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Sources Say Amazon Will Soon Be Targeting Ads, a la Google AdWords 83

Posted by timothy
from the cookies-are-delicious dept.
According to The Register (citing a paywalled WSJ article), a new face in targeted ads is emerging (according to "people familiar with the matter") to compete with Google, and it's Amazon. They already have a vast, mineable collection of data about customers' buying, listening and viewing habits, so exploiting personalized ads seems a natural follow-on. According to the report, the ad system would replace Google as ad vendor on Amazon itself, and "It is also apparently hoping to beef up its ad placement business on other sites as part of Amazon's strategy to carve its way into Google's multi-billion-dollar AdWords' empire." Pretty soon Amazon will able to just save me time by ordering the things I would have ordered based on ads that they themselves have placed.
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Sources Say Amazon Will Soon Be Targeting Ads, a la Google AdWords

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  • easy solution.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 24, 2014 @11:36AM (#47741951)
    adblock plus
  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @11:38AM (#47741959) Homepage

    I'm OK with targeted ads. I just wish they would figure out how to target them.

    I bought a couple of 'Hello Kitty' flash drives close to a year ago. It was a joke, people kept stealing my generic looking ones. The Hello Kitty sticks stay in my desk. Since then, every other time I log in, Amazon has to breathlessly show me various Hello Kitty things. An impressive panoply of products, but ones that I'm not especially interested in.

    Try to buy something for a gift? Well, idiot algorithm thinks you're going to buy the same thing for the next six months....

    You'd think it this was easy.

    • The NCAA just went away from an algorithm and to a human selection system that will determine the entrants of a two game playoff to determine the champion.

      Some of the comments have been about how the BCS (the algo) didn't factor in if the field was muddy, if a player was injured (some do), experience and maturity of players, and could not determine when margin of victory mattered. Humans, however, have no issue being able to dynamically add a factor to the algorithm. Humans can easily tweak how much we
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Try to buy something for a gift? Well, idiot algorithm thinks you're going to buy the same thing for the next six months....

      IIRC, Netflix recently added an option for you to watch movies without them being added to the Netflix recommendation algorithm.

      You'd think companies like Facebook and Amazon would be so smart as to offer you an option to remove items from their profile of you.

      • Amazon do, there is an area for you to improve your recommendations, where you can simply tick items not to be used for recommendations.

        Don't think I've bothered really though, it should be more seamless than me having to go and hunt it out etc. simply easier for me to ignore the recommendations.

      • But then they'd have to reveal how much data they have collected about you, and people would be creeped out (although probably not enough to stop using fb and amazon).
    • by houghi (78078)

      I'm OK with targeted ads. I just wish they would figure out how to target them.

      Targeting in Marketing is done in two ways.
      The first is the one that we talk about here on /. the most. It analyzes what you are interested in. They will analyze what you have seen and bought, They will then assume what you might be interested in and show you these items.
      e.g. a new TV when you have a high intrest in movies and tv shows and console games.

      The other way is to assuming you do not know certain products, so they want y

    • by Dragon Bait (997809) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @12:30PM (#47742205)

      I'm OK with targeted ads. I just wish they would figure out how to target them.

      On the desktop version of Amazon [amazon.com], go to "Your Account" on the top right next to the search bar, then "Your Recommendations" from the drop down. Under the search bar there should be a "Improve Your Recommendations" link. Find your "Hello Kitty" purchase and click "Don't use for recommendations."

      Note: If anyone cares, I do not work for Amazon any more than any of their other customers do.

      • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @01:15PM (#47742407)

        Find your "Hello Kitty" purchase and click "Don't use for recommendations."

        Mod parent up! GP is complaining about a problem that actually has a known solution, which Amazon has been reasonable enough to implement.

        GP is complaining about the precise behavior that allowed him to accomplish his goal in ordering the flash drive. Amazon obviously profiled people and predicts that the demographic who will buy "Hello Kitty" products is very specific, and most people do NOT want that stuff.

        GP's argument is thus actually proof that Amazon's algorithm is probably working well. GP chose a product that would be undesirable for most of his coworkers for the very reason that it's something of a niche product. By buying such a product, GP identified himself to the algorithm as one of those few people (unlike his coworkers) who would want such a product.

        Now he expects Amazon to just intuit that he's some sort of exception to that general rule (which in this case, is probably a very good rule, or someone would have stolen GP's flash drives by now).

        I'm not saying Amazon's recommendations couldn't be improved -- but this particular example is very poor. And if GP wants to fix his recommendations, Amazon has a system specifically designed to allow this.

      • by worf_mo (193770)

        Thanks for this information! I occasionally order stuff for various family members; for the past months a certain number of women's sandals and phone covers in primary colors kept showing up in my recommendations. You helped me get rid of them.

      • by antdude (79039)

        Can we tell Amazon never to recommend for ALL by default?

    • by NF6X (725054)

      I bought a couple of 'Hello Kitty' flash drives close to a year ago. It was a joke, people kept stealing my generic looking ones. The Hello Kitty sticks stay in my desk. Since then, every other time I log in, Amazon has to breathlessly show me various Hello Kitty things. An impressive panoply of products, but ones that I'm not especially interested in.

      If that bothers you, then definitely avoid clicking any links on The Worst Things for Sale [theworstth...orsale.com]. The recommendation algorithm doesn't automatically discriminate between things you might want to buy vs. things you looked at for shock or humor value. Thanks, Amazon, but I don't need a 55 gallon drum of personal lubricant at the moment.

  • Amazon wants to show specific products to people that might be interested in them? Shocking!

    Also, Adblock Plus, and maybe shop at other businesses that don't have the objectionable practices as Amazon and Wal-Mart?

  • First, about half of what I buy on Amazon are gifts that I myself would not have any interest in owning. Second, I haven't ordered anything off Amazon since they started charging sales tax (fark CA and it's high taxes). Too many other online sources to use without letting the spendthrifts in Sacramento squeeze me dry.
    • "First, about half of what I buy on Amazon are gifts that I myself would not have any interest in owning"

      So you are saying that you have an interest in buying things for others, that you yourself would not want. So what. The point is: here is the type of stuff this guy might buy , not here is the stuff this guy might want."

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      So how about you get off your ass and change the laws governing how ridiculous your taxes are?

      No, you don't ACTUALLY want that do you? My guess is that you're happy to take all the benefits those taxes provide, but somehow think its okay to not actually participate in paying them.

      Do you abstain from using public roads? Public transit? Public policing? How about water and power which are subsidized by taxes? Do you enjoy the protection of California's tough environmental laws or do you not?

      You're just a

      • by Solandri (704621)

        So how about you get off your ass and change the laws governing how ridiculous your taxes are?

        No, you don't ACTUALLY want that do you? My guess is that you're happy to take all the benefits those taxes provide, but somehow think its okay to not actually participate in paying them.

        California has one of the highest tax burdens in the country [taxfoundation.org]. It's even worse if you factor in average income. Graduated income taxes means states with higher incomes naturally have a higher tax burden. The #1-3 tax burden st

    • First, about half of what I buy on Amazon are gifts that I myself would not have any interest in owning.

      IIRC, you can mark an item as a gift when you purchase it (not sure if that impacts recommendations). You can alter the recommendations via "Your Account", "Your Recommendations", "Improve Recommendations", "Don't use for recommendations."

  • From a privacy aspect, anybody shopping at Amazon already doesn't care about any kind of privacy.

    From a business aspect, I'm shocked that they're not doing it already. They have more information about their customers than probably any single organization on the planet. Considering how badly they're bleeding cash, I'm wondering why they haven't been doing this all along.
    • by ladislavb (551945)
      They've been doing it already. They started about two or three weeks ago when, as an Amazon affiliate, I was given an opportunity to create Amazon ads and to place them on my website. So far so good - the CPM is decent (just over a $1) and even though it hasn't been able to beat AdSense, it is still much better than most other networks I've tried in the past. The fill rate hangs around 30% at the moment. It looks promising.
  • I though they were already doing this. They were failing if they were missing this opportunity. What do people expect? (Do I like it? meh. I don't like being profiled. It could make buying easier.)
    • by BitZtream (692029)

      It could make buying easier.

      Its more likely that you'll just end up not being exposed to new items that may be useful to you.

      Profiled advertising seems like a great idea, except (as it stands currently) you end up advertising to people who are already buying your products, and hence, theres not really any point in them getting your advertisements.

  • Compete with Google? (Score:5, Informative)

    by m00sh (2538182) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @01:00PM (#47742365)

    Google tracks a large portion of the websites you visit, including slashdot. They have a more detailed browsing history. If you use gmail, they probably have all your purchasing history as well (including Amazon). Not to mention your search history. So, Amazon has a fraction of the data that Google would have on a person.

    The only thing that Amazon has over Google is that you use Amazon ads and if a visitor buys something, you get a nice 4% commission. But, I don't know if big money will come from that - it's just blogs.

  • Pretty soon Amazon will able to just save me time by ordering the things I would have ordered based on ads that they themselves have placed.

    Submitter might have thought that was a joke, but Amazon already has applied for a patent on that [wsj.com].

  • I'm already getting profiled ads based on my Amazon shopping.

    Annoying as fuck. Looking for more ad blocking extensions.

  • A few months ago I added some car parts to my wish list and never bought them. When visiting some web sites on my phone I get amazon ads for these exact same items along with other items I looked at and never bought. I say on my phone because I have ad block on all my desktops and laptop and never see these ads.
    • by dargaud (518470)
      You can also install Firefox on your smartphone (Android at least) and then install the AdBlock addon just like on the desktop version. Without having to root anything.
  • I do get a lot of targeted ads and I don't mind them at all. Many times the ads offer products that interest me.
  • To NEVER EVER EVER EVER consider any product or service that advertises. For example, Pandora runs the same local car dealer ad for every other ad, every day. Not only am I not buying a car, I will never use that dealer. Ever. Never Ever. Ever.

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