Friday, March 23, 2007

Suggestive selling on the web

How do you decide what movie you are going to see? Or which book to buy? Is your search engine helping you make your selections? While I'm not a member of Netflix or Blockbuster, I usually search for movies on their sites to decide which movie to see and then order one from my local DVD shop. Most times I end us selecting a movie title from the "If you like this, also see this" list, which is a great way to find similar types of movies. Companies are counting on this to happen. Using something called preference engines to make suggestions of similar items to consumers is one of their tricks that usually works quite well.
Michael Rappa, a professor of technology management at North Carolina State University, says preference engines "are a very advanced form of automation. They take advantage of what they can learn about you and your preferences. They can be incredibly useful and can be a big part of the business market."

"They want to put movies in front of you that you may not have watched," Rappa said. "Their whole success is predicated on feeding you a whole set of movies you're going to like."

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