Fast Search a company in Norway has just acquired Agent Arts, a recommender system that has been focused on mobile systems. This is great for the Agent Arts guys. I was talking with them when I was looking for my last full time gig. They were based in Australia at the time but they moved to California sometime this year.
While this is well and good what frustrates me the most is that my past fulltime employer Sourcelight Technologies is never mentioned. Sourcelight has been in business for 10 years and has powered the movie recommendations on Hollywoodvideo.com Moviegallery.com comcast.net and digitarian.dk . So why do people ignore Sourcelight? Do they not know about it? The amazing part of this is that there is no VC money involved just some smaller investors. The really interesting part is that Sourcelight started by creating Kiosks that people could use in the store to get recommendations. These kiosks were deployed in Blockbuster stores in Chicago and Texas and other places.
So what does the recommender space look like? It is highly competative. There are a few clients and you always are bidding against the same competitor. I wonder when some of these companies will start cahnging direction or closing. I also think Choicestream will be interesting to watch. They have raised a ton of cash and thier burn rate has to be incredible. I haven’t heard a lot from them lately so I wonder if thier business is slowing.
Recommendation systems are still in thier infancy. The eventaul goal of all these systems in advertising. The company that does that the best first will win this game.