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Aron

Mike, I sent you an email on this one on 4/20 while it was in Beta. ;)

It apparently uses a different algorithm then Netflix does, in that it isn't collaborative filtering, they call it 'Attributed Bayesian Choice Modeling'. They are licensing it from ChoiceStream.

I think Netflix's system suffers from the assumption that the only thing that people are willing to offer is a rating and the only feedback they want is a predicted rating. The real answer is more complex. There are always a fraction of users that are willing to give more info, and if this is logically tiered, then they can improve the system for themselves and potentially for others. Given that merchandising back catalogue is such a relevent problem here, I'm surprised there is not more obvious effort to try new approaches.

I, for one, would love to tell Netflix that I absolutely hate Ben Affleck.

Mike C.

For those that don't already know, FilmAffinity is another movie recommendations site. It operates by using matched affinities with other users.

http://www.filmaffinity.com/

Mike K

Aron,

I remember someone sent it in, but I searched GMail and couldn't find your e-mail. I'm sorry for not giving you credit or running the story at that time!

- Mike

It appears as if all Yahoo needs now is the backend warehouse and fulfillment infrastructure and they could take on NetFlix/Blockbuster. In fact, I would not be at all surprised if they do so. Or perhaps they'll partner with one or the other and handle the online distribution of movies while the partner handles physical delivery for those that prefer to get their video that way.

If Yahoo jumps into the DVD rental fray, I'd expect them to devastate their competition with low pricing, just as they are now doing with their music subscription service ($5/month compared to the competition's $15/month). They would gobble up market share if they offered a year of 3-out-at-a-time DVD rental service for $60. Who could compete? Or they could just threaten to do so, in order to get a lucrative partnership deal from NetFlix or Blockbuster.

Could get interesting.

Jes

Just went through several lists and rated about 260 movies. However, the recommendations they keep giving me are mostly the same 5 pages over and over. Rate another 20, and they only give me one recommended movie that I'm not interested in.

I'm extremely interested in that I've rated multiple 80's movies and chick flicks (Love Actually, etc), the highest (A- through A+) and they haven't recommended one of those genres to me.

Jes

Oh -- and are you looking at movies in the "rating area" as recommendations? Because I'm going to the actual recommendation area ("View recommendations") link, and looking at all options there, as well as click on "More Recommended Movies on DVD/Video" Not getting much change there at all, despite continually rating more movies.

Aron

Yahoo may be a thorn in Netflix's side in the future (or an acquirer - who knows). I think Netflix needs to strike out and provide more movie-related services even if they are somewhat tangential to renting. The vision is for a full service movie portal intended to fully capture all movie needs of its members. I have been a Netflix user for 2 years and still go to Rotten tomatoes and Yahoo! movies for such things as info about films in theaters. That is not good.

I like Netflix, but their corporate personality seems very conservative and by the numbers. Their primary driving reason for success was not strictly execution but the fanciful and visionary idea of DVDs by mail in a subscription package. I have seen little evidence that a visionary component to the company is being nurtured. We'll see what their VOD package offers..

Aron

Ok, I have to temper my comment. The friends features have some borderline potential for future directions, some of their exclusive content deals are excellent, and Reed has discussed a parallel with HBO and moving deeper into content production in the future. There are still visionary threads turning. Oh well, I'm just an observer.

LaWilson

"If Yahoo jumps into the DVD rental fray, I'd expect them to devastate their competition with low pricing, just as they are now doing with their music subscription service ($5/month compared to the competition's $15/month). They would gobble up market share if they offered a year of 3-out-at-a-time DVD rental service for $60. Who could compete? Or they could just threaten to do so, in order to get a lucrative partnership deal from NetFlix or Blockbuster.

Could get interesting."

It's funny, because I was going to post this exact thing. When Yahoo! sneaked up and added the music service, they caught me by surprise, and it's a remarkably great service (I prepaid for the year). I can totally see them jumping into this business, or trying to acquire Netflix. Yahoo! has so much money from advertising that they could do a 9.99/month service and kill the competition. Since I'm already a Yahoo SBC user, as well as other services, this would be a welcome addition to my account with them.

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