Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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10/3/2009
08:28 PM
Allen Stern
Allen Stern
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Hunch Helps You Make Decisions

Hunch aims to help you make the right decision about questions in your life. I wanted to learn more about this new service so I met with co-founder Chris Dixon.

Hunch aims to help you make the right decision about questions in your life. I wanted to learn more about this new service so I met with co-founder Chris Dixon.When Microsoft launched their new search engine, Bing, they called it a "decision engine". While some areas like travel might help you decide which flight to take, for me Bing is still a search engine. Hunch feels much more like a decision engine as the service works by asking you questions (10 or less) to help you find the right answer. Some of their top topics include: what model of car should I buy and where should I go on vacation.

Unlike a search engine which will generally always provide the same results to a query, Hunch takes your answers to the questions and decides which answer is right for you. This means the result you receive will be different than the result I receive.

Hunch users create the questions and generate "topics". Dixon says that over 20,000 users have created Hunch topics. Most of the questions I asked provided no results but Dixon noted that the service has only been open for a few months and that more topics are added each day. Users can earn badges and have profile pages to show off their Hunch usage and participation. I'd like to see a trust system added to Hunch so that users can get an idea of who created the topic. I'd like to always feel confident that the decisions Hunch provides to me are actually the best and not just whatever some user thinks are the best. The Hunch website notes that the service learns over time to help make even better decisions.

Most of the traffic to Hunch comes from search engines. Over time the goal is to change behavior and have users go directly to Hunch when they need help with a decision. We talked about how I always use Tripadvisor when looking for hotel reviews instead of completing a search on Google.

Since the content on Hunch is crowd-sourced, it will be interesting to see if users are willing to continue to contribute content over the long-run. I'd suggest that Hunch hire content experts in a variety of topics that can both act as draws to the site but also provide the trust I noted above.

Hunch uses affiliate commissions and custom-branded topics to generate revenue. Dixon made it clear that the best match will always be displayed whether there is a paid result or not. Hunch employs 10 people and is based in New York City.

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