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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've seldom found Amazon's search helpful for anything except an extremely specific search. And now I'm discovering that that's screwy, too.

If I do a search for "Patricia McLinn" I get books by 2 other authors tagging on at the end. (NOT these authors' doing - my name isn't in tags or keywords or any such. I'm sure they have nothing to do with this.) Not such a big deal, right?

Then, if I do a "sort by" bestselling:

      It lists:                            Should be (based on Amz ranking):
1  Other Author 1 Bk 1          My Bk 1
2. Other Author 1 Bk 2          Other Author 1 Bk 1
3. My Bk 1                          Other Author 1 Bk 2
4. Other Author 2                  My bk 2
5. My Bk 2                          Other Author 2 

Not only is this wrong, but it's been listed wrong for more than a week -- pushing 2 weeks. I kept thinking it would correct, but, nope.

Contacted Amazon, which says it can't "control" search function. Huh?  Can't control it, as in making it accurate? That's right, I was told.

So, spreading the word -- don't trust Amazon search or sort.
 

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Patricia, thanks for reporting on this. I've had prod desc problems for over a month, pointed it out more than once, & after quite a bit of back & forth now Amazon tell me they can't find the code. I don't doubt they're trying but I think they're overwhelmed, too. Publishing, whether trad or cyber, is a lot harder than people think.
 

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The lists are also driven by your personal searches in the past (found that out this weekend). So, it's possible that because you have already searched for and found your own book, Amazon is offering up other possibilities. I'm just guessing though ???.
 

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I've always been confused by how other random others' books can show up in a search of my name. There's a Kindleboards author whose book always shows up in my search. I've combed my listing to see why hers might show up, and it's not tagged, it doesn't appear ANYWHERE on my page. So I really have no idea why it's there, particularly since it's not even anywhere near a similar genre. I couldn't imagine it does anything for her, either, to show up in my searches. Our readers are simply not looking for the other one's books.
 

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Amanda Brice said:
I've always been confused by how other random others' books can show up in a search of my name. There's a Kindleboards author whose book always shows up in my search. I've combed my listing to see why hers might show up, and it's not tagged, it doesn't appear ANYWHERE on my page. So I really have no idea why it's there, particularly since it's not even anywhere near a similar genre. I couldn't imagine it does anything for her, either, to show up in my searches. Our readers are simply not looking for the other one's books.
I had an issue with another author's book that kept showing up in my recently viewed items (as in, Amazon was saying that I looked at the book). Nope. I contacted Amazon and haven't seen it since, but they sent a nice note telling me that recommendations are based on items I've previously searched for. ??? I guess they didn't get what I was asking, but I learned something new (I think).
 

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The thing is, we know our names are very specific things, but to the algorithms, they are just words.  Words often have a lot of meanings, so the algorithms use all sorts of user behavior, not just searches, but views and clicks and past tagging and community activity, and anything anyone has ever done on Amazon.

So when someone searches on a name just in the plain search box (and not with the advanced search options) it treats your name just like a word which can have other meanings.  It takes the behavior of anybody who has ever touched that word -- people who have looked at your book or tagged it or done any number of other things -- and processes everything that person did in that session and the presents you with results based on that.

It's NOT thinking "author = Patricia McLinn"  It's thinking "what do people related to any 'patricia' and any 'mclinn' seem to be interested in?"

Sometimes this is a good thing.  If you're looking for Agatha Christie, Amazon's search will help you also find other authors you might like.

However, indies are obsessive about running around Amazon's site -- checking stats and comparing ranks, and tagging -- that the algorithms assume that if you're interested in any indie author, you're equally interested in all.  Not necessarily because YOU have shown this pattern, but because that's the predominant pattern with indie books.

Amazon seems to be in the process of overhauling it's relevance algorithms, which is a good thing, because search has become weaker lately -- not just because of bad behavior by authors, but because of things like freebies throwing off the bestselling lists. (If you do a search on Agatha Christie, for instance, you'll see bazillions of copies of her first books -- which are in public domain -- push her better books down the list and sometimes right off the first page.)

Camille
 

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I was just wondering about this myself.

And guess whose books are tagged at the end of my name search?

Patricia McLinn!!!

Of course, I've read several of Patricia's books and loved them. So I'm in excellent company.

;D ;D ;D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I appreciate your thoughtful response, Modwitch. We might have to agree to disagree on dysfunctional. ;-)  When I do a specific search, I expect to get what I asked for -- accurately.

If I do the search as "Patricia McLinn ebooks" only my books show up, and they come up in the correct order sorted by "bestseller" based on their rankings. It is when I do a search via "Kindle books-> Patricia McLinn" that the issues arise.

I would expect "ebooks" and "Kindle books" to produce the same search results.  The fact that they don't makes it much less useful to me.

On the sort issues, as I mentioned, this has been ongoing -- plenty of time for any algorithm to catch up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
WriterGurl1 said:
I had an issue with another author's book that kept showing up in my recently viewed items (as in, Amazon was saying that I looked at the book). Nope.
Oh, yeah, I had that happen, too. It took a good six months for it to disappear.

I do think Amazon's search has more than a few bytes loose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
AnneMarie Novark said:
And guess whose books are tagged at the end of my name search?

Patricia McLinn!!!
Now, see ... how can wicked Amazon do an awful think like that to an upright, totally innocent author like you????? ;)

And thank you so much for your kind and gracious words.

I was just wondering about this myself.
Yeah, and I wonder what readers think when their search pulls up stuff they didn't ask for. Maybe I'm a cranky consumer, but I find it very off-putting.

Let's hope our readers are less cranky, eh? :D
 
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