90 Days Of Product Curation

To set the table… Okanjo’s Product Match technology dynamically places products next to relevant content on publisher websites. Think tents and sleeping bags next to an article about camping.

There’s a host of algorithms, tools and data science behind our technology (even a little of IBM’s Watson), and our matches get better every day. But, to lay the groundwork for understanding product descriptions, tags and titles, our team had to manually review and manage products.

This kind of product curation is not easy. Especially when you’re dealing with an assortment of providers, product types, publishers and performance metrics. But this painful work has enabled us to be data-driven, flexible and efficient.

In our manual work, we’ve had some bumps, mishaps, aha moments and many laughs. Here’s just some of what we’ve learned through manual product management:

Category is a joke.
To collect meaningful metrics, products need to fit into category groups. Categories like “Outdoors” are too broad, and “Tents” is too narrow—it may exclude canopies or, you know, yurts. On top of that, most retailers auto-populate category and it’s a bit subjective. “Fashion” to one retailer is “Apparel” to another.

There are too many khakis.
Seriously. Thousands and thousands of khaki pants and shorts. The world has no idea how large the supply is. The challenge was finding and tagging *the best* khakis. We’re still working through this one.

A pop of color is everything.
It shouldn’t be a surprise, but we’re drawn to color. It’s a tale of two kitchen mixers. One white, one red. Red wins. Every time. When selling products online, the picture matters, and color takes this to the next level. Especially red.

Kids’ undies are off limits. So are guns.
There’s absolutely no instance to dynamically advertise underoos. And guns are dicey. Especially when matching to content—even paintball guns and knife sharpeners are dangerous territory. Certain products just aren’t meant for our system.

Sports logos go on anything. Seriously, anything.
Neck tiesbottle stoppersgolf head coversreclinerstiffany lampsveggie grillersend tables… ANYTHING. If you don’t curate these products down to the all-stars, you’ll hit user fatigue, blindness and you’ll bury the good stuff.

eCommerce may be easier these days, but product curation is no joke. Take it from us—we just spent the last 90 days in the thick of it.