It’s not often that I open a web page and immediately notice that the algorithm behind it has changed. Most of the time, those behind the scenes programming changes aren’t that obvious. Yes, I can see them, after someone points them out to me, and in a global way, I can see how this makes a difference somewhere to someone. Sometimes, I even have an opinion about whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing.
But the Amazon algorithm–the one that controls what products are recommended–well, I can see that change without being told, and without much thought, I can tell you what the end result will be. They’re clearly selling recommendations (among other things) as advertising space.
I have screenshots.
So, here, we have every single 2017 calendar that Moleskine makes. I bought one of those this year (about five months ago, actually) and now these are my book recommendations. And no, I haven’t shopped for calendars since December or January.
Yup. That’s basically a row of 2017 Moleskine calendars. Don’t get me wrong, I like the one I have, but I don’t think I’ll be reading the whole series.
And then, there’s the thing with the robots?
I bought my vacuum cleaner a new battery. The last time I did this, the recommendations immediately went to all of the various vacuum cleaner batteries and filters for my brand of vacuum cleaner. (It’s a Neato Robotics XV-21.) This is my second set of batteries, and if I ever replace the vacuum cleaner… well, the next one will be a Neato, too.
As you can see, the Roomba corporation (who do not make my vacuum cleaner) has clearly paid for the privilege of advertising here, and I have a list of accessories that I can’t use, for a machine that I don’t own.
I hope these companies know what useless advertising they’re paying through the nose for.