Nov 28

Marc Hedlund

Marc Hedlund

My Wishlist Wishlist

Amazon's Wishlist feature is so lame. I wrote them a bunch of suggestions and thought I'd include them here, since it's never apparent to me that anything comes of sending suggestions to Amazon. I wonder if the quality of their user feedback, and other sites', would improve if they sent a note to feedback submitters saying, "You asked for this and now we've implemented it; let us know what else you want!"

Why can't I search my wish list?
What happened to the compact view of my wishlist? I have 463 items on my wishlist -- 19 pages' worth. That's not workable. [UPDATED: Oops, it's there. Thanks, Sean.]
Why do I get an error message if I add an item already on the list? That's not an error. You should tell me, "You've added this three times -- you really want it! Should we move it to the top of your list?"
Why can't I move a set of items from one wishlist to another all at once? Why is it so hard to manage which list items are on? [UPDATED: See above. Thanks, Bill.]
Why can't I see an Amazon category view of my wishlist (Books, DVDs, Camera & Photo, etc, and then subcategories in those -- just like the "Your Suggestions" page)?
Why can't I see a price range view of my wishlist? If I have to add $7.95 to my order in order to get Super Saver shipping, why don't you show me a list of items on my wishlist starting at $7.95 and going up in price from there?
Why do things I've bought still show up in my wishlist? Why do I have to manually delete items I've bought? That's so crazy!
The wishlist feature isn't very useful. I dump things into it, but it's such a pain to find things in it and manage it that I rarely ever buy anything from it. I would be very happy to go to Amazon on payday and say, "show me the stuff in my list I can buy for $50" and buy myself a payday treat. But as it is I just ignore everything after the first page. I think that's a big mistake for Amazon. I've already decided I want to buy this stuff and just don't want to do it right away. Help me get back to buying the things I know I want!

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Comments: 33

  gouchy guy [11.28.05 11:35 AM]

It would be really hard to track every request and group them appropriately (suggestions are very specific. you wouldn't want to send out a mass email that said, "we've implemented your request!" unless it was exactly what the customer has asked for).

But believe me, developers at Amazon are with you here. Amazon has terrible top-down management. Unless Jeff Bezos or one of his minions thought of it, it ain't happening. That's why I quit.

  gouchy guy [11.28.05 11:36 AM]

ack, I misspelled grouchy.

  Sean Graham [11.28.05 11:42 AM]

Compact View hasn't gone anywhere, I just used it 2 seconds ago. At the top of my wishlist there are 4 drop down boxes, the last of which is "View" which has "Normal" and "Compact" as options.

In the same row of drop-downs there is a "In Category" dropdown.

  Bill Bradford [11.28.05 11:47 AM]

You *can* move more than one item between lists at once; when I click on "Move/Copy", I get a list of items with checkboxes. I can check multiple items, pick move/copy/delete, and hit "Save All Changes".

  Marc Hedlund [11.28.05 11:47 AM]

Oops, thanks Sean.

Mr. gouchy, I agree that tracking and accurately responding to suggestions would be hard. But I bet it would have an effect on the quality of suggestions.

  Jason [11.28.05 12:13 PM]

Absolutely. The Amazon wishlist quite frankly sucks if you have more than, say, 15 items on it. Some friends of mine and I were looking for an excuse to build a web app on Rails, and landed on the amazon-wishlist-suckitude as the problem to solve. It does (or, will do) some of the stuff Marc asks for (better searching, grouping by category) and some stuff that we had grown to rely on from other sellers like (e.g., alerts when stuff is cheap enough to buy).

Conveniently (for us, at least) we're actually at a point now where we could use some beta testers. If anybody is interested, feel free email me, and we'll put you on the invite list.

This will be free, and we have nothing to do with Amazon (other than the fact that we buy from them.)

jason at standarddeluxe dot net

  Alex Barnett [11.28.05 01:07 PM]

More to the point, why can't you export YOUR wishlist? Then you can manage as you like, and share as you want. That would be on my wishlist wishlist.

  emory [11.28.05 01:08 PM]

Maybe you could just do what I do?

I tag things 'wishlist' in

Things I want are browsable, searchable, and joinable (wishlist+amazon? wishlist+home?)

  Andrew [11.28.05 01:19 PM]

And why can't one sort by the price of used copies (and not just on the wishlist)? Or more usefully, is there any sort of price tracker where I can say "Alert me when the price of this book falls below $__." That might be a really good way to avoid forgetting about a book on your wishlist.

  B.K. DeLong [11.28.05 05:01 PM]

Why not implement a LiveJournal-like friend-filter system that lets me let certain "friends" see certain lists. Rather than "share with all friends" or "make public".

  ShadowChaser [11.28.05 05:11 PM]

Have you ever tried using the international amazon sites? It gets even worse from there.

Amazon does not seem to have an integrated codebase. I go to the site, and add products to the "old version" wishlist.

I then go to the site to look for products that aren't listed on the site. I can order the products from and have them shipped to Canada - so why aren't those products listed on the Canadian site?

Amazon keeps two separate accounts, two separate wishlists, it's very aggrivating.

  jsp [11.28.05 05:45 PM]

Like you, I would definitely prefer if Amazon focused more on helping *me* manage what I want to (eventually) buy, rather than what I think they tend to do, which is focus on the "let *others* buy you stuff" function.

  Julian Bond [11.29.05 12:32 AM]

Actually the Amazon API sucks as well. That's not completely fair, because it's really powerful, but where's the low end? Why don't wishlist, lists and recommendations have RSS feeds?

Then there's the recommendation system. That sucks as well. I wish they'd buy and LibraryThing and roll that in.

And just to say "Me Too", the international sites and the differences between them and the USA sucks as well. But they're not alone. Yahoo, Google and many others have the same problem.

  Dave Cross [11.29.05 01:10 AM]

What I would really like is a simple hackable URL for my wishlist - something like

The current URLs that they use are horrible.

  Jack DeNeut [11.29.05 01:58 AM]

I'm in the process of coding a P2P e-commerce site for Europe (think in 15 languages), and there are a lot of good ideas in this thread.

I have a few specific questions about RSS feeds for wishlists (which I'd like to implement):
1. Should these RSS feeds be public or private by default?
2. For public feeds, what form should the URL take? Something easy to remember like or something with "security by obscurity" like
3. In what order should the RSS feed items be? Most recent additions to list at top? Cheapest at top?
4. How many items in the feed? All of them? Or a user-set limit?

  Bill Bradford [11.29.05 03:46 AM]

Dave, I just setup a virtual host in Apache on my colocated server, and point my friends at It then does a RedirectPermanent to the proper Amazon URL.

  aufpasser [11.29.05 05:13 AM]

They recently (happened first at my yesterday buy) implemented that bought items are automatically deleted from the wishlist (at least on the german site, which I used). That was bothering me alot as well.

Otherwise I just agree. Especially the category view is necessary if you have 100+ items (like me).

  anastasiav [11.29.05 06:37 AM]

An interesting list, however there is something even more basic I wish they'd fix about their wishlist .... I changed my email address with Amazon about two years ago now, but my new email address *still* doesn't index to my wishlist. Its actually impossible to find my wishlist using my current email address, which is frustrating.

I emailed them to complain, and their response was, basically, "well your friends can search by your name" ... which is not the best answer.

Until they get this basic feature fixed, I'm not going to be using their wishlist, I'm afraid.

  Jamie [11.29.05 08:46 AM]

I got so annoyed that the wishlist didn't show pictures (the only way I remember anything) that I wrote a Python script to pull my wishlist off Amazon, including just the attributes I wanted, into a HTML table, and display it in a web browser where I could print it off for easy storage in my wallet.

The wishlist functionality on the site lagged behind that of the main U.S. for quite a while. I only noticed about two months ago that we've now got multiple wishlists. Not sure if my script still work with that and it's just made the whole thing too complicated now: there's doesn't seem to be a way to see all the items in all lists! grrr...

  charlesa [11.29.05 10:59 AM]

I actually like keeping my old purchases in my wishlist. I just leave it to show me "unpurchased" and the old ones remain hidden. When I receive gifts from other sources, I pop into compact mode, update the quantities and go from there.

The only problem I ran into with that was when I moved old purchases into new wishlists a few months back and got all the quantities reset to zero. Imagine my surprise when I got three books for my Birthday that I'd finished reading a couple of years ago. Oops!

  sathish [11.29.05 11:40 PM]

Another category where amazon's interface requires improvment is the reviews pages. When I am reading a top 100 reviewer's reviews, product categories, subcats all will help. As usual amazon never responded to my suggestions.

  Jack DeNeut [11.30.05 04:43 AM]

Hi - I noticed that my comment had been rejected. Is it because I used my company's URL in the comment? If so, sorry about that. I'd be fine with using (I'm not looking for promo, but for comments about the "perfect wishlist RSS feed"). Thanks, Jack

  Manish Chandra [12.03.05 11:43 AM]

Wishlists have been a long neglected area. We are looking at it from grounds up. A first implementation with lots of cool things is now at Check it out. You can gather all kinds of wishes - charities, products, services. Keep your wishes private or make them public. RSS Feeds, Search and tagging are on their way.

  Rob Sanheim [12.06.05 11:28 AM]

I blogged a response here:

(Trackback didn't seem to work) If amazon doesn't improve their wishlists, someone else will (and take some of amazon's mindshare).

  Ben [12.09.05 02:08 AM]

You can put your Amazon wishlist on your blog by going to:

It is free and you just need to copy some javascript into your blog template. It is highly customisable with CSS.

  Elaine K [12.17.05 04:25 PM]

At this point I am livid. A few days ago I ordered a bunch of stuff from what I thought was my son's Wish List. Today, by accident, we discovered that the list I ordered from was made up by Amazon, not by him.

How it happened: I looked up his Wish List. Found it, and clicked the link to "Add XXX to your gift organizer". So I left, and when I returned and clicked on the Wish List link, his name was not listed under Wish List, but it was listed under "Your Gift Lists". I clicked his name and ordered from that list. It was totally bogus. It did not contain anything from his Wish List at all. It was all made up by Amazon!

  dazzle [04.19.06 03:35 PM]

You could try displaying your Amazon Wishlist with AmazonBox ( - just add some javascript to your webpage and customise with CSS. Also lets you retrieve your wishlist via RSS or Atom.

  Anonymous [11.25.06 08:34 AM]


We launched it as a free service that lets you manage your Amazon wishlist better (see my comment above). As suggested, you can filter by price, among other things, and you can configure the service to let you know when items have met the price you want to pay at Amazon as well as (sometimes half prices are better).

The international wishlist problem is bigger, but we hope to address that soon too.

I'd be grateful for any feedback or suggestions for new features.

jason at wishradar dot com.

  ThomW [11.29.06 06:08 PM] has been around a little longer than wishradar but does the same thing with a couple additions:

* There's a Greasemonkey script that allows people to tag items with price targets right from their wish list on

* It works with all of the international Amazons as well as good old

* In addition to email alerts, you can also subscribe to an rss feed of your wish list

  DianaD [12.04.06 10:39 AM]

You think Amazon's bad? What about's wishlist? I can't even VIEW it without logging in. No share feature, no rss updates, no ALPHABETIZATION! It just plops things down in (roughly) the order I've added them. And it stops emailing with price updates after 12 months.

I love half more than Amazon and I'd love it if some wishlist somewhere let me monitor half's prices like half's wishlist does but with at least some intelligent design. I've tried wishradar, which doesn't seem to support half anymore. I've tried typing each item's address into scrapers like Web2Rss and ebayrss to get a feed for EACH item on my wishlist. I even mucked through ebay's customer (un)support section and mailed my suggestions straight to them. Nothing works! Argh!

  SeanT [04.29.08 08:46 AM]

Amazon wish list is not that hard to manage if you use the service at They monitor the price for all items in your wish list and only alert you with an email if the price of an item drop below your target price. They also provide an RSS feed. Best of all, it's FREE!!!

  NotJustAmazon [05.06.08 08:15 AM]

I switched from amazon because there are some things I can only get from other web sites.

For me a single wish list with everything is exactly what I want. I do not need hundreds of items, so a single page is perfectly sufficient.

I do want to categorize my wish list and be able to order both items within categories and the categories themselves.

There are sections of my wish list which I want to keep completely private and other sections that I want only my friends and family to see.

I also want friends and family to know if an item has been purchased.

Finally, I do not want my UserId to be the same as my email address.

At, I found exactly what I was lookinf for.

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