November 19, 2009, 12:00 AM

PowerReviews receives a patent for summarizing product reviews

The Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent to PowerReviews for the company’s review summary technology that aggregates a site’s reviews into a simple summary.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent to PowerReviews, which provides ratings and reviews technology to e-retailers and other marketers, for the company’s review summary technology that aggregates a site’s reviews into a simple summary.

The summaries, which PowerReviews has had in place since it introduced customer reviews, are based on the company’s review process that encourages reviewers to check particular tags in broad pro and con categories. The summary automatically appears after consumers post a retailer-determined number of reviews for a product.

For instance, when a reviewer reviews a boot, she can comment on the boot’s durability and whether it is comfortable in either the pro or con categories. The summary review then shows the consensus-including the average customer rating, as well as the most-tagged pro and con tags, such as “comfortable” and “wear out quickly.” “It’s the quickest way to get the consensus and clear picture,” says Darby Williams, PowerReviews vice president of marketing.

Despite receiving the patent, Williams says PowerReviews has not determined how it plans to enforce the patent for web sites that feature non-PowerReviews review summaries.

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