What’s wrong with this assumption?


So I just went to look up Debora Spar’s Ruling the Waves, on Amazon, and was greeted by the above. Never mind that I wasn’t looking for what they said I just looked at. Consider instead the strangeness of having something with my name on it, as an author, and that I can reasonably be presumed to own recommended to me as a purchase. (As it happens I also own the third item. Dunno if I bought it from Amazon or not.)

For what it’s worth, can I find anywhere in my Amazon account info a place where I can let them know I’m an author and not just a customer.

Am I wrong about that? Is there a way I can let them know that? Is it worthwhile to either of us?

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10 Responses to What’s wrong with this assumption?

  1. Tara Hunt says:

    You can become an author through author tools, but that doesn’t seem to affect the algorithm. I get recommended my book all of the time. :/

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  3. William says:

    But Doc…I bet you DID look at it 🙂

  4. Carter says:

    Isn’t that a teensy bit of an edge case? 😉

  5. scritic says:

    Considering that there are so few authors and so many customers/readers, I’d say Amazon was justified in not adding a field where customers can indicate that they are authors of particular books.

  6. Shawn Powers says:

    Irony aside, the algorithm seems to be working. There is a likelihood you’d be interested in the subject matter. 🙂

  7. Morgan says:

    This seems like an edge case but it does point to a weakness in their overall recommendation engine, which is that it doesn’t learn enough about you even when there are clear opportunities to do so. For example I read a lot of poker books back in the mid 2000’s when it was all the rage. For a year period I probably bought 15 books. But for the last 3+ years I haven’t purchased or looked at a single one. Amazon continued to recommend them to me as recently as my last purchase. I can’t get away from the things. Now, with my recent binge on different types of titles the poker has finally left the radar; but it seems like Amazon has the opportunity to use the customer/author databases, the purchase frequency/time span and other more sophisticated elements of referral to our mutual benefit.

  8. gammydodger says:

    Agree with Shawn, algorithm’s working well, but Amazon are unable to resolve user_id, author_name and person. Semantic definitions and technologies will resolve this soon enough allowing online applications to act with a little more intelligence.

    I just checked out Brian’s link to AuthorCentral, and looked at the source of http://www.amazon.com/Neil-Gaiman/e/B000AQ01G2/, but didn’t spot any RDF. Checked out wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Gaiman, no luck there either.

    However, Freebase has the solution http://www.freebase.com/view/en/neil_gaiman – all machine readable. Doc, you’re there too: http://www.freebase.com/view/en/doc_searls

    If a little RDF was inserted here and there as we go, the data would all begin to join up nicely and these problems might go away.

  9. Ron Reisman says:

    Sorry Doc, won’t happen unless they change their algorithm.

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