30 May 2019

May Amazon Yahoos Crumble

In last month's end-of-the-month Yahoo post, April Yahoos -- Much Ado About Nothing?, I wrote,

I'm once again reduced to pecking at crumbs just like in previous months. The only chess reference I spotted while browsing mainstream news headlines is shown in the following screen capture.

This month I had a stream of crumbs, shown below. They brought memories of Yahoo ghosts of blogging past:-

  • 2019-01-31: January Amazon Yahoos • 'The Yahoo news service picked up zero chess stories from the mainstream press. There was, nevertheless, one chess-related item in my news feed.'
  • 2019-02-28: February Amazon Yahoos • 'Of celebrities and sports, there was plenty to choose from; of chess there was nothing. Is the problem perhaps an overall deterioration in the Yahoo news feed itself?'

Deterioration in the Yahoo news feed, probably. An unwanted -- let's call it creepy -- coupling of my Yahoo habits with my Amazon habits, definitely.

'Sponsored --$-- Amazon.com'

The reappearance of Amazon Yahoos was provoked by my work on the post:-

While I was preparing that post, I looked at one -- let me emphasize that: ONE! -- book about Morphy on Amazon. I don't remember exactly what book it was, but it was a modern edition of a 19th-century book. I spent ten seconds looking at it, said to myself 'That's interesting', and moved on to another aspect of Morphy's career. The book might have been the second one shown in the ad dated '2019-05-22', titled 'Morphy's Games of Chess, and Fr̬re's Problem Tournament (Classic Reprint) Paperback РApril 5, 2018; by Paul Charles Morphy (Author)' on Amazon.

Yes, after writing that last paragraph I'm certain that was the book I looked at, because what I found interesting was that Morphy had written a book. I hadn't known that. The same book is the third shown in the ad dated '2019-05-29'. Amazon/Yahoo showed me the first ad 3-4 times over the next day, left me alone for a week, then reappeared with the second ad. The third book in the first ad is Kasparov's 'My Great Predecessors, Part 1', and the second book in the second ad is Zenon Franco's 'Morphy: Move by Move'. Why Kasparov? Probably because there's a section about Morphy in his book. The third ad, which appeared this morning, dropped the Morphy theme and offered two books by Jeremy Silman. Why Silman? I have no idea.

Ditto for the first book in all three ads: Capablanca's 'Chess Fundamentals'. I have no idea why Amazon keeps pushing this book. I used to own a copy, gave it to someone, and now have a PDF copy. As an aside, the Amazon product page says it has 138 pages, while the last page in my PDF version is page 61. Whatever the real number of pages is, I won't be buying it from Amazon. Let's see how long the ads continue.

As another aside, I bought 'Predecessors, Part 1' with earnings from Amazon's affiliate program. At one time, around the year 2000, my earnings from that program were enough to buy a book from time to time. Nowadays if I earn five cents a year from the program it's a windfall. I could say more about the Amazon affiliate program, but today is not the right time or place.

If there is one chess story I would like to have seen in the mainstream press during the month of May, it was the first event in this year's Grand Prix series. I'll cover that soon on my World Chess Championship Blog, so I'll say no more about it here.

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