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Seeing Is Believing

Visual search engines make it simple for shoppers to find your products.

This story appears in the April 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Visual recognition and search company Riya has applied its matching technology to a new fashion shopping site called Like.com. The idea is that, when a shopper finds a fashion item he or she likes--a particular handbag or pair of shoes, for example--the search engine finds related products by examining the actual image. To get matches, users can do a keyword search, browse products or even browse items worn by celebrities.

Riya's technology works by studying one image and finding others that match it. E-tailers add their merchandise to Like.com simply by adding item images, or they can work with their affiliate networks to get listed. E-tailers are charged for Like.com's service by the click, but a few merchants use a cost-per-acquisition model.

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