One of the topics discussed in session 2 was “collaborative filtering”. Collaborative filtering is the process of filtering for information that customers help to make the right choice on a website based on previous user experience.
The system has benefits and also drawbacks. Some consumers appreciate the fact that they can order products others recommend, others get the feeling they are getting tracked.
A website that has collaborative filtering integrated is not hard to notice. There are lots of websites that don’t let you notice that they are tracking you. The most used system is the “cookie system”. Simply it means that every website leaves a “cookie” on your computer that tracks all action you do on the web. Also it registers when you are returning to their website.
What most users don’t know is that tracking starts with the startup of Google. Almost 19.1 billion search queries are entered yearly, in the Netherlands only. All of them are getting tracked.
With the combination of Google + and a Gmail account every ad on Google.com and their partner websites is based on the content of the mail, page visits, and clicked ad content.
Below you find an example of a Google tracking partner website link. It is a news article about a falling crane.
I see an advertisement below that has an advertisement for hiring a crane (webpage content based). But I also see an advertisement about hiring an apartment in Rotterdam (search preference based). The system let every user see a different ad, based on their previous internet behavior.
Google + initially started with the idea of having friends recommend other pages so that Google can show the results recommended by your friends at the top of the page. ( collaborative filtering with Google search results ).
Below you find an article about how consumers turn against tracking behavior. It was in the USA Today. The article also shows the tracking behavior Facebook uses. It also tells you how to avoid tracking. The writer concludes that people will accept tracking if it becomes really beneficial instead of annoying.
And if you always thought that you only used Google as an online search engine and I didn’t affect you online consumer behavior. Please watch the following link:
Still thinking the same?
Written by Shrikesh Sheorajpanday
One thought on “(Un) Collaborative filtering”
Thanks Shrikesh!! Very nice post!! Indeed, it makes you think. I believe the discussion on privacy is a never-ending one. I personally tend to be judgmental towards recommendations when these were not requested. It may even have the opposite effect. From that perspective, I think offering personalized recommendations requires clarity and transparency if consumers are passive recipients.