hReview)? The answer is: NO, not at all. One thing that we would recommend is that review content owners tag/categorize their review content so that when you submit your websites/blogs to iNods you can specific the directory/category/tags that contain the review-specific content. This will help rank your results better.
3. Part of a community…
While there have been varying opinions about whether a centralized site that builds a community is better or worse than a aggregator of decentralized content, we want to stress our belief that both can and will have a mutually exclusive value propositions. iNods will really focus on creating a simple starting point for your research needs and optimally point you in the right direction…something we believe is lacking today. The only somewhat workable option right now is Google, IF you are savvy enough to use formated search queries – something only a fraction of Internet users are even aware of.
4. Website, blogs and more…
iNods is and will index content on websites as well as blogs. While blogs are growing fast, a lot of review content today is on simple websites (most of which are affiliate sites focused on reviews of certain products, services etc.). We expect that review content will continue to proliferate on websites as well as blogs and we will index and search both.
I hope this helps.
Try iNods for the researching plasma tv that you may be looking to buy this year (the prices have really become attractive now) and let us know your feedback.
Welcome to iNods, everyone.
We are very happy to announce that iNods is now live. iNods is a pre-shopping research engine that aggregates decentralized review content on the Internet and enables you to find reviews and advice about the products, services, and other things you are looking to buy.
We built iNods with an important mission of enabling consumers to find review and advice-related information on the web faster and to highlight the contribution of review content writers who provide critical insight by writing detailed reviews by delivering targeted traffic to their websites or blogs and triggering/boosting advertising income streams.
You are seeing the earliest version of iNods and we will be rapidly evolving our index as well as adding a lot of interesting features over the next several weeks and months to drive towards our mission. You can read more about iNods on our About iNods page.
Here are quick links to some iNods search results that uncover some cool buying advice pages: iPod video, plasma tv, lcd monitor, and treo. Also check out the Latest Nods and you might discover some cool new products that you might want to buy.
Give it a swirl and let us know what you think via email at feedback[at]inods[dot].com. We look forward to your comments, compliments and feedback in the coming days.