Religion, Technical, Technology

Amazon’s “Message from God”

So, the Amazon Associates program just opened up a really interesting beta program to the public called “Context Links.” Dave Taylor has a pretty good explanation, but the short of it is you stick a little bit of JavaScript in the bottom of your web site, and that will contact Amazon.com, check their search engine / crawler service, the Amazon.com product catalog, and then select various “key words” in your web site and link them to Amazon.com products. If a user purchases something after clicking on one of those links, as I mentioned earlier, the web site author gets a modest commission.

Just for fun, I thought I would give it a try. If you notice any links with a dashed line underneath, that is the Context Links in action. The first thing I noticed is that Adblock Plus will block the context links from appearing. That is probably just as well, but I wonder if there might be a point to writing say, a WordPress plugin to do the processing on the server. I also can not help but wonder if Amazon would look to create context-links specific to a customer’s tastes, so they would prefer to do the highlighting on the client-side.

Anyway, it is kind of fun to see what choices the algorithm makes for context links. Some seem pretty reasonable, and some are sort of randomly unenlightened. It does okay by linking San Francisco to a Frommer’s Guidebook, but then it links Walnut Creek to an obscure book about Amish Pioneers. That is all somewhat amusing, but today I took a look at the fundamentalist vitriol posted as comments to my mirror of the Muhammad cartoons, and I could not contain a smile at the bizarre:

The phrase FUCK THEM ALL is linked to a book titled If God Was Like Man: A Message from God to All of Humanity

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Categories: Religion, Technical, Technology