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This article was published on March 2, 2010

Whatever happened to Peter Gabriel-backed The Filter?

Whatever happened to Peter Gabriel-backed The Filter?
Martin SFP Bryant
Story by

Martin SFP Bryant


Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-qualit Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-quality, compelling content for them. He previously served in several roles at TNW, including Editor-in-Chief. He left the company in April 2016 for pastures new.

The FilterIt’s fair to say that we haven’t heard a lot about The Filter, the personal recommendation engine backed by music legend Peter Gabriel, since its public site launched in a blaze of hype nearly two years ago.

So, what’s been happening for the company that aims to recommend music, films and web video based on your personal taste?

While the public-facing TheFilter.com has been ticking over nicely at a steady, if unimpressive, 800,000 monthly users, the company has been focusing on providing white label recommendation service for other businesses.

Today The Filter announces a deal to provide recommendations for video site Dailymotion. With a reported 66 million monthly users using Dailymotion, this is a big news for The Filter and adds to its roster of partners that includes Sony Music Entertainment, thePlatform, We7 and Nokia.

The FilterWhat of TheFilter.com though? When it launched in 2008, it made national news with investor Peter Gabriel hailing it as a “digital life-jockey” for cutting through the sea of entertainment choices out there, leaving only the you music, films and online video that you were interested in.

With just 800,000 monthly users (according to their own figures) and no major publicity push of late it seems like the site is being left to act as a mere demo for the technology the firm uses in its deals with other businesses.

David Maher Roberts notes that the traffic the site gets is “…enough to give us interesting levels of data to play with. The site is very much a showcase and test environment for us to develop and optimise services we can then license to our partners now and in the future”.

The Future

Roberts tells me the company is still honing its technology with location-based mobile recommendations a particular focus.

“We have a team focussed on product development and R&D. We will always invest in making sure we remain at the forefront of relevance technologies. Our focus is on enhancing our core technology offering as well as looking at ways in which relevance can be used in different devices.

“We are working on improving the core algorithms all the time. In terms of new stuff we are doing a lot of mobile personalised projects using location, time of day and user behaviour to determine relevance.”

As for the market for recommendation engines as a whole, Roberts is confident The Filter is in the right business.

“It is a very exciting time. Content companies have spent a lot of time and money over the last five years on digitising their catalog, now they need to focus on finding smarter ways to match their customers to their content. Companies like The Filter can blend usage data with description (meta) data to provide this critical service. I see the market for personal recommendations and relevance growing dramatically over the next 18 months”.

Expect The Filter to announce more partners in the coming weeks as Roberts tells me the company is in the midst of final testing on providing recommendations for other sites.

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