All posts by Isishommema

Worldsupporter: motivation to contribute

If someone contributes to an online recommendation or experience platform, he can have several reasons for this (Bateman et al., 2011). For example, you could help others with your recommendation, you want to use recommendations and therefore have to contribute yourself, or you could get paid or rewarded for your contributions.

A website that combines all theses reasons is This website was launched by the volunteering/travelling company JoHo, because they noticed that many people who would like to be volunteers abroad, lacked some information. Wereldsupporter brings young volunteers together to share experiences and to motivate others to go volunteering as well.  Also some specific projects can be recommended by word of mouth from experienced volunteers. The platform is very broad and offers many tools, such as blogs from volunteers, a shop where you can donate your used travel supplies, sharing of international recipes and culture, discussion fora, picture contests and more.


But what motivates people to contribute? One could argue that people who are willing to do volunteering work for others, might also be willing to share their experiences with others, with the motivation to help them. But still, people could forget sharing, or share their experiences on different websites. To keep users active on a regular basis, Worldsupporter offers two different reward systems. Continue reading Worldsupporter: motivation to contribute

Freer than Free: Free Money

Many products and services are offered to consumers for free, such as Google, e-mail, movies and sometimes even touchable products such as razorblades or samples (Anderson, 2008). But did you know these products are not only available for free, but that you could actually get paid to use them?  Moneymiljonair is an online savings program that rewards its users for active participation. The website applies many of the concepts mentioned by Anderson (2008) to offer free products and free money. With this strategy, they have already paid out more than 13 million euro to its users. But how do they do it?


Continue reading Freer than Free: Free Money

MyFitnessPal: A recommendation

Myfitnesspal (1) is a diet app with a food tracker, to help people keep track of what they eat. Users can set targets on their weight, the calories consumed and sports practiced. The app interacts with the users in many ways, for example, if you entered your sport exercises you are allowed to eat more calories on that day. There are no monetary costs involved for users, but the users have to put some effort into using the product: they need to add every single item they consumed. The utility, however, is relatively high for most people. Only by adding the food, the app gives you extensive feedback on your behavior. The company promotes sharing your achievements with friends, as this would increase weight-loss. You can give friends permission to view your data, or share your achievements on the large social media platforms.



The company benefits from user data and uses nutritional information for their databases.  Users can add foods, information about this food and its barcodes to the database. If someone scans a barcode, he immediately receives all information available on this product and can add this to his own record. Therefore, user participation adds to the quality of the product, which makes them active co-creators of the app. The more information the app contains, the easier the app gets for users. Also, a forum is available to the users, on which they can motivate each other, and blogs offer them more information about food and exercising.

MyFitnessPal is one of the most successful lifestyle and health apps with 40 million users and has been in many top downloading list. However, it is used as an individual food tracker only. With the data available, there are many options for improving the app. The keyword for a successful diet is personalization. In the first place because not everyone wants or needs the same, and secondly because there is a choice overload in diets, foods and possible healthy behavior. A Myfitnesspal Recommendation agent could be the answer for a successful diet. Recommendation agents (RAs) are software agents that elicit the interests or preferences of individual consumers for products, either explicitly or implicitly, and make recommendations accordingly (Xiao & Benbasat, 2007). According to Tsekouras & Li (2014), the ease of generating recommendations is important for a RA to succeed. Because users already provide enormous sets of data, a RA would be easy to create for myfitnesspal. By learning from the available data, Myfitnesspal can observe successful dieting behavior and match this to the users by recommending sports, food and diets (2).  The app could provide messages such as: you are over your calorie goal for today. If you walk for 25 minutes you could still reach your goal. Or: You eat more fat than the average person of your height and age. Try to cut down 10 grams per day and lose up to 5kg. In this way, without asking more from its users, MyFitnessPal can help people lose weight even better.



(2) Murthi, B.P.S., & Sarkar, S. (2003). The role of the management sciences in research on personalizaBon. Management Science, 49(10)

Xiao, Bo, and Izak Benbasat. “E-commerce product recommendation agents: use, characteristics, and impact.” MIS Quarterly 31.1 (2007): 137-209.

Tsekouras,D.,& Li T. (2014). A Car & A Room For My Perfect Date: The Role Of Perceived Effort In Personalized RecommendaBons, Working Paper