Social Gifting: Letting the Web Use Facebook Profiles to Pick Presents for Your Friends
Every year around this time, holiday shoppers fret and fuss over what to get their friends and family, scouring websites and store shelves in a frantic search for the most fitting favors of the season.
But this year, a few new Web tools offer to be a Santa’s helper, whispering gift ideas in your ear.
Using profile information pulled from Facebook, these websites try to match your friends’ preferences and interests with products you can buy online.
“Every e-commerce site has this problem of gifting, and it’s a significant chunk of e-commerce,” said Chris Dixon, CEO of Hunch.com, a recommendation engine that recently launched a social gift finder tool with Gifts.com.
But now that social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, have helped turn the Internet from just a “Web of cookies and computers” into a Web of people, he said, companies like his can add a layer of tools that analyze people and their preferences to personalize the Internet – and their purchases.
Hunch.com, for example, asks users a series of questions to develop a “taste profile” for them, which it then uses to help make recommendations about anything from books and movies to restaurants and gadgets.