Is personalization the new social? Ryan Kim likes Zebek’s chances at establishing a personalization platform because it’s targeting mobile and is respectful of privacy. I haven’t talked to the company, but based on a slide presentation and its website, it doesn’t seem to license data from the Experians and Nielsens of the world to feed its algorithms. Rather, it harvests free stuff online and works with its B2B customers’ customer data. Until it has a critical mass of users, its collaborative filtering won’t do much. Call me skeptical until Zebek signs up a few more big customers – the ones it highlights are mostly small-ish local media companies. But don’t get me wrong, local context will be a key personalization mechanism.
Now that social is becoming the new norm, the next big battle for companies will be personalization. The company that can get inside my head and deliver tailored recommendations or know what I want without being too stalkerish can walk away with a lot of money.