As a follow up to last week breakdown of shopping 2.0 sites, Ben from SocalTech, was kind enough to point out a Santa Monica based shopping site we missed. ThisNext is a "shopcasting network where you can recommend, share and discover products." They've been around since August of 2006 and are well funded (they've been backed by Western Technology Inc and Clearstone Venture Partners).

Upon first glance, you'll find ThisNext has a real clean design, something we've come to expect from web 2.0 companies. Their site is an interesting mix of traditional shopping recommendations, social networking, and the buzzwordtastic "shopcasting". What is shopcasting? Well its basically a way for bloggers to integrate via a badge their recommendations from their own blog into the greater ThisNext network. So basically its mashing up shopping and broadcasting. Personally I think the buzzword, is dumb, just an attention play on podcasting, but none the less, the concept itself is both cool and useful. ThisNext's network of recommendations actually works pretty well, and is probably a product of good engineering and a solid algorithm, as I'm sure sorting through crap blogs and recommendations, to find the good stuff to recommend for people is not trivial.

Despite my general like for ThisNext, when I actually tried to use it for real holiday shopping, it came up rather short. I was looking for a new webcam to get my mother and law for Christmas, so I figured I'd give ThisNext a spin. Searching for "webcam" yielded about 20 results, none of which were very good recommendations. Searching for other products also produced results that weren't exactly spectacular. I did however find that browsing for products works well. So I suppose it depends on your intentions, if you are looking for something specific ThisNext possibly needs more traction before it will really can be super useful, on the other hand if you are more generally looking for just some cool product in an overall category ThisNext works pretty well.

At the end of the day, ThisNext is funded well, and has a great look, so it could become a leader in the land of social shoppping. It is a category that is rather crowded, and ThisNext isn't a total homerun (yet), so whether they can earn their valuation still remains to be seen. But at this stage in the game, ThisNext is off to a pretty decent start.