Tekarma, a new user-generated product support site, launched its private beta today. Tekarma wants to provide users with a central place to find and share tips and trick about products. Currently, the site focuses mostly on electronics, cars, and sporting goods. Maybe the best way to describe Tekarma is as a mix between a wiki, forum, and a tech support call center. If you want to try it out yourself, you can find a link to the private beta at the end of this post.
Built by eBay Refugees
Tekarma was built by a team that includes a number of former eBay executives and engineers. The idea for the site, as Tekarma's Alex Kazim pointed out to us today, was to provide a comprehensive homepage for every product that would allow users to get tech support, read FAQs, and discuss the product with other users. The content on the site is completely user-generated, though Tekarma also uses Shopping.com's APIs to pull in product specs, which, however, can later be edited by the users.
Every product page features four main sections: FAQs, Reviews, Web Resources, and Surprises. Surprises is actually one of the most interesting sections here, as this is where users can share information that is often left out of standard reviews such as the ground clearance of a car that a buyer would only notice after using it for a longer period of time.
While Tekarma features a price-comparison widget, Kazim told us that shopping is not the focus of the site. Instead, Tekarma, at least in its current iteration, focuses on providing support after a user has already bought the product. In the long run, once the site has more content, Kazim envisions that this may shift a bit, depending on how the users end up utilizing the site.
We liked Tekarma's user-interface, which makes browsing the site extremely easy. As Kazim pointed out to us, the team incorporated a lot of the lessons it learned at eBay into Tekarma's interface. One nice feature, for example, is that the service displays a list of your last search results in the left sidebar. Thanks to this, you don't have to constantly click the back button when searching for a specific product.
Good Start - Now All it Needs is More Users
Overall, while Tekarma is not necessarily revolutionary in its approach, we think that it has enough compelling features to set it apart from similar services like FixYa or product-specific forums. At the same time, though, Tekarma, like most services that rely on user-generated content, will have to attract a sizable number of active users to add content and fill the gaps in its current catalog.
If you would like to try out Tekarma and maybe add some of your own expertise to the system, you can follow this link. It will be valid for the first 100 readers who sign up for the service.