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ThisNext: Social shopping advice

Trying to figure out what car/TV/fridge/shampoo to buy? Try ThisNext. It's one of the latest entrants in the quickly-becoming-crowded "social shopping" market, and looks to be off to a good start. There are two primary activities on ThisNext: Discover and Recommend. Discover is another word for "go shopping." You can search for items you're interested in and get recommendations, or your can just browse. The recommendations seem to have a very stylish slant to them, so if you're like me the site make you feel a little uncool, or maybe just poor. But it's well-organized with pretty pictures, tags, user comments, and so on. The Recommend side of the site is what you'd expect: You can link to and write about products you like, and you can make Amazon-like themed lists, like Writer Gear or Don't Leave Home Without It. Of course, none of this makes ThisNext any different from Amazon (except that ThisNext doesn't actually the sells the products, it just links to them). It's the social aspect, of course, and like any good social software, ThisNext lets you share recommendations with and get recommendations from your friends. The premise, to paraphrase my boss Jason, is that you trust your tech-savvy neighbor or cousin more than anonymous CNet reviewers or Best Buy employees to tell you what's the, er, best buy. While the premise is convincing, I'm not entirely convinced that the execution will be successful for everyday users who might not have any experience with social networking. However, ThisNext's implementation looks well thought out--Michael Arrington calls it "the best I've seen so far," and its profile in the New York Times doesn't hurt, either. I'll certainly be giving ThisNext at least a cursory glance the next time I'm going through some deliberation on a purchase.

Tags: shop, shopping, social, socialnetworking, socialshopping, thisnext