I think I finally figured out why Amazon’s recommendation algorithm is so bad. I figured it out with no help from Kai-fu Lee who thinks it’s the bee’s knees.
The algorithm is quite horrible. I’m an almost daily user and I’ve bought piles of books from them since 2000. A brain-dead rabbit would have figured out what I like to read but Amazon still hasn’t.
And I think I know why.
The recommendations are bad on purpose. Because bad recommendations keep me on the website (or in the app) longer. If recommendations were good, I’d make a purchase and leave the website. But since they are bad, I stay on the website browsing and searching. The longer I stay, the more opportunities I get to remember that I need soap or coffee or socks.
Amazon gains by not making it easy to find what you like.