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Algorithms — They're Not Just For Big Businesses Anymore

October 19th, 2009 | Data and Information Analysis,KikScore & KikReport | 1 Comment »

Thanks to the internet, online buyers and sellers have access to a lot of data to help guide their buying and selling decisions.  Finding the average price of a 1984 Chevy Citation (my first car) is a couple of clicks away.  But the problem with data is that it is everywhere and nowhere at the same time.  As I mentioned in a previous post, online reviews often suffer from grade inflation, and determining a reliable trend really requires thousands of transactions — not really possible for individual buyers and sellers.  So though it is easier than ever to gather information, that has just resulted in information overload.  This isn’t really a unique problem.  Big businesses have faced this issue for quite some time.  What’s their answer?  Scoring models with sophisticated algorithms.  Or stated more simply, math.

Though our interest in math prevented us from being very popular in high school, it has allowed us to create complex risk models for many types of decisions that big businesses face.  So why not use our nerdy interests to help small businesses sell online and provide comfort to shoppers that would like to buy from a small business, but isn’t sure of the shopping experience he/she will face?  That’s exactly what we did.  I can’t get into the details of the scoring m0del, or others (much like the popular kids in highschool) will just steal our homework.  But in general terms, KikScore takes public information about the online business (e.g. site security, traffic, links, domain registration, privacy policies, consumer reviews) and joins it with permitted information about the business owner (e.g. financial stability, public records)  — ultimately creating a tailored recommendation of the shopping experience to be expected.  This helps potential customers feel more comfortable doing business with a lesser-known small business.  Math…leveling the playing field for online sellers and bolstering trust for online shoppers.  Take that, Geography!

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