The Recommendation Engine

A few weeks ago, I discussed how the value of expert opinions was dwindling. Well, The New York Times profiles an online music company that extends this theme:

“All told, music consumers are increasingly turning away from the traditional gatekeepers and looking instead to one another — to fellow fans, even those they’ve never met — to guide their choices.”

These new sites gives people a more personal relationship to the music, and they are more likely to find music they like.

“If a faceless corporation is telling me I should like this music, even if it’s the best band in the world, I’ll probably be skeptical.”

The site featured in the article states that 10% of users end up clicking through to Amazon or iTunes to buy a song or album. “That’s a much better rate than standard online retailers can claim.”

Update: It seems that user ratings are popping up all over the web, resulting in some real opportunities for online revenue:

“According to John Lazarchic, Petco’s vice president for e-commerce, 30 days after the company placed links near products asking visitors to write a review, more than 1,000 products attracted comments. Petco then featured the highest-rated products in marketing e-mail messages. Those messages generated five times as many site visits as previous approaches.”