No Nannies Please
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I've been spending lots of time on Amazon.com ordering unglamorous but useful things like a USB Hub.
A couple of years ago when I ordered The Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World I laughed when I was told that other people who'd bought that had also bought Mein Kampf. I expect Amazon's customer support department has recieved a few angry emails about that kind of recommendation.
Recently Amazon has been recommending that I buy things like The Nanny Diaries, a book on New York nannies. You can click on "Why was I recommended this" and I did. Turns out that the book had been bought by others who'd ordered a Linksys BEFSR11 1-Port Etherfast Cable/DSL Router. At least when they thought I might like to read Hitler it was because I'd bought a book.
I clicked Not Interested and another suggestion appeared. In a fit of demented whim I proceeded tell them that I didn't want each of their recommendations. Their proposals shifted from nannies to bird watching to Martha Stewart to astrophyics to investing to medieval history. Finally pushed to the wall Amazon went for the lowest common denominator: Stephen King and John Grisham.
Yesterday I learned that much of P.G. Wodehouse is being reprinted in inexpensive hardcovers. I can't justify buying them right now but put them in an Amazon wish list as a reminder.
Now all Amazon pushes at me in the way of books is Wodehouse. Fine with me. With surprising prescience they told me I might want the Secret Agent AKA Danger Man DVDs(Patrick McGoohan before he became the Prisoner). But Gordon already has those.
I don't really fault Amazon. The recommendation algorithm must be fiendishly complicated. And you don't know whether someone bought a book because they wanted it or they had to have it for a class. And an interest paleoclimatology doesn't preclude a Muppets fixation.