Review of Biocompare

Title: Biocompare


Date Reviewed: May 20, 2002

Description: Biocompare is a website that is dedicated to help visitors to find  a company that sell the specific products that they want. In additional to this, it also includes sections like new technologies, news, promotions, reviews, resources, technology spotlights and newsletter.

The New technologies section gives you information of new improved products. You can search the products by category, by company or  by keyword search. News section summarized selected news from the press daily (or almost daily). Promotions section gives you a change to receive promotional items if you don't mind give out some of you personal information (and tons of junk e-mail). Professional reviews section involve reviews of products  that can be search by category, by company and by keyword. Reviews are performed mostly by (if not all) postdoc, but most of the products are reviewed by a single individual. Technology spotlights section often involve a group specific (sub-)category of product and a list of companies that sell the products. Newsletter, is an e-mail based service for announcing new products of your interest(s).

Strengths: A website with a good layout, easy to use and easy to found what you need (if it is in the database). I have tried a couple searches for products to test briefly the web site.

The first one I did is a keyword search for mouse interferon-?, and as far as I know, there is only one company selling this product. I got what I wanted with this search within a few clicks.

Then a performed a category search of restriction enzyme, EcoRI. I want to know whether or not this site is bias in the list of company. Although it didn't give me the listing of all companies selling EcoRI (some of them are foreign companies),  it gives the name (and links to) 7companies, but I am some what surprised that Promega is not in the list. I have the option to compare the same product from different companies side-by-side.

The third search I did was to use the main page, and search for "EBV". The search results return several links. A couple of links is unexpected, however, the other links give me some interesting information, including EBV-based mammalian expression vector and antibodies against some EBV genes and related proteins. It also give me a recent news on this virus published in Match issue of Molecular Cell.

Despite of the facts that the ads are everywhere on the websites, they are not that annoying due to the very good web design.

Weaknesses: Obvious it is very hard to includes every single product from every single company. However, I would expect may be a complete, up-to-date catalog at least from the companies that are on the listed. In facts, Promega is on the list and it is selling EcoRI, but this didn't show up on the search for EcoRI. This makes me feel that this website may be able to improve further.

The product reviews is actually a features I like about this website, however, a single-individual review may not be the most reliable review systems.

Comprehensiveness: Comprehensive.

Timeliness: This website update daily, as far as I can tell, what else to I need to say about this.

Ease of Use: Very easy to use with extensive search options.

Responsiveness: Extremely responsive.

Similar or Related Sites: Biosource International

Overall Evaluation: ???? (out of five)

Reviewer: Albert Tai