Last year I tried out iLike to see how well it worked.  I didn't like their 'similar artists'  recommendations too much.  I figured it was a cold-start problem.  Since they were a new site, they didn't have enough data to make good recommendations.  I tried iLike again this morning to see how well they improved after having 6 months of data.  I was surprised to learn that I was getting the exact same  recommendations as I got back in October.  It is as if they have not updated their similarity data since they have launched.  Some of these recommendations are horrendous.  Type in Emerson Lake and Palmer and the related artists are:

  • Elmo and Patsy
  • Jose Feliciano
  • Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • Brenda Lee
  • Holiday Express
  • Bing Crosby
  • Burl Ives
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra

iLike is still thinking that the most distinctive feature of ELP is their one Christmas song. 

Even more telling are the recommendations for Rodrigo y Gabriela.  Even though Rod and Gab have been played 20,000 times by iLike users, iLike can't offer any recommendations at all. My guess is that when they built their artist similarity model back in October, Rod and Gab weren't on the map yet - so they had no data. But 6 months later Rod and Gab are very popular, iLike should have no trouble generating recommendations for them.  In their FAQ iLike says:

How do you pick which artists are "related"? We use computer algorithms that figure this out using the "wisdom of crowds", i.e. "people who listen to this artist also listen to these other artists". The more people use the iLike Sidebar for iTunes, the better our computer algorithms will get at figuring out which artists are related.

But this doesn't seem to be happening.  Perhaps iLike doesn't see value in generating good recommendations, and just hasn't bothered to push all of their social data into their recommendation engine.


[Trackback] I've reading Paul Lamere's blog, Duke Listens!, for the last couple of months. It's the smartest blog for who is interested by recommendation ((It used to be Greg Linden (who still has some great insights) but since he has retired

Posted by leafar on May 21, 2007 at 12:34 PM EDT #

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