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EngageMe: A Fresh Approach

By James Caldwell | Published: January 4th, 2009

EngageMe addresses a key infrastructure shortcoming of today’s Internet: the inability to find people across social networks and communications environments based on interests that users have in common. Built and structured on a proprietary taxonomy database, EngageMe is a sophisticated profile management application that gives users a single, free service for building, and then sharing, their personal interest profiles across social networks, instant messengers, emails, blogs, forums and chat rooms. The EngageMe profile application matches people, content and commercial offers as well as targeted advertising across social networks and broader communication environments – all in a way that takes users to the most granular level of topics.

Client

EngageMe

Client Bio

Startup internet venture.

Personal History

This project was slowly evolved during countless brainstorming sessions on how to fix the inaccurate and problematic tracking of user surfing patterns that companies use now-a-days to dictate a user’s online interests. Most of you can probably recognize the issues everyone faces with examples of your own. For myself it was the fact that many companies were tracking my movements across the internet and defining me incorrectly on very narrow terms, and one day it culminated frustratingly on Amazon where I was served up an offer for yet another children’s book just because I bought one for my niece over one year earlier. For my business partner it was the fact that Google kept returning billions of results on such a wide array of topics because they feel that giving you everything is what you deserve but not necessarily what you really wanted.

Keyword advertising had just taken off and Google was not yet the beast it is today. Other search engines were trying to radically change the direction of what search meant and delivered but unfortunately the simple one page of ten results that Google put out in a couple of micro seconds seemed to gain popularity too fast for other companies to challenge. I would bet that now-a-days, since our connections are generally much faster, that what has seemingly become Google’s trademark results would be drastically better.

So how do you make them better? I would argue the answer is to know and understand the user’s interests better and to deliver information that is skewed towards those interests. But to do this you would have to ask the user about themselves and behave honestly and track them across the web. You would also have to make sure that you did not take in any ‘personally identifiable information’ as that isn’t a trustworthy action.

This is what EngageMe intends to be: open, honest and accurate.

Objective

To create a proof of concept for an interest profile toolset using open source tools (LAMP) based on an AJAX model. EngageMe enables a user-centric profile ownership model that leverages non-personally identifiable information (PII) for security reasons and fast adoption and interoperability with emerging open profile standards.

Noteworthy

An interest taxonomy was developed with over 700k+ interests. A bookmark analyzer allows users to create an initial profile that can then be shared across social networks. Advertisers using EngageMe can target users based on their interests rather than tracking.


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    ( One comment )
    1. Jackie says:

      I just finished playing with your EngageMe site. Very cool. It would be really ineresting to see this rolled out and integrated on a much larger site. I would love to find other people with my interests that come to me instead of trying to find them.

    Leave a Reply to Jackie