FastCompany Magazine

The official Tumblr of Fast Company.


Overstock.com is about to pull a Netflix. The online retailer known  for offering high-quality goods at discount prices will hand out $1  million early next year to the team that can improve its recommendation  engine by 10 percent or more.
That probably sounds familiar.  Netflix held a similar competition two years ago, offering the same  amount of cash to the team that could improve the predictions of how a  particular user would rate a particular film, by 10% accuracy or more.  Not one, but two teams were able to pull off that feat in the closely  followed competition. Overstock is hoping for similar results, given the  increasing importance recommendations—and personalization in  general—are playing in the world of online commerce.

We caught up with Overstock CEO Patrick Byrn to find out more about the competition.

Overstock.com is about to pull a Netflix. The online retailer known for offering high-quality goods at discount prices will hand out $1 million early next year to the team that can improve its recommendation engine by 10 percent or more.

That probably sounds familiar. Netflix held a similar competition two years ago, offering the same amount of cash to the team that could improve the predictions of how a particular user would rate a particular film, by 10% accuracy or more. Not one, but two teams were able to pull off that feat in the closely followed competition. Overstock is hoping for similar results, given the increasing importance recommendations—and personalization in general—are playing in the world of online commerce.

We caught up with Overstock CEO Patrick Byrn to find out more about the competition.