Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Do You Rank?

I'd like to introduce y'all to one of the small, but I think important, new features coming up this summer. Really, two related features. One is "rank" and the other is "influence."

INFLUENCE is how much your movie opinions seem to influence others about the movies they watch. We calculate influence with a complicated algorithm that takes a number of factors into account: perhaps the biggest chunk is simply how many movies you have reviewed. If you write reviews you probably have more influence on others than if you don't. If you have Friends you influence others, and more Friends probably gives you more influence. But it's not this simple. Bad reviews don't give you much (or any) influence. Writing reviews on movies with tons of reviews already also doesn't help that much -- so WHAT you review and that you write good reviews has more weight than sheer volume. (Writing a great review on a movie with very few reviews is a very good thing.)

Having an avatar image helps, as does having a personalized nickname. Having lots of movie ratings helps, but not alone -- it only helps if you have Friends or Reviews such that people look at your ratings. The fact that other people click on your avatar and check out your other reviews is very important. These page views go into the calculation. The more people check you out, the more influence you'd have. And the most weighted element is when other people actually add movies to their Queues from your pages, or from your custom lists. As you can see, it is a complicated series of factors, and we will be refining the weights and factors from time to time, but starting later this month (and I'll alert ya'll once I know a date for sure), we'll put your Influence score in your sidebar (near "Member Since..."). We will update these ranks every week or so (not nightly, like most stuff on the site), so numbers will drift around relatively slowly.

RANK is simply an ordered list of who among you has the highest INFLUENCE value. Which means, if you think about it, someone out there is going to be the Number 1 Movie Influencer at Netflix. At first we won't present the ranks as a scoreboard (that is, you can't just go and find #1) because i want to do some adjusting first. But eventually we'll make these lists of high ranking Netflixers available.

What do y'all think of this?