I’ve been on your planet for a while now and I’m completely befuddled. I’ve bought products from many companies over your Internet, including the first season of the show Breaking Bad largely because Phil Simon won’t shut up about it.
Note to self: Phil is right. Amazing show. The show’s star, Bryan Cranston, is a tour-de-force.
Maybe Phil and I have similar tastes, right? Perhaps I could learn something from the guy and other fans of that amazing show.
Now, I suppose that I could talk to Phil or go to his site or Twitter feed and find out what other shows he likes. Well, maybe I can’t talk to him. The guy sleeps at all sorts of crazy hours. Let’s just assume that I can’t talk to him. How do I find out about similar shows?
If I go to the Amazon.com page listing, I can search for the show and, beneath the product listing, I will see other shows deemed relevant like Justified and Mad Men. These are shows that deal with complicated moral issues, not entirely unlike Breaking Bad.
But what if I didn’t use Amazon.com? There are other sites that sell the very same DVDs, right? For instance, what about Buy.com?
I went there and was confused. Sure, they stock the product, but look at the comparable results for Breaking Bad? In particular, see the peculiar listing for the relatively wholesome kids’ movie The Bad News Bears.
Is a movie about a bunch of children playing baseball remotely comparable to a show about a high school chemistry teacher who, after finding out that he has terminal lung cancer, decides to manufacture crystal meth to support his family after he’s gone?
No, it’s not, yet Buy.com tells me that they’re related. Why? I suspect that it’s because they both have the word bad in the title. A customer who buys The Bad News Bears on the recommendation of Buy.com is unlikely to trust that site in the future.
This is so 1990s. Intelligent companies on earth like Amazon seem to do more than simple matching on individual words. They seem to integrate customer data particularly well. While I benefit from more relevant recommendations, Amazon also benefits because people buy more stuff.
Why don’t more companies do this?
(as translated by Phil Simon).