Right now, I can go on Amazon and it will recommend stuff I might like to buy. However, it only fairly mechanically recommends stuff which is like the other stuff I’ve already bought from them. Given that I don’t buy EVERYTHING from them, this massively restricts what they recommend, and much of it I’m not actually interested in or already own. It does work, sometimes, but serendipity is rare. Result: I buy relatively few things there and spend more time adjusting my preferences to avoid things I know I won’t like.
Right now, I can go on Rotten Tomatoes or imdb, and see the aggregated, averaged opinions of people I know nothing about and have nothing in common with. I can get an averaged out figure which expresses the lowest common denominator overall societal opinion on each film. This has some value, but it’s limited. Result: I rent or buy movies which have good reviews, but because of quirks in my taste I don’t enjoy, and miss movies I would have liked because they’re not mainstream.
Right now, I can buy a magazine and read its movie reviews, or listen to a radio show, or whatever. But there I get the opinion of a single reviewer, and it takes time and a good deal of effort to work out how much weight to give to each reviewer’s opinion. I am in 92% agreement with Jonathan Ross, who scored this film four stars, but I’m in 81% agreement with Mark Kermode, who gave it five. Should I watch it or not? Pass the calculator…
Right now, I can go on a dating site, answer an extensive questionnaire about what sort of person I am, and be given a mathematically determined matchup with any number of potential partners with whom I’m allegedly compatible. You are a 92% match for DeepBlueEyes. You are an 83% match for foxy_fun. Whatever. Result: many, many soul destroying experiences meeting people who on paper I should hit it off with.
Now, the idea: taste dating. The front end of a dating site, attached to the back end of a review/shopping site.
Imagine: log in. Fill in a questionnaire, like a dating site. Except this one doesn’t ask what you look for in a partner – it asks what you look for in a book/film/tv show/DVD/magazine/song/album/comic book. It further asks you for a score out of ten for your favourite ten or twenty things are in each of those media. The more you fill in, the more reviews you provide, the better the matches you’ll get. It also asks you for a review of at least one thing in each category that you DIDN’T like, and for, say, five things picked off a list just to see what you think.
When your profile is complete, you are matched with other users. Your scores are compared with theirs to provide an overall score of how much your tastes coincide. This step is, crucially, FREE. The site works better the larger the database of people who’ve done reviews, so the signup and review process has to be fast and very, very easy.
You are a 98% match for Dessicate_Dan. Congratulations.
Now here’s the thing: you might want to meet Dan, you might not. For now, that’s not important. The primary point of the site is this: Dan loves the things you love, hates the things you hate, and is ambivalent about the same things as you – except there’s 2% of his “love it” stuff that you haven’t reviewed. It’s extremely likely that, if you knew what it was, you would LOVE that 2% also. Want to know what’s in that 2%? That’ll be a fiver please, and that’ll sort you for a year.
For a small subscription, TasteDate will match you up with other people who have the same tastes as you, and then tell you what they’ve enjoyed that you’ve not yet tried. It’s a way of making sure you never again pay money for something you don’t love. It’s a way of serendipitously discovering new things, with some confidence they won’t be rubbish.
Crucially, it’s based not on what they’ve *bought*, or what they *own* – it’s based on what they’ve *enjoyed*. On what they actively recommend. I’m not aware of any site offering something like this.
So step 1 of the business plan: subscriptions.
You pony up the cash and discover Dessicate_Dan’s comic book collection contains all the same ones you have, except he also recommends Batman: The Long Halloween. Do you want to buy this book? Click here to order… and if you’re choosing something from someone who has a 90% match or better to your tastes, we offer a no-quibble, 30 day money back guarantee. If you don’t LOVE your new book, send it back for a refund.
Step 2 of the business plan: a shopping portal for all the stuff you now want to buy. This is where I think the real money could be made, because you wouldn’t need to be the cheapest site to get good traffic, because of the confidence your customers would have that they’ll love what they’re buying.
Finally, thanks to Dan you’ve discovered a bunch of stuff you never knew you’d like. Want his email address? That’ll be a tenner.
Step 3 of the business plan: bringing it full circle to a contact/dating site mechanic, for those people who really want it.
I have not the skills, time or inclination to take this idea and make it a reality. I’m convinced that if someone does, it will make them a millionaire. I’d like it if, in the event someone does that, they grant me a financial consideration, but I won’t hold my breath. Mainly, I’m putting this idea out for free simply because I want it implemented so I can use it.
Any comments? Any takers?