It’s Got Potential

If you’ve ever used before, you won’t have any trouble buying the philosophy of… the question is, will help you buy beauty and fashion products you like? The answer is probably not… for now.

The budding site has a pretty straightforward model: register an account, submit products, and become fans of products you like. The products with the most fans float to the top of the page, while the least popular ones drop to the bottom… you get the drift. Right now, the “plum bowling purse” has the most fans—and for a brand-new site like this, that means it has four fans. But hey, it’s only the beginning, four may turn into a hundred by next week.

The lowdown:

The good stuff: It’s a great idea. So simple, yet so perfect—why sort through hundreds of detailed product reviews, when you can just vote different items up and down? We also like that users who submit good products (meaning they get lots of fans) are given karma points… great way to keep the community active.

The bad stuff: RetailFans will only work if there are lots of, well, retail fans using it. Right now, that doesn’t seem to be the case, but we understand that; Digg didn’t start out with a ton of users, either. However, there are a few other hurdles that could prevent RetailFans from really taking off. First off, it’s not all that easy to submit a product. Try to submit heels from Old Navy or tote bags from, and you’ll get shut out, as Old Navy and Overstock won’t allow RetailFans to grab info from their web sites. We also hope that RetailFans will figure out is the “karma” system, which is a great idea in theory, but right now, karma points don’t mean anything (your user name just gets posted on the “leader board”).

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