Amazon Owes Me an Apology

Last week, I was presenting Dynamic Yield to some acquaintances in Palo Alto. When I wanted to give an example of good personalization, I fired up Amazon, which is known to do a pretty good job in recommending relevant products.

To my horror, this is what showed up: testicle self-test, male bladder catheterization model, UFO detectors and cheap romantic novels:


What the heck?! I didn’t know where to hide, I was so ashamed. It can’t be! What in the world made Amazon think these items are relevant to me? And how can I save face in front of these serious gentlemen, who were just bursting with laughter? To add insult to injury, the ‘inspired by browsing history’ shows a bunch of Lenovo notebooks, In a meeting in Palo Alto! I own a Mac since 2007… what an embarrassment.

What got really me really worried is that I was logged in to Amazon when seeing that. Was it some kind of identity theft? my purchase history seemed ok.

These recommendations continued to show up a couple of days more, and disappeared only after I deleted my cookies (I now get the recommendations I am used to getting – books about finance, entrepreneurship, etc.).

Strange incident. I assume Amazon had a bug that misidentified me. From now on, to be on the safe side, I’ll be using Target for demo purposes, although their personalization may lead to trouble as well.

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