The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The proliferation of blogs is bound to produce some mutant offshoots--especially where filthy lucre is involved. So it is at Amazon and their newest knick-knack, the plog.

The Amazon plog, or "personalized blog", really isn't a blog at all. Rather, it's a list of product orders and product offerings, arranged in blog-like format, that greets you when you first sign in. PC World's Harry McCracken wonders if this is a permanent new method of presentation for Amazon's in-channel marketing, or just a nod to the current trendiness of blogs.

I'm voting for the latter. Basically, they're looking for a way to make those "based on your previous purchases, we thought you'd like to buy..." plugs more appealing. It's a little sinister, in that they're obviously appropriating the non-commercial spirit of blogs and using them as a soft-sell tool, easing people into buying additional stuff. I guess this ersatz-blog approach is worth a shot. And it's not supplanting their other tools that do this, like the Gold Box.

Making the plog recommendations more accurate might be a better route. On my page, one of the first items alerts me to the release of Mario Puzo's "The Last Don". Why did the Amazon-plogbot think I might be interested in buying this? Because I once bought Waking Life. See the logical connection between a schlocky Mafia mini-series and a beautifully-animated series of dream sequences? No, me neither. Maybe both productions had the same best-boy working on them, and Amazon tagged that as a match.