Stop Amazon's Recommendation Algorithm from Ripping You Off

25 October 2016

Amazon across the world has built a reputation providing an engine to buy cheap, reliable products from a vast array of suppliers. The company delivers three million packages per day across the globe but something fishy is going on with their pricing algorithm. The website advertises that it shows you the cheapest deal when you search for a product, but lately deal hunters have seen that this isn’t necessarily the case.

A new study suggests that the algorithm may be slightly skewed in favour of showing products from Amazon partners rather than simply the best deal available. ProPublica, a public interest journalism not-for-profit foundation conducted the analysis and found that simply relying on the Amazon buy box would cost you more money.

This applies to both Aussies that buy only books from our Amazon Australia website or other products from overseas Amazon websites. After comparing products found searching the website to ones recommended in Amazon’s buy box the price of the recommended items cost 20% more. ProPublica conducted their study on the United States Amazon website and found that the price difference between the products recommended and the truly cheapest item was $10.40 for the 250 items they looked at.

A customer who bought all 250 products from the recommended list would have ended up spending $1,847 extra if they chose not to hunt around for the cheapest offer. After close assessment a trend revealed that three-quarters of the time Amazon would place its own products or those from partner companies into the buy box, even if they weren’t cheaper.

Amazon's recommended section

Money Saving Amazon Tips

All customers can compare product prices using the Amazon feature “price + shipping” to find the cheapest total cost of a product. However, beware because Amazon conveniently doesn’t include shipping on its products.

Amazon often offer free eBooks which can be downloaded from the Kindle store, plus you don’t even need a Kindle to read the books.

Saving money by buying second hand items can sometimes be troublesome when using independent websites, however you can also buy through Amazon from third party sellers. Always ensure to factor in shipping costs too.

Amazon is also known for having good sales and many deals can be found within the website, so be sure to check out the Today’s Deal Page which ever countries Amazon you happen to be searching.

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