Retrevo Frequently Asked Questions

This section address common questions about Retrevo and our business. For product specific questions, go to the "How to use Retrevo" page where simple product usage guides and questions are posted. Don't forget to visit the "About Us" page.

  1. When was Retrevo founded, who is the management team and where is it located?
  2. Who are Retrevo’s users?
  3. What is the problem with the search, find and support process for consumers electronics products today?
  4. How does Retrevo specifically compare to CNET or other publisher review sites like Gizmodo, PC Magazine or Consumer Reports?
  5. How does Retrevo compare to shopping and price engines like shopping.com, shopzilla or price grabber?
  6. How does Retrevo compare to the newer Social shopping sites like Kaboodle, Wists and Crowdstorm?
  7. What kinds of products does Retrevo support in their system?



When was Retrevo founded, who is the management team and where is it located?

Retrevo was founded in 2005 by Vipin Jain, Jiang Wu and Manish Rathi with the idea of transforming the consumer electronics lifecycle experience. It has grown steadily and its management team consists of veterans from 3Com, Extreme Networks and Macrovision. Retrevo has received funding in 2005 and 2006 from top-tier investment firms Alloy Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners.

The company is located at 440 N Wolfe Rd in Sunnyvale, CA.

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Who are Retrevo’s Users?

Retrevo’s users come in all shapes and sizes. Anyone who is considering buying, or already owns a consumer electronics product, which we are guessing means YOU!

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What is wrong with the search, find and support process for consumer electronics products today?

There are two primary problems with the current process. First, general search engines such as Google or Yahoo return many results but leave it up to the user to sift through the results to determine which ones matter or match the context of a their interest. The second problem is that the information presented is very hard to understand. A snippet of text and a link to a site where it seems your search starts all over, often causing you to click back to the search engine to try the next link. No service actually analyzes the textual information and presents a simple summary assessment that can be understood by common non-technical people.
Retrevo solves the problem of hunting through the Internet in search of consumer electronics information and structuring the information so that it has meaning to the consumer. Retrevo crawls through millions of internet pages including publisher and manufacturer sites, blogs, forums and even PDF documents, compiling statistics, pricing, manufacturer specifications, support details and much more, and then organizes the information into relevant categories helping the user quickly get to the answers they want – including showing users the exact page in the manual!

In addition, Retrevo analyzes the information and produces a brief summary that is easily understood by consumers. The first analysis service, called the Retrevo Product Advisor, is focused on the shopping and buying stages. Retrevo helps consumers discover products that match their interests, tells them if the product is a good value for its price and feature set, and aggregates expert and user reviews into a single sentiment rating.

The end result is advising the consumer whether a product is a good buy or not. As a result, the user:

  • Spends less time searching
  • Spends less time looking at things that do not matter
  • Spends less time explaining what they want to the computer
  • Receives honest advice on good products to buy that match their needs.
  • Is more empowered and confident before they buy online or go to the electronics store.

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How does Retrevo compare to CNET?

CNET can only evaluate a small subset of products. In addition, their reviews quickly become outdated as new products enter the market and price changes make some products better or worse buys than before. Reviews exclude many products that do not make their cut off dates, and recommendations are dated as many new products enter the market or prices change after the reviews are published. It is also possible that the reviews could be influenced by relationships with product manufactures or natural personal bias of the reviewers. Just compare reviews of any product across different publishers and you will see this affect.

Don’t get us wrong, CNET is a terrific source for tech products, but they are just that – one source. Consumers should never rely on only one source to make purchase decisions. Unlike CNET, Retrevo gives you the most up to date information from multiple publisher review sites, user reviews, blogs and forums to help you make the most informed buying decision and avoid buying a product that is obsolete soon after you get it home.

In addition, Retrevo is with you through the entire ownership cycle of your consumer electronics products, not just focused on the new products, but helping you with the products you already own.

Before you buy
: Retrevo gives you real-time product summaries for thousands of products based on millions of facts from hundreds of sites on the Internet to help you find just the right products in 40 different categories that fit your interests and needs.

As you buy
: Retrevo gives you advice on whether a product is a good product to buy or not based on its Value and Sentiment rating and up-to-date prices on the Web, helping you get the most bang for your buck when you are looking for the best deals.

After you buy
: Retrevo is there when you need answers in manuals, manufacturers technical support, support forums, product notifications, third-party services and product accessories that help you get the most out of your electronics products.

Retrevo knows that the technology landscape changes daily and we go all-out to make it easy for you. What about publisher review sites, like PC Magazine and Consumer Reports? Publisher and lab review companies suffer from the same problem as CNET – product coverage, freshness of reviews and potential personal bias. Again, they’re just one source. Retrevo simply gives the best, unbiased and most up to date reviews on any product, since we include all of the best sites for reviews, blogs, forums, and editorials on any given product.

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How does Retrevo compare to shopping and price engines like shopping.com, shopzilla or price grabber?

If you already know the product you want and are just looking for the store that has the best price then these price engines are fine. But more often users don’t know what they want or whether a product that someone recommended even meets their needs. These sites only compare prices and don’t really give users the information they need to determine whether one product is a better fit than another.

In contrast, Retrevo helps consumers make intelligent buying decisions, providing insight on products and differences with other products based on value and user sentiment, not just price alone. Price is obviously important and Retrevo searches multiple price engines to find the lowest prices, but it’s just one piece of data in our evaluation.

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How does Retrevo compare to social shopping sites like Kaboodle, Wists and Crowdstorm?

Social shopping sites have their place, but have the same shortcomings as the price engines. And although they provide user opinions or ratings of products, what happens if the product is new or there are only a small number of user reviews? In addition, what are the qualifications of the user providing the review? Would you buy an HDTV and spend more than $1,500 based on a few user reviews that don’t talk about specific product capabilities or compatibilities? User reviews are a great shopping tool, but again, relying only on user reviews and recommendations is not a smart decision.

Retrevo aggregates thousands of user reviews from hundreds of sites and provides a rolled up and more accurate user community sentiment, helping users understand the shared opinion from all the reviews. Users can also view average review ratings for each site or even read the individual reviews if they wish.

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What kinds of products does Retrevo support in their system?

Retrevo specializes in consumer electronics products. We cover all major product categories and provide summarized product snapshots on thousands of CE products, growing daily. From HDTV’s, Home Theater Systems, Audio systems, digital cameras and Video Cameras to GPS devices, laptop computers and wireless home networking devices and everything in between, Retrevo is your source for all information on all consumer electronics products.

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