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Data Mining the Amazon

From a Suggest a Topic entry from FC Now reader Gemma Teed, we find a Guardian article about the work of artist Angie Waller, who had a little fun with Amazon.com’s “Customers who bought this, also bought…” function.

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Waller spent many, many hours exploring what Amazon offered for particular interesting purchases and found some interesting results.

For example, those who bought Mein Kampf were offered musical choices from Prince, Eric Clapton, and the Bee Gees, while purchasers of Patrick Halley’s biography of Hillary Clinton are offered The Strokes.

In my experience, this Amazon function is quite good, and has introduced me to some things I might never have bought. On a somewhat related note, a friend once cautioned me to “never turn on one-click ordering, because one night, after a few drinks, you will end up buying books about Nunchucks.”

I took a spin through this function on Amazon myself this morning, and found that people who purchased our friend Po Bronson’s What Should I Do With My Life enjoy the musical stylings of Norah Jones and Annie Lennox. I am, however, disturbed that they apparently also enjoy Celine Dion.

Also interesting is that Waller’s book is not available on Amazon, but you can get a limited edition here.

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