Monday, September 14, 2009

Recommendation systems for dating

I'm very excited to announce a new spin-off from the Netflix competition. Online dating. For the last few months, I've been working with a dating expert (Nick Tsonis) to see if we can improve the way in which people find dates.

Well, our first dating recommendation system went live last month. www.yesnomayb.com Its early days to calculate whether its adding to the sum of human happiness, but first results are very, very promising. Its already taken over as the main method of finding potential dates on the site. Even with its relatively rudimentary implementation, it's preferred roughly 60/40 over the more traditional search mechanism (I'm a boy looking for a girl aged between 25-30, non-smoker etc etc).

What this suggests, in the first instance, is that when searching for hedonic items (i.e. those chosen on the basis of the pleasure they might bring (books, music, dates etc )), its very difficult to describe to a search engine exactly what you are looking for. Discovery processes based on analysing yours, and everyone elses, actual behaviour provide a better method of getting you to your desired target.

With further launches on other dating sites planned for September, October and January - we should be able to start to collect even more data on what works best in helping people find their ideal dates and, hopefully, make a sea change to the way online dating works.

7 comments:

Jules said...

are you talkming about the "facespin" fonction of yesnomayb.com ?
I don't see how It realates to the netflix algorithm and collaborative filtering stuff you mentioned earlier?
Jules

Just a guy in a garage said...

Jules - No I'm not talking about Facespin. I'm afraid you will have to go into the site to see what we have implemented. Essentially you will see three features - a set of recommendations, a set of two way recommendations where we think two people will like each other and a button to identify all people who are similar to a particular person. We've found that these features are now used more than the traditional search mechanisms within the site for identifying potential dates which is very pleasing.

zum gl├╝ck said...

I just looked at your site. It looks really nice. But I didn't sign up (I live in France and it's still a bit far from the closest lady that spinned towards me)
Do you know meetic affinity? Their system is a hassle in terms of usabilty (you take a 30 minutes questionnaire), but I wonder about it's efficiency as compared to what you guys did. It seems like it should be more efficient...
Also: one of the big advantages of the netflix thing was that they gave you a lot of data. What do you use if you don't have that?

Jost Joller said...

Recently another recommender system for dating launched. It learns your taste based on the ratings of your facebook friends. Its called findmytype.net

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