Netflix: “Who wants to be a millionaire?”

Side note: I go for weeks without updating my blog and then when I do, I am suddenly inspired to blog about everything. So instead of posts spread out evenly over the weeks/months, I end up with multiple posts on the same day… and then nothing for weeks.

I just saw an article on the New York Times Website in which Netflix is offering a million dollars to the person that comes up with a better ratings/recommendation system. Netflix revolutionized the way people rent movies, taking the market by storm to the extent that Blockbuster video, whose name had become synonymous with “renting a movie”, had to reinvent themselves… doing away with late charges and trying to regain market share by opening up a “DVD by mail” channel in their own business. (I forget the statistic, but they were down significantly at one point thanks to this shift in how people rent videos.

This new move by Netflix is brilliant, in the age of “Web 2.0” where the “user is in control” netflix is making a database of 100 million movie ratings available as part of a competition with a goal of improving their recommendation system.

A very bold, and brave move by Netflix… I applaud you.

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