Why Recommendations?

If you’re a user of the StyleFeeder site, you’ve likely noticed that recommendations link at the top of every page. Click on it and (if you are logged in) you will see a list of products: your recommendations. If you’ve never rated anything on StyleFeeder, your recommendations won’t be very interesting—it will simply be a list of the most highly rated products on the site. Begin rating and updating your recommendations and something interesting thing will happen: the products you see will start to become more relevant to your tastes. We use what is known as a collaborative filtering algorithm to determine your recommendations. By comparing how you rate products to how others rate, we can algorithmically find products you might like. The more products you rate, the better we understand your preferences and the better recommendations we can make.

But, why? Why are we doing this? How could a computer possibly understand “fashion” and “taste”? How can the computer possibly know my taste as well as or better than my best friend? In a sense, it can’t. Our recommendation engine can’t “look” at an outfit and give you feedback. But, the engine has an advantage over your best friend: data, and lots if it. The engine can’t “see” the products that are added to the StyleFeeder site, but it has access to the opinions of thousands of users. Each of those users has expressed their taste by rating and bookmarking products. The recommendation engine can identify products you’ll like by comparing your ratings and StyleFeed to that of others’. Whereas your best friend may only be able to browse a few sites a day, the StyleFeeder recommendations engine incorporates and filters thousands of new items daily. It’s also constantly on the lookout for new users who’s style is compatible with yours: your StyleTwins. We’re not suggesting that you ditch your best friend, but the StyleFeeder recommendations engine gives you something that neither your best friend nor all the fashion magazines can provide: a product finding service that’s personal to your tastes.