ShopSquad offers expert advice on products from their advisors. People can also sign up to be advisors and earn a small commission based on sales.
The app is very new and very little historical or statistical information available. Founder, Charles Katz told TechCrunch that ShopSquad is like having a virtual internet person shopper eliminating the need to struggle through thousands of reviews, ask friends for advice, etc.
ShopSquad.com was renamed to Ownza.com.
Users will interact with actual people to help them find the information they need rather than a search engine with millions of results. Advisors receive monetary compensation – a percentage of the affiliate fee that ShopSquad receives from any purchases made through the advisor’s recommendations.
During review, an entry of “printer” yielded, under available advisors, “None currently available”. I was invited to leave a question that would go to the pool of advisors and be notified when they answer. This is where I was prompted to join.
Interestingly, even though there was no sign up to be an advisor for any subject, the home page now shows stats, available earnings, and total earnings. It also has tallies for profile views, live sessions, and products recommended. Apparently, at this point, a user could set up an advisor page with expertise and be able to discuss products with people looking for advice. It is interesting that anyone can simply create a profile with a tagline, photo, short bio, IM and email address, website, and then just choose categories of expertise from a list. Users can also add products to their profiles to help shoppers find them when they are looking for something. Categories range from appliances to vacations. “Experts” also must indicate what languages they speak because apparently the interactions may take place verbally through a computer, or via IM.
During review, this user did not “go live” or profess to be an expert to provide advice. After attempting to find experts using various keywords and coming up with no available experts, one question was left for the pool of experts to answer via email. No answer was received.
Overall, it seems as though a trusted friend’s advice would be more useful than a self-proclaimed expert on a new website. Some advisors have rated themselves experts in everything from baby items to autos. Many advisors have no user ratings, so there is no way to judge whether they are honest or knowledgeable about the subjects they are offering advice about.
You do not have to sign in to use the service. If no advisor is available and a user is going to leave a question, registration may be accomplished via Facebook Connect or simply providing a username and email address.
Asking questions is completely free. If a user chooses to act as an advisor, they will receive a percentage of the overall affiliate sales fee that ShopSquad receives from sales generated from the interaction. In other words, a percentage of a percentage of the sale. Some examples directly from the site: One advisor made a sale of $299.88 and her earnings were $15.75. Another sold $50.91 and earned $3.82. As you can see, advisors must really SELL to make any real money. Is this where I want to get advice? From someone who has to push big ticket items in order to make a decent wage?
Based on testing, it is tough to figure out if any experts are really experts in their fields. For shoppers, hopefully they can weed out the good advice from the bad if they choose to use this service. For advisors, they had better be ready to really push sales to make any money using ShopSquad.