On Monday, the popular online auction site, eBay, announced that it was buying Hunch, a company that calculates user recommendations. User recommendations are nothing new on the web, yet Hunch still fetched a decent price.
Amazon developed a recommendations algorithm in the late 1990s, which has helped users make purchases based on their established interests. Since then, Youtube has implemented the algorithm to suggest videos to viewers. Netlfix and many other online services use similar systems in order to personalize the user experience and keep people coming back to their site and/or service.
eBay was founded in San Jose, CA in 1995 as a platform to enable ecommerce. Now the world's largest online marketplace, eBay allows members to buy and sell merchandise to and from just about every country in the world.
Transactions are completed quickly and securely through Paypal. eBay is an incredibly versatile platform, allowing companies to sell new merchandise, as well as allowing individuals to buy and sell used products. There are almost no limits to the types of merchandise sold on the site, which creates a wide variety of products, from clothing to rare collectors items.
As the uncontested leader of ecommerce, one of the major problems consumers face with eBay is the massive selection of merchandise to navigate. The site splits products into categories to help narrow down the search, but even then, finding the right item can be like searching for a needle in a hay stack.
Adding user recommendations is sometimes seen as invasive to consumers, but it is a relief to others. Personalized recommendations based on established personal interests can cut the browsing time for buyers significantly, freeing up time for more important tasks, such as earning a living and raising a family.
eBay makes its profits from a small fee applied to each sale made on the site, so more sales mean more profit for the company. This is where Hunch comes in. The New York-based company was founded in 2009 and recommends art, food, movies, music, games, books, fashion and more based on your interests and friends.
Hunch has developed a unique system, called the Taste Graph, which eBay will implement to improve its user experience. The Taste Graph is based on a series of questions answered by individuals, which are used to create a customer profile. Suggestions are then sent to the user based on his or her expressed interests.
Hunch and other similar services provide personalized advertising direct to a company's customer accounts. The system benefits buyers in helping them locate products that are relevant to their interests. Hunch also helps sellers on eBay connect their products with the right customers.
The vast selection of merchandise available on eBay can make it difficult to keep items visible to customers, and Hunch can help. Users can opt to have recommendations sent directly to their inboxes, so they don't miss a time-sensitive deal. Hunch and eBay assures users that customer privacy is a top priority, and the existing privacy policies will be enforced.