Local Recommendation Engine Bizzy Checks Itself Before it 'Recs' Itself

Bizzy, a subsidiary of ReachLocal that’s part Yelp, part Netflix has gotten enough traction to start a new phase of its Beta testing, which started in November 2010.   On Bizzy, users answer basic questions about their favorite places to eat, shop and play. The site then makes recommendations using favorite places from other users with similar tastes. To date, the company has logged over 100,000 favorites, which means there is enough data to instantly populate the recommendation list for anyone who signs up. To test the strength of these recommendations, Bizzy is holding a “100,000 Rec Check Challenge” with cash prizes for user reviews.

“By reaching the 100,000 shared favorites milestone we are able to open up our beta to anyone who comes in and answers a few questions about their favorite places,” said Gadi Shamia, Bizzy founder, president and general manager in a statement. “We are thrilled that these first 100,000 favorites came in faster than we anticipated because providing quality personalized recommendations takes quality data. The 100,000 favorites our users have shared are used to make over 650,000 local business recommendations and with every new shared favorite, the recommendations Bizzy makes are getting that much better.”

The “bizziest” cities in America are currently San Francisco, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, DC, Seattle, Shreveport, Louisiana, Boston, and Austin, Texas, with the most number of early adopters on the site. Users are invited to try a Bizzy-generated recommendation and report back on how it went, either by sending Bizzy an e-mail or leaving a comment on the business’ profile. The company will award a $500 cash prize to the best entry, with $50 prizes for 9 other finalists chosen by the staff.