I’ve been ordering stuff from Amazon UK on-and-off since 1998, so it’s fair to say that they have a fair amount of information on my preferences. Or rather, you’d think that they did…
Sadly, I’ve come to the conclusion that, in my case, Amazon doesn’t know nearly as much about me nowadays.
Now, I’ll admit up-front that part of that may be of my doing. Since I wised up about the methods that companies like Amazon use to track me around the web and accumulate data about me from other sources, I’ve taken what steps I can to cut down their ability to do so.
Still, they have my purchasing history going back over two decades. Right?
Well, if they do, they’re not making much use of it. It seems that, far from helping me to find stuff that I’d want to purchase, Amazon more often works to slow me down and complicate things.
For instance, when I’m trying to narrow down a search for a particular item that I’m after, I’ve noticed that a lot of information that could be used to achieve that task — features, connection options, weight, height, etc. — just isn’t available to search for.
And when I have managed to narrow the options down a bit, I’m often faced with a sea of unknown manufacturers.
Plus, occasionally, some hilariously out-of-place suggestions.
I think it’s a combination of several factors that has led to this mess, with their obsession with promoting Amazon’s own in-house brands. Amazon’s website teams should definitely take a large portion of the blame, along with the manufacturers who either aren’t putting much effort into providing information that would help shoppers or are looking to game the system instead. Then there are the reviews, a worrying number of which may not be from purchasers or even real people.
I can only surmise that Amazon’s management, from Jeff Bezos down, just can’t be arsed anymore. The company has done such a good job of killing off competition around the world, so why worry? Instead, their primary concerns seem to be a) paying as little tax as possible, b) paying their workers as little as possible.
I’ve been meaning to wean myself off of Amazon for a couple of years now. The only things holding me back right now are my Kindle library, and the fact that both my Audible and Comixology accounts are linked to Amazon, so if I nuked my Amazon account I’d lose all that content.
So, for now, I’ll focus on finding good alternatives here in the UK, and leave Amazon’s website well alone.