Haishan Liu, Mohammad Amin, Baoshi Yan, Anmol Bhasin

RecSys '13 Proceedings of the 7th ACM conference on Recommender systems


We describe a hybrid recommendation system at LinkedIn that seeks to optimally extract relevant information pertaining to items to be recommended. By extending the notion of an item profile, we propose the concept of a "virtual profile" that augments the content of the item with rich set of features inherited from members who have already shown explicit interest in it. Unlike item-based collaborative filtering, we focus on discovering the characteristic descriptors that underlie the item-user association. Such information is used as supplemental features in a content-based filtering system. The main objective of virtual profiles is to provide a means to tap into rich-content information from one type of entity and propagate features extracted from which to other affiliated entities that may suffer from relative data scarcity. We empirically evaluate the proposed method on a real-world community recommendation problem at LinkedIn. The result shows that the virtual profiles outperform a collaborative filtering based approach (user who likes this also likes that). In particular, the improvement is more significant for new users with only limited connections, demonstrating the capability of the method to address the cold-start problem in pure collaborative filtering systems.