Big Data

I recently made a comment about The Best And The Brightest and went to amazon to get a link to the book.


November 2012 – it’s now April 2017. How long does Amazon keep your purchasing history?

my mad photoshop skillz.

my mad photoshop skillz.

Pardon me while I laugh, but this is the company that builds elastic cloud storage systems. How long do you think?

A bunch of years ago, a friend of mine got an email saying “It’s Marcus’ birthday and here are some things he’s been looking at lately! Maybe he’d like a present!”

The funny part was neither of us could figure out how Amazon knew we knew eachother. Then I remembered that 2 years before I bought a World of Warcraft time card and had it shipped to his (then) address (we were grinding for a scroll of resurrection mount, if you care)  So, Amazon must have merged gift-ship destination address against user account addresses and concluded we were friends.

I wish I had some interesting people’s addresses, so I could ship them lingerie and sex toys. Maybe they’d send me a suburban full of robots with guns in return.


  1. Siobhan says

    I mean I’ll take lingerie and sex toys. I don’t think I have any gunbots on hand to return though. :P

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    Check and see – did you actually purchase that book from Amazon, or does their database also include transactions from local used bookstores and yard sales?

  3. says

    Pierce R. Butler@#2:
    does their database also include transactions from local used bookstores and yard sales?

    Well, technically they do have that, through their used sellers: I’m pretty sure they could tell you what state has more secondary market sellers offering which books, and for how much, and they could break that back into the arbitrary past. Which, come to think of it, would probably be relevant data if you were looking at certain wannabe presidents’ ghost-written offerings during certain times. Maybe. I dunno. I’m not a big believer in “big data” but there are a lot of people who are!