IDEA #22 – Amazon.com Social Networking

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Amazon Web ServicesThere must be a way to turn Amazon.com’s userbase into a huge social network. Amazon offers an API that gives access to their user reviews (although it may just be per product — so you grab a product and then get the user reviews associated with that product; you can do 1 per second — thus you can’t just start grabbing user reviews; but you could start correlating popular products and grabbing that info). I believe there are tools to view wishlists — maybe those must be shared.

Must be a way based on the user reviews (if a user email / ID is provided) of aggregating all of that data and figuring out compatibility amongst the users. Thus, if I’ve given high ratings to various items and so has someone else — then we’d likely strike up some good conversation, and/or have some other product recommendations for each other. Might be strong similarities with our music tastes, or movie tastes, or book tastes, or anything else — but those 3 would be the ideal platforms to work from.

I realize Amazon has “state-of-the-art” product recommendations — that’s not the focus here. The focus is to start connecting these Amazon customers — if they have similar product tastes, they could end up becoming good friends; or at least knowing someone that would love to hear about some new product that interests them (and interests the other person). A way for shoppers to connect with similar shoppers.

Maybe users would need to install a browser plugin or toolbar in order to see this type of user compatibility (or better recommendations to you personally, if you have written reviews / rated products within Amazon in the past). If you never rated products, then you could use our plugin / toolbar / bookmarklet and quickly give thumbs up/down to products in Amazon’s site — then we mash your ratings against the huge Amazon reviews database, to recommend other products to you.

Who knows about this Amazon API providing user reviews? Can my idea be done? What are the Terms of Service for the API? Any tweaks you’d make to my idea?

Here are some other uses of Amazon’s API.