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Snapsort Acquired by Rebellion Media

It was late 2009 when we came up with the crazy notion that we could make shopping better. We knew the hard nut to crack was not where to get the best price, but what product will best match your needs and make you happy.  We were all photography buffs so we started off with cameras.  In Jan 2010 lifehacker published our the first feature of  snapsort, comparing cameras.  It got shared about 20,000 times and the rest was history.

We felt the web was a treasure trove of information; being geeks we knew you could harness it to make great decisions, but we were incredibly frustrated with the time it took to unearth the details you needed. Information is spread thin, hidden in forums and locked in reviews; we’d find ourselves reading 15 articles before we found the perspective and info that we needed. Parsing through newsgroups run by rabid fans or digging up specs on a manufacturer web site wasn’t something you could do when you just wanted to make a great decision fast. Even worse, searching with Google and trying to find the right data using a tiny mobile screen is an exercise in self-punishment. Mobile needs a paradigm shift in how people find answers.  We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on cameras, honing our recommendation skills in a space we enjoyed and felt we could provide value.  In 2011 we began the quest to transfer what we’d learnt in cameras and apply it to more products.   We launched Sortable.com in Jan 2012 and it was the culmination of our efforts to go beyond cameras.

In the last couple of years we’ve taken the service from zero to almost four million visitors a month. We’ve done this with nine employees, and minimal funding. We’re just a bunch of engineers with an idea. Right now we’re helping people make better decisions on what camera, phone, laptop, tv, lens, and tablet they buy. We’re very proud of this! With snapsort.com we have built one of the largest photography gear sites on the Internet.

The problem is we want to go faster. Much faster. Our technology has come a long way and we want to help people make all kinds of decisions not just gadgets. A competitor, Hunch.com, had an immense promise that we all loved but, ultimately, it failed to catch on with consumers. Our technology does work, users love it, return rates are drastically reduced, conversions are drastically increased and we offer advertisers a unique opportunity to engage users in a hyper-focused manner. We want to finish what we started and fulfil our vision of helping consumers make better decisions in all the areas of their life. We’re focused on organizing the web’s knowledge in a structured way and we didn’t want to get gobbled up and have our mission aborted by corporate overlords.

We’ve spent the last six months looking at how we can grow the business: where we can get the resources, what kind of dilution we’ll take, and how do we keep control. Along the way we started the conversation with Ted Hastings about what it would take to build a global scale consumer web business in Canada. Canada is not considered a consumer web powerhouse; SaaS, e-commerce, apps, and B2B are a different story but the Facebooks, Yelps, AirBNBs, Pintrests and Kayaks don’t seem to come out of Canada.

We want to grow our audience by an order of magnitude in the next couple years and that’s where Rebellion comes in to play.  At Sortable we’re focused on mining the web for interesting data, building engaging communities, driving personalized answers based on huge data sets, driving conversions to retailers, and generating unique advertising opportunities.

Rebellion provides us a home where our mission gets supercharged, where we’re tasked with taking our technology and applying it to everything from real estate, movies, and restaurants to mutual funds, fashion, and travel. At Rebellion we’re going to have a simple mission: take what we do and do it at huge scale.

For our users, nothing is changing. We’re going to grow the team (we’re hiring!) as fast as we can and give you way more awesomeness. We’re staying in Waterloo. We hope the only thing you notice is how much better the service gets. We have a lot in the pipeline ready for August launch.

For our fellow lovers of photography we hope the expanded resources will mean an even better snapsort and the same great experience you’ve come to love translated to all the things you need.  Thanks for loving what we do and supporting us.

Stay tuned.

Chris, Alex, Mark and the Snapsort/Sortable Team

 

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We have launched Sortable!

We are excited to announce the launch of our new site Sortable.com. For over a year we’ve been testing the idea that we could make recommendations easier for anything. Today is our first step towards that goal.  Check out our commercial spot:

Sorting through all the available information, opinions, data and making sense of it the way an expert would is a major pain in the derriere, we’re going to change that. The whole team has been working like crazy through Christmas and new years to get this baby live. Sortable is the culmination of a lot of R&D, testing, successes and failures and we couldn’t be more excited for people to try it out.

Over the next few months we’ll be continuing to add more and more products and services that you’d like help making decisions on (you can vote on domains you’d like to see covered here). We’re very proud of what we’re launching today but there is still so much more we want to accomplish.

We hope you enjoy our creation and give us feedback on how we can improve it.

 

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Snapsort Launches New Verticals

Over a Million in a Year

For the past couple years we’ve been working hard at improving snapsort.com, thankfully we’ve had some strong success, the photography community has helped make us the second largest website providing camera gear advice (next to Amazon’s dpreview).  We launched the first full version of our camera site in June 2010, about a year later we’re helping over a million people every month find the right camera. You can celebrate with us and get a chance to win a Nikon D3100 or Canon S95 (donated by the awesome crew at Adorama)

When we started Snapsort we had a simple goal: “help consumers make informed purchasing decisions quickly”.  We had broad goals, we were so incredibly frustrated with how hard it was to find the right product for oneself we wanted to make it easier for every single purchasing decision.  We needed to first prove we could help one group of people before we went off helping a thousand, so we focused on cameras and refined our recommendation platform.

Two years later we’ve developed a mature, stable and extremely helpful recommendation platform that we’re ready to scale out.  Our goal is 20 categories by the end of the year.  We’re hiring super smart engineers if you want to help us reach this goal :-).

Yesterday we launched our new recommendation platform in 3 verticals:

What’s the Big Deal About our new Platform?
It turns out it’s extremely difficult to make it super easy for users to easily find the right product.  Most of our time in the last two years has been spent engineering a scalable solution to:
  • Acquire all the data necessary to make informed decisions in an automated fashion
  • Aggregate from multiple sources and merge it all without errors
  • Understand the data the same way a subject matter expert would
  • Find a way to store subject matter expertise generically
  • Use subject matter expertise to make informed and personalized recommendations
  • Provide a super fast, real-time experience to the user
  • Do all of this in a scalable fashion that lets us add new verticals quickly

What we release today is 1.0 of our platform, we think its the best thing going on the web, so does everyone we talk to.  It probably represents about 5% of what we intend to build so stay tuned for vast improvements.

We sincerely hope you like what we’re doing and if you do you share it with friends, family and co-workers.  The only way we succeed is if we help you make better decisions and you share the experience with others.

Thanks!

 

Snapsort Team

 

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