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Suggestive Selling and Recommendation Engines

Sometime back I blogged about the challenges of building recommendation engines. It is very difficult to come up with an algorithm that can predict what you may be interested in. If you look at your recommendations on Amazon.com, you will typically notice a pattern based on an author or particular subject. Good luck finding something that was recommended because you liked John Grisham and Nuclear Physics – it simply seems this type of intersection is not in their algorithm.

If you look at Netflix on the other hand, this is exactly what they do. Based on the genre, actors, etc. and how other people who have rated other movies the same as you, Netflix takes a guess at how much you will like the movie. And they simply don’t recommend it – they say ‘we think you’ll give this 3.5 stars.’ Pretty cool stuff.

Why do I bring this up now? Because today is the launch of Windows 7 and I had a flashaback to a visit I paid to Amazon.com a short time ago. I was presented with the recommendation shown below.

Why on earth I should consider Cake Mania because I looked at Windows 7 is beyond me.

And no, I didn’t consider it – in case you were wondering.

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