IMshopping is launching a new service in beta today that allows people to comparison shop and get advice on products using Twitter. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is also announcing that it has received $4.7 million in a first round funding from SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM). The site was started by Prashant Nedungadi (who founded Andale, the largest third-party tool provider on eBay). Min Park and Soo-Hyuk Lee, both SVPs at SK Telecom, joined the company’s board.
IMshopping said it hopes to make money through referral fees when someone buys a product that is recommended through the site. Consumers get help shopping by asking questions online or by Twittering questions to @imshopping. Live examples include: Can someone help me find vintage floor fans?, Where can i find the best deal on the latest version of the palm treo phone?, Why should I buy an iPhone over a Blackberry Bold? And even timely questions, like “I need a surgical mask to make the SARS – I mean swine flu go away. Got any?”
The company said “trained experts” offer detailed responses with information pulled from a variety of sources, including reviews from third-party sites and blogs. The answer is also archived for future review if a shopper opts to communicate publicly. The idea is to give the same level of service as in-store clerks, but online. The site is launching with 20,000 questions in the database. In a release, Nedungadi said: “At brick and mortar stores, human experts fill such a void, but on the web, it doesn