Online Recommendation and WordPress Plugins

I’ve been reading Paul Lamere’s recent postings on music recommendation, especially his SXSW presentation, and I’m starting to catch on to examples of Online Monoculture and the End of the Niche.

As a new WordPress user, I’m still looking for plugins to enhance my weblog (without overcluttering it, of course). To pare them down, I look for ones with the largest amount of downloads. The problem with this method is that any plugin posted on the web in the last three days could be exactly what I’m looking for and I’d probably overlook it. Likewise, a plugin that’s been on the web for a few years could easily accumulate 10,000+ downloads, yet it could be completely useless to me.

I’m not aware of a WordPress plugin recommender, but even without one, it’s easy to see how popularity of an already popular plugin will steadily increase if users look for plugins with large numbers of downloads. I find it interesting that this case of ‘The End of the Niche’ isn’t even an intended recommendation system, yet it encourages making the popular even more popular.