Interesting story at ArsTechnica:
As this article points out, many consumers are finding themselves presented with odd choices when they return to their favorite websites. Just today I searched on Amazon.com for “writers market”. Now, when I return to Amazon I’m presented with a list of recommendations, all of them books matching my earlier search criteria. This kind of techno-profiling, or as they would like you to believe, “feature”, is becoming quite common.
For a live demonstration before an audience of 500 people, Mr. [Jeff] Bezos once logged onto Amazon.com to show how it caters to his interests. The top
recommendation it gave him? The DVD for “Slave Girls From Beyond
Infinity.” That popped up because he had previously ordered “Barbarella,” starring Jane Fonda, a spokesman explains.
But wait, there’s more. Not only has this trend become standard procedure at sites such as Amazon.com and NetFlix, even TiVo is in on the action.
Mr. Iwanyk, 32 years old, first suspected that his TiVo thought he was gay, since it inexplicably kept recording programs with gay themes. A film studio executive in Los Angeles and the self-described “straightest guy on earth,” he tried to tame TiVo’s gay fixation by recording war movies
and other “guy stuff.”
“The problem was, I overcompensated,” he says. “It started giving me documentaries on Joseph Goebbels and Adolf Eichmann. It stopped thinking I was gay and decided I was a crazy guy reminiscing about the Third Reich.”
My own experience with Amazon is pretty good, with the expetion being the four post-modern books I ordered from Amazon for my english class. The books sucked, but the authors kept popping up on my recomendation lists until I finally rated all the books as “crap” (or whatever the amazon rating for that is) at which point Amazon resumed pushing Objectivist books at me due to my purchase of OPAR a few years ago.