Wis.dm helps one find friends and dates through a combination of ‘nearest neighbor technology’ (see below) and answers to questions like whether you like pickles, whether you think food coloring causes attention deficit disorder, whether you like jelly beans and whether you’re in the mile high club. [“Nearest neighbor” technology is the same one that Netflix uses to recommend you new movies based on what you’ve liked in the past or Amazon uses to recommend other books you might want to buy from what you’ve bought.]
The technology can certainly find others on the site that have the same or similar patterns to your answers to an array of questions, but I’m more skeptical that these shared likes/dislikes/beliefs are enough to hold people together. But maybe the fact that you share a like of jelly beans and dislike of pickles is enough to give you an excuse for why you should be friends and thus help you break the ice. But the fact that many of the answers are trivial still leave enough mystery and difference to make the relationship work. We’ll have to see how successful the wis.dm dates actually are.
The site developers also hope to form partnerships with media entities that want to use the wis.dm user base to answer product related questions (like do you like Reese’s pieces). Obviously a temptation would be to then target ads, coupons, etc. to actual or potential users within the wis.dm user base. Wis.dm might decide to sell the information to marketers; see earlier post on how online entries are a boon for marketers. [Wis.dm users at the moment are skeptical — 68% think advertisting is just another form of propaganda.]
An article about wis.dm can be found in “New Social Website Tempts the Inquisitive” (Boston Globe, 6/11/07).