I am just an average computer guy. I can do some tricks and make things look neat and pretty, but I also know there are a lot of things I just can’t figure out by myself. One thing for sure I don’t understand is amazon.com’s search engine. I love amazon. I buy a lot of stuff from them. I have all four of my books resting on amazon…yeah, that’s an accurate description: resting!
The thing about amazon, at least from my “author” perspective, is that they don’t give much of a damn about you when you’re a backwoods self-publishing non-entity like me. So not to beat around the bush any longer, here is the main complaint I have with amazon…
I have a book titled Dead Letter. Yep, the one I am giving away free in the ad above. There are at least a dozen other books of the same title, or near to it (BTW, there is no copyright violation for most books having the same title, in case you were wondering). If you go to amazon.com and do a search on the precise keywords “dead letter” as I did as I was writing this blog, you will see many of the other books. You won’t see mine, at least not right away. My book is usually buried 12-20 deep in the search pages. Ahead of me are many variations of my title and a whole bunch of other stuff. Other stuff? Here are some examples of what came up on 20 amazon search pages for the keywords “dead letter:” Walking Dead Zombie Statue Letter Opener; Grateful Dead Tie-Dye T-Shirt; Baldwin Letter Box Plate of Polished Brass; Midsomer [sic] Murders DVD Set; Bachelorette Party Letter Banner; Bling-a-licious Personalized Necklace for Dogs; August Steiner Men’s Kennedy Half-Dollar Watch; NuSet Entry Door Knob/Dead Bolt; Outfitters Best Dice Games; Elvis Hair Necklace….and it goes on and on and on and on for 20 pages with many of these items getting numerous appearances. So where is my book, DEAD LETTER, on the 20 amazon search pages for the key words “d-e-a-d l-e-t-t-e-r?” Today I’m a no-show completely. Yep, not even listed. Usually my book shows up somewhere in the 12+ pages. The only way it’ll show up sooner is when I extend the search to include my name: “dead letter kuhn.”
I have exchanged e-mails with amazon about this. They imply that I do not understand how search engines work and if I did it would appear perfectly logical that non-book items (like a dog necklace) and non-matching book titles (like Tattoo Bible Books) show up on a search before DEAD LETTER.
I explain to amazon that they are absolutely correct—I do not understand how a search engine works—especially theirs. I also tell amazon that it is my opinion that as much as I respect their success, they do not understand how a customer’s “search engine” works. I explain to them that when a customer enters the word “lemon” in a search box, they expect to see results that relate directly to a lemon…not string beans or pirates or surgery. Likewise, when a customer enters “d-e-a-d l-e-t-t-e-r” in their search box my book should show up AHEAD of any item that does not contain the precise lettering, “d-e-a-d l-e-t-t-e-r.” I think this is a simple concept to grasp. Unfortunately, it does not appear perfectly logical to amazon.
Like city hall, one cannot fight amazon. They are too big for little me. I shall have to read Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, DAVID AND GOLIATH. I bet if I search that on amazon it’ll come right up on page one.