Sunday, May 10, 2009

Facebook Application: - truly personalized recommendation engines

With the rise of the social web, personalization has quickly become more and more important for the consumers as well as the providers. Personalization allows you to target specific types of content to specific types of people, hence increasing your chances of being able to sell your product or service. Its Marketing 101 - if you want to sell your product or service to anybody you need to speak their language first and relate to them by explaining how your product or service can solve problems specific to them. 

At the end it comes down to what will $1 invested in your service give me? Whether it is better customer support, better project management, faster processes, real time analytics, etc. Of course you can do this by having custom products and services but your margins are far better if you instead customize / personalize how you deliver the same products and services. This is a fact. Rolls Royce does not generate as much revenue as Nissan or Toyota. Yes there are problems today that require a 'Rolls Royce' and customized solution but a lot of people have common problems that do not need a 'Rolls Royce' solution - hence you don't see a Rolls Royce on every block. I think solutions that focus on these common problems have better profit margins and second are easier to sell and market than a customized solution.

I posted recently on the topic of content personalization and recommendation engines for eCommerce solutions. Today I came across which is also available as a Facebook application. I was not able to install it because it's a Facebook Application for Pages - not entirely sure what that means, but I guess my profile 'Page' does not count. 
Anyway from reading the application's profile after installing it will recommend stuff that is relevant to you. As a Facebook application, could - and should - learn about your friends, your interests, your favorite books and movies, your friend's favorite books or movies, etc. and when the time comes it will recommend something to you based on this information. This is the smarter recommendation engine - something I see becoming the norm for recommendation engines across all eCommerce websites.  Remember the quote "Tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are"?

There could be more services like this, but is definitely the first one I have seen so far. I am surprised it is not something Facebook owns themselves. Sooner or later we will see applications just like this but on the online stores themselves such as Amazon where their recommendation engines would become smarter by thinking social or ask the smarter recommendation engines that think social such as  for help. This is an important step for truly personalized recommendations that think outside of the box instead of being bounded by the information they have about you. 

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