Amazon’s collaborative filtering vs. My collaborative filtering
Posted by markharrison on August 25, 2006
“Collaborative filtering” is the term for the technology that powers the “people who bought XXX also bought YYY” pages on sites like Amazon.
This technology has been used a lot by customers of Amazon, but is ignored by many associates (Amazonian for “affiliates”.) What it does is simple – you pick an item you like, and then see what other people who liked that bought as well… (or, with Amazon’s ratings facility, what people who rated the first item highly also rated highly.)
The downside of this is that it can be quite time-consuming, and if your market is specialised, may not give great results.
However, quite apart from the fact it earns you money, there is another benefit to being an Amazon associate – namely that you can do your own collaborative filtering.
When you log into to Amazon’s “reports” page, you see what people have bought through your recommendation… and what they’ve gone on to buy in that session once they got to Amazon.
So, in my case, someone who followed my link to “Unlimited Power” by Tony Robbins went on to buy “Automatic Wealth” by Napoleon Hill as well. This is great news for me – I’ve read that, and can recommend it as well…
… and if I can recommend something, then I should.
Of course, I have to apply common sense – another of the people I referred went on to buy “The Lovers Guide”, and it’s probably not sensible to advertise that on http://www.yourpropertyexpert.com 🙂
Fortunately, whoever you were, your secret is safe – while Amazon tells me that you bought, it doesn’t let me know who you are. That information is hidden on a server somewhere in the States.