No more recommendations, please

Four years ago, I wrote about how I wasn’t an Amazon geek any more in response to my previous post in the year where I was pondering my relation with Amazon. Recently, I reviewed my position and decided to go one step further.

The big cleanup

Today, I can gladly say I’m really not an Amazon geek any more: I’ve recently cleared a majority of the additional data given, including items marked Not interested (of which I had more than 50 thousand in all domains combined!) as well as all ratings. Removing this data took me several hours even with a help of a browser script that semi-automatically did it for me. Furthermore, I have disabled the search history and recommendations calculated from things I’ve bought before.

The main reason I did the cleanup is that I don’t feel like the recommendations are very interesting to me, especially considering the effort that has to be taken to keep up-to-date with all the recommendations. While I’ve been enjoying some of the recommendations that have eventually popped up after giving tens of thousands of hints for the recommendation machine, I don’t feel like keep doing that to find two more slightly above mediocre albums which I enjoy listening to once or twice – nearly not enough to buy them.

Another reason to mention is the privacy. While I consider it a minor deal that a company has a list of items I don’t like in their selection – they know what I’ve purchased from or through them anyway – I can empathize those who do not like their data shared. Most important of all, while I’ve enjoyed from the recommendations before but don’t do any more, I need to be able to stop using the feature and clear my data too.

Good & bad, or, the analysis

In 2010 I placed 28 orders in Amazon. This year, I’ve placed three orders. There are a few explanations for this. For starters, I generally buy much less music now.

However, while I don’t have the exact statistics at hand, I’m certain that the percentage of orders from Amazon has dramatically decreased, and there is a single key reason for this. The price difference for an item shipped from Amazon or bought locally has leveled out. I’m sad to note that most of this is caused by Amazon having removed the free Super Saver deliveries to Finland. On a more cheerful note, the record prices have finally started coming down in Finland.

A few words about record stores in Helsinki

Contrary to the more stores means more competition means lower prices logic, the amount of record stores in Helsinki has decreased slowly, but steadily during the last years. The store I prefer for prices, easiness, online presence and selection is a relatively new player in the field, but is spreading around the city while other stores close down. Whether it will monopolize the sector some day is a different thing – there are still a few older shops around.

Here’s hoping for healthy stores, reasonable prices, and of course, more good music.

At the end of the day…

I still have an Amazon wishlist with half a dozen of items. I mostly use the wishlist for tracking releases as well as occasionally placing an order. Based on this small bit of information, I still get some recommendations from Amazon. Since I’ve done the big purge, I haven’t really looked what’s on this list, but maybe I will in the future. Just for fun though.