Decide aims to eliminate buyer's remorse

The mysterious Decide launches today. The service, founded by MetaCrawler and Farecast vet Oren Etzioni, aims (like Farecast) to use historical pricing and product release schedule data, rumours, and predictive algorithms to take the sting out of shopping. Decide managed to raise some $8.5 million from investors; they're now set to prove that the service is worth the gamble.

Decide tracks the pricing and release schedules of consumer electronics projects (as of now, only televisions, cameras, and laptop computers are included in the model; the company plans to roll out more product categories soon).

Users browsing within the categories will get advice on whether specific devices are worth buying at their current prices; those deemed overly long in the tooth get a "wait" flag; letting browsers know it'd be better to wait for a new model. Source data is provided in all cases, and users can set alerts to be reminded when price targets are hit or new models are released. Decide gets a referral fee from sales made by retailers linked to from its pages.

It's an interesting service, with some promise, even if it ends up being snapped up by somebody else (Farecast currently serves as Bing's travel-pricing engine). Obviously we're hoping to see more audio and video products included, though it remains to be seen how useful Decide will be in the case of gadgets with niche appeal.

- Michael Berk