Gonzo Marketing:Winning Through Worst Practices The Bombast Transcripts: Rants and Screeds of RageBoy
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Friday, March 18, 2005
Amazon's "Statistically Improbable Phrases"
Go ahead, take a SIP...

I just saw this new (I assume it's new) thing on Amazon moments ago, and I'm blown away. I ran across SIPs on the Gonzo Marketing page, where two "statistically improbable phrases" are listed for the book, to wit: "public journalism" and "market advocacy."

I "discovered" this using Safari. Checking the page with IE, Firefox and Netscape, I don't see the SIPs. I assume they must be coming in other browsers, but for now, that seems to be the way it is. Here's what Amazon says about the service:

Amazon.com's Statistically Improbable Phrases, or "SIPs", show you the interesting, distinctive, or unlikely phrases that occur in the text of books in Search Inside the Book. Our computers scan the text of all books in the Search Inside program. If they find a phrase that occurs a large number of times in a particular book relative to how many times it occurs across all Search Inside books, that phrase is a SIP in that book.

Once we identify a phrase that is statistically improbable:

  • For books where the phrase is a SIP, we provide an exact count of and link to the occurrences in those books.
  • For books where the phrase merely appears in the book, we provide a link to those occurrences
  • We also display a link to search A9.com for the phrase

Have some ideas for improving this feature? Please send your feedback to sitb-feedback@amazon.com

Whoa, wait... This is weird. They must be developing this thing as I'm writing, because I just went back to that page, and now it includes not just the two phrases above, but also: cause marketing, social marketing, gonzo journalism, permission marketing, broadcast model, cause related marketing, worst practices, and broadcast advertising. Whatever browser you're using, I assume you can see the A9-assisted search results for worst practices. Holy moly.

But no, it only works (for me anyway) in Safari. IE, Firefox and Netscape all return "Looking for something?" 404s. How very strange.

But speaking of A9, have you seen all the additional search sources you can now add? If not, take a look. For instance, you can easily search Creative Commons for shit you can rip off uh... re-purpose.

I know what this sounds like, but no, Amazon isn't paying me anything to write up this sort of thing. (Yet.) But man, they sure must be burning the midnight oil over there. The SIP thing is genius. Not so hard to do with good algorithms and massive word co-occurrence crunching software muscle. But genius nonetheless. Think about it...

1:22 AM | link |

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"RageBoy: Giving being fucking nuts a good name since 1985."
~D. Weinberger
28 October 2004

Chris Locke's photos More of Chris Locke's photos

Until a minute ago, I had no photos. I still have no photos to speak of. I don't even have a camera. But all these people were linking to "my photos." It was embarassing. It's still embarassing. But I'm used to that.

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The Bombast Transcripts

Gonzo Marketing

The Cluetrain Manifesto

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...the ventriloquial voice is both an attempt to imagine and pit the the speech of the body against the speech of culture, and an attempt to control that illegitimate speech, to draw it into discourse...

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