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Amazon purchase algorithm Wed, Dec 05, 2012
I realized recently that I unintentionally use a sort of mental algorithm when I'm buying something on Amazon:  If the price of the item is over a certain amount, and it has a certain average review, and it has a certain number of reviews, and I need it or really want it, I'll buy it.  Or in math terms: 
BUY = (price) + (average review) + (number of reviews) + (need)
I don't really keep firm numbers in mind; it's more of a feel.  A couple examples:  I bought a desktop thermometer for about $8 (cheap), rated 4.1 out of 5 (very good), with 148 reviews (that's a lot), and I sort of needed it.  So its BUY value was very high despite my relatively low need for it.  Another time I bought a chainsaw for about $100 (not that cheap), rated 3.6 out of 5 (not great), with 36 reviews (not terrible), and I needed it pronto.  Its BUY value was fairly low, but I still ended up buying it because of my relative need. 

What's interesting is that I've reached this algorithm almost evolutionarily, from years of buying things off Amazon and reading customer reviews.  I've already figured out a way to sort through reviews in a meaningful way, but I guess I didn't realize how formulaic my mind was.  I trust my algorithm to the point where I would buy almost anything for under $20 with an average review above 4.5 and at least 25 reviews.


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