The Amazon.com recommendation engine knows me fairly well. And it thinks I should buy the Koran.
I’ve been their customer for almost 15 years, and the books they try to sell me genuinely reflect my passions: Spanish-language literature, personal essays, travel, business and marketing, children books and books related to World’s Fairs.
However, a few days ago I visited the Amazon.com website and, out of curiosity, I checked their recommendations for books in Spanish. Most of them were mostly on target, but I was surprised when the site recommended I should buy the Koran.
This was a head scratcher. I usually try to guess why Amazon recommends a book, and there is usually a pretty straightforward connection with past purchases. However, I couldn’t remember ever buying books about Islam or the Middle East.
Stumped, I clicked to see what I had bought that made them think I would be interested in the Koran.The answer was very interesting, not at all what I had expected, and even a tad disturbing:
Is their recommendation engine is broken in Spanish, or have they found a strange correlation in Spanish that’s not present in English?
I’m inclined to believe the former, but in the jungle you never know…