Turns Out Lots Of People Will Help Netflix Out For The Possibility Of Winning Money

from the and-so-it-goes dept

A week ago, we weren’t sure if there really were that many people who would be willing to help Netflix improve their recommendation engine for just the chance at winning a million dollars. While it did seem like an interesting challenge, the fact that only the best would take home the prize and the lack of any major outside benefit besides better movie recommendations seemed like it might be a tough sell. Apparently, we severely underestimated the competitive nature of Netflix fans. Apparently one group has already made a ton of progress and has already bested Netflix’s own efforts. The group says that they still have plenty of ideas to keep improving the system as well. Perhaps even more impressive is that nearly 8,000 teams have signed up to participate. With success like that, perhaps it really won’t be long until we see these kinds of contests become a lot more popular with other companies. Next thing you know, McDonald’s will be asking the community to design their next Happy Meal.


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Comments on “Turns Out Lots Of People Will Help Netflix Out For The Possibility Of Winning Money”

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18 Comments
Spartacus says:

A ton of progress

While the phrase “a ton of progress” is pretty subjective I don’t think many people would agree that WXYX Consulting has made a “ton of progress”. They have not qualified for any prize that Netflix is giving and are not even a tenth of the way to the grand prize of 1 million dollars. So I don’t think this is that mind blowing yet. No one is close to the 10% improvement required for the grand prize. I usually like your submissions Mike, but some times (just my recommendation) you should look into your story a little more than simply reading /. and regurgitating their erroneous post. And by the way, regarding the Techdirt article you link to from last week if you go to the Netflix competition site (http://netflixprize.com) they explain exactly how the 10% accuracy mark is measured. It’s really not complicated.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: A ton of progress

While the phrase “a ton of progress” is pretty subjective I don’t think many people would agree that WXYX Consulting has made a “ton of progress”.

Perhaps, but as you said, it is a subjective statement. Personally, and it seems like many people have made that statement as well, I think that going from nothing to beating the existing offering equals a ton of progress in my book. At least I’m impressed by it.

And by the way, regarding the Techdirt article you link to from last week if you go to the Netflix competition site (http://netflixprize.com) they explain exactly how the 10% accuracy mark is measured. It’s really not complicated.

When we wrote about it last week, it was before they had officially announced the contest. There were just news reports about it, so it wasn’t clear at the time. However, you’re right, that when it did come out, the way it was calculated was much clearer than expected or described in the press coverage. So, I’m sorry about that.

Spartacus says:

A ton of progress

Perhaps, but as you said, it is a subjective statement. Personally, and it seems like many people have made that statement as well, I think that going from nothing to beating the existing offering equals a ton of progress in my book. At least I’m impressed by it.

I’m not sure how many more people besides /. and that guy on blogs.siliconvalley.com are saying that it’s impressive but to me 3 people (including techdirt) saying it’s impressive doesn’t qualify as “many people”. You may know of more people who are impressed by it, but as of yet I am unaware of them.

When you say “going from nothing to beating the existing offering qualifies as a ton of progress” that means that ANY progress qualifies as a ton of progress. If that’s the case then no one is capable of “a little progress”. Progress, in this case, is merely beating the existing offering by any margin. It sounds like you’re saying that it doesn’t matter how much they improve the existing offering so long as they improve it it’s “a ton of progress”.

When we wrote about it last week, it was before they had officially announced the contest. There were just news reports about it, so it wasn’t clear at the time. However, you’re right, that when it did come out, the way it was calculated was much clearer than expected or described in the press coverage. So, I’m sorry about that.

Understandable. I assumed that the prize site was already up when you posted about it. Apology appreciated and returned in kind.

Sanguine Dream says:

Screw the 1 million...

If I were in a programming team I’d design it, code, it, patent it, and license it out to more than just one company. That way even if Netflix threatens to not pay the 1 million if they aren’t given sole ownership of the search engine, the team can tell Netflix to go fuck itself gently.

ctyankee says:

Spartacus,

Sounds like sour grapes that someone actually is getting some attention for actually doing stuff. Perhaps you should join the competition and show what you can do.

But prior poster sounds dead on, if you can beat that they have done internally in a short period of time … well ‘it ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up.’

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