A recommendation engine is software or a service that recommends things to people based on their behavior or people that have behaved like them in the past, like the features of sites that say things like people that bought this also bought that, or liked, or followed, etc. Such recommendations are also known as targeted resource recommendations, and are usually in a specific domain.
Reasons to have a recommendation engine in your site / service / software include:
- To improve search (rather than relying solely on keywords)
- To suggest content after onboarding (rather than presenting the user with a blank or template page)
- To help users follow each other (and therefore stimulate more conversation)
Amazon recommends things to buy based on:
- What you've bought in the past
- What others have bought that you have bought
- What others have bought after looking at the same page as you're on
Facebook has a few features that appear to use a recommendation engine:
- "People to follow" - their version of who to follow
- Suggested Friends
- Suggested Events
- related events
Netflix recommends movies to watch based on:
- What you've watched and others have also watched
Twitter has several features that appear to use a recommendation engine:
- who to follow
- suggested accounts when creating a new account (screenshot?)
- suggested accounts to follow shown immediately after following someone (screenshot?)
Services to Silos
A recommendation engine might recommend books based on titles you've already read, or blogs based on who you're following.
In an IndieWeb context, a recommendation engine could recommend
- other independent website owners to follow an indie reader, based on
- who you follow already
- articles to read, based on
- articles liked by people who have liked other articles that you've liked
- liked/bookmarked/etc posts based on similarity towards the current entry; maybe with tag matching, text analysis. deep learning or manual sorting
One of the benefits of an indieweb approach is that you might be able to supply your own algorithm, or have a choice of algorithm, rather than needing to trusting one provided by a silo.
The benefit might be a wider audience for independent site owners whose content might not otherwise be discovered.