Innovation That Matters

New venture makes recommendations across the web


Using collaborative filtering to give consumers product recommendations based on the opinions of those similar to them has more or less become hygiene for retail sites ranging from Amazon to Netflix and beyond. While a few stand-alone sites have popped up to connect twinsumers* in specific niches (such as music), a new, Berlin-based startup aims to give users tailored recommendations for anything and everything across the web. Plista is a social recommendation network that aims to guide users to relevant content, products, services and advertising throughout the internet in real-time, based on their individual preferences. The site’s technology is item- and device-independent, meaning that it works with any item and via various channels on the internet: as a widget, per API integration or browser plug-in. Currently, users begin by downloading a plug-in to their browser, thereby allowing Plista’s interface to overlay directly onto any web page they’re viewing–even mimicking its colours and typefaces. Users can then rate content on the site, and Plista responds with recommendations based on the tastes of similar consumers for other things they’d be likely to enjoy, on the same site or elsewhere. Plista uses models of user behaviour that even watch for moods and daily variations, according to Silicon Valley Watcher. A social network component, meanwhile, allows users to share their recommendations and find others with similar tastes. Currently gearing up for private beta, Plista plans to charge website publishers a fee to integrate the technology into their sites, Silicon Valley Watcher reported, in return for which the publishers can participate in revenue sharing from cross-site recommendations–not to mention getting to know their visitors a whole lot better. Recommendations in general are a good thing, but their value increases infinitely when they come from like-minded consumers. By extending the power of collaborative filtering beyond individual sites or even content niches and across the entire web, Plista promises to propel the twinsumer trend into full blossom. One to watch! (Related: Dating 3.0.) Spotted by: Silicon Valley Watcher via Susanna Haynie * Consumers looking for the best of the best don’t connect to just any other consumer–they are looking for (and listening to) their taste twins: fellow consumers who think, react, enjoy and consume the way they do.



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