Where Can I Find Some Good Enchiladas Around Here? Rfave Uses Facebook to Help Find The Answer

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Rfave, a newly launched app, uses your Facebook profile to determine your tastes, then gives you recommendations for local businesses, wherever you are. Find the best of everything—dentists to sushi—personalized for you.

Different people—for example, a college kid who lists Tool as his favorite band, and a wealthy businessman who prefers Kenny G—will see different recommendations for the best sandwich in town.

Trey and Erin Bean were eating terrible Mexican food. They picked at gloppy nachos and tried to avoid the mariachi bands playing tableside for tips. How had they ended up here? Because they were traveling in a strange city and had consulted Citysearch, TripAdvisor and Yelp to find a restaurant with good enchiladas. This place had good reviews.

Unfortunately, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Or, put another way, you can’t trust every review you read online.

Trey and Erin, who own 12 Spokes Web Development, recently launched a web app to solve this problem. It’s called rfave, and it uses your Facebook profile to analyze your likes and dislikes, then compares you with other users to generate personalized recommendations for you. Different people—for example, a college kid who lists Tool as his favorite band, and a wealthy businessman who prefers Kenny G—would see different recommendations for the best burger in New York City.

“Most apps that integrate with Facebook just use it to tell you what your friends like,” says Trey. “But you probably already know what your friends like. No one’s really tapping Facebook’s capacity to make these connections between strangers.” And the connections are instantaneous—there’s no need to answer a bunch of questions about yourself before rfave can offer recommendations, because you’ve already entered that information on Facebook. Users see personalized content on rfave from the moment they log in.

Facebook integration also keeps rfave’s users honest. When a user makes a recommendation with rfave, it’s tied to his or her real identity. “We’ve all read online reviews and wondered ‘Is this person for real, or is the business owner just posing as a customer and writing glowing reviews about himself?’” says Erin.

Rfave isn’t a typical startup. 12 Spokes is based in Salt Lake City—not Silicon Valley—and staffed by just three full-time developers, who spend most of their time building custom applications for other clients. “We’re self-funded and we’ve built rfave during nights and weekends for the last year and a half,” says Trey. “It’s a lot of work, but it’ll all pay off someday if we can visit a strange city, get a craving for tacos, and consult rfave to find the perfect recommendation for us.”

Rfave is a web app that launched in early 2011; it offers personalized local recommendations by analyzing users’ Facebook profiles to determine their tastes.

Founded in 2006, 12 Spokes is a web development firm in Salt Lake City that builds custom Ruby on Rails applications. The 12 Spokes team practices agile development, but never lets speed get in the way of solid work.

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Trey Bean
12 Spokes Web Development

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