the features that makes browsing at Amazon unique is their
exceptional ability to personalize the experience. Amazon analyzes
your purchase history and makes recommendations of other products you
might like based on your unique tastes. You can begin browsing your
personal recommendations in Amazon's Your Store section. You can find
it by clicking the tab that says "Your Name
store" from the main menu.
Reactions to recommended products are inevitably polarized, ranging
from "that's perfect!" to "that's waaaay off!"
The key to getting good recommendations is Amazon having data about
what you like, and even if you've never purchased anything there, you
can give Amazon plenty of data about your interests.
To reach the fine-tuning features, go to Your Store and choose
"Improve Your Recommendations" from the list
of links on the lefthand side of the page. This will lead to the
appropriately titled Improve Your Recommendations page, shown in
. The following features can be
accessed from this page.
Figure 1. Improve Your Recommendations
you're creating an account for the first time,
the first thing you'll see is a link that leads to Amazon's
Recommendations Wizard. This is a getting-to-know-you process that
asks about your favorite subject areas or categories and some
keywords for various departments, and lists some specific products
for you to rate. If you're a long-time customer, running through the
wizard is a good way to start refining your recommendations. On the
Improve Your Recommendations page the wizard is called "Select Your
Favorite Areas." Just click Continue under that heading to get
Rate Items in Your Amazon History
History is a virtual collection of
products associated with your account. It includes products you've
purchased, of course, but also items you've rated, items in your wish
list, or items you've told Amazon something about in some way. Each
item in your Amazon history can have information associated with it
that you set:
Amazon uses all of this information to make your recommendations more
accurate. You can start adding this type of data by clicking any of
the links under "Edit your Amazon history" (see ).
Figure 2. Editing personal Amazon history
You can rate an item by clicking the number of stars you'd like to
give it. You can also specify whether or not to use the item for
recommendations. This is particularly handy to weed out any gift
purchases you may have made. Buying children's books for your cousin
can throw a wrench into your personal recommendations. This is a way
to set the record straight.
Some browsers don't support the 1-5 star interface. Instead, ratings
are set with radio buttons. Be sure to click the "Save &
Continue" button at the bottom of the page to save your ratings if
you don't see the clickable star system.
Add and Rate Items That You Didn't Purchase at Amazon
fact that people actually buy items from stores other than Amazon. If
you'd like to use Amazon's recommendation service with these items
thrown into the mix, you still can. This is especially helpful when
Amazon continually recommends a product that you already own.
From the Improve Your Recommendations page, you can enter a keyword
into the form under "Rate items you own," and you'll see a list of
search results related to that keyword. Each item has the standard
rating options and the ability to mark it as one you own. You can
also rate and mark an item as yours from its product detail page. On
the lefthand side of the page, you'll find a Rate This Item box
Figure 3. Rate This Item box
Now that you've added books that you haven't purchased at Amazon, how
can you tell which are which? As you browse your Amazon history (by
clicking links under "Edit your Amazon history"), you'll notice a
status line under each item that lets you know why it's there.
Possible statuses are:
You can remove any of the items you've explicitly added to your
history by clicking "delete" next to this status line.