Jul 1

Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

Amazon's Page Recommender: Foreshadowing A New Web Service?

amazon page recommender

Amazon is turning its personalization engine towards webpages. You can test it on your site via the new Page Recommender Widget (sorry if the link doesn't work you, it's only open to affiliates). The widget only considers pages on your website. As you can see from the screenshot above, it shows a combination of products and webpages.

Amazon provides the following info:

In order to generate page recommendations, the Page Recommender Widget must be placed on every page of your site that you'd like to be recommended. Page recommendations will appear in the widget over time, as Amazon analyzes traffic patterns on your site. You'll typically see recommendations for your most popular pages first, with the remainder of your site filling in over time. The length of this time depends on the characteristics of your web site. During this period, we'll still display individually targeted Amazon products in the widget.

The widget learns from your visitors and how they move through your site. If you only have a couple of pages the widget won't do much for you. I do not know if the widget restricts recommended pages to the same domain or if all of an affiliate ID's sites will be included. I wonder if a visitor's Amazon history will be used by the Recommendation Engine.

Could this be the next web service from Amazon? A recommendation web service seems like a potential moneymaker to me (Spanish company Strands just got a lot of money to build this service).

The Page Recommender widget will be able to track Amazon users habits across a wider variety of sites. Learning more about their users habits will bring on a lot of valuable data. However, many sites won't want to include the commercial product referrals. How long till Amazon puts out a referral-free version (or makes users pay for the service)?

How do you feel about Amazon knowing your web browsing patterns? I stopped staying logged into MyBlogLog because I didn't like seeing my face on other people's sites and my traffic patterns shared with the site-owners that I had not established a trusted relationship with. It doesn't bother me if Amazon knows my patterns, especially if I'll get better book recommendations out of it.

I am eager to see this working, but I don't want to put it on Radar just yet. If you put it on your site let us know in the comments. Since many people won't be able to get to the FAQ I've copied the content after the jump.

What kinds of sites will find the Page Recommender widget useful?
The more content your site has, the more opportunities the Page Recommender widget will have to target this content appropriately. Sites with only 1 or 2 pages are unlikely to benefit from this widget.

Why don't I see any recommended pages in my widget?
It takes time for the widget to learn enough about visitors to your site to generate high quality page recommendations. In the meantime, the widget will display only targeted products to site visitors.

Why don’t I see more page recommendations?
The widget is designed to use up to half of its space to display page recommendations. If you are seeing less page recommendations, then the system may be still learning about the visitors to your site. You may also wish to try the suggestions listed in “Performance Tips.”

Why am I seeing a specific product in the recommendations?
The products that are recommended are based on the interests of each individual visitor as well as items that convert well for your website. The products that you see may be different from the ones that are displayed to others based on their individual behavior.

Is it possible to ONLY show recommended pages?
No. At this time the widget is configured to offer both page recommendations and product recommendations and we cannot disable either feature.

Do I earn referral fees for product purchases via the Page Recommender widget?
Yes! You earn the same referral fees via the Page Recommender widget like you do for all other widgets as per our regular referral fee structure.

Not all of my pages are being recommended. How can I fix that?
In order for a page on your site to be recommended a Page Recommender widget must be present on that page. Try adding the widget to more pages within your site. Also, the Page Recommender widget will only recommend pages with titles. Ensure all pages contain a title by setting the <title>Page Title</title> attribute in the HTML.

Performance Tips
In order to maximize the quality of the Page Recommender widget, you should do the following:

* Use short but meaningful titles on your site. Since the Page Recommender widget has limited space long titles will be shortened and might not provide the best experience for your visitors. For example, if your title was: “Amazon.com: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7): J. K. Rowling”, you could shorten it to: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” or “Harry Potter Book 7”.
* Add widgets on all pages for which you wish to be shown as recommendations.

tags: web 2.0  | comments: 9   | Sphere It

Previous  |  Next

0 TrackBacks

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://blogs.oreilly.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-t.cgi/6587

Comments: 9

  aaron wall [07.01.08 09:36 PM]

Seems of limited value. Why have Amazon recommend your most popular pages when you can just put them in your navigation yourself?

  Col [07.01.08 10:20 PM]

Re: "Seems of limited value. Why have Amazon recommend your most popular pages when you can just put them in your navigation yourself?"

- This widget will identify the most relevant pages (not the overall most popular - they may not be the most relevant to you).
- The widget will do this automatically. Imagine trying to update your recommendations automatically every few seconds, customized for each visitor.....

  Web 2.0 Asia [07.01.08 11:57 PM]

Strands is a US company, not a Spanish one. (Their CEO comes from Spain but that alone doesn't make them a Spanish company..)

  Ian Kennedy [07.02.08 11:33 PM]

Sounds like the WordPress plug-in, Similar Posts


which is highly configurable and limited to posts on your own domain.

I'll have to try the Amazon widget out, just to see what it comes up with.


  adrian [07.03.08 04:39 AM]

thanks for the input, will check this widget...
@ian kennedy - nice plugin for wordpress, thanks!

  David Knight [07.03.08 10:03 AM]

I've added it to my site to give it a try. I see why you'd do this from a programming perspective - the processes are very similar. I've not decided if this is useful from a reader's perspective. I'm giving it a run to see how it goes.

  Sachin [07.04.08 02:49 AM]

I see this outsourced recommender in the same category as outsourced search (a la Google) for websites.

I see the value of this service for content heavy websites. Not every such website has the capabilities to develop sophisticated algorithms that identify trends and patterns in user behaviour and map these to content items and maintain such 'indexes' for real-time recommendations.

My only issue with both these services is that they are focused on eCommerce websites - I guess for obvious reasons, but I would like to know how this works for Content only sites who do not have any products to sell - think New York Times.

I'd be interested, if any one has seen either of these in action on Content only website.

  Web Traffic Analysis [07.09.08 04:13 AM]

Great update and you explained it very well. .Thanks.Traffic analysis is one of the imperative aspects of a website. You can not promote your site effectively if you do not know the amount of traffic in your site plus the popular entry and exit points in it.

  brady forrest [07.09.08 08:33 AM]

@Web 2.0 Asia - My understanding is that they still have offices in Spain.

I want a page recommender for Radar. I just don't want to have the product commerce on it or the branding. It seems that Amazon gets enough from the data that it would be worth having a white label version.

Post A Comment:

 (please be patient, comments may take awhile to post)

Type the characters you see in the picture above.