September 29, 2010

YourVersion: Building recommendations through implicit & explicit behavior

Can you game the system?

David SparkI’m at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference reporting for Yammer.

Dan Olsen is the CEO and co-founder of YourVersion, which Olsen describes as Pandora for real-time web content. Just as you tell Pandora about what music you like, with YourVersion you tell them about what kind of information you like. And in both cases the applications respectively serve up music and news/real-time content to your desktop.

YourVersion launched last year at TechCrunch Disrupt and won the people’s choice award. Olsen is back now mostly showing off their iPad application. Given that the device is mostly for consumption, it’s really a natural for a YourVersion application.

I talked with Olsen about people gaming the system for these recommendation and social bookmarking applications such as Digg. Olsen said that depends on implicit vs. explicit tracking and how you’re measuring. Clicking to read an article is implicit. Retweeting an article is explicit. Olsen said they’re tracking both behaviors, but weighted more to implicit data, which is considerably harder to game.

Another aspect that Olsen measures with YourVersion is historical credit. For example, if Engadget publishes an article about the iPad and has historically had popular “iPad” articles, then YourVersion will give it a little showcasing credit. After that they’ll let the audience vote the article up and down implicitly and explicitly.

And completely unrelated to this article, here’s fun contest that Yammer is running. Enter Yammer’s “Workplace Communications Horror Story!” Sweepstakes for a chance to win a free iPad. Deadline is October 15th, 2010.David Spark, a partner in Socialmedia.biz, helps businesses grow by developing thought leadership through storytelling and covering live events. Contact David by email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.

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