SearchReviews: A Search Engine For 40 Million Reviews (And Counting)

searchreviews-screen

SearchReviews has just launched a search engine with more than 40 million reviews in its system, and plans to hit 100 million reviews by the end of 2011. Those 40 million reviews cover about four million products and come from more than a thousand sites such as TripAdvisor, Amazon, Zappos and others. Those are impressive numbers, but is SearchReviews any good? More on that below along with a look at how it works.

How SearchReviews Works

SearchReviews appears to have the largest searchable database of strictly review content anywhere. Buzzillions advertises having 13 million reviews; Bazaarvoice claims to have “served” 175 billion reviews, but that happens on its client’s sites; Bazaarvoice doesn’t offer a direct search engine of reviews. There’s also Google Places, which has an enormous collections of reviews and sources; but the company has repeatedly declined to share any statistics in the past and didn’t reply to our e-mail in time for publication.

One thing that distinguishes SearchReviews from these competitors is the mix of review content. Whereas Buzzillions has product reviews (shoes, electronics, etc.) and Google Places has place-related reviews (restaurants, hotels, etc.), SearchReviews has both. That offers a somewhat more convenient search experience, especially for mobile users who may be looking for a place to eat and shopping at the same time. SearchReviews launches with apps that are available for both the iPhone and Android devices.

search-reviews-iphone

SearchReviews crawls more than thousand websites for review content and aggregates them into its database. The company says it’s adding about two million reviews every week. Right now, it has no formal partnerships with any of the sites that it’s crawling; a spokesman says SearchReviews hopes to do formal agreements now that the site has launched and the review sources can see the search engine in action.

A Look at SearchReviews

Here’s a look at the results for “new york hotels” on SearchReviews:

searchreviews-1

Clicking on any result brings up an interstitial page that shows the SearchReviews result as an overlay above the actual source of the review. This is how SearchReview says it still “drives traffic and revenue back” to the original source (but those sites may still not appreciate the interstitial).

The site offers a number of tools that you’d expect to find: filter by star rating, by source, and by location. There’s also a tag cloud for further drilling down, or just for getting a sense of the sentiments related to the search results.

Those filters are necessary because there’s no apparent rhyme or reason to how the initial set of results is ranked, and tens of thousands of reviews of New York hotels is useless without further refinements. The filters also reveal what I’d call a flaw in SearchReview’s system: over-reliance on certain sources. Consider the search above for “new york hotels.” Looking at the source list shows that TripAdvisor is the source of more than 99% of the search results, while Yahoo Travel provides less than 100 of the 52,000+ reviews.

searchreviews-source

No doubt TripAdvisor is a valuable and trusted source, but SearchReviews will need more variety if it’s to add value as a reviews search engine. The problem is somewhat worse on the iPhone version because those filtering options aren’t (yet?) available; on the search shown earlier in this article for the LG BD550 Blu-ray DVD player, the 20 reviews I saw were all from Walmart.com.

One of the impressive aspects of SearchReviews is that it indexes review content, not just business and product names. So, someone looking for “spicy thai food seattle” can find reviews that very specifically mention those words.

searchreview-spicy

SearchReviews has a couple extra features I should mention: a tool that lets searchers connect with Facebook friends to ask for recommendations and a widget for publishers to embed SearchReviews content on their sites and share in the site’s advertising-based revenue.

All in all, SearchReviews is a bit rough around the edges right now, but with some further development it looks like it could become a promising source for consumers seeking out review information.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Features: Analysis | Search Engines: Buzz Search Engines | Search Engines: Maps & Local Search Engines | Search Engines: Word Of Mouth & Buzz Search Engines | Top News

Sponsored


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



SearchCap:

Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  

Share

Other ways to share:
 

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • http://www.mylocalis.com Adam Marsh

    “on the search shown earlier in this article for the LG BD550 Blu-ray DVD player, the 20 reviews I saw were all from Walmart.com” – it would be great to see a snapshot of reviews from a bunch of sites not just 20 from one site. more and more i am running into small business that pay for seo(at least that’s what they think) and the company just spams a bunch of reviews on one site and move on to the next… SearchReviews has a chance to provide a broad view of a company or product.

  • http://ninebyblue.com/ Vanessa Fox

    Since they are crawling the web and not grabbing reviews from partnerships and available APIs, will be interesting to see if any of those sites block them with robots.txt. I don’t see an obvious FAQ section on the site that explains to site owners what they are doing and how to opt out (only a submit your site link that links to an email address).

    Also will be interesting to see if they are going for a destination site play or will try to rank in Google results to get traffic. I see both strategies as difficult.

    The UI is definitely rough around the edges. The questions link in the footer goes to what seems to be a discussion forum with random questions on it. The early adopter link goes to a page that has “double click to edit this text” at the top.

  • ankesh

    Thanks for your feedback, we’ve taken some of your suggestions on board. Just to clarify our strategy, we’d like to partner with review sites, either with an API or agreement on crawling. Essentially an opt-in process. This curation will help with reducing spam in our application as you know is a hot topic.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!

 


 

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide