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uSuggest is a social shopping site that allows its users to earn commission by reviewing, tagging and recommending products displayed on the site.

Users can tag and recommend products on the site, or add a link to their blogs, and earn commission on any sales the generated by these links. On the face of it, it looks a good way for bloggers to earn some cash.

Unlike most affiliate marketing schemes, recommendations are not retailer-specific. Users who click on your recommended link will be directed to the retailer with the best price from uSuggest’s network.

uSuggest aims to drive sales by allowing bloggers to place links next to or within their articles. The blogger will make 50% of the money uSuggest makes on the sale if a person buys their recommended product, or 25% if they buy a different product.

uSuggest CEO Hasan Davulcu believes that products sell better when displayed in context:

"We are moving from an information age to a recommendation one, and we feel that our company is harnessing the power of digital word of mouth in a way that is beneficial to both bloggers, consumers and the e-tailers themselves."

"Through combining the existing context that the individual bloggers have on their sites with some of the web's largest vendors we are proving consumers with the ultimate comparison shopping tool."

Though the beta test was announced two days ago, the site is currently still in alpha, and clearly needs some work.

The site doesn’t have a big enough inventory of products as yet, as searches for what should be popular products, such as consoles, return very few results.

The navigation also leaves much to be desired, and the product search doesn't allow you to filter and refine your search results. For instance, a search for a digital camera returns 81 pages of results with no way to differentiate by price or specifications.

I like the idea of the site, and its revenue model offers bloggers an interesting variation on affiliate marketing. However, at this stage uSuggest has not created an especially usable site for the online shopper, but it is early days for the company. Certainly we're fans of a peer-to-peer approach to affiliate marketing.

But without some adjustments, including the addition of basic functions like filtering search results, people are unlikely to use uSuggest over rival shopping comparison sites.

Graham Charlton

Published 4 January, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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