Amazon’s recommendation system – is it crazy?

Posted on January 12th, 2008 in business , Humor , technology , wonder why - 6 comments

We have a saying in Telugu that goes like this, “thaadu vundhi kada ani eddu kontama?” which means, “just because you have a rope you dont buy a bullock to tie”. Amazon’s recommendation system must have been coded by someone with a skewed view of reality. How else can you explain this?

Amazon marketing cross-sell recommendation system gone awry

Obviously I didnt purchase neither the bag nor the laptop… but nevertheless I had a good laugh. I am not sure if it would behave if you access the link again, but here it is if you are curious. [Amazon.com: Mobile Edge Express Backpack-Black-MEBPE2: Electronics]

As an aside there is a really nice online Telugu to English dictionary here, in case you want to learn / lookup few words.

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6 Responses to “Amazon’s recommendation system – is it crazy?”

  1. Hypnos says:

    So what’s wrong in a little suggestion dude? You didn’t like it, don’t listen to it :)

    Last time I check amazon.com it somehow remembered that the last time I had visited it I was looking for a Canon to Nikon lens compatibility ring and the frontpage showed products related to photography for around 60% of its space… I think that’s cool. I am actually fed up of Indian e-commerce sites which keep trying to sell you that crystal ganesha and the fake-note-catching-light-cum-pen-cum-keyring-cum-lighter for 98 bucks apiece.

  2. Kapil says:

    I agree, Amazon sure does have the best customization shopping interface. Although I have never bought anything from them, I always do a bit of my product research on their website. And I think you found this a bit crazy because they did a BAG + LAPTOP recommendations. but if it had been the LAPTOP + BAG recommendation, then it would have been Cool.
    Right?

  3. Chandoo says:

    @hypnos … I am not criticizing amazon as a whole, I know its a wonderful site and its always a pleasure to shop there… but then again… my post is just about the feature.

    @kapil … oh yeah, that I guess would be totally appropriate, The point is amazon is trying to convince me to spend 2000% more than what I intend. Why would anyone buy a laptop bag if he/she doesnt already have a laptop anyways ;)

  4. Hypnos says:

    Ya that ways ofcourse your telugu saying fits it perfectly – if you would be open to buying a bullock, you would not go shopping for rope before making a choice about the bullock.

    But then it is still a machine running this algorithm for you – you wouldn’t expect machines to demonstrate common sense, right? – not atleast right now.

  5. Chandoo says:

    @hypnos … how about writing something like, “select recomendations from products where product_code=”laptop bag” and product_saleprices < “laptop bag”.price order by popularity”
    I think writing a program for recommending in a reasonable way is no rocket science, given the kind of amazing stuff these guys have on the site…

    btw.. this is still better than other recommendation systems out there, you must see how IMDB recommendations work :D totally tangential….

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