Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Consumers won't work for Web3.0 & Personalization

Josh Catone keyed a great post today on ReadWriteWeb titledWeb3.0 & the concept of personalization. But.....as the semantic web comes with many promises I *do not* think consumers will work to make any machine or system smarter while waiting for the said benefits of Web3.0. As attention spans shrink, and patience becomes an endangered virtue, consumers will want recommendations, personalization and time savings immediately. They won't work for it. And at the center of it all is figuring out what people like and don't like. Combing the social graph may turn up likely connections but somewhere you need an indication of intent - "I like it" or "I don't."

In our small corner of the world at Outbrain, we are applying some of these concepts to enable true personalization and discovery of blog posts and article type content. We are using the act of rating as the indicator to gauge someone's feelings about a blog post/article. Then, we look at groups of like minded raters to determine what other blog posts/articles would be relevant, and useful to each reader on an individual basis.

Jemima Kiss (cool name - glad I have it right - Josh you may want to have a look here) over at the Guardian sparked this blog trail and her point of how Last.FM "scrobbles" everyone's listening habits to become smart is key. Last.FM scrobbles listening habits and we scrobble ratings. Last.FM uses intelligence from social indicators to enable music discovery and we do the same to suggest, targeted reading recommendations for our users. This takes much of the burden off the user and is essential for those of us "recommenders" shaping Web3.0.

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