Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Arbitrary justice and online commerce

I do the majority of my shopping online. Thinking it's time for board games for Speck? to refill an obscure spice? track down that novel I just heard about? It all ends up on my Amazon wish-list (or directly in my Cart, waiting for critical mass), fueling a steady trickle of packages to my home.

So I can only imagine my horror if I were to wake one day to find that my account had been completely wiped from existence! I think I would collapse on the floor -- not just because of the loss of the couple of Kindle books I have, but all that history and planning in my various lists, and where else would I even get half this stuff (one painful web search at a time)?? And to think that such an account termination could happen because of a foreseeable algorithmic misfire just adds to the chill in my bones.

This seems even worse when you consider the number of other accounts that you might have linked to your Amazon account, whether you use them to fund your Kickstarter contributions or record your audiobooks. A lifetime ban could be severely crippling.

I hope Amazon sorts out the kinks in their system and remembers that users (as reviewers and customers) are what has powered their success. We might be afraid to get too reliant on a resource that can so suddenly and pointlessly be pulled out from under us!

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