Amazon’s Latest Patent: Guessing Religion Based On Giftwrap

Written by Evan Schuman
January 4th, 2012

Patent filings are fun documents, in that they provide a peek into the most creative what-if visions of leading retailers. With the caveat that most patents are never productized—and for good reason—they offer a moment of pure research, pure idea, without the burden of market realities to dilute the dream. And when these ideas come from Amazon, it’s even better.

With that in mind, Amazon is floating the idea of launching a social service. Whether it would be a dating site or a potential business partner finder or just a more intelligent way of choosing who to hang with online, that’s not clear. But it is clear that Amazon is drooling over its vast CRM files and trying to figure out how much money it can make off them.

The Amazon filing starts by capturing all activity from Amazon, so it can better match consumers with other consumers.

“The analyzed behaviors may include the item purchases, item rentals, item viewing activities, Web browsing activities and/or search histories of the users. The items may, for example, include book titles, music titles, movie titles and/or other types of items that tend to reflect the traits and interests of users having affinities for such items,” the filing says. “The event data may, for example, include user order histories indicative of the particular items purchased and/or rented by each user. Event data reflective of other types of user actions, such as item-detail-page viewing events, browse node visits and/or search query submissions, may additionally or alternatively be considered. By taking catalog-item-related event data into consideration, the matching service reduces the burden on users to explicitly supply personal profile information and reduces poor results caused by exaggerations and other inaccuracies in such profile information.”

In other words, customers don’t have to tell us their likes and dislikes; we already know. (The one thing this filing lacks is good sound effects. To try and address this oversight, StorefrontBacktalk is suggesting that readers, while reviewing this story, periodically play this 3-second MP3 file.)


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Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

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