Shuqi Chen- Blog 9

My digital space for Writing Project 3 is Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/). Since Amazon’s business covers a variety of areas, I will do an analysis mainly concentrating on its e-commerce service. In our daily life, we do sometimes do online shopping, because you can get the product you want in a few days without deliberately going to a store to look for it. It saves time to some extent if you do not need it immediately. Amazon is well-known and popular around the United States for its online shopping service. Under Amazon Prime, you are supposed to get your order within 1-2 days. It provides a very convenient service for receiving your packages within 24-48 after you ordered.

https://www.wired.com/2005/03/amazon-knows-who-you-are/

The first perspective for Amazon analysis would be that Amazon tracks its customers and it knows who we are. In this article, the author points out that Amazon has a detailed system for tracking customer habits and collects information longer and uses it more proactively than other companies. Having the ability to gather users’ information and promoting the best products for users accordingly is what Amazon did to establish the relationship-building technique. In the text, it mentions that “Amazon has collected detailed information about what its customers buy, considered buying, browsed for but never bought, recommended to others or even wished someone would buy them. It has built ever-more sophisticated tools to recommend more purchases, direct your searches toward products it thinks you’re most likely to want, or even stop the forgetful among us from buying the same book we purchased five years ago”. Here we can see that Amazon does have a smart advanced online technology that is supposed to build relationships with users and aims not to alienate customers by asking for permission when gathering certain information. But for some privacy experts, they think Amazon has already crossed the line. So in my project, I am going to analyze both sides of this opinion by doing more research. Amazon holds that tracking can make shopping more convenient, but will our profiles created by them gonna harm us in some ways?

https://www.cnet.com/news/do-humans-choose-what-products-get-amazons-choice/

The second news I got is about Amazon’s choice. There are lots of choices when users searching by a keyword. So when all things being indifferent to you, you would probably go for the one that has the “Amazon’s Choice” label one it. For me, though I don’t know the standard for being an Amazon’s Choice product before I read this article, I tend to buy the one being labeled considering that this is better than others. To be eligible to for Amazon’s choice, the products should be “highly rated”, “well-priced” and eligible for Amazon Prime shipping. So who is making the “choice”? In this article, it comes to the saying that “there’s an algorithm at the heart of it”. But the algorithm is formulated and employed by humans which means that we cannot identify exactly which groups of products will be selected. This would be a factor that drives customers’ minds. Therefore, in my project, I am thinking to analyze how Amazon’s choices affect users’ behaviors.

https://www.engadget.com/2019/09/16/amazon-algorithm-search-results-profitability/

The third news I found might be helpful to my project is named “Amazon’s search could push customers toward in-house products”. It reported that “Amazon reportedly tweaked its product-search algorithm to favor products that are more profitable to the company”. The Wall Street Journal reports points out that the change in the algorithm could give Amazon’s own brands a boost. By manipulating search results, customers would probably end up buying more in-house products. But Amazon denies its change to factor in profitability or the way it ranked search results to favor its products, mentioned by its author. Since Amazon has undoubtedly justified the algorithm change to favor its products or not, this would produce an impact on customers’ behaviors without a doubt. So the manipulations by their operators for any purposed are supposed to influence users’ shopping results. By knowing this, we should notice this kind of tendency or the deliberate design that directs us behind the websites when using.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/emmawoollacott/2017/09/09/exclusive-amazons-fake-review-problem-is-now-worse-than-ever/#40a0b7cd7c0f

The last news I would like to talk about is the fake review problems in Amazon. The article called “Amazon’s Fake Review Problem Is Now Worse Than Ever, Study Suggests” delivers that some vendors are making fake reviews by offering full refunds through PayPal for a positive review. And fake reviews often have seemingly genuine pictures and videos. So fake reviews are made by sellers and would mislead customers who take reviews as reference for product quality. Based on this, Amazon has approved a so-called “incentivized reviews”, “whereby reviewers were given free or discounted products in return for reviews, so long as the reviewer made the arrangement clear”. However, the announcement invokes no improvements. The issue is pervasive for e-commerce since sellers are from different parties and not east to control their individual behaviors. In my project, I am about to discuss this phenomenon a little bit for this being an inevitable part for website deals with e-commerce.

Besides, I am thinking to get information for users’ experience using the Amazon online shopping platform. There would be some convenient designs for accelerating users making online transactions which would benefit Amazon’s sales.

Below are what I found helpful as a reference for my project.