Coincidentally I decided to reactivate my Netflix account over te weekend. Upon doing so, I was asked to describe how often I watched what type of movie genres. I was then introduced to a page full of recommended movies and I soon found myself going through and rating movies that I had already seen.
Over the Winter break, someone had emailed the ITP list asking about Netflix movie recommendations. She complained that none of the recomendations that Netflix was giving her were any good. Dozens of people responded with recommendations for many movies I had never heard of and sounded interesting. I thought this was an interesting example of the failure of recommendation systems; it seems that the Netflix system was likely to give you more of the same movies that you had already seen, or movies similar to those that you had already seen, just not as good. It made it difficult to discover really new, original, and unique movies that are good and you would still enjoy. It seemed that recommendations from friends and real people still won out over the automated computer recommendations.
Other recommendation systems I encounter on a daily basis are the catered advertisements popularized by Google and found on all their online services as well as Facebook. Truthfully, I almost never pay any attention to any of the Google advertisements, and find them to be completely irrelevant to me. As for Facebook, I notice their advertisements, but very rarely are they anything I am even remotely interested in, even though I know they are based on my profile. As far as I can recall, the handful of times that I was interested in a Facebook ad and clicked through was when it was for an upcoming concert from one of my favorite bands.