Published on: February 1, 2008
Sometimes I am truly amazed at what Amazon knows…and how it can interpret that information.
For example, Amazon said this week that it conducted an extensive analysis of its customers’ purchasing habits to see where the people who bought romance novels, relationship and sex books live … and where they do not.
By this measure, the nation’s most romantic cities – or, at least, the cities where people like or need to read about romance and its various iterations, are, in order:
1. Alexandria, Va.
2. Cambridge, Mass.
3. Miami, Fla.
4. Irvine, Calif.
5. Ann Arbor, Mich.
6. Orlando, Fla.
7. Berkeley, Calif.
8. Arlington, Va.
9. Atlanta, Ga.
10. Washington, D.C.
11. Pasadena, Calif.
12. Bellevue, Wash.
13. Seattle, Wash
14. San Francisco, Calif.
15. Columbia, S.C.
16. Tallahassee, Fla.
17. .Scottsdale, Ariz.
18. Austin, Texas
19. Richmond, Va.
20. Knoxville, Tenn.
According to the analysis, Ann Arbor, Mich. is the Sexiest City in America with 24% of its romantic Amazon purchases coming from books about sex. Cambridge, Mass. is the Most Relationship Savvy City in America with 58% of its romantic Amazon purchases coming from books about relationships. Which may say something about the differences between people who live in Ann Arbor and Cambridge – two college towns – that I don't really want to speculate about.
And here’s the bad news. At the bottom of the list are Pomona, Calif., El Monte, Calif. and Salt Lake City, Utah, the cities least interested in romance coming in with the fewest number of romance, relationship and sex book purchases, on a per capita basis, out of 236 cities.
I’m just sort of glad my town didn’t make the list. Though I remain impressed with Amazon’s analysis…and the fact that it seems to know things about its customers that few brick-and-mortar retailers do.
Speaking of what the Internet is capable of…
Did you see the story about the woman who used CraigsList.com to find a hit man to murder the wife of a man with whom she had an affair?
According to the stories, she used CraigsList.com – which is used by a lot of people to create friendships, buy cars, rent apartments and the like – to offer interested parties $5,000 to kill the woman. In the ad, she called it an “eradication task.”
Here’s what’s interesting. The woman who wanted to hire the hit man lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan…just two hours from Ann Arbor.
Coincidence? I think not.
As I was posting MNB
this morning, the news hit the wires – that Microsoft has offered by buy Yahoo! for about $44.6 billion in a mix of cash and stock. And, as the New York Times
reports, “If consummated, the deal would redraw the competitive landscape of the Internet consumer services business, where both Microsoft and Yahoo have struggled to compete with Google.”
The other story that broke this morning was that Exxon Mobil reported that its fourth-quarter profit rose 14 percent to a record $11.7 billion, even as crude prices and the cost at the gas pumps increased.
Think that’s going to outrage an American public sick of taking out second mortgages to fill up their SUVs?
On another subject…
One of the great things about having Michael Sansolo around is that it gives the chance – and the rationale – to compare notes constantly about a wide variety of subjects – the Mets, politics, religion, our kids, etc…not to mention things like great retailing and terrific customer service, both of which intrigue us on those occasions when we actually encounter them.
So I thought I’d share with you this email that I got from Michael this week, filed as he was sitting in the airport in Las Vegas waiting for a flight:
“Supermarket shopping may rank as a boring chore for most consumers, but nothing could possibly rank below drudgery of the security lines in airports these days. At every airport an annoying video loop of messages plays constantly and it's hard to believe than any one ever pays attention.
“Except at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. The security tape there features actors from various shows preparing to go through the screening machines. Klingon warriors from ‘Star Trek’ have to unload their ‘weapons,’ showgirls have to lose extra clothing items and occasionally celebrities (like Rita Rudner) join the fun. In short, it turns the tape into an amazing moment--in fact, people actually enjoy waiting in line.
“McCarran airport's customer service friendliness doesn't end there. I will never understand why I pay premium rates to connect to the Internet in the nicest hotels, while the cheaper varieties provide it free and by wireless. Most airports are no better offering their cheapest rates for 24 hours periods--an amount of time no one wants to spend in an airport. Only a handful, like McCarran, provide free wireless Internet.
“What happens in Vegas...is customer service.”
(Okay, he could have sent me an email about a show he saw, or a meal he had…)
My wine of the week: the 2005 Decembrino Chianti Classico, which is absolutely delicious with Italian food…and only goes for about 12 bucks. Good stuff.
I think that beating the New England Patriots this weekend is an almost impossible task for the New York Giants. But while I’m a Jets fan, I’ll be rooting for the Giants, in part because I’m a native New Yorker, and in part because I went to Iona Preparatory School in New Rochelle, NY, with Giants co-owner John Mara. (We weren’t friends and I haven't seen him since graduation in 1972…but I’ve enjoyed reading, watching and hearing interviews with him. He just seems like a decent, nice guy who is enjoying is success without the slightest bit of narcissism. I hope he wins.
The Pats are a 12-point favorite. If I were a betting man, I’d take the Giants. To win. 37-34.
That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend…and I’ll see you Monday.