Whether you like the terms “web 2.0” or “mashup” at all, it’s tough to argue that themes underlying these concepts were not a big story this year. Something that has been lurking at the back of my mind, however, is why so much of this energy has been focused on content as opposed to commerce. I have been playing around with Yahoo’s Shoposphere since it launched and it is kinda cool. But what I have been wondering for awhile now is why all of the energy focused on creating content or mapping mashups hasn’t spilled over to e-commerce.
Specifically, it seems to me that there are a lot of discrete sources of good product reviews (Amazon, eBay, CNet product reviews, epinions, etc), good price comparison services, and basic information about products. However, there is no really good way to stitch this all together. For example, Amazon has great product reviews. So does epinions. So do lots of other places. There are also some blogs that are great sources of information that aids consumers looking at products to purchase. Why not roll up all of this info into one place to give consumers a more complete vision of what the web community is saying about a given product or market? There would be some clear opportunities to leverage reputation and source authoritativeness when culling the reviews out there. If you add in the ability to integrate some form of social awareness (products that your friends have purchased, blogs or information sources that your friends use, etc) similar to the pick lists in the Yahoo! Shoposphere, you could have a neat little shopping application that would give much more complete information in terms of product reviews, price comparison, and social awareness.
It also seems to me that it would be pretty easy to monetize something like this. The basic model would be to get a cut of transactions for any sales that are completed with a partner. You could also run some ads on the side, just for kicks.
I have been on the hunt for interesting e-commerce mashups and haven’t really seen any. If you have seen anything interesting, email me and let me know.
I have received pointers to a few interesting companies working on some of the very concepts I described above:
I will probably update this later when I hear about more interesting companies in this space.