amazon Tag

22 Oct Amazon Can Predict Your Halloween Costume

I’m a loyal Amazon customer. I have a yearly subscription to their Prime service so I get 2-day shipping free on all my orders and I watch lots of TV series and movies from their online video streaming service. So naturally, when my wife and I needed to get a couple items for our Halloween costumes, we went to Amazon. We did a couple searches for “yellow hoodies” and then I noticed something crazy in the section “Customers Who Bought Items In Your Cart Also Bought” section.

Amazon knew what I wanted to be for Halloween based on 1 SINGLE ITEM! Look and guess what our costume will be.

Blue Hoodie with Overalls

Yellow Hoodie

So what is your guess about what we’re going to be? If you guessed Minions from Despicable Me 2, you’d be right. Was it the blue overalls, the black round goggles or the black gloves that tipped you off? They had every item for the costume listed.

The Power of Big Data

I hear a lot of blog posts and conference sessions talk about big data. It’s equal parts scary and awesome. They can know so much about you as to provide the perfect recommendation at the perfect time, usually with a discount to accompany it. But they know all that stuff about you. And some people could use that knowledge for less than noble purposes.

However, this is a situation where Amazon has the data, AND they make it immediately applicable to their site. If you really just wanted a yellow hoodie, the recommendations seem really silly. But how many people do you see wearing plain yellow hoodies?

What’s your take on Amazon’s big data predicting Halloween costumes? Love it? Hate it? Sound off below.

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07 May Who is Kindle’s #1 Enemy? Publishers

I am the proud owner of a version 1.0 Kindle. Yes, that’s right, the boxy-looking one with the square corners, the funny angled keyboard, and the too-big page turning buttons that lead to numerous accidental page turns. While I wish I had a 2.0 or a DX, I am still very happy with my purchase (the $50 off courtesy of Oprah didn’t hurt). I forked over the $309 for a couple reasons.

  • First, I have moved a lot and will move a lot in the future and my humble book collection is a PITA to move. With a Kindle my library won’t add another pound.
  • Secondly, I now can buy newly released books for just $9.99 (sometimes less) and get them delivered instantly. No trip to the book store. Instant gratification.
  • Thirdly, out of copyright books by classical authors like Dickens, Dumas, Shelley, etc. are totally free. My classical collection has grown exponentially since I got a Kindle.
  • Lastly, the mobility is fantastic. I can take all my books on a trip. I can instantly begin rereading one of my favorites.

Enemy #1: Publishers

Let me explain the experience that led me to this conclusion.

Dan Schawbel recently released a new book titled “Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success”. Since Dan Schawbel is considered the go-to guy for Generation Y personal branding I figured it would be a good read that would be applicable to me (we’re pretty close in age). So I searched for the book on Amazon (on my Kindle of course) and couldn’t find the book. I then went to the web and discovered that the book was indeed available, but not for Kindle.

“Are you kidding me?”

This is a book for Generation Y, with 2.0 in the title, and it isn’t available for Kindle? I tweeted @DanSchawbel a couple times and dropped a hint on TechCrunch about the fact figuring he was responsible. However, Dan got in touch with me and informed me that while he had wanted it to happen, his publisher wouldn’t do it.

Why Not?

Dan didn’t answer this question because I’m sure he appreciates his publisher a lot. However, I don’t think it’s too hard to figure out. It’s all about the Benjamins. Kindle books sell for $9.99, the book goes for $16.95.

I know this sounds like a rant because it pretty much is. However, let me make my point very clearly: I will not buy this book until it is available on Kindle (and if you know Dan’s publisher, pass on the message).

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07 Apr Amazon Axes Affiliate PPC Payouts

Let’s say you have arguably the largest catalog of products online. You pioneered ecommerce while enduring years of losses. You have thousands of affiliates driving traffic to your website through every means possible, including PPC. You make millions of dollars. You are Amazon

Load Gun, Shoot Self in Foot

When life is good what better thing to do that shoot yourself in the foot. Amazon did this by announcing that they will no longer pay affiliate commissions on traffic sent directly from PPC advertisements. This applies only to US and Canadian affiliates for now, but what a boneheaded move.

If I could corner the executive who green-lighted this policy I would ask one question: Why would you tell an army of competent PPC managers, all of which are sending traffic to YOUR site to get YOU sales, that you don’t want their services? Do you really want to manage all that PPC yourself? Because even if you try you’ll never do a better job. You had hundreds if not thousands of people experimenting and optimizing every day for your benefit. Why Amazon? Why?

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