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July 17, 2004

Amazon Push Blogs

Amazon is currently beta-testing Plogs:

Your Plog is a diary of events that will enhance your shopping experience, helping you discover products that have just been released, track changes to your orders, and many other things. Just like a blog, your Plog is sorted in reverse chronological order. When we think we have something interesting or important to tell you, we'll post it to your Plog.

In practice, if you're signed in to your Amazon account, the "plog" will turn your Amazon index page into a blog written by Amazon and featuring things they think you're likely to buy, based on your past purchases.

I'm sure this isn't the first time a major corporate presence has tried to co-opt the blog form for profit, but it's the most insidious for me. At best, this will be just one more way Amazon lets interested customers know about items they "want" to buy—especially if they start giving you the option to subscribe to your "plog" via RSS. At worst, this could be the death of the blog as a form of communication on the web; if average surfers (who aren't yet really aware of blogs) begin to associate "blog" with "just another marketing ploy," they'll lose interest fast.

The reaction from Defective Yeti—one of the blogs listed on Amazon's plog page—is right on the money:

A Plog, as near as I can tell, is a "personalized log," and is like a "blog" except you can't personalize it. Also, instead of you writing it and other people reading it, robots write it and you read it. Also, instead of being open to the world, only you can see it. But aside from that, it's pretty much nothing like a blog.

As far as I'm concerned, Amazon can take its plog and shove it. If I don't already know I "want" or "need" something w/out Amazon telling me about it, then I probably don't really want or need it, do I? That's what I thought.

Editor's Note: Funny. I'm unable to post this entry right now because, guess what, the MT-Amazon and MT-Bookqueue extensions that power the sidebar books feature of this site are getting an XML error from Amazon. Again I'm reminded that I seriously need to redesign this page to eliminate those two plugins!

Posted July 17, 2004 01:08 PM | meta-blogging

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