14-year old to launch site for posting your own product reviews

OrbitFront, debuting at Demo Fall, will give consumers a referral fee when their review leads to a purchase through the site

Tyler Simpson knows a lot about reviewing tech products. The Seattle 14-year-old and his friend, Brandon Keller, have created several YouTube channels, including ThatAppleGeek, where they review products and report on technology.

With their YouTube experience and following, Simpson and Keller now get loaner units from vendors so they don't have to buy products just to review them. They are building OrbitFront as a platform to help other online reviewers get loaners, reach an audience, form a community with other reviewers, and earn some money along the way. They'll introduce the site at the Demo Fall conference in Santa Clara, California, on Wednesday.

OrbitFront, which was set to go live in alpha testing by Wednesday, will act as an intermediary between vendors and online reviewers. Manufacturers will work with OrbitFront to list products available for review on the site, and reviewers will go through the catalog to pick out the gear they want to try. It will be up to the reviewers to request loaners from the vendors, but OrbitFront will collect and forward those requests.

When a vendor approves a loan request, it will provide a discount code that the reviewer can use to order the product for free through the OrbitFront site. After two weeks, the loaner will be due back to the vendor. To protect vendors from reviewers who try to keep the products they're lent, OrbitFront will follow up on vendor complaints and then dock the reviewer's PayPal account for the price of the product if necessary, Simpson said.

The site will host both video and written reviews. Though it will start out with videos embedded from YouTube, OrbitFront is also working on its own hosting platform. The company will work to keep the reviews useful, weeding out ones that don't take a critical look at products and back up their conclusions, Simpson said. The community of reviewers on OrbitFront will provide some of that policing by flagging content, and the company will follow up with warnings and possible canceling of offending reviewers' accounts.

"A biased reviewer won't last long on the site, because if a follower of them buys the item because of their review, they're obviously going to be outraged if it's a horrible product, when it got high marks," Simpson said.

Consumers who read or watch a review on OrbitFront will be able to buy the product immediately through the site. OrbitFront won't be a reseller itself but will connect visitors with the vendors' own stores, similar to the way Amazon Marketplace acts as a channel for many sellers, Simpson said. When the sale is made, the reviewer and OrbitFront each will get a 5 percent cut of the price. For reviewers who have advertising on their YouTube videos, embedding them on OrbitFront's site can also generate additional views and revenue, Simpson said.

OrbitFront is already talking with some vendors about participating, Simpson said. The company expects to start out with midsize vendors of accessories rather than big device makers such as Apple and Samsung. Attracting a strong lineup of vendors is the biggest challenge Simpson sees for the company. However, working with OrbitFront can give vendors valuable product feedback and good exposure, he said.

"Users trust reviews a lot, unlike advertising," Simpson said. "It actually works quite well as marketing."

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?