Tagging: It’s pretty darn close to useful on Amazon.

Tagging had got­ten every­where. It’s the lat­est “got­ta have” for your web­site. Gotta have tag­ging and one of those cool cloud things in the right hand col­umn. But tag clouds are often just so much noise. Can’t tag­ging be put to bet­ter use?Did you know that there is tag­ging in Amazon? Six months ago it did­n’t seem to be used much. Now it seems to be gain­ing enough mass to be useful.

A cou­ple of examples.

The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way (a business/negotiation book).

It ranks #366 on Amazon’s sales list and has 47 reviews. It has twen­ty tags. The top tag is per­sua­sion.


Clicking through on per­sua­sion gets you a pret­ty use­ful list­ing of books.


Eight of the first ten books tagged per­sua­sion are busi­ness titles. Most like­ly what you’d be look­ing for if you start­ed with the Little Green Book. (The top book is of course some guy tar­get­ed dat­ing book and there’s the odd­i­ty in place ninth place: “None but You” based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion.)

Now let’s try some­thing a lit­tle less common.

Setting UP LAMP (just because it’s on my desk at the moment)

Ranks #67,422 and has 19 reviews. There are 9 tags, three peo­ple tagged it lamp and there are 8 oth­er sin­gle­ton tags. All the tags make sense.


Clicking on the lamp tag gets you… well books on LAMP yes but also a lot of light­ing fix­tures. Two light­ing fix­tures in the top ten and then it lights all the way down to the 27th item. The lists and guides aren’t use­ful. (You can get some help from the tag cloud at the bot­tom of the page though.) The sec­ond tag on the prod­uct page. books-computer-tools leads to a use­ful, though obvi­ous­ly pri­vate­ly mean­ing­ful, list­ing of books that you might want on your desk if you were work­ing with LAMP.

Note that the tag pages have a link to the lists (ListMania and So You’d Like To…) that have been tagged with your cho­sen term. Though in the first exam­ple (per­sua­sion) four of the five are blunt­ly aimed at becom­ing a bet­ter pick up artist. The two for lamp are a col­lec­tion of Smooth Jazz music and a list of home decor books. Not ready for prime time? Or maybe just bad exam­ple choic­es on my part.

As an aside, I like the new rollovers for the prod­uct pictures


When you’re look­ing at a prod­uct pic­ture on one of the lists — like the tagged items list — you roll over the pic­ture and get a brief descrip­tion of the item includ­ing price and rating.