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What Is Best vs. What Is Best For Me

How many times have you found yourself looking at lists of "Top 10 Movies" or listening to the "Top 20 Music Countdown" in your local radio station? How often do you ask your friends which is the best restaurant in town, what video game is a must or what is the best way to lose weight?

We are all used to trying to search for what is best. But with the rise of the Internet, a new set of questions have begun to arise. What movie would I like better? What music fits my tastes? What restaurant fits my budget? What is the best way for my body to lose weight? Actually, these aren't new questions. They are old ones that now have a place to find their answers. The Internet has become full of recommendation services. These try to match users with what fits them best. This is very closely related to what is known as the Long Tail.

If you look at it in terms of a movie store, there are a few movies that almost everybody loves and buys. These are the blockbuster hits. Then there are the movies that not many people watch. But the number of movies in this category is way bigger than the number of blockbuster hits. These movies make up the long tail. You probably won't find these movies being advertised heavily, as only a handful of people are interested in them. But for this handful of people those movies may be their number one movies. Those movies are not what is best, but are what is best for them.

Will people then stop focusing on what is best for everyone and only focus on what is best for them? Not entirely. Both ends of the spectrum are important. There will always be a book that everyone should read. There are always health tips that apply to everyone. But with personalization, instead of invalidating what is best for everyone, we can make it better, complement it. You will be able to know what CD's to listen to first and where to go from there. That is, after all, what many recommendation sites do. Based on your ratings of popular items, they can guess your preference of less popular items.

It's good to know that in today's society we can find both: what is best for everyone and what is best for me.


Bah!,I hate hearing about top # and best hits, etc. nothing but popular opinion being influenced on what to watch. I prefer the way of experimenting on what's out there, that way. Then it'll be something you know and can make an opinion about. You can't make an opinion if you haven't experienced it yet.

Oh c'mon, don't dismiss top #s so quickly. There are many things for which you can't experience everything. Movies are one of the best examples. You just can't watch every single one out there. Even if you could, you wouldn't really want to waste your time on the bad ones. It's good to know which ones are generally good or generally bad. I like knowing which movies are hits, and I don't mind if it influences me to watch a movie I hadn't previously considered. Even more than that I like knowing which movies absolutely suck, so I don't waste my time on them. Then for those in between, getting personalized recommendations can be extremely useful. Though I must admit, I think some of those tools still have a long way to go. I'm not sure Netflix's recommendations are always all that good, for example. I'd really like to see recommendations for videogames, though :-). Recommendation services for that probably exist, but I haven't come accross any...

Um, there are things in recommendations for video games. It's called reviews and scoring from either 10 of 10, or 100 of 100. I'm tired of that too. Yet it always does disappoint me about video games. Too many bad games, not many good ones around. Or maybe that's my own opinion. I can't really say for sure. The world is not made of money.

Yeah, videogame reviews can be useful, but I've never seen anything personalized. The reviews I've seen are usually very biased towards whatever the reviewers like. I very often disagree with their views and opinions. A good example is one I was just looking at today on Gamespot. They summarize 'The Good' and 'The Bad' before each review, and one of 'The Bad' things about one game they reviewed was "Toned-down gore". Are you kidding me? I would consider that good. But I know that many adult video gamers just can't get enough gore. So I have to go through the trouble of filtering what they write in those heavily biased reviews in an effort to figure out if I would like a particular game. I could certainly use a recommendation service. About there not being enough good games, I think there's a decent amount of good games, if you can find them amongst the ocean of not so good games.

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Wow, thanks for the nice comments!