A little update on the Also Boughts issue at Amazon: it’s obvious now that the wholesale removal of ABs is not a permanent change and that the book seller is split-testing its consumer base like mad. The testing is definitely occurring across browsers, with major differences amongst Internet Explorer, Mozzila Firefox, and Chrome.
The nature of the testing is–no surprise–not being addressed by Amazon, despite their courteously-worded form letter should you ask about the issue:
Hello [Unknown User],
I hope this email finds you well. I understand that you are really disappointed about the feature changes on the website.
The feature you are referring to, “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought,” is automatically added by our system based on previous customer purchase patterns. This is not something that we are able to manually add or alter.
I have checked the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section and see that the authors name, stars and amount of reviews for books specifically are listed when you hover over the title of the book in this specific section. I know that it can become really frustrating when the website changes and would like you to know that we value your feedback on this.
Thank you for taking the time to send us your comments about this feature.
[Faceless Customer Service Rep]
A follow-up call to Customer Service, also pleasant, suggested that Amazon is trying out several new tweaks, including a mouse-over reveal of the old battery of Author Name, Stars, and Review numbers, but only for the paperback version of a title.
The quick snapshot of what browser is doing what (all browsers up to date as of this writing):
- Internet Explorer (9.0.8112.16421), Firefox (20.0.1) – Cover thumbnail, Title, Author Name, Stars (number of reviews), Price.
- Chrome (ver. 26.0.1410.43) – Cover thumbnail, Title, Price.
- All browsers, no mouse-over – Cover, Title, Price.
- All browsers, mouse-over – Cover, Title, Price, Stars (number of reviews), Author Name, “Add to Cart” button, In Stock/Out of Stock message, Prime Eligibility message.
If you’re curious, here are a couple of screen shots with Kindle/Paperback page comparisons–click for a larger version in a new window.
Last interesting note: it appears that in Chrome, at least, non-book Amazon pages (vacuum cleaners, watches, etc.) all have the mouse-over window mentioned above. Of course, that might just be me if Amazon is testing across regions, countries, IP ranges, or user history 🙂 I’m sure we’ll know soon.
Addendum: Thanks to Christa Wick for the Safari screen shot, which shows the full “mouse over window” for the paperback.