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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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Canon is the most Popular Camera brand according to Consumers

Back in 1685, a man by the name of Johann Zahn created the first camera that was small and portable enough to be practical for photography. However, it would be another 150 years before technology caught up and it was actually possible for his vision to be built. Today, over 300 years later, not only is a hand-held camera an essential product in most households, but consumers have multiple options of brands and types to choose from. But how do people know what to pick?

In 2010, Sortable, a Waterloo-based startup company, launched Snapsort.com, devoted to helping consumers find the right camera for them. Sortable surveyed more than 275,000 people over a six month period and found that: In the ever-growing market for cameras, many brands have joined the war to become the best product. Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Fujifilm and Olympus are among the many companies vying to come out on top. However, according to consumers, it is Canon that is winning the camera war. The survey shows that 33% of consumers favour Canon to the competition, among the favourite types being the Canon T2i, T3i, 7D, the new 5D Mark III the Powershot S95 and the SX40. Trailing close in second place is Nikon, favoured by 27% of consumers. Nikon has produced many popular brands such as the D5100, D7000 and D3100 DSLRs, the Coolpix P500 and S9100.

Today, not only do consumers have multiple camera brands that they can choose from, but they also have the option of choosing a type of camera that is right for them. During Sortable’s research, they found that consumers’ favourite types of cameras are DSLR’s and Point and Shoots. DSLRs are versatile cameras with interchangeable lenses that are traditionally used by professional photographers, but are becoming increasingly more popular among entry level users. In contrast, Point and Shoots allow the everyday person to quickly and easily capture the photos they want, without having to make many adjustments. It’s not surprising that these two types come out on top. What is really surprising is the surge in popularity of the Mirrorless cameras. A relatively new technology, Mirrorless cameras stuff a DSLR size sensor into a small portable package, with interchangeable lenses for greater flexibility. Canon has yet to enter the Mirrorless market, and Nikon has just entered, with the Nikon V1 and J1. As this type of camera becomes more popular, Canon and Nikon will have to step up their game in order to keep their market share in comparison to Sony, Panasonic and Olympus, who have grabbed the early lead in this Mirrorless market.

So, how do you know which camera is right for you? Well, you can take the advice of other consumers and of your family and friends, but ultimately, the choice is yours. Each brand of camera and each type all have their perks and flaws. It’s up to you to find your camera (and a little help from Snapsort and Sortable might be handy). Here, in 2012, our world has certainly come a long way since Zahn’s initial camera concepts.

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