Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Amazon Plogs

It appears has launched "Plogs" to the main Amazon home page. What are plogs? From the help page:
Your Plog is a personalized web log that appears on your customer home page. Every person's Plog is different (hence the name).

Posts in your Plog come from many sources, including authors of books you have purchased on
Right now, my Amazon home page is completely taken over by "Greg's Plog". There are two articles in my Plog, one from Mark Frauenfelder announcing the Maker Faire (because I bought Make Magazine through Amazon) and one from Alan Schwartz about picking a mail server (because I bought "Practical Unix and Internet Security").

On the one hand, Plogs are an interesting attempt to allow readers closer contact with authors and artists. For example, I have read many O'Reilly books, and I read the blog O'Reilly Radar. That might indicate that I have some interest in what the authors and publishers of those books have to say.

On the other hand, the benefit of this isn't clear. If this works, people might come back to Amazon every day, like they come back to weblogs every day, to read the latest. But that has to be balanced with taking up the entire above the fold real estate on the Amazon home page, extremely valuable space, with content that is not directly related to finding and buying products.

In the end, I'm not sure this will work out. My wife's reaction when she saw her plog was, "Eww... I hate weblogs." Despite the delusions of self-importance in most of the blogosphere, I think this is the typical reaction to weblogs. Most people don't have time to read the poorly thought out, poorly written, stream of consciousness drivel that is slapped up on most weblogs every day. So they don't.

If that experience from weblogs transfers to Amazon Plogs, it means that the service will be popular among a smaller audience, fans and book fanatics, but not for the majority of Amazon shoppers who just want to shop and go.

See also my previous post, "The mainstream and saving people time".

Update: As if to drive the point home, the top "Greg's Plog" entry on my Amazon home page today actually said, "You'll find me writing about whatever thoughts are rolling around in my head at this particular moment in time ... without worrying whether or not what I'm writing might potentially aggravate, alienate or just plain confuse people who are simply wandering by." Mmm... crappy content. My favorite.

Update: Several days later, my plog content hasn't changed. Not only does this mean that the content is boring and irrelevant because it is stale, but also it seems to defeat the purpose of this feature, which I would assume would be to encourage me to return to the website every day. Geez, what is Amazon doing?

No comments: