Personalization, where content is customized to every user, is a popular trend. It’s been adopted by a variety of websites, including search, news, and music. The overall argument behind the push for personalization is that more targeted content (and ads) will drive greater pageviews (and revenue).
MineKey is a startup that makes adding personalization to any website simple through their embeddable widget. The widget looks like a mini RSS reader that displays relevant links for selected feeds. Recommendations are based on links from any number of RSS feeds you choose and can run across multiple properties. It comes in three different flavors: plain gray, colorful, or with a fully customizable skin.
The widget uses four sources to determine what links to display: the content’s context, individual surfing behavior, group surfing behavior, and your affinity for personalization. First, their algorithms generate content based on the content of the page. Then it compiles recommended content based on your surfing behavior and that of all the site’s visitors (tracked via cookie). Finally, based on your previous choices, the algorithm determines whether you prefer content targeted to your general personal interests or that of the website’s visitors at large.
MineKey says that they can track how a users interests evolve, differentiating between short-term and long-term user interests. This could potentially avoid the problem surfing history poses to behavior based customization. For instance, if you switch from reading about sports to stocks, you could wind up with sports scores when you want stock tips. It’s similar to problems Yahoo’s new SmartAds may encounter.
Minekey is a Silicon Valley based start up with a development office in Delhi and an R&D team on campus at IIT Karagpur in India.