Don't get me wrong; I love Amazon. I’m Amazon Prime, and Proud. But they’ve come down with a seriously intrusive case of “My TiVo Thinks I’m Gay.”
A few years ago, that became first the hip, then mainstream, way to label the problem of personalization gone awry. Since it’s more than a year old, now it must be passé. So it goes.
At least TiVo’s suggestions sit unobtrusively in the (appropriately labeled) TiVo suggestions folder. I never see them unless I seek them. What Amazon has done to me the last few weeks is as if TiVo sent me a daily email saying, “hey, we think you’re gay and here’s a gay show about gays being gay. We’re sure you’ll enjoy it.”
The Amazon problem started with my wife’s iPhone 4s. Soon, I had Siri envy (my iPhone has a year left on contract). Well, not Siri, exactly, cause we still haven’t got the hang of talking to that big brain in Cupertino in ways it responds to effectively. But I am in love with the voice-to-text translation integrated into texting, email and notes (to mention a few). Downloaded Dragon onto my iPhone, and it translates great – but not integrated with apps, so nearly useless IMHO.
But it got me to thinking about voice translation on my Mac. So I bounced over to Amazon, found the Dragon version for the Mac, and read the reviews. Wow. Non-starter. Synthesis: PC version great, Mac version, er, never mind.
You see where this is going. Since then, I get an email every couple days offering me all sorts of deals and discounts if I’ll only come back and close the deal. Today’s email subject line: “Amazon.com: One-Day Sale on Dragon NaturallySpeaking Software.” Right – one day after yesterday’s sale. Among the worst parts is that they don’t even bother to get my version right. Don’t they check my machine’s browser (Safari) or OS?
So Amazon won’t stop parading to me the fact that it’s really a simpleton, and doesn’t know me well at all. Or, it thinks I’m the stupid one, and will buy a product even after a quick perusal of its own reviews makes that purchase a non-starter. And it just won’t stop. Shouldn’t the algorithm have some sort of cut off? Wouldn’t it be smart if after a couple tries it started sending me offers for other kinds of voice recognition products? That I could respect.
But in the end, you gotta look at the whole enchilada. Amazon is my superstore, I know how to use it (even if it doesn't know how to deal with me) and I get a whole lot out of our relationship. At the end of the day, I love Amazon. I’m Amazon Prime. And Proud.