The site, which includes listings from 120,000 retailers, eschews one of the standard comparison-shopping engine revenue streams--paid inclusion--and simply crawls the Web for product listings. The search function allows users to refine their search based on the product they're looking for; a search for "diamond rings" could be performed as a "diamond rings 2-4ct," and it would only return the rings with stones of that size. Likewise, searches can be refined by a price range.
The wiki part of ShopWiki.com comes in guides for each category written and edited by uers. Currently the site has roughly 1,000 guides, some written by the Web-surfing public, and others written by the co-founders and their friends. Ryan, for example, authored a guide about ping-pong tables.
To moderate the buying guides, ShopWiki.com employs five full-time editors who go over every user edit. "We have more editors who survey the content to make sure there's no problem, and make sure the quality is good," he said. "If we have so many people making changes that we can't handle it anymore with our editors, then that means there are so many people on the site that the community will be able to self-correct."
According to Ryan, the site will be monetized through sponsored links, but not through paid placement or paid inclusion. "We will monetize similar to a Google model, which is on the right-hand side; they have clearly marked ads, but the integrity of the search results aren't violated," he explained. "Monetization as a comparison-shopping engine is not very hard--what's more targeted than someone searching for a microwave? That person is going to buy a microwave in the next 30 days."