Monday 10 July 2017

Amazon bot offers phone cases for every search query

A bot has gone somewhat off the rails in Amazon's Marketplace. Entitled My-handy-design, it is offering hundreds (thousands?) of mobile phone cases, with the picture on each case seemingly made from a scraped image search query.

On the bright side, it means that you can now pick up a phone case that image that you've always wanted. Ever desired a phone case featuring the interior of a hospital room featuring an ultrasound scanner? Or, some cracked heels? How about some Spanish ham? It's now within reach, at the bargain (?!?) price of £24.

Our favourite, however, is the case of five mini Dachschunds playing poker. We're tempted to buy a Samsung S5 just so we can have that case.

By now, we are used to the algorthmic pricing bots that plague Amazon, such as the one offering a book on SPSS for over $999 billion (note the certain irony in "Discounted Bundle"):



au al 0500 1000 amazonbot2




... but My-handy-design is very much the shape of things to come for commodity products such as phone cases. The whole process is completely automated: scrape image queries, upload them to Amazon, and then make the product to order, in an entirely automated factory and dispatch system. No human intervention whatsoever.

This might not be the effect of the Long Tail that Chris Anderson dreamed about, but this is, perhaps, its purest manifestation.


... but this 

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