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If you want a recommendation for a plumber, you usually take to Facebook to hear what your friend’s have to say.  After all, the best recommendations come from friends.  Now, a new platform aims to collect those recommendations on Facebook and combine them into a searchable database.  “whodoyou,” which coins itself a mashup of Angie’s list, Yelp and Facebook, captures authentic, local advice shared on social networks in everyday conversations.

With the average Facebook user having more than 300 friends, according to the latest report by Pew Research, the number of recommendations for plumbers, dentists and doctors is plentiful.  In order to tap those recommendations, whodoyou has developed a unique tool to capture those nuggets of information.

“We’ve developed the capability to search public conversation on social media,” said Yoav Schwartz, Founder and CEO of whodoyou.  “What we do is we convert free text conversations into structured recommendations.”

whodoyou not only scans Facebook’s public areas for recommendations, but users can also login with Facebook and scan their own friends and groups.  The result is a searchable site based on your location, search and the opinions of your friends and neighbors.  The site will show the contents of the conversation and rate it based on the quality of the recommendation.

whodoyou

While it may seem simple, the technology behind whodoyou is a little more complex than just a keyword search, Schwartz explained.  He said that when you utilize Facebook’s API to search for the world plumber, for example, the search will result in hundreds of thousands of conversations not necessarily related to a recommendation for an actual plumber.  As a result, Schwartz, formerly of Microsoft, developed a sophisticated technology to search Facebook conversations.

“We developed these pretty advanced machine-learning algorithms which looked for patterns in these kinds of questions and answers,” Schwartz said.  “What we do is filter through millions and millions of records and we come out with a really small number– but these are the really high quality recommendations.”

whodoyou currently utilizes Facebook for its recommendation engine because the company has found that Facebook produces the most trustworthy, high quality results.  Twitter, the company found, does provide recommendations, but many times they are sourced from the company itself instead of from trusted friends.

whodoyou is a great alternative to Yelp, which frequently has unreliable reviews, and Angie’s List, which requires a pricey subscription.  In fact, Angie’s list may not be as reliable as many thought.  Recently, the company’s impartial review system came under fire after reports that some companies can get a boost in their rating by paying more money.  Yelp is also starting to crack down on fake reviews after a number of businesses were caught paying people to write fake reviews.

whodoyou, which is expected to be released in Android and iOS versions over the next few weeks, believes their recommendations system is the most accurate, after all, if you can’t trust your friends, who can you trust?


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