Swotti: Aggregating a Web’s worth of opinion

Here’s a new tool I thought just too cool to leave out of this blog. I’m talking about Swotti, a “semantic” search engine which pulls opinions and data on products together in one place to help you make buying decisions. (News on this courtesy of ReadWriteWeb.)

At the moment, I’m on the prowl for quite a few consumer items, including an HDTV, a treadmill and lots of small furniture and appliances, so I’m an ideal target audience for Swotti. As our friends at ReadWriteWeb note, there are a few bugs with the beta site–some searches end up with a page of error code rather than results–but all in all it’s neat.

To give it a test run, I searched for “Olevia HDTV,” and pondered the results. Not only did I get a handful of graphics, including some shots of Olevia 37-inch sets in real-live settings, I also got a breakdown on how the opinion it found could be sorted (including a pie chart indicating how many reviews called it “recommended,” “very satisfied” and “optimal.”  All of this is apparently done completely on the fly, which as ReadWriteWeb correctly notes, makes it more scalable than human-edited sites like Mahalo.

What ReadWriteWeb’s coverage doesn’t take on here, however, is how marketers should respond to the emergence of this type of search–and that’s no joke.

Heaven knows that if I was an Olevia product manager, I’d want to have some input into how semantic search engines like these present information on my product (particularly those that are likely to drive buying directly!) At the moment,  though, Olevia’s own corporate logo doesn’t even show up, something of a branding disaster if you’re a consumer marketer.

At present, I doubt if more than a tiny handful of interactive marketing gurus focused on bleeding-edge tech are likely to have a sense of how SEO will work in this environment. But if you’re reading this, and can offer SEM tips of the semantic Web, I’m all ears.

I’m going to look around, though, however, and see if we can’t dig up some intelligence on how to work with semantic and user-guided search.  It’d be great to get better informed before the wave crests!


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