SmoothSpan Blog

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Merchandising on the Web: True Genius

Posted by Bob Warfield on September 11, 2008

I read with interest Louis Gray’s post about iTunes 8’s new “Genius” feature.  It’s designed to enable to help you find new  music similar to songs you already like based on what other people liked.  It’s much the same as Pandora, which a co-worker jokingly refers to as the search engine for songs that gives you anything but the song you asked for.

This ability to make recommendations for you based on your preferences and those of others is basic merchandising functionality, but one could argue it can make a good franchise great.  Amazon benefited hugely from being an early innovator in online merchandising.  To this day their site continues to have some of the best options along these lines of anyone.  Another great example is Netflix.  They give you suggestions for new movies to rent based on your ratings of moviies you liked.

This stuff works amazingly well. I think of it as helping to make the Long Tail mainstream.  Who isn’t delighted to discover a new song, movie, or other product that is a surprisingly good fit for their tastes but that they hadn’t found on their own?

What can your web site or service do that’s along the same lines?

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