Gadget review site Retrevo challenges Amazon.com

Gadget review website Retrevo on Thursday added online sales of recommended devices in the United States in a challenge to Internet retail powerhouse Amazon.com.

Retrevo marketing vice president Manish Rathi billed the move as the first combination of unbiased, in-depth product reviews and a virtual shopping cart.

"We will compete with Amazon and eBay, but we believe we provide a much more curated experience regarding what you should buy and what you shouldn't buy," Rathi told AFP. "We want to sell to people without selling out."

California-based Retrevo believes it has an advantage in the market because the website has become a trusted place for research and reviews about devices people are considering buying.

"Over the last five years, Retrevo has become the second largest review site in the world for consumer electronics," said Retrevo chief executive Vipin Jain. "Now Retrevo will help shoppers complete their journey by including checkout and order processing on our site."

More than six million people visit Retrevo.com monthly, according to Rathi.

Retrevo built machine learning technology to effectively research the more than 50,000 consumer electronics products that hit the market in a typical year.

"It is almost impossible as humans to review that many products and keep prices updated, so we put machines to work to solve this problem," Rathi said.

"We crawl the Web and look at consumer sentiment as well as price to make recommendations on what is a bargain," he continued.

Retrevo provides information on technologies that are rising or fading, and graphically maps which devices provide the "best bang for the buck."

The website also added a "do not add to cart" button that prevents people from buying gadgets it does not recommend.

"We can't tell you it's wrong and then let you do it," Rathi said. "Our reviews are done by engineers, not merchandisers whose goal is to sell."

Retrevo partnered with about 10 major US retailers to deliver selected goods after the website brokers sales.

"We are harnessing the collective power of online retailers against Amazon," Rathi said.

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