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  1. #1
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    "Omakase"
    Big two thumbs down to the Omakase links.

    Though Albert Collins' "Showdown" CD is worthy of recommendation, I'm not so sure that it will be a big hit with people who are looking for birthday party favors and cake decorations. Same goes for the "Dada Men's Wild Style" sneakers and the "Pugster Bumble Bee Brooch".

    What a pile of crap.
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  2. #2
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Thanks for the observation, NoWires.
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  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador beachcom's Avatar
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    Good, I thought it was just me.

    Joey

  4. #4
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    I was thrilled to see it at first. And though my expectations were not too high to begin with, it turns out to be practically useless. Maybe next year.
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  5. #5
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoWires
    I was thrilled to see it at first. And though my expectations were not too high to begin with, it turns out to be practically useless. Maybe next year.
    I do not have the technical knowledge that would enable me to explain the technical components necessary for the "Omakase links" to function but that capability must come "under the umbrella" (so to speak) of artificial intelligence (a concept that fascinates me).
    Amazon is trying to figure out what the customer wants to buy prior to the customer and is hoping to inspire sales based upon artificial intelligence gathered from sources that may or may not indicate that consumer's desires

    Perhaps this raises an interesting question [to a broad topic that is somewhat related]: when does artificial intelligence become too artificial and what could be done to make an artificial intelligence type of program more useful and realistic?
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  6. #6
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Hm, somehow I've missed the whole bit about "Omakase" links. Are these supposed to be some kind of AdSense-like context-detecting link, only with products? And what's with the name?

    I gather that they don't work too well in practice, that much is clear...

    what could be done to make an artificial intelligence type of program more useful and realistic?
    It needs to automatically figure out the algo du jour, and make pages to match

  7. #7
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    I might have missed something somewhere along the line.

    Wondering if maybe they're using information stored in cookies in some capacity. That would explain some of the CD's I'm seeing displayed, but not much of the other stuff.
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  8. #8
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    Truth is, Omakase is awesome. It gives you the webmaster, something to rotate with your Google adsense. More is better, no one forces anyone to use it, but the fact that you have an option is a good thing, and how everyone should really be looking at it, even if you only feel that you have the option to use a pile of crap.

    The Omakase links are actually technically advanced, matching products based on page content, and product views. It smartly puts products in front of the visitor that they could be interested in buying.

    The name still sucks, I don't know what that's about.

    Thnx,
    PuReWebDev
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    Last edited by Trust; September 9th, 2006 at 04:36 PM. Reason: rules violation

  9. #9
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    matching products based on page content, .....It smartly puts products in front of the visitor that they could be interested in buying.
    I left if up on a site for about a week, to see if there may just be some lag time in settling on relevant products, but it didn't happen. Still showing blues music CD's on pages with kids shoes, men's running shoes and cowboy hats on pages with kids theme party supplies, etc.

    IMO the best "option" for me is just to leave it alone until they can get it working, a leave up the reasonably relevant and guaranteed-to-produce-income Adsense panels.
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  10. #10
    Newbie GeneKavner's Avatar
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    "Omakase" means "leave it up to us" in Japanese. The truth is that we launched Omakase links in Japan before the US and I liked the name, so it stuck. Sorry if you don't like it but I can tell you that picking a name that works in well in 6 countries is very difficult!

    To answer your other questions, Omakase will make a decision what to show on your site and it may be based on the content of your site but it may also be based on any number of other criteria. Amazon may decide to show products that happen to be selling well that week. They may also show products that they think will be purchased by the person viewing the ad if that individual has shopped at Amazon in the past. So, if you are seeing CD's in your Omakase links, it may just be because you have expressed an interest in CD's during your previous visits to Amazon. Someone else on your site may be seeing ads for kitchen appliances if that is what they have shopped for previously. So, do not be alarmed to see CD's in your ads. The most important factor to consider is how much money Omakase links are making you vs. the opportunity cost of putting some other links in the same space.

    Gene Kavner, Former World-Wide Director, Amazon Associates, 2005-2006.
    Affiliate and Amazon Associates Tools | Gene Kavner Blog | Consulting

  11. #11
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    [ restraining myself ]
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneKavner
    Omakase will make a decision what to show on your site and it may be based on the content of your site but it may also be based on any number of other criteria. * * * The most important factor to consider is how much money Omakase links are making you vs. the opportunity cost of putting some other links in the same space.
    Gene, this is great timing, since I just wasted a bunch of time on my second attempt at trying to get Omakase links working on my site, which is for teachers. Even after 5,000 consumer pageviews, no matter what I did (including passing parameters), the ads ALWAYS showed thong underwear, "Instant Cashflow," a MacBook, and a fourth random item.

    And no, nobody has used my computer to shop or browse for thongs, cashflow, or a MacBook.

    Over time, that fourth random item got "closer" to the theme of my site, but never close enough to make sense. (For example, for a page that lists teaching resources for Frankenstein, which includes 54 links of which 20 are links to Amazon products, the fourth item might be a teaching resource unrelated to Frankenstein.)

    As you note, the real measure is performance, and here the measure was pretty easy: after more than 5,000 consumer adviews over 48 hours, there were zero clicks.

    Omakase links are a huge waste of time.

    It's a shame that Amazon doesn't provide a way to deliver relevant ads based on keywords, such as a title or author.
    Last edited by markwelch; January 26th, 2007 at 07:28 AM.

  13. #13
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    To clarify: I wrote regarding Omakase ads: "As you note, the real measure is performance, and here the measure was pretty easy: after more than 5,000 consumer adviews over 48 hours, there were zero clicks" (emphasis added).

    The text links on the same pages generated 20 sales during the same period.

  14. #14
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Gene:
    did you/do you ever post in the amazon.com forum at their site?

  15. #15
    Newbie GeneKavner's Avatar
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    Mark -- sorry you didn't have good experience with Omakase. I will forward your comment to my colleagues at Amazon.

    Can I suggest you try the Recommended Product link where you pick the best search term you can think of for your site, then let me know how they do for you? I am wondering whether banners are just performing poorly (rather than just the Omakase links).

    Comparing Omakase to text links is not exactly apples to apples, since they do appear in different slots. The key here is to find something you can place in the same spot as Omakase that will perform better.

    Gene Kavner, Former World-Wide Director, Amazon Associates, 2005-2006.
    Affiliate and Amazon Associates Tools | Gene Kavner Blog | Consulting

  16. #16
    Newbie GeneKavner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herb ԿԬ
    Gene:
    did you/do you ever post in the amazon.com forum at their site?
    Herb -- not so much as I have been working hard on blogging and building tools. As I am finally releasing them, I will participate more on their board as well.

    Gene Kavner, Former World-Wide Director, Amazon Associates, 2005-2006.
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  17. #17
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Lightbulb
    I think it is mutually understood that careful posting would be needed there, as it is still a jungle, but there are times when real feedback happens.

    only in the past year have we noticed more participation from amazon.com

  18. #18
    Newbie GeneKavner's Avatar
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    Smile
    Must have been my influence

  19. #19
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    Gene: I have tried the "recommended products" links and while they are better than Omakase, they don't perform well enough to justify using them on my "teacher-audience" web site.

    I place a high premium on loading third-party content into my site, because of load times and the clutter factor. (That is, I'll only do it if I think the benefit outweighs any potential delay and distraction for the consumer.)

    What I really want is something that will show "sellable" products that are similar to those I already list on the page.

    For example, if my page lists teaching resources for Frankenstein (to continue the example), then if I'm going to have a dynamic banner space for Amazon, I'd really like that space to show relevant titles -- ideally, the most popular of the items listed, and/or new items or new editions that aren't yet in my list.

    What I've found is that adding any type of Amazon banner (either in rotation with the AdWords banner, or just beneath the AdWords banner in a "below the fold" placement) fails to generate meaningful results.

    Don't get me wrong -- recommended products "banner" links can be effective, and I use them on some of my affiliate sites. For whatever reason, they haven't worked on my "teacher" site.

    But I just realized that I haven't tested them since a database change I made in late 2006, which was what allowed me to send what I thought were "really good" context parameters to Omakase -- I'll go ahead and start another test now using "recommended products" links.

    This thread was about Omakase, however, and in my two serious tests of the Omakase service, the results were truly dreadful. It would be interesting to see Omakase working someplace where it actually shows relevant contextual results. (It's against the rules here to post links to affiliate web sites, but feel free to PM me if you have some good examples.)

  20. #20
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Exclamation
    it was a vacuum for real information for years. also it attracted everyone with real or unreal problems as email to "associates@" seldom returned answers.

    the engine it runs on allows multiple user IDs which empowers trolls who still try to dominate discussions.

    but the help section has been greatly improved. unfortunately the newbies never read the TOS for amazon.com so the same questions are repeated every month.

    it be a jungle.

    and on top of that the finder's fee package keeps gently getting shorted every iteration (our observation). at least now, we're not seeing announcements that getting less is "an exciting new feature."

    </rant> if you go, don't use your real name.

  21. #21
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    Earlier, I wrote: > "I just realized that I haven't tested {Recommended Product Links} since a database change I made in late 2006 * * * I'll go ahead and start another test now using "recommended products" links." <

    Wow, the difference is amazing. In the past, the recommended product links were related, but "not enough." Right now, when I view a page, I am seeing exactly what I had hoped to see in the "Recommended Products" banner. Most of the time, I am seeing 4 "dead-on" relevant items plus one off-topic item at the bottom; in one placement I saw 6 highly-relevant items.

    It will be very interesting to see how this "banner" performs over the next few days. I suspect I'll see a lot more than zero clicks from the first 5,000 adviews (which is how Omakase performed).

    However, I am noticing one interesting issue: the "Recommended Products" banner includes products which are not available (they appear with no price, and usually "no image available," and when clicked on they go to a product page which says "this product is not currently available." This seems unlikely to be productive in terms of product sales.
    Last edited by markwelch; January 26th, 2007 at 10:30 AM.

  22. #22
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    [ no longer restraining myself ]

    They may also show products that they think will be purchased by the person viewing the ad if that individual has shopped at Amazon in the past...and on and on and on...
    So..... display products that the customer has either already bought, or already decided not to buy? This is absurd.

    The most important factor to consider is how much money Omakase links are making you vs. the opportunity cost of putting some other links in the same space.
    The most important factor for me to consider is how much money relevant products and Adsense links are making for me vs. the cost of annoying potential customers by putting some other absurd and irrelevant links in the same space.
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  23. #23
    Full Member gamweb61's Avatar
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    Good News - Google Adsense told me I can run Amazon-Omikase alongside their ads because they are not contextual!

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It might help if we the publishers/affiliates were able to chose a "category" or "keyword" to go along with the Omikase ads? For example, I run a bunch of travel/hotel reservation sites - so the best Amazon ads for me would be travel-related products or travel books.

    I used to pick out travel books by hand that would match a country, region, or state that I was making a page about (Florida travel books, Florida travel DVDs or Videos, etc.).

    Lets say I could plug in a Keyword or category to "help" the Omikase ad along, this might help the contextual targeting.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by gamiziuk
    > "It might help if we the publishers/affiliates were able to chose a "category" or "keyword" to go along with the Omikase ads?" <
    Click on "advanced settings" under the Omakase make-a-link page, and voila! you can add keywords.

    Alas, for me, was that adding these keywords didn't seem to have any imact whatsoever on the items shown. In contrast, using keyword in the "Recommended Products" links seems to work pretty well.

  25. #25
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    Earlier, I wrote: > "I am noticing one interesting issue: the "Recommended Products" banner includes products which are not available (they appear with no price, and usually "no image available," and when clicked on they go to a product page which says "this product is not currently available." This seems unlikely to be productive in terms of product sales." <

    Amazon's response to this was to suggest that I alter the keyword parameters to remove one of the keywords, which they said would reduce the number of "unavailable products" in the ads -- but it's clear that it would also make the ads much less relevant.

    Thus far, Amazon reports that I generated 13 clicks from 2,600 adviews of the "Recommended Products" ad, which is certainly much better than the zero clicks I generated from Omakase links.

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