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Yahoo buys recommendation service Zofari [update]

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Updated at 10:08 a.m. Pacific.

Yahoo has bought recommendation platform Zofari, Zofari’s founders announced today.

“After meeting some of the amazing folks on the Yahoo Search team and hearing about their vision, the decision for our team to join Yahoo was an easy one,” reads the announcement. “We can’t talk about what we’re working on yet, but needless to say we are very, very excited.”

Zofari, which raised $150,000 from friends and family to get off the ground, recommends restaurants, bars, and other attractions based on other places a user has enjoyed. The developers have said the service was inspired by music recommendation service Pandora, as well as Netflix’s sophisticated algorithm for recommending films related to what you’e watched in the past.

The idea of a Netflix-style recommendation engine for physical places is a compelling one, especially in a city, though it poses complex challenges. Zofari drew a lukewarm mention on the New York Times as recently as late last year.

It’s not yet clear what Yahoo intends to do with the fledgling company, though TripAdvisor’s purchase and subsequent shuttering of similar service Wanderfly — as well as Yahoo’s acquisition and closing of GoPollGo — cast a long shadow in the age of the “acqui-hire.

What’s certain is that the buy plays a role in Yahoo’s scramble to rebuild traffic and influence under president Marissa Mayer, who has overseen the acquisition of A-list blogging platform Tumblr as well as a host of other startups, including another personalized recommendation outfit, Jybe.

“Zofari and Yahoo share a common goal to make the world an easier place to explore for as many people as possible,” said a Yahoo representative in a statement. “We’re thrilled to welcome the team to Yahoo, where they will join our growing Search organization and continue to build amazing discovery experiences.”