The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

14 March 2003

On the edge of dot.commerce

I never did quite understand the business model at Epinions.com. Paying consumers for their product reviews sounds like a heck of a good idea, but who's going to read them, and where does the money come from?

Well, it obviously came from somewhere, because the company was actually in the black, and now it's being acquired by shopping site DealTime for some unspecified sum. And I have to assume that some of the reviewers were making a few bucks; I wrote a handful of pieces for them (though none lately) and earned a smidgen under $100, which, while it isn't a lot, is more than I'll likely ever make off blogging.

Hmmm. I wonder if there's a shopping blog out there?

Posted at 8:32 PM to Common Cents


And I thought porn was the only profitable online business.

Posted by: Ravenwood at 9:44 PM on 14 March 2003

<light goes on>

That's it! Consumer porn ratings! The best of both worlds!

(Geez. I'm not drinking enough, or something.)

Posted by: CGHill at 10:11 PM on 14 March 2003

Check out gizmodo.net, the closest thing to a shopping blog that I know of.

When I attended the "Revenge of the Blog" at Yale last fall gizmodo had generated about $5,000 in sales that month as an Amazon associate. (No disclosure was offered as to total commission, but Amazon's minimum commission is 5%.)

I think epinions gets a cut as a referring associate to a lot of different merchants. They some sort of algorithm that attempts to track purchases made and tie them back to the reviews used, positively or negatively, to choose a particular product to purchase.

(I made about $150 total from epinions, but then they changed the way they paid for reviews and the income for my reviews dried to a trickle. I got so disgusted with them I deleted all but one of my reviews on the site. [Which was probably dumb, because I think they then changed their methods again.])

Posted by: The Comedian at 10:12 PM on 14 March 2003

They've revamped the formula so many times I couldn't begin to tell you how they compute the stuff. I do know that when I hit the $70 mark and rumors of bankruptcy were floating around, I asked them for a check for $60, which was dispatched within a week.

Posted by: CGHill at 10:29 PM on 14 March 2003