WHO: E/Town: The Home Electronics Guide, New York, N.Y.
WHAT: Perhaps the most comprehensive consumer-oriented CE primer on the web. Founded four years ago by five CE journalists, the site - currently in the midst of a top-to-bottom redesign - offers an expansive storehouse of product reviews, plain-English explanations of the technology, up-to-the-minute news and editorial views, and a competitively priced e-commerce function. "We see ourselves as infomediaries," said executive producer and co-founder Ron Goldberg. "It's like making recommendations for friends."
WHEN: January 1996
WHY: E/Town is straddling two sites as it makes the transition from its original format to a cleaner, more sophisticated Version 2.0. Among its new features: Shop With Ida, Your Interactive Decision Assistant. The "shop bot" poses a series of questions designed to closely match consumers with a short list of product models based on price and need. Assuming it's available, cybershoppers may then order the item through E/Town, which sources it itself or relays the request to a group of retail "fulfillment partners" that includes One Call, Harvey Electronics, United Audio, 800.com and Digital Satellite Source.