TurnTo launched late last year as a social shopping service, alerting you when you come across shopping sites that your friends have already been to, as well as what items they purchased. The service is now looking to integrate deeper with existing social sites like Facebook for enhanced utility, bulking up its feature set to improve on ease of use and tap into larger networks that you already have across the web.
As TurnTo already stands, you can add connections based on the contacts from various email accounts, Facebook, and AOL instant messenger. Most recently, TurnTo added the ability for raves (reviews) to be posted through your Facebook account and shared with friends. If you’d like a more local approach, you can also type in your zip code to see what type of shopping patterns exist on a local level. From within your TurnTo account you can see what products other users are raving about, check out some of the sites others are frequenting, or just keep track of ongoing activity within your social circle that you’ve imported into TurnTo.
One important aspect of TurnTo’s approach is that it tracks activity even when you’re not signed in, so regardless of what activity you and others are tracking, TurnTo has a good handle (without necessarily giving up personal data) on what particular shopping data consists of. This in turn becomes good feedback for you, and readily converts into recommendations based on te network you’ve created around your TurnTo account.
Currently TurnTo’s Facebook integration revolves around the use of the “old” Facebook API, which isn’t ideal for TurnTo’s ultimate goals. So TurnTo is actually looking to better leverage a user’s social graph on Facebook by integrating via Facebook Connect. According to George Eberstadt, CEO and Founder of TurnTo, the anticipated adoption rate and user familiarity of Facebook connect “will result in a higher use-rate. We want to tap in to that.”
If overarching concept sounds familiar, it’s because it vaguely resembles what others, including Facebook Beacon, are going after wih social shopping behavioral data. So far, its most powerful use case scenario as a data collection process has been for the use of search and useful search results presented in the form of unbiased recommendations based on a number of filters for personalized needs. In the end, I expect that TurnTo’s use of Facebook Connect could be more effective for sharing purposes, and can foster decent growth for the company. Turning that into search data would be my expectation for further monetization of TurnTo, among other integrated features that would combine user data, relevant interaction and algorithms to provide useful recommendations in the end.