In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 24, 2008 / 21 Tamuz 5768

Online Shopping Gets a Rich(er) Relevance

By Mark Kellner

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The direct marketing business has come quite a ways from the time when Asa Montgomery Ward, a nineteenth-century railroad clerk, sent out a circular advertising watches and other trinkets. But if you thought the Amazon.com Web site is the ne plus ultra of personalized online commerce, you might want to reconsider. There's more and better in the wings, one marketer says.

RichRelevance.com, a San Francisco-based firm headed by the man who refined Amazon's product recommendation system, is moving to make your shopping experience even more personal, while not compromising your privacy. The goal is admittedly commercial: the firm wants to help online marketers sell more products. At the same time, they hope to make your shopping experience a bit more life-like.

"The real power in shopping for a consumer is [in] 'turning my shopping experience into something I enjoy,'" said David Selinger, founder and chief executive of the firm. A Stanford University computer science graduate, Mr. Selinger led the team that boosted Amazon.com's profits by over $50 million in 2003 through enhancing the way recommendations are generated for online shoppers. He later went to Overstock.com, and has continued to refine the process there and elsewhere. Now, RichRelevance is serving companies that do at least $10 million a year in online sales. Interestingly, the one client he's willing to name is Sears, namesake of the early mail order catalog pioneers who followed Montgomery Ward in creating an industry.

Making online shopping more enjoyable involves more than a little science. Anyone can click on a Website's catalog listing and, presumably, find an item and buy it. But, in real world stores and malls, few shoppers are merely linear beings who make a beeline for an item. When we go to a Barnes & Noble outlet, for example, we'll look at a Harry Potter volume, then check out a cookbook or the music section. Mr. Selinger argues that, online, we should be steered towards doing the same thing.

A word about privacy is in order here: RichRelevance will help track what you look at and where you are computing from (are you logging in from McLean or Marlow Heights?), but the firm's software observes privacy laws: the tracking and analysis is to guide you towards products, not to poke around your life. With such parameters, I have no problem in accepting online recommendations, and neither would most consumers.

"We bring to the table a scientific approach to 'how do we find products that would be relevant to the customer?'," Mr. Selinger explained. The RichRelevance software and proprietary algorithms are paired with the knowledge an online seller already has. If, for example, Sears notes that customers looking at refrigerators online will also likely buy baby stuff -- growing families may well need a new icebox, after all -- then that inside knowledge is linked to the formula.

"That knowledge lives in the merchandising group," Mr. Selinger said of a client such as Sears. In designing services for the online marketer, he believes he is "bringing the art and the science together, the science being the algorithms in the software and the art being the merchandising knowledge."

If all this suggests the sci-fi flick "Minority Report," with its quick-change billboards keyed to the consumer walking by, think again: "We're not shooting for that level of experience," Mr. Selinger said. "You can't really predict the next thing.:

Instead, he asserted, "we see this as a natural [online] extension to the way you walk about a store. You're in the kitchen area and looking at a refrigerator, you might look at a freezer next, or a different brand, or you might head over to the baby section."

With up-and-down-and-maybe-up-again gas prices, plus the hassle of going to stores and malls during peak times, having a better online shopping experience seems like an appealing prospect. Mr. Selinger said RichRelevance expects to announce other large customers in the coming months. It strikes me as a service worth checking out, if your business is of an appropriate size.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.


© 2008, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com