What makes Amazon think I’m such a geek?



This has actually been sitting in my IN box for a couple of weeks, as I’ve pondered the mystery it contains.

What, pray tell, would make Amazon think I’m such a geek, that they would send me this particular come-on?

Below you see the Amazon page to which the link in the email sent me. Allow me to point out that:

  • I’m not a trekkie. I did see the movie that came out several years ago — the one famously satirized in the “Hitler” video — and enjoyed it, despite the Führer’s reservations. But not any of the TV series. I did try to start watching the original series on Netflix recently, but didn’t get very far.
  • I was never into Transformers. Although we did have some in our house back in the day, they belonged to my kids.
  • I don’t play video games, per se, as we don’t own a gaming console (and haven’t since the early Nintendo boxes, long ago). I have been known to play Call of Duty: World at War on my laptop, but that’s about it. Except that, if I could find our CDs for the Caesar III game I used to play, and it would work on my current operating system, I might play that, too. Ditto with Warcraft II, but not III, which I thought sucked. I need to move on now, because I fear I’m starting to undermine my case for not being a geek…
  • I clicked on the “Music for Geeks” link, and I had never heard of any of those “nerdcore” bands.
  • I haven’t dressed up as a superhero since I was a little kid with a towel pinned to the shoulders of my T-shirt, playing Superman.

And so forth. I have just one incriminating confession: I did recently download the “Walking Dead” game app for my iPad, and played it a little. Hey, it was free. I didn’t get into it very far — I found the controls insufficiently responsive. It was too hard to grab a weapon and use it before a walker got me, so I got discouraged.


12 thoughts on “What makes Amazon think I’m such a geek?

  1. Scout

    Did you ever buy any Firefly stuff on Amazon – or superhero movie stuff ?????

    Just a thought.

  2. Jeff

    Maybe they have you down as a seasonal shopper who buys neckties near fathers’ day, saplings on Arbor day, and fireworks in early July, so they just figured it was worth a shot during comic-con.

  3. Bryan Caskey

    It may be more topical than anything else. Comic Con happened not too long ago (6/18-6/21). Kind of like how places push charcoal and grills around Memorial Day.

    Your interest in “The Walking Dead” could be an entry point.

  4. Ralph Hightower

    I got an email from Amazon pushing Governot Nikki Haley’s fictional autobiography “Can’t is not an Option”. I’m not interested in her. I didn’t vote for her and I won’t vote for her in the future.

    1. Scout

      They know you live in SC. If they don’t have enough other info on you from purchases, maybe that is the default data point that has some relevance to you. They ought to be more careful though. That’d be a way to really turn me off if that’s what they recommended to me.

  5. Kathryn Fenner

    I have bought dog stuff from them, so on the special deals they offer me, I get cat stuff. I also get offers for spare parts for lawn and garden tools and generators, none of which I have bought, and CDs of random music, not classical or jazz which is all I have bought. Their algorithm isn’t very good….

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    Maybe, just maybe, the algorithm is so good, it’s scary.

    There lurks within me the potential to be the sort of geek depicted on “Big Bang Theory.” It’s just that my enthusiasms are even more esoteric. There’s something reassuringly mainstream about being into Star Trek, or Walking Dead, or whatever.

    But if a marketplace were to erupt around Patrick O’Brian’s novels about Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, I would definitely be the guy buying the action figures (I’d probably have to take out a loan to get the silver pieces that the Killick action figure would obsessively polish) and the scale model of HMS Surprise with working sails and cordage, and so forth.

    I’ve never been interested in any sort of fantasy camp I’ve heard advertised. But if there were a chance to ship out in the latter-day reproduction of the Surprise on an independent cruise in search of French privateers, I’d sign up in a heartbeat.

  7. Doug Ross

    And now Amazon owner Jeff Bezos has purchased the Washington Post for $250 million. Must have been on his Recommended Items list this morning 🙂 Amazon won’t own it, it is a separate deal by Bezos.

    I think people like Bezos and John Henry (Boston Globe purchaser) are smart guys who understand that the true asset they are buying is the people who can create content along with the brand name. I would not want to own stock in any companies that produce printing presses. (but I do own a few shares of Amazon).

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That’s OK, I guess, just as long as it doesn’t mean there’s going to be a headline in The Post saying, “Brad Warthen is a geek.”

      Interesting how such respected latter-day tycoons as Bezos and Warren Buffet have been buying newspapers…

      But you’ll notice that they are buying either small papers with low overhead (which Buffet has bought), or big papers with a national following (The WashPost) — neither of which have been as hard-hit as your mid-sized metropolitan dailies the size of The State. I don’t know exactly why scale matters so much, with the ends of the scale doing better than the middle, but that seems to be the case.

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