ia play

the good life in a digital age

dodgy recommendations

I always like examples of recommendation engines and the like that have got a bit muddled. The WalMart Apes scandal remains the classic. In this case the book is Apocalypses: Prophecies, Cults and Millennial Beliefs Throughout the Ages and the sponsored link reads “Cheap Weber BBQs”.

dodgy recommendations

It would be nice to think that the suggestion that customer interested in a book on apocalypses might also like a BBQ had some sort of ‘burn in hell’ connnection but it appears to just be that the author is called “Weber” which is a BBQ brand.

Which started me thinking about how to improve the recommendation engine with a bit of semantic insight about which fields to match upon. You could just not match on the author field but presumably some of the sponsored links are actually related to the author (I’m thinking the Gillian McKeiths and Deepak Chopras of the world). So you’d need some semantic information about the content of the sponsored link as well. Which could be a bit more challenging…

Written by Karen

July 30th, 2009 at 6:18 am