Recommendations are a big deal in the online economy.
On YouTube, video recommendations account for about 30% of all views. Some have speculated that up to 35% of Amazon’s sales are driven by recommendations. And at Netflix, a full 60% of all video rentals are driven by Netflix’s recommendation engine.
Clearly, if you get the recommendations right, you can drive transactions.
But what about people recommendations, aka introductions? With the explosion of online profiles, the continuing deprecation of privacy, and the collection of location information via smartphones, it would seem that we might be entering into the golden age of professional and social matchmaking.
San Francisco startup Meet Gatsby aims to find out.
Meet Gatsby was built with the premise that sometimes everyone just needs a little nudge to meet new people. Unlike services like Sonar or dating apps like Grindr, Meet Gatsby is not about browsing nearby people and blindly reaching out.
Gatsby does that work for you. By parsing location, Foursquare check in history, friend networks, and Facebook profiles, Gatsby takes a shot at programatically calculating that one, perfect person for you to meet at that particular moment in time. The team behind Gatsby calls this “engineered serendipity.”
Gatsby then sets up a sixty minute, direct communication channel for you with that person, prompted by an SMS message. All you have to do is respond to the SMS, and you’re interacting.
All conversations initiated by Gatsby are captured in the company’s iPhone app for your future reference.
Of course, any good recommendation engine needs a trigger – some action that allows the algorithm to work its magic, and ideally, an action that the more you do, the better the recommendations become.
On Amazon, it’s the purchase. On YouTube, it’s the video play. And on Netflix, it’s the rating. With Meet Gatsby, it’s the check-in. Share your location on either Foursquare and Facebook, and Gatsby will try and find you a match, and then actively go out and make that intro for you.
This concept of the active introduction is crucial to Meet Gatsby. Unlike the services that put the burden on you to break the ice, Gatsby is there to take the pressure off.
The best comparison is the gracious host at the party who is gifted at introducing folks who should know each other.
In a nutshell, this is Gatsby. The all knowing, socially graceful friend whose sole mission is to match you up with someone you might find interesting.
Because after all, it’s far easier to meet people via an introduction than it is to blindly approach them – even if that introduction is coming from an algorithm masked in a digital butler costume.
Get the Meet Gatsby iPhone app, and take if for a spin.
Here are some recommendation conversion numbers from the founders of Meet Gatsby: