Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New movie recommendation service is powered by people

Clerk dogs believes that people give the best movie recommendations and has a search system powered by human beings, not algorithms.

Its database is made up of hundreds of thousands of individual recommendations from dozens of former video store clerks. The former clerks, who should understand why customers like movies, have analyzed the characteristics of movies to create a database that is said to be much richer and deeper than collaborative filtering engines. The system was designed to allow customers to interact with the database and to take control of their movie selection experience.

The movie genome project that powers Clerk Dogs was started when Stuart Skorman opened a brick-and-mortar video store in 1985, and moved to the web in 1995 when he founded Two years ago he reunited the original writers from to create the new movie recommendation site.

Skorman says he designed the search engine for the movie buffs who have seen so many movies that they’re having a hard time finding new ones (or old ones) that they will really love.


A search for Bedtime for Bonzo turned up nothing.

A search for Back to the Future showed the sequels. No surprises there. However, when I clicked on "Mash It" I reached a deeper analysis page with slider controls that allowed me to adjust such characteristics as "action" and "screwball humor" to reveal more recommendations, including Miss Congeniality and Blue Streak.

More clicks provide additional movie data, and ordering from

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