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#370831 - 16/04/2018 18:05 How is this even possible?
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5370
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Look carefully at the two attached screenshots. They were made a couple of minutes apart, and an hour or so later if I were to re-take them they would each be exactly the same.

The first screenshot was taken from my PC.
The second screenshot was taken from SWMBO's iMac.

How is it possible to have different results for the exact same search on the exact same website, but made from different computers hard-wired to the same router and cable modem?

One interesting clue is this:

PC Search URL: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=fatal+michael+palmer

iMac Search URL: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=fatal+michael+palmer

which looks like it might be some difference in parameters of SWMBO's Amazon account.

No.

I logged into SWMBO's Amazon account from MY computer (the PC) and the search turned up the correct results, i.e., the $1.99 Kindle price. So it's not Amazon, it's something to do with SWMBO's iMac. Maybe Steve Jobs didn't like Jeff Bezos and set up this puzzle from beyond the grave.

What is going on here?

tanstaafl.


Attachments
Amason - PC-.jpg

Amazon - iMac-.jpg


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#370832 - 16/04/2018 18:14 Re: How is this even possible? [Re: tanstaafl.]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13872
Loc: Canada
No surprises there. Search results are customized with a lean towards things they think a specific user may want or may be inclined to purchase. This takes into account all kinds of things, including the type of "computer" or smartphone used during the query.


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#370835 - 16/04/2018 21:55 Re: How is this even possible? [Re: tanstaafl.]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 674
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: tanstaafl.
... the exact same search on the exact same website, but made from different computers

... it's something to do with SWMBO's iMac...
What is going on here?

...
Well, no such thing as the ‘same search’ anymore. Amazon, and a lot of other things, use a LOT of ‘AI’ and prior history data to ‘customize’ the results for each user. Effectively the website is ‘different’ for every user, every time.

Different browsers? Almost certainly different cookie histories on the iMac vs your Window PC.

Is there a Kindle reader app installed on the iMac?

Within an Amazon search session it is possible that Amazon is also further customizing the search parameters based on something the user did, or did not do, while perusing around.

Beyond that, I could not say specifically what thing must be changed to allow Amazon search to present the discounted ebook on the iMac. Other than manually editing the URL smirk


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#370836 - 17/04/2018 03:03 Re: How is this even possible? [Re: tanstaafl.]
Happy Birthday Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12030
Loc: Sterling, VA
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#370837 - 17/04/2018 03:13 Re: How is this even possible? [Re: Dignan]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 674
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Dignan
Does that work for Kindle books?

I use CamelCamelCamel for various ‘real’ products. Never tried it for Kindle content wink

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#370838 - 17/04/2018 03:24 Re: How is this even possible? [Re: K447]
Happy Birthday Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12030
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: K447
Originally Posted By: Dignan
Does that work for Kindle books?

I use CamelCamelCamel for various ‘real’ products. Never tried it for Kindle content wink

It does. It can track anything with an ASIN number, which Kindle editions do.

And yeah, I use it all the time. It's fantastic for stuff that I don't need right away. Every time I get that notification email I feel like I've gamed the system.
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#370845 - 17/04/2018 12:56 Re: How is this even possible? [Re: Dignan]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5370
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: Dignan
Interesting... but doesn't fit my buying habits. The only time I go to Amazon (which is quite frequently, actually) it is to purchase a specific thing right now. I don't price shop, I buy from Amazon even though I might get it less expensively somewhere else, solely because of Amazon's extraordinary customer service. I know with Amazon that if something goes wrong, they will take care of me.

tanstaafl.
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#370853 - 18/04/2018 04:35 Re: How is this even possible? [Re: tanstaafl.]
Happy Birthday Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12030
Loc: Sterling, VA
Oh trust me, I have no impulse control and at least one package from Amazon shows up on my front stoop every single day. But sometimes there are things I just don't need right away that I can wait on a little bit.

Some examples:

- Back when I had a ZWave automation system**, I had a favorite light switch that would occasionally dip below $35, but usually hover around $45. Home automation is a hobby of mine, and I can [usually] admit it's not a necessity. I set a price alert to tell me when it dropped below $35 and that both spaced out my frivolous purchases and saved me some cash.

- My son has always been sensitive to most baby wipes on the market. As a result, naturally we ended up using some of the most expensive ones on the market (Water Wipes - like paying out the nose for fabric and water). These go on sale every once and a while and I'll stock up.

- My wife and I knew we wanted to get our son a new tablet for his birthday, so I set a price alert and decided that if I didn't get notified by a week before the date, I'd just go ahead and buy it at whatever price. It was a Kindle Fire Kids edition. It was garbage but the plan worked until we decided on a used iPad instead laugh

Some other examples: our living room TV, portable pack 'n play for a vacation, soap refills, diaper pail refills, the toddler bottles my son is great at destroying, etc.

You'll notice that a lot of these are consumables. I love it for that. Much like the tablet example, I can tell when I'm going to need more soap/wipes/etc. Once I get close, if I haven't received a price drop notice I'll just get it at whatever price is sort of average.


**I still do home automation, but I swapped every switch out so I don't need any more smile


Edited by Dignan (18/04/2018 04:37)
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#370858 - 18/04/2018 13:08 Re: How is this even possible? [Re: tanstaafl.]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3716
Originally Posted By: tanstaafl.
Interesting... but doesn't fit my buying habits. The only time I go to Amazon (which is quite frequently, actually) it is to purchase a specific thing right now.

This. I also buy way too much stuff from Amazon. I recently got a new bike, which has meant an ever growing list of dumb accessories to go with it (e.g., I got a Brooks leather saddle, but when new they require occasional tightening, and it's a pain to get a regular spanner wrench in there. Brooks makes a $15 spanner for precisely this one purpose... so I bought it).

Along the way, I've sometimes gone price shopping elsewhere prior to hitting the buy button and the results are illuminating. Amazon will sometimes be right in the middle of the pack. Sometimes (particularly with oddball bike parts) they'll be notably higher than the pack and sometimes notably cheaper than anybody else anywhere. It's a total crapshoot. If you're buying $200 of assorted bike parts, for example, Chain Reaction will often blow Amazon away. But if you're buying a $15 part, Amazon might well be the cheapest.

One other random anecdote: a couple years ago, we had a minor disaster when it turned out that the pan below our shower was slowly leaking, which basically required going all the way down to the studs and rebuilding the shower. We decided to use this as an excuse to upgrade our shower to have his-and-hers dual showerheads. We went to a local shop that specializes in this sort of thing and picked out a particular set of Hansgrohe hardware which came with an eye-popping price. I was able to buy exactly the same gear on Amazon for maybe 2/3 of the list price. Win!

Back to the original point, I generally don't have standing orders where I can patiently wait for a discount, and if/when Amazon plays these Mac vs. PC profiling games on me, I'll almost certainly fall for it. I suppose somebody could make a browser plugin that warns you when Amazon is trying to screw you. That could be entertaining to build.

There's another mode of Amazon failure that's worth noting on this thread: when Amazon runs out of something and the only seller with stock is a third-party with a jacked-up price. This reared its head over the holidays when I had a particular pair of pants on my Christmas shopping list, in an odd size (33" waist). Amazon ran out and the offering price was 3x what the pants should have been from the only vendor who still had them. I suspect this sort of thing is a deliberate strategy to profit from people who literally don't look at the prices and just blindly buy anything.

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#370861 - 18/04/2018 13:59 Re: How is this even possible? [Re: DWallach]
Happy Birthday Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12030
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: DWallach
Originally Posted By: tanstaafl.
Interesting... but doesn't fit my buying habits. The only time I go to Amazon (which is quite frequently, actually) it is to purchase a specific thing right now.

This. I also buy way too much stuff from Amazon.

I believe I've had 6 packages delivered in the last two days, which is about average to low smile Then again, I get a lot of parts to deliver to my clients. But we also tend to buy everything in our house from Amazon and rarely if ever get something from a store. Sorry, brick and mortar! But I do think that if you thought about it, there are a few things that could wait a little while for the right price. I'm not normally a savings hunter. I don't clip coupons and I'm a brand loyalist. But I'd estimate that Camelcamelcamel has saved me hundreds of dollars over the years, mostly on staples that we keep around the house.

Quote:
Along the way, I've sometimes gone price shopping elsewhere prior to hitting the buy button and the results are illuminating.

It's funny, I don't deny that this is the case, but I never really feel it. Perhaps it's because the vast majority of products I buy at Amazon are low-margin electronics and I have a good sense of pricing for those things, but they always seem to be competitive to me. Once and a while I'll check on a pricier component and find it elsewhere for less, but then I'll weigh the cost of shipping, speed of shipping, and ease of returns and decide it's worth it to stick to Amazon.

For example, Monoprice kills Amazon on cable prices, but unless I'm placing a big order, it's just easier to get a 5-pack of ethernet cables in two days from Amazon (also, maybe it's just me but Monoprice shipping seems even slower than it used to be).

Quote:
One other random anecdote: a couple years ago, we had a minor disaster when it turned out that the pan below our shower was slowly leaking, which basically required going all the way down to the studs and rebuilding the shower. We decided to use this as an excuse to upgrade our shower to have his-and-hers dual showerheads. We went to a local shop that specializes in this sort of thing and picked out a particular set of Hansgrohe hardware which came with an eye-popping price. I was able to buy exactly the same gear on Amazon for maybe 2/3 of the list price. Win!

Ooph, sorry to hear about that. I'm particularly attuned to feeling empathy for water leaks after having several devastating ones in our house. But congrats on the new equipment! I've had several Hansgrohe showerheads over the years and they're really nice. Definitely a great value/quality ratio there.

Quote:
There's another mode of Amazon failure that's worth noting on this thread: when Amazon runs out of something and the only seller with stock is a third-party with a jacked-up price. This reared its head over the holidays when I had a particular pair of pants on my Christmas shopping list, in an odd size (33" waist). Amazon ran out and the offering price was 3x what the pants should have been from the only vendor who still had them. I suspect this sort of thing is a deliberate strategy to profit from people who literally don't look at the prices and just blindly buy anything.

Sounds like you should have had a price alert on those smile But yeah I see that all the time. I never buy third party anyway so I just treat that as "sold out."

My particular favorite Amazon quirk is this simple formula:

Product x 1 = $10

Product x 5 = $80

laugh
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#370863 - 18/04/2018 17:51 Re: How is this even possible? [Re: tanstaafl.]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5370
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: tanstaafl.
I don't price shop, I buy from Amazon even though I might get it less expensively somewhere else, solely because of Amazon's extraordinary customer service. I know with Amazon that if something goes wrong, they will take care of me.
A recent example: My wife was visiting friends in Arizona, so I took advantage of that and ordered a bunch of items from Amazon that she could bring back with her and not have to pay duty on returning to Mexico. (You are allowed $300 duty free as an airline passenger.) She had taken an extra, empty suitcase just for that purpose.

Well, it turned out that the shipper that Amazon used (they rotate indiscriminately among USPS, FedEx, UPS, and maybe others) did not serve the particular rural area where her friends lived, so the packages were returned to Amazon as undeliverable.

Amazon made the return process absolutely transparent and effortless on my part. They sent me followup emails and immediately refunded the full purchase price without my having to deal with any of it. A least three of the packages were not "Fulfilled by Amazon" but through third party vendors. Amazon took care of it all without requiring any input from me.

Yes, it was disappointing to miss the duty-free shipment window, but only one of the items was important enough to me to re-order and pay for import to Mexico, which I have done. Think how much work I would have had to do had I not had Amazon as intermediary. I'd still be dealing with it now, six weeks later.

tanstaafl.
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#370864 - 18/04/2018 17:57 Re: How is this even possible? [Re: tanstaafl.]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1475
Loc: Arizona
Originally Posted By: tanstaafl.
She had taken an extra, empty suitcase just for that purpose.
We used to take an extra suitcase when we would go on business trips out east just to load them up with Yeungling. Not really justifiable any more, but it was fun while it lasted.

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#370867 - 18/04/2018 18:17 Re: How is this even possible? [Re: tanstaafl.]
Faolan
journeyman

Registered: 08/11/2017
Posts: 61
Originally Posted By: tanstaafl.
Look carefully at the two attached screenshots. They were made a couple of minutes apart, and an hour or so later if I were to re-take them they would each be exactly the same.

What is going on here?

Libertarian free market ideas combined with immoral wealth creation and massive income inequality. Operating at the speed of modern single user microprocessors being coopted into being built into "the cloud". Very similar to how the average stockholder has ownership of a company for only a few seconds these days thanks to computerized gambling of the stock market.

There was more calculations, lines of code executed, and tracking performed to deliver those results to you then the entire world had as computing power back in the 60s. All that code being created in the company town known as Amazon Seattle, where Jeff and his underpaid workers have rushed 20 years of building growth in five years, all while not paying taxes. And the result has left many, including myself, to be stranded in dead end careers.
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#370868 - 18/04/2018 18:22 Re: How is this even possible? [Re: Tim]
K447
addict

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 674
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Tim
... take an extra suitcase when we would go on ... trips ...
Tip: Often a usable, used suitcase can be sourced locally (at the destination) for very little money. Used goods shops, local second hand online listings, even the relatives you are visiting, or their friends/neighbours.

It only has to last the one trip back home, so even if it needs straps and tape to hold it together, still workable. When you get home, donate it, trash it, or give it away. Or keep it as a spare.


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#370873 - 18/04/2018 22:18 Re: How is this even possible? [Re: K447]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5370
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Originally Posted By: K4447
Often a usable, used suitcase can be sourced locally
Not necessary in this case. Her "traveling" suitcase was small enough to fit inside the extra suitcase, so she only had the one suitcase to deal with on the first leg of the trip.

And, we have a pretty good collection of cheap suitcases acquired exactly as you describe from previous trips.

tanstaafl.
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