The murky demimonde of Amazon's Top Reviewers. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, but I had imagined Amazon's customer reviews as a refuge from the machinations of the publishing industry: "an intelligent and articulate conversation ... conducted by a group of disinterested, disembodied spirits..."
posted by farishta
on Jan 28, 2008 -
Straight from the Department of Things Everybody But Me Probably Knew About Two Years Ago, it was only yesterday that I discovered the mind-boggling usefulness of the Amazon Filler Item Finder
, which allows you to enter the exact price of the item you need to pad your order up to $25.00 for free shipping. Happy postage-free holidays. [more inside]
posted by XQUZYPHYR
on Dec 4, 2007 -
Earlier this week this
story about illegal uranium sales was in the news. Had they been thinking they could have ordered online here
. BTW, check out what else customers are buying.
posted by Xurando
on Dec 1, 2007 -
So, whatcha readin? The
John Ashcroft Alberto Gonzales
Michael Mukasey Book Club wants to discuss your latest reads. Amazon
thinks it's none of their business. So does your librarian
. While it may seem that your reading list is safe, fact is you're actually just one National Security Letter or subpoena away from full disclosure. Want to change that? One step in the right direction would be to contact your Senator about getting S.2088
out of Committee and on to the floor. Oh, and tell them to vote for it. And then to override the veto.
posted by Toekneesan
on Nov 28, 2007 -
Fly Jumpers Junior
are a new product that give the wearer near-superhuman abilities, according to the promotional video on this amazon UK page. The vid also includes a surprising, albeit hilarious gory ending. The problem? These are Fly Jumpers Junior
, aimed at kids. As one reviewer has already noted, isn't this a bit too much for advertising a product aimed at children?
posted by hnnrs
on Oct 4, 2007 -
is the new name of Amazon's on-demand self-publishing service for the super long tail of books, audio CD's and film DVD/Blue-ray. Products automatically get an ISBN number and are listed on Amazon.com, including "Search Inside" for books. The National Archives and CreateSpace will be publishing movies
from its collection of over 200,000 public domain films, raising some provocative copyright issues.
posted by stbalbach
on Aug 8, 2007 -
presents an extraordinary look at "one of the most ambitious search-and-rescue missions in history
," after one of Microsoft's researchers, Jim Gray
, and his boat, the Tenacious
, went missing
in the Pacific Ocean outside San Francisco in January 2007. Cartography meets law meets 2.0
technology. "First the Coast Guard scoured 132,000 square miles of ocean. Then a team of scientists and Silicon Valley power players turned the eyes of the global network onto the Pacific." Eventually, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, the US Navy, NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium jumped in – "as did astronomers from leading universities." To this day, Jim Gray has never been found
, and his disappearance cannot be explained
. Read Wired
posted by BLDGBLOG
on Jul 22, 2007 -
An unassuming Canadian chap has been quietly submitting ludicrous reviews
of products sold on Amazon.com for nearly 5 years. For example, his detailed commentary on George P Joyce's A Comparative Analysis of Two Alternatives to Chemical Aircraft Paint Stripping
Joyce is an alchemist, taking the leaden medium of technical report writing, and transmuting it with his warm spirit, pouring his pen over the obscured voices of the chemical aircraft paint strippers like a mellifluous caramel gold; redeeming them in a universal chorus of aircraft paint strippers, their individual spirits vibrating like strings in a cosmic harp.
Part of the fun is seeing how many people rated each review as helpful; for example, he gets 100% approval for his comments on Flautist Angel Statuette
(This 'flautist angel' is crude, eschewing classical representation to debase itself in the distortions of folk art. A freak frisson of masochism prompted me to order an item that believes human anatomy is modelled upon slurry running from a faucet. Look at it.
) while virtually no-one was impressed by his analysis of How Conservatives Won The Heart Of America
(Thought-provoking. I did not know that the "heart of America" is an actual item the Conservatives won in a game of squash in 1972; I assumed it was a metaphor.
Since Amazon started adding RSS feeds and enabling comments on reviews, he finally appears to be starting to reach an audience
; those wishing to keep updated with his sporadic but fantastic work may appreciate this handy Feedburner URL.
posted by rhodri
on Jan 22, 2007 -
"I yearn for that kind of a backpacking trip minus the bears." "I was much the happy to know this man was tremendously eaten ferociously by the grizzly bear." "Not bad but not enough black chicks."
The work of these online reviewers may not merit their own special edition
, but they're special in their own way. Doc Savage reviews 200+ items on Amazon, most of which he hates, unless they involve black women and/or Carly Simon
. At Netflix, HV from Duvall
is not nearly as prolific, but gets 5 stars for sublimely anfractuous English. And DJAkin
over at IMDB has written nearly 500 reviews, although most of them read like Jackie Harvey
's Mad Libs. He (or she) may not be the next A. O. Scott
, but if you can find me a critic with a more sincere and unsnarked love of cinema, I'll eat my britches.
posted by sonofslim
on Jan 8, 2007 -
Top 'BRANDS' 2006, 2005, 2004 - Current List and Achive Overview on How survey was done....
What BRANDS have the most recognition and are the most popular with Americans? Here are the results of the current annual survey and achives from the past two years
"With the multitude of brand choices available to consumers, this survey is an important indicator of consumer activity and its correlation to social behavior .... Companies that can provide a clear and consistent brand to consumers, as well as harmonize with social changes
will find themselves in a promising position, as illustrated by top-ranking brands..."
posted by Bodyguard
on Jan 8, 2007 -
Websites that changed the world? This Observer
piece lists fifteen websites that aught to be considered the best of the web. It's a bold claim and although the potted histories are excellent, I'm wondering the extent to which it mostly includes website that have broken the public recognition barrier in the uk rather than changing the world
. How many are simply pioneers in their field? Where for example is flickr
posted by feelinglistless
on Aug 13, 2006 -
So. Paul Bausch
of all sorts of fame rolled-out an update
to his amazing Amazon feed-builder
. What's the big deal? Well, I'm a big fan of Wendell Berry
and Craig Thompson
, of Naguib Mahfouz
and books about New Urbanism
... and now, with the help of PB's delicious feed-builder, I'll be notified whenever something new comes from any of these authors or meets the "New Urbanism" search criteria, so I can add them to my Amazon wish list... and I think that's pretty darn cool. Add that to Amazon's pre-existing wish list feeds, which let you monitor other people's wish lists for additions ( you can find a wish list's feed on its "home" page ), and I'm in heaven.
( As a direct result of the feeds I subscribed to this weekend, my Amazon wish list has grown from 1600 to more than 1800 items. I blame Paul... he's such an enabler! )
posted by silusGROK
on Jun 12, 2006 -
Amazon S3, now for the masses.
Amazon S3 has been discussed previously
, but several user-facing services
have appeared in the last few weeks that allow ordinary non-programmer end users to take advantage of it. One of the most useful of these appears to be Jungle Disk
, a free front-end (free beer!) that lets you use S3 as a webdav-mounted disk drive. It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and there's GPL code available (free speech!) that lets other people develop alternative compatible front-ends.
posted by dmd
on May 18, 2006 -
now combines Amazon's BlockView images in another ajax map interface (with the maps by Mapquest, interestingly). Amazon has been driving around major cities taking photos of each block and now as you browse the map, street-level images come up alongside. The interface isn't quite intuitive, but it is nice to see the idea
posted by pithy comment
on May 16, 2006 -
A9 gets MS?
Amazon's search tool / portal, formerly powered by Google, is now using Microsoft's Windows Live
search service. I first noticed when my image results went missing (which sucks, but I still use it for the incentive program
). Does this mean MS is shifting out of the half-assery phase of its search strategy? What happens when its adCenter
keyword program opens up? [commentary
posted by grobstein
on May 14, 2006 -
Amazon's "Top Selling Videos"
Here's a mystery: Amazon has a page showing their top selling VHS videos. It is "updated hourly." Before you look at what the top sellers are, take a guess. I doubt that anyone would think that the 1994 Richard Simmons "Sweating to the Oldies"
video would be listed as No. 1 -- particularly in view of the fact that it is described as being "unavailable."
The others in the top 10 are also interesting: #3 is the 1945 black and white "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn"
. Would you guess that #7 is "Fatso
", a 1993 comedy starring Dom DeLuise?
I may be wrong but I suspect that Amazon's ratings are not accurate. Now I wonder about their book ratings . . .
posted by AJ
on Feb 10, 2006 -
From 1964 to 1992, Texaco
(.mov, 20.6MB) drilled for oil in the northern region of the Ecuadorian Amazon, known as the "Oriente". The company left 627 open toxic waste pits
and other facilities which continue to leak highly toxic waste
, affecting more than 30,000 local people. A higher incidence of birth defects
, miscarriages, skin diseases, and death
continues to plague people whose only source of water is a contaminated river
refuses to remediate the damage, claiming that they already "cleaned up" their share of the contract, by shoveling 3 feet of dirt over some of the open oil pits.
posted by mayfly wake
on Nov 12, 2005 -
Complete simple tasks that people do better than computers. And, get paid for it.
In 1769, Hungarian nobleman Wolfgang von Kempelen astonished Europe by building a mechanical chess-playing automaton that defeated nearly every opponent it faced. A life-sized wooden mannequin, adorned with a fur-trimmed robe and a turban, Kempelen’s "Turk" was seated behind a cabinet and toured Europe confounding such brilliant challengers as Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte. Excuse me? Ah, yes. The Mechanical Turk
, by Amazon.
posted by nitsuj
on Nov 3, 2005 -
The Penguin Classics Library Complete Collection
. "From Edwin A. Abbott to Emile Zola, the 1,082 titles in the Penguin Classics Complete Library total nearly half a million pages."
The weight of the books is approximately 700 pounds. Amazon is offering free shipping! I wonder how big the box would be waiting at my door. (via
posted by clgregor
on Jun 28, 2005 -
"When they emerged after 50 yards, the landscape no longer looked anything like the southern edge of the Amazon forest.
It looked like Iowa.
In Mato Grosso, Brazil the rainforest is vanishing. And all because of soybeans and beef.
"If we were an aggressive tribe, we would have killed the land owners already," said Tupxi, one of the canoeists, who estimated his age at 77. "
good Washpost story...
posted by punkbitch
on Jun 12, 2005 -