Amazon and Alexa integration

Posted Oct 06, 2004 in Electronic Commerce.

I'm a regular Amazon user. I make complete use of its recommendation system, whereby you are fed recommendations based on your purchases and ratings - a system I find extremely helpful, particularly because it informs me of new releases I would probably like to snap up. Today, however, something completely new appeared in my recommendations - a website:

Partial screenshot of an Amazon Recommendations page, showing a website link

As you can see from the screenshot, there is a link to a website item. In this case, it is Michael Heilemann's Binary Bonsai weblog. When I click the “why was I recommended this?” link, I am informed that I was fed this recommendation based on my purchase of The Zen of CSS Design:

Partial screenshot of an Amazon Recommendations dialog box

Clicking on the recommendation itself takes me to a page entitled “ website info:”, which looks suspiciously like Alexa's version of the page.

I am not really sure why Amazon is doing this. I cannot really see any commercial value in it, unless there is some sort of complex sponsorship arrangement that I am not aware of. Funnily emough, this is the first time I've come across Binary Bonsai, and I like what I saw. I will probably become a regular reader of Michael's site as a result of that Amazon link. I wonder if that was the original intention?


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    I've been a regular reader of the Bonsai (blog slang) for a while now, first a lurker and now a full-fledged "Bonsaite".

    Interesting that Amazon is referencing his site, my question is whether or not Michael knows about it.

    Posted by kartooner on Oct 07, 2004.

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    I dunno. I haven't asked him. Perhaps he will stumble across this entry from the referrerals he is probably getting.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Oct 07, 2004.

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    Did someone summon me?!

    Wow, this is weird. Cool, but weird. First of all, there aren't any business associations between Amazon and me, except for an old Amazon Associates thing, but I haven't been using it for a veeery long time. But that _might_ be it though, who knows.

    But yeah, it is strange why they would do this, considering the fact that there is little direct profit to be had from it.

    Thank you for point this out though, I'll be referring to this post in an entry in about... 10 minutes :)

    Posted by Michael Heilemann on Oct 07, 2004.

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    I *hhhate* alexa. I blocked their mad bot on all sites I maintain, or help maintain - years ago. In effect, they have weird data for my site. It used to be s-p-y-w-a-r-e, now it's integrated into Amazon (was, for some time already). I'd like to drop a heavy brick on the head of the developer(s) who designed the bot.

    Beware, if you are an amazon associate, and didn't take precautions for your contact email.

    Posted by Moose on Oct 29, 2004.

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    I am an Amazon Associate, but I gave them my AOL email address. I find it helpful to direct spam there as much as possible, because AOL has excellent spam filters that I don't have to worry about.

    Posted by Simon Jessey on Oct 29, 2004.