some additional articles on #amazonfail

Here are some more articles on #amazonfail, one of which is a blog post by Mark Probst and the other, an article by Bill Thompson, which discusses the effects that the incident had on Amazon’s reputation.

I found the second article particularly interesting. While I assumed that #amazonfail could only be detrimental to Amazon’s reputation, this article shed light on the fact that Amazon was, in essence, making their website more family-friendly. Yes, they broke the “bond of trust” that existed between them and their consumer base, but they “aren’t violating the First Amendment or even, I suspect, breaking the terms of their agreement with publishers by doing it.” Additionally, Thompson contends that “the error was in the algorithm” which is, to him, not really a source of comfort. There is something unnerving about placing our trust in a company, and allowing online recommendation systems to dictate many of our decisions. He writes: “The consequences of living by the algorithm do not just affect Amazon, they affect all of us as we increasingly rely on recommendation systems to suggest books to buy, friends to add on social networks, emails to take notice of and places to visit. We have put our faith in Google PageRank and ‘Amazon recommends’, and found them wanting, yet we do not have an alternative.” Kind of a scary thought.

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