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marnixR
Post  Post subject: useless algorithms  |  Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:54 pm
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something that I've noticed after having ordered a number of SF novels for my Kindle : Amazon then comes up with emails indicating that "you might like these as well"
more often than not their guesses are so wide off the mark that it seems to amount to "you appear to like this author, so you might like some of his other books as well", without taking any notice of the type of story that I like

e.g. just because I like Harry Harrison's Deathworld series doesn't mean I'll love all of his stories
likewise for just about any SF author I can think of: I'm not an avid follower of the author, merely of some of his books

which brings me to the point I was trying to make : presumably Amazon must be using an algorithm to try and predict my tastes based on previous choices, but they're not very good at it - is that because it's so hard to predict a person's preferences, or are their algorithms too simplistic ?

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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: useless algorithms  |  Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:02 pm

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Probably a bit of both, my recommendations from Amazon seem to be of the "customers who bought this also bought..." and as no two people have the same interests and may buy books across multiple genres it can throw up all sorts of random crap ;)

My biggest gripe with them at the minute is the number of illiterate errors in their eBooks, it seems there is no quality control... I'm happy to let it slide on the cheaper books but if they are charging almost the same price as the actual book pay a bloody proofreader! / rant

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: useless algorithms  |  Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:02 pm
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I'm not at all close to this, but my understanding is that they also compare your purchases against thousands (millions?) of other shoppers, not necessarily yourself.

So, if you ordered the same book that other shoppers ordered, they'll scan the purchase history of those other shoppers to see what else they ordered. My guess is that many stayed with the same author and said to you, "hey... this guy writes other stuff that other shoppers seemed to like... might be worth a look."

Amazon publishes via API their lookup function so maybe you can learn more here: http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AWSECommerce ... ookup.html

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: useless algorithms  |  Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:14 pm
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not sure if I understand their lookup function - is it intended for people to incorporate in their own websites, or is it for users to adjust the proposed kindle books ?

what I've also noticed is that when I've placed a book as having read on Goodreads (which is now owned by Amazon) that also triggers a list of similar books

if I haven't ordered anything on Amazon or placed a book as read on Goodreads, then I start getting more generic emails such as "deal of the week" or "£1 offers"

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Pong
Post  Post subject: Re: useless algorithms  |  Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:26 pm
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marnixR wrote:
it seems to amount to "you appear to like this author, so you might like some of his other books as well", without taking any notice of the type of story that I like

Yesterday I noticed one of my favorite authors had written a new novel. I intend to read it, though I may like it more or less. But from Amazon's perspective whether I like a book is irrelevant - they care whether I'll buy it. We should excuse their algorithm for predicting purchases over customer satisfaction.

Have my own pet for suggesting "If you like C and E, then you'll like G" (a chord).


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: useless algorithms  |  Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:37 pm
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I'm sure they could improve their algorithm if they asked people to rate how useful they thought their suggestions were - provided people could be bothered to reply

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Tanpire
Post  Post subject: Re: useless algorithms  |  Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:15 am
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PhDemon wrote:

My biggest gripe with them at the minute is the number of illiterate errors in their eBooks, it seems there is no quality control... I'm happy to let it slide on the cheaper books but if they are charging almost the same price as the actual book pay a bloody proofreader! / rant


I agree. I've actually had to put my Kindle down and do something else because some of the eBooks were just completely unreadable.

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