eBay have just acquired Hunch, an online platform that provides recommendations based upon user’s individual tastes. Hunch lets you share what you like and get recommendations based on your taste and connect with people similar to you.
Hunch recognises that one size doesn’t fit all and that when you’re looking for a recommendation you’re much more likely to find a product you like from someone that knows you well. Also people that know you well might recommend a product that you didn’t even know existed. Hunch aims to do the same based on the questions you answer and by linking other social networks to your Hunch account. Hunch then uses what it calls a “Taste Graph” to make predictions about the things that you like.
I’m liking the sound of this a lot. I’m fed up with eBay’s Daily Deals – They’re mostly a load of high street goods which I have little interest in most of the time. I’m fed up with eBay’s email marketing – they’re also run of the mill products I’ve little interest in.
If Hunch can be integrated into eBay then at last eBay might be able to draw on their heritage and get back to the site everyone loves because of the kooky niche products you would bid on or buy if only you knew that they existed. This does of course rely on eBay getting around to integrating Hunch into the site – not something they ever managed to do with the last great recommendation service they purchased – Stumbleupon. This time eBay need to get it right and integrate the technology and embed it into every aspect of buying behaviour and communication.
Most of the products I’ve bought lately on recommendation have been personal recommendations, not automated mass email marketing. I’d have never purchased items like the Acer Revo (which I love and you should have one of), if it hadn’t been recommended to my be a colleague. I’d have never known it existed and that’s what eBay should be doing for me. eBay should be helping me discover the unusual, the unique and most important of all the products I just can’t live without but didn’t know existed.
Of course that’s just extracurricular email marketing… here’s a thought, what would it do to eBay’s Best Match if everyone’s search results started to be individualised based upon what eBay knows about you, what you’ve purchased in the past and what people who know you or have similar tastes to you would like? What if Best Match became smart enough to find a for me and a…. well I don’t know what eBay might find for you and just possibly it’s something you don’t even know you want or need, but if eBay get Hunch right when you see it you’ll be buying it instantly.