Using winter break to clear out some old blog entries that I started but never finished.
Netflix, the DVD rental-by-mail outfit, offers a movie recommender. I used it for about a year before it went into a software update that took forever. During that time, I subscribed to Netflix for four months before deciding that I couldn't afford the service. Maybe I'll try again in the future.
Netflix had a couple of interesting quirks that were new to me. First, there recommendations were ranked so that the top of the list would be the discs where my prediction was most positively variant than the average prediction. So, a film that was rated very poorly by the average population, but moderately well by my aesthetic neighbors, a movie such as Firehouse, would end up at the top of my recommendations list.
The other interesting thing about the Netflix recommender was its rating scale. On a 1-5 star scale, three was slightly positive, and two stars was the neutral rating. I think a zero-rating was also possible, but this allowed for more granularity in positive ratings then negative ratings.
The Netflix recommender was out-of-commission a great deal of the time. I'm pretty sure that they have made significant changes to the recommendation engine, but, to be honest, they also made it nearly impossible for non-subscribers to reach the rating system not long after I bailed on Netflix. But interestingly enough, Blockbuster had also installed a ratings system.