Five tweaks Amazon needs to make

Amazon, I love ya. Amazon Prime is a fantastic program. Once you’ve paid your Amazon Prime fee, two-day shipping is free for a year. Not having to worry about shipping fees means that I buy a ton more stuff. What’s that? Tara Calashain has a new book on Information Trapping? I just buy it on impulse now.

Amazon, my affection for you means that I’ll give you some feedback for the low, low price of free!

  1. I like certain authors (William Gibson, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, etc.). I’ll basically buy every new book from about 7-10 different authors. Give me a better way to track new books from a favorite author. At one point in the past I created Amazon email alerts for new books from a few specific authors, but then you started sending me emails for “related” authors. As far as I could tell, there was no way to get alerts about new books without getting the unwanted “you might also like this author” emails. If you let me watch specific authors, I’d buy the new John Brockman book from Amazon instead of stumbling across the book in a bookstore.
  2. While you’re at it, provide an RSS feed for that “new books by this author” info instead of as an email. C’mon, I can get an RSS feed for that funky Gold box feature but not for my favorite authors?
  3. My bank just sent me a new credit card because “security lapses have occurred involving … a retail merchant where you recently used your card.” Never mind that my bank doesn’t tell me which retail merchant had the security lapse; that’s a whinge for another time. But now I’m doing the “go to places that have my credit card and change the credit card number” dance. To make a long story short, I click on “My account” and the first thing I see is “Change payment method” so I click it, but it takes me to the “Open and recently shipped orders” screen. That link is quite poor/annoying. I’d 1) change it to say “Change payment method for an order”, or 2) change the UI of the page to make it clear that “Change payment method” and the “Where’s My Stuff?” section is visually different from the global payment settings, or 3) make the link go to the right place. The right place is a screen to actually change the payment method for an order. In fact, out of the 14 links in the “Where’s My Stuff?” section, eight of them take me to the exact same page. Fix that.
  4. Deputize an Amazon blogger to stop by and give some feedback on posts like this. :)
  5. Okay, leave aside the UI advice from point #3. I can delete a credit card, but can’t add a credit card without ordering something? From an Amazon page:

    Note: if you’d like to add a completely new credit or debit card or update a debit card issue number, you need to wait until the next time you place an order. On the “pay” page, select the radio button below “Or enter a new card” and enter the full card details. You can then use Your Account to delete any out-of-date cards.

    Paypal and Google Checkout let me add a new card in seconds, but I have to go and find something to buy before Amazon will let me add a new card? That’s really bad. Let me add a new credit card without ordering a book. Can any Amazon person explain to me why this is?

If this stuff annoyed me, it probably annoys other people too. I’m an Amazon fan, so someone stopping by and saying “we’ll looking into it” is half the battle, but fixing some of this stuff would make me happier with Amazon and let me spend more money at Amazon. Heck, I’m thinking of trying out Amazon’s S3 storage service to make an offsite back-up of my blog database, so if someone at Amazon would let me know that they’re listening and responding, it’s more likely that I’ll try other Amazon services. That leads me to my bonus feedback, which is:

6. Make Amazon’s S3 storage service compatible with scp from a Unix command-line. It’s a storage service. Why should I need to study code samples in Python or Ruby? If you make it “just work” on port 22 where ssh/scp hangs out, backups would be so much easier. Lots more people would use it, not just smart, technical people who are willing to code neat hacks.

The S3 team already did a smart thing by making it possible to host public web images on Amazon’s S3 service. Not offering scp effectively hampers the growth/uptake of the system. Why would Amazon want to do that? The only reason that I can think of not to allow scp uploads is maybe Amazon wants to host higher-value data, e.g. data belonging to startups, not become the mass backup for the world. But if that’s the issue, Amazon could still offer scp-upload storage at a slightly higher cost. Anyway, I’m thinking out loud now. C’mon S3 team, add scp support. Amazon, lemme know if I’m wrong about anything or if any of these suggested tweaks come true. :)

Anyone have other suggested tweaks for Amazon?

67 Responses to Five tweaks Amazon needs to make (Leave a comment)

  1. Ketan

    Dude, you are talking about Amazon and usability — the two don’t mix, surely you know that ;) They got to where they are because of being there early, offering good amounts etc. But usability, nope! In face, we often tell customers that they should not do what Amazon do in terms of usability, because the web is now saturated, so people need to do different things to be noted (i.e. usability!)

  2. bd_

    I suspect the reason amazon doesn’t allow scp/rsync isn’t so much policy as technical; they probably use something similar in design to Google’s own bigtable database, so running scp/rsync would involve invasive hacks to the server in question, or perhaps some kind of FUSE mount (but in that case, you might as well run it locally). Not to mention the necessity of securing the ssh server so it doesn’t give away shell access, or allow access to someplace outside of the paths you have access to.

  3. I shop amazon for used books and cds only. Recently, “119 used and new from $6.98″ became “119 offers from $6.98″, and “$8.98 including $2.00 shipping” became “$6.98 + $2.00 shipping”.

    The latter is the part that annoys me.

  4. bd_

    I should mention – probably the easiest way to upload files to S3 for a casual user would be with their curl utility at http://developer.amazonwebservices.com/connect/entry.jspa?categoryID=47&externalID=128 .

  5. I’d like to see them eliminate the confusion between amazon.com and amazon.ca. I spent an hour one day trying to figure out why my order history was suddenly blank. Turns out I was logged into amazon.com instead of .ca, and apparently your order history doesn’t transfer between them (but your login does..!).

  6. I want search that doesn’t require me to think if the product is in “Home Improvement” or “Home and Garden”, or in other words I want improved product search.

    Maybe I type bad queries or select incorrect categories but I often search Amazon and don’t find the product. I then head to a search engine , typically Google :), to find a different vendor using the same query. Low and behold Amazon did have the product in stock but I had not cracked their special search requirements.

  7. JohnMu

    Suggested tweaks for Amazon? Yep — not all of them for Amazon though:
    http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=45332
    Sigh. Can I order some stuff through your address, Matt? :D

  8. I agree with the book alert. I’ll be interested in any new book by certain niche publishers too – it’s a pain having to keep on hitting their advanced search function to look for new books.

  9. > offsite backup via scp etc

    I suggest you check out rsync.net – they are glorious for this. Offsite backup via scp (or rsync). Extremely responsive support from people with a clue. Cheap too.

  10. I just missed Jeffrey Gitomer’s latest book release and only found out about it when I was looking for another book at Barnes & Noble. I would have pre-ordered on Amazon if I knew about it.

    They probably could make it even better and let me see every item that shows up on a keyword, like Google News Alerts. This way you can monitor DVD releases, latest video games and a whole slew of stuff.

  11. I am so addicted to amazon one click overnight prime. ROX!

  12. Ohh btw Matt have you ever bought a gold box item? I did 1 time out of about 400…

  13. rick gregory

    A riff on the author alert… tell me when a given type of edition of a book is released. I almost never buy hardbacks of fiction. Tell me when Charlie Stross’ Glasshouse is out in paper. IN fact, you know it will be out on June 26th and I can pre-order it now… so tell me that. Heck, let me tell you to not just alert me, but, when certain works are out, place the preorder for me.

  14. I have a suggestion for google. Why is it that when I enter a search for “française” I receive different results than if I search for “francaise”?

    Since most PC users can’t enter foreign alphabet characters as easily as we can with a Mac, shouldn’t Google make things easier for them? Google doesn’t offer a spelling correction nor does it group search results for both character differences.

  15. Ketan, I think they optimize for $$, which isn’t so bad for them. Showing things like related projects, things other people bought, etc. is pretty useful in my eyes.

    bd_, I gotta disagree. It’s true that hacking scp support in might be hard. But even if they have to do some weird FUSE proxy, that’s one-time work for them vs. some work for every user that wants to do scp.

    Tom Boutell, thanks for the info. Coming from the guy with libgd cred, I’ll check it out.

    Jeremy, I don’t think I’m a Gold Box man. No idea why, but it never appealed to me.

    Nolan, read this post for more info about accented characters:
    http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2006/08/how-search-results-may-differ-based-on.html
    It’s true that search results for [francaise] are not identical to [française], but you can tell from the bolding/highlighting the snippets that we do know that they’re often synonymous. For example, the #1 search result for [francaise] only contains the word “française,” not “francaise.”

  16. Thanks for the feedback Matt. You make some good points. I haven’t been “deputized” or anything, but I’ll make sure your feedback gets to the appropriate groups at Amazon.

    Any SEO advice for us?

  17. Amazon has FINALLY started making it slightly easier to figure out which items are prime/free shipping and which are third party. I realize this puts their partners at a disadvantage, but if I’m paying for Prime, at least make it easy for me to get the benefit or I won’t resubscribe.

    It got so bad I started searching amazon via google like this in order to find Prime items:
    site:amazon.com “item ships for FREE” led flashlight

  18. I’d like to see Amazon publish a rsync clone for S3, so that it would be possible to only transfer changed bits… pipe dreaming away.

    scp would be nice too. Anything but the current protocol, it makes using S3 for backup a real drag.

  19. Tony

    Just being nitpicky but don’t you trust googlewebmastercentral blog?

    I realise you probably have nofollow set for all links but I couldn’t help the little dig.

  20. Possibly #5 is because it verifying a Credit Card might involve processing fees, and they’re too cheap for that, so they make you do it when you order something. So that when they charge your Card, they also verify it. Costing them less in Credit Card processing fees.

  21. I love amazon prime! it’s already paid for itself and now I totally shop on impulse, which is probably the idea. But since I hate the idea of paying shipping, this makes it so much nicer – I barely have to leave the house :|

  22. Glad to see I’m not the only one who takes advantage of free 2 day shipping and $4 overnight!! I order shit for all my friends now too, it’s great for birthdays to have it sent to them free!

    Another glitch I foundis when you add a new address to ship to you have to re-do all your CC info even ifi t’s on file a major PITA!

  23. Ian McAllister, thank you! I appreciate someone from Amazon stopping by so quickly (on a Saturday, even!). If you can get Amazon to change any of these, I’ll happy strikethrough them and give credit to Amazon for making the change. If Amazon were starting all over from scratch, I’d recommend going for urls that are more user-friendly/decipherable. But what’s done is done, and Amazon seems to do a fine job on SEO in my experience.

    Tony, that’s a WP thing in comments. I’d like the option to leave follow’ed links in my own comments (WP used to do follow’ed links for authors’ comments), but I haven’t looked into WP’s code about this.

    Matt, that may be so, but none of the 7-8 other websites made me do this to change my credit card number.

  24. I’d like to see them change the 302 status codes on imdb.com to 301′s:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aimdb%2Ecom%2Fr%2F
    Google seems to be having a problem with those, look at the cache of the pages. Amazon search results.
    They seem to do some googlewashing of associate sites… some even have PR.

  25. I have an Amazon/Google SEO observation. I find it peculiar that when searching for my own name “Henrik Kibak” on Google, my top ranked page (out of 650) is some obscure comment I wrote on Amazon Reviews for a biochemistry text. The next highest makes more sense as it is a blog I write for a National Geographic education site. My official university webpages are way down the list.

    I agree with your Amazon usability comments, but what gives a commercial entity like Amazon such a high “trust factor?” Higher than National Geographic or my university?

  26. ToddW, I’ve always assumed the CC-for-new-address thing was an intentional security measure: this way, someone guessing/phishing an Amazon password can’t order items and deliver them to themselves or accomplises (assuming they don’t share a house with you or someone you’ve sent things to).

  27. yeah, i love amazo prime too… and its makes amazon associate like me more happy cause it can attract more sales :p

  28. Henrik Kibak, when I search for “Henrik Kibak” I see kibak.com in the top 10, but your domain has a very small number of links (single-digit) to it. In deciding which pages to return, we look at on-page matches (topicality) as well as links and the quality of those links (reputation).

  29. Ketan

    Matt, I don’t disagree that they show useful features — they are definitely good — in fact I like them. It is how they are presented, the inconsistency of the UI and presentation of various features etc. Those are things other newer competitors should not be “aspiring” to — features: yes — presentation, no. At least that is my professional opinion :)

  30. ark

    I’d be a lot happier if they didn’t give my email address to spammers. I’ve had 3 addresses that I only ever gave to Amazon.com end up getting ridiculous amounts of junk mail (one address was completely random including their own random sub domain so people aren’t guessing these). Spam for drugs and refinancing not your regular run of the mill junk mail from amazon.

    People who I’ve spoken to who used to work at Amazon say it’s a known problem. they suspect their fulfillment centers (mine started after I started ordering diapers) I’m not quite sure why they need to give my email address to someone for them to ship me something. I’ve been told my credit card isn’t given to them. I only give amazon (and other online retailers) a shopsafe credit card number now.

  31. My university has insanely long URLs for their course offerings and very poor navigation. In the old days, say five years ago, I would just tell my students to google Henrik Kibak and my official university pages would be at the top
    http://science.csumb.edu/~hkibak/ or http://home.csumb.edu/k/kibakhenrik/world/index.html

    This was very convenient for my students when they needed access to my course pages – just had to remember my name ;-) Over the past year or two those pages have gone way down the list and the Amazon and Nat’l Geo. have appeared which are not helpful to students.

    Of course I did not expect kibak.com to be ranked at all as it is a very personal web page. Anyway, didn’t mean to belabor it, just thought that perhaps there might be a fiduciary reason for my Amazon review ranking highest.

  32. Provide an RSS feed for “new books by this author” – this is a great idea, why not expand on that to also include other criteria…

    - RSS feed for “new books containing these keywords”
    - RSS feed for “new books that contain DVDs and fall in a particular genre”
    - RSS feed for “new books that I already have (and respect) that have new editions”

    The folks at Amazon could get pretty creative with this, good idea to get the ball rolling.

  33. Great post Matt,

    I remember a day when in the e-commerce world internet marketers would define their UI strategy by asking W.W.A.D. or What Would Amazon Do?

    I too love me some Amazon, yet I agree it really seems like they have fallen behind on the tech side which is where they used to lead the charge. From a branding perspective I wonder what effect this has had on them? Because while I feel like the site can be clunky, I still come up with only one answer when I ask myself where to find the new book I’m looking for.

    BTW thanks for the noise post it’s often refreshing to read something here that isn’t Google/SEO related.

    Hopefully they take your tips to heart, after all they are expected to be down 1 billion dollars in revenue this quarter and Twelve out of 28 analysts rate AMZN a hold.

  34. Nice post, many great points.

    I personally have not used Amazon that much in the past year due to an incident in where it took more than a month to get my account unfrozen (I had to escalate it outside their customer service process).

    Amazon is great – just as long as you never have to call them – hope that you never have to.

  35. Randall S

    Thanks for raising the visibility on missing Amazon capabilities. When I last checked Amazon had completely gotten rid of individual author alerts and only provided alerts based on genre/category.

    The minimum they should provide is an alert for any new edition of a book by an author. Better would be some structured matching on key attributes (title keyword, publisher, author, hardcover/trade/pb, etc.) plus alert topics (new book announced, new book available, price change on book, etc.) that allowed their customers to precisely identify the news they want, and thus be more likely to buy from Amazon.

    The other broad area of improvement would be in sorting/filtering of results. Kayak does this really well for travel. Once I find an author’s books, how about letting me sort them by publication date? That can help me identify the sequence of series I might want to start. Or let me sort/filter by average rating – or for children’s books, by suggested age. If I’m buying a book for my niece I’d like to be able to search, sort and filter on a number of criteria to help me find the most appropriate gift. Today Amazon really limits the matching criteria and has virtually no sub-sorting or filtering.

    That said, a usable Alerts feature is at the top of my list for needed improvements. I raised this months ago with Amazon customer service but did not get the impression that they’d even pass along the request to product management and engineering. Hopefully your blog posting will get some response – or at least an explanation why they don’t have this.

  36. Tracking back the authors needs really needs to be improved! Everybody has some favourite authors.

  37. Another Terry Pratchett reader. Nifty.

    I concur with your #3 and #5 assessments and definitely support #1 and #2; glad to see that somebody from Amazon takes notice.

  38. Matt B

    Matt, this may be straying from the Amazon topic a bit, but when you mentioned “certain authors (William Gibson, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, etc.)”, man, it confirmed that you are one hip cat. If you like those guys, you might want to try a Robert Rankin book or two.

    He takes a while for some to get used to, but he also has that fresh view of things that actually makes me… stop.

  39. Ketan actually hit on something with the usability, although I’m not totally sure he and I are going to interpret this the same way.

    Look closely at the Amazon CSS. They specify their font size in pixels so that everything fits nice and pretty on the screen…that’s not cool for those users on IE6 or earlier that want to adjust the font size (and a large percentage of those users still exist.)

    They also don’t give XHTML strict code to affiliates from their code generator…that’d be nice.

    Oh, and a tableless layout because we all know about how much they rock. Show some initiative again, like others have said.

    That’s about all I got to say about that.

  40. What I’d like to see from Amazon is some way to bring all their review people into other applications – not just for book things but for other stuff. Perhaps some form of a trust ranking that would assign quality scores to the hundreds of thousands of Amazon reviewers. It’ll be great when we can separate real reviewers and real ideas from SEO or opportunistic review content, and Amazon has one of the best reservoirs of reviews to start this project.

  41. Amazon is the greatest affiliate with their cool iframes that do not dirty content. I have been considering doing a website dedicated to books cuz people buy books like crazy and iframes are search engine (Google) friendly which is awsume. On my home and garden blog if people are not clicking Adsense, going directly to the cool products from Amazon I review, guess what they are doing? Buying books! :)

    Yes indeed Mr. Cutts, Amazon does some great SEO with those longtails eh? You can learn a lot by studying a winner. ;)

  42. Dave (Original)

    Aaron, I do like their newish iframes additions. However, their affiliate system over-all is quite poor IMO. They have too many holes in their boat (lost commission for affiliates) and their commission percentage is very low.

  43. Dave – That may be true but Google (algorithm) has a great love (just as Matt does) for Amazon so if you are looking for a non sleazy affiliate to combine with Adsense (to pay for you childs daycare and college fund) it is the perfect combination.

    If you got some other clean, easy affiliate ideas please please contact me.

  44. Harith

    Matt

    IF you have time. Would you be kind to tell us more about what Google intend to do about paid links with no rel=nofollow attribute ;-)

    Wish you a great day and a successful week.

  45. vivek kedia

    Hi Matt,

    I think, giving out some good stuffs for free will do best for amazon !! :-)

    vivek kedia

  46. There’s authortracker.com for harper-collins fans but I’d love a way to input the authors whose books I regularly read (husband and I have about 37 last count) and get an alert too.

    I really would spend a heck of a lot more if Amazon told me when my favs had new books out – why should I have to go to WorldCon and sit through endless talks by publishers to glean a gem about one of my favs when I could get a retailer send me the info and pre-purchase info direct?

    Speaking of which – very much looking forward to Nippon 2007 the very first WorldCon in Japan!

  47. niraj

    stop worry about amazon and concentrate on google.

  48. Matt,

    Have you tried Google Alerts? That’s how I monitor your fresh posts.

    GaryTheScubaGuy

  49. Séan

    I don’t like the “Buy this and save nn” feature…

    Only because it is suggesting to me that if I buy these two items I might be saving nn from the Amazon price… but it actually means: “Buy this and save nn from someone else’s price but you don’t save any money from our price because it is already low low low and you know its worth it.”

    Its only a small flaw but I have stopped clicking on the links now because it is just a pain.

    Even better would be a Buy Neuronmancer (the book you’re currently browsing) and Count Zero (the related book that you have also viewed in recent sessions and not bought) for £nn.00; a saving of £n.98.. “Realtime, live updating, we know what you like because you visit this kind of topic frequently” targeted offers. (or do I have to wait for Web 3.0?)

  50. Séan

    Nueromancer – oops.

  51. l'Optimiseur

    I think Amazon should improve their review/ rating process. Reviews are listed by date (by default) and are typically useless. I have made the mistake of buying a reference book, based on the reviews. There were only 5 reviews, all of them 5-stars, and all of them praised the book. It turned out to be a low-budget, useless piece of junk that actually had advertisements for a Web site on random pages. So basically, whoever created this book probably bought a few copies off of Amazon and then gave their own book good reviews. So in SEO terms… the book was nothing but scraped content, which relied on purchased links, and it ranked very high in Amazon’s listings because of comment spam. So there you have it… spammers are everywhere! Not even my books are safe!

  52. rite

    Finally someone else names it and hopefully will be heard … I dropped comments about Amazon’s strange account navigaton in their contact forms, but nothing came in return but automated replies. It’s a real struggle, e.g., if you just want to adjust whether a real name or an alias shows up with your reviews.

    What I’d like to add:

    1. Plz, get reliable concerning your storage! At christmas I was late buying gifts, but as I wanted to give some DVDs I already owned myself I thought: No problem. Wrap up your own and order a new. I ended up having given away one of my five most loved movies, which Amazon had promised to send me again within a few weeks. However, it took them four months until they had to confess they were unable to deliver … My only chances are an expensive imported collector’s box from eBay with an additional movie I don’t like *and* different region code, or visiting the one I gave it to and make a copy. Guess my choice … So, Amazon, don’t promise “delivery within four to six weeks” while not even knowing if an item will be available at all!

    2. Why is there no option to buy a book in another language, and not even a remark about the original title in that language? Many people speak two or more languages (at least in Old Europe, I won’t sign for that in the US ;o). Is there a better way to brush up your knowledge in foreign languages, while not being able to travel, than reading a book? Am I supposed to guess the original title and look for it?

  53. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the shortcomings of their search. There used to be an advanced search page, but if it’s still there it’s well hidden. What’s left is a search box which is a real pain if you’re looking for an obscure author. For example, if I search for “Matt Cutts”, I want books by Matt Cutts, not by Matt Smith and John Cutts or whoever. A “guess what I want” search is fine for a simple search box, but give me the chance to specify what I want to search for. If I can save that search, say as an RSS feed, so much the better…

  54. they should seriously follow up on spoof complaints

  55. I also love Amazon Prime, and we use S3 with great success (very reliable and fast for video delivery). It is limited and hopefully they will improve.

    I agree with useability problems on Amazon though, including way too heavy page weight. They could learn from Google. Ebay is similarly challenged, or old-fashioned. Once these companies get share that is hard to lose, they freeze in certain ways. I hope Google does not do this.

  56. aw

    Haha…I ran into the same problem you did. Not being able to add a new credit card until you purchase something is SO clunky. The whole user preferences/account system sux.

    In the hope that someone from Amazon reads through these, here is some more sucky stuff.

    This has been mentioned by others before, but their handeling of new editions sux bad (tech books). One, it doesn’t always tell you there is a new edition. Two, it transfers all the reviews form the old edition to the new edition. Stupid huh? Since the old reviews have pretty much zero to do with the new edition….

    I agree also about searching by author. You can click on the authors name under the title to find all books by an author, but if it is a person who writes a series (think fantasy or sci-fi) it is very difficult to find all the books in a series, presented in order, with the proper binding (hardbanck or paperback). As an example of this try finding all the Wrinkle in Time books from a paricular publisher as hardbound books. It has been printed so many times, there is no easy way to find the whole series in a particular binding/publsher. It is a glaring blind spot. You have to resort tousing user made listmania lists which is pretty sad…

    Better presentation of binding choices. It often doesn’t includee images of all binding choices.

    I see Amazons problems the same as Ebay. Both are old and cluncky as hell. But without scrapping and redoing, it is difficult to fix. The created the monsters that thatey are now stuck with. Think Google and Adsense ;-) So much depends on something it becomes impossible to change.

    Here is a link to an Amzon owned websitre for shoes and bags if you want a gander of some future direction they may be moving in:
    http://www.endless.com/

    Much cleeaner, simpler and web 2.0y. Whether this ever transfers over to the old site, who knows…? Hopefully.

  57. I also love Amazon, but man could they do a better job on many fronts. Here’s my wish-list:

    * Organize product information better. There are about 20 sections on some pages which appear to have been placed on the page in some semi-random order. As another commenter pointed out, UI ain’t their strong suit :-)

    * Make good suggestions for products I want, in the same way NetFlix makes good movie suggestions for me. I buy a fair amount of music from Amazon, lots of books, and ungodly amounts of other things. Yet they don’t seem to be able to do better than stating the obvious (and usually incorrect) guess as what I might like. Amazon should be able to know and use a lot more about me than they seem to.

    * Use their power to *force* manufacturers to provide complete, structured and accurate specifications and descriptions for their products, notably consumer electronics, but all, really.

    * Do a better job of grouping related products. The 7 different colors of some Olympus Stylus camera aren’t really any different, but they have different ASINs and seem to be 7 distinct products. (My review for the pink camera was 5 stars, but the silver one was 2 :-)

    * Organize product categories (browse nodes) … at all. The degree to which browsing by nodes leads to completely mis-categorized products is laughable at times. Amazon is great if you know what you want, but if you are trying to find something and you’re not sure, good luck.

    * Do a better job of identifying the products that are good from those that suck. User reviews are a great start, but they should be able to use a lot more about what they know to steer users towards good products and away from the wrong ones (in particular, older models of things, etc.).

    Having said this, with the possible exception of Shopping.com, Amazon still provides the most information on most products of any other online product catalog. If only they could organize the data, they could do so many things better.

  58. Adam

    For what it’s worth, this post has made it to Amazon internal. I can’t guarantee they’ll be acted upon, but at least your comments have been heard.

  59. I wan’t every product to come with a real amazon woman, pirahna from the amazon river, and that giant amazon river anaconda (without j-lo and ice cube pls).

  60. I agree with the book alert. I’ll be interested in any new book by certain niche publishers too – it’s a pain having to keep on hitting their advanced search function to look for new books.

  61. yeah, i love amazo prime too… and its makes amazon associate like me more happy cause it can attract more sales :p

  62. In the library field, online catalogs are often derided as old and clunky, and people often try to think how they can make them more like Amazon or Google, so it’s interesting to hear about Amazon’s flaws. You can always use Worldcat (http://www.worldcat.org/) to search, then follow the link on a specific item back to Amazon.

    Libraries: we don’t care if you use our stuff without buying anything.

  63. yeah, i love amazo prime too… and its makes amazon associate like me more happy cause it can attract more sales :p

    http://www.ihsac.com

  64. There are a couple of more tips that Amazon could use. I am astonished they still have something to fix!

  65. Karl

    I love Amazon Prime, but I hate that they make it so difficult to filter out non-prime eligible items. I just read about this site – http://www.iprimr.com on slickdeals. iPrimr is a search engine that returns ONLY amazon prime eligible items.

  66. Amazon should offer the service you mention in #1 and #2, but since they don’t we’ve tried to solve it – releasecaster.com. It tries to also solve some of the issues mentioned in the comments, such as tracking all books from a particular publisher. Any feedback from people reading this post that know what they are looking for in such a service would be greatly appreciated.

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