Tech Life Motivated to buy

Amazon Gold Box

I was shocked today when I clicked on my AMAZON GOLD BOX and all of my offers were of a power tool variety. What the? I’ve never purchased power tools from Amazon. Come to think of it, research shows that I’ve never even purchased a power_tool_like book on Amazon. Even my wish list is devoid of anything remotely hardware-like.

I wracked my brain trying to think why they’d think I’d jump at a DeWalt DW788 20″ Variable Speed Scroll Saw. Then it struck me, I looked at a circular saws last Christmas. To my knowledge, that is the only hardware related query which has passed between Amazon and me in a great many years.

And, yet, here is my Gold Box… full of INCREDIBLE HARDWARE DEALS.

As marketing gimmicks go, Amazon’s Gold Box has grown on me. The pitch goes like this: Every 24 hours, you are presented with five items which are allegedly discounted more than usual. If you choose to buy it, YAY FOR AMAZON, if you pass on it, then you’ll never see that offer again. Really, it’s just a high tech version of the “Boy, Do I have a deal for you, BUT YOU MUST ACT NOW!” con.

What makes the con work is simple. Amazon has gone to great lengths to carefully watch every single move you make while on their site. The Gold Box hardware experience is yet another piece of tangential evidence that, while logged into the site, Amazon records EVERY SINGLE MOVE you make.

This is not a new revelation, I realize. The revelation is that Amazon has, at its disposal, a tremendous rich profile of who you are and what you like. Privacy dorks probably never login to Amazon, but, then again, their Gold Box is probably full of Winnie the Pooh puppets. I, personally, don’t mind getting offered stuff I might actually be motivated to buy.

8 Responses

  1. I’ve noticed the power tool thing as well.

    But, I swear, I’ve never ever ever looked at power tools on Amazon. I think.

    I think my father got a copy of a ‘’ (a subsidiary of catalogue in the mail once. Who knows if they linked that to my account somehow.

    Or maybe the Gold Box is really just what they’re trying to get rid of. I just clicked on it and got the “Bebe Sounds Prenatal Listener.” Now that’s something I *KNOW* I’ve never looked at on Amazon.

  2. EHUDs_Rhino 22 years ago

    I too recently poked around my Gold Box, and found it chock full of power tools and housewares. I believe there was a blender, though I can’t remember with perfect clarity. Unlike you, I’ve never looked at any *ware, hard or house, at Amazon, and I can’t shake the feeling that the Gold Box is really just a clearinghouse for all the shit that Amazon shouldn’t have started selling in the first place.

  3. Harry 22 years ago

    I look inside, sometimes see some nice deals on electronics… then remember they can’t ship the stuff to Canada.

  4. Harry 22 years ago

    Yeah, well… once it I got a gold box full of kiddie toys, and I’m looking in it right now….

    1. Breverra Metro Booster with Tether

    2. Adjustable Highchair – Sawgrass

    3. American Lawn Mower Company 1815-18 18″ Reel Mower

    4. SONICblue Rio 600 32 MB Digital Audio Player (MP3/WMA)

    5. Bebe Sounds Prenatal Listener – Deluxe Gift Set

    Now that was variation. I nearly thought my entire box was to be baby care products but clearly they offer some weird variation.

  5. rands 22 years ago

    It has been suggested that Amazon isn’t filtering Gold Box deals as much as, say, the Page That You Made. The comments above pretty much validate that.

    This CNET article ( roughly describes how they’re “grouping” or targeting deals.

  6. Yeah, actually, I think this gold box thing in reference to your every move is really a conspiracy theory more than anything else. Think about it- how many times have you been playing straight draw poker and been delt a flush on the first deal? It’s not often, sure, but it does happen.

    Consider the fact that if you really wanted a power tool, you’d have already bought it from Lowes or Home Depot, because you never really ‘want’ a power tool, you just ‘necessitate’ one every now and again. If you’re ordering online, then you’d have bought it by now. The gold box appears to be a collection of totally random products generated in a linear fashion, with perhaps only the slightest bias toward the customer type you happen to be (no feminine hygiene products for a known male). They would attempt to sell something like that to you at full price. The only reason they mark it down is because of the chance of a direct impulse buy, probably based on stock requirements of some sort.

    At any rate, they already stick it to you in your recommendations. That page consistently freaks me out with how well they know me, considering that I’ve purchased maybe 5 items from them. It is useful, however, to get good recommendations that I may have been considering beforehand; it’s as if I had just gotten an only slightly-biased opinion on purchasing something, biased in that they want to sell me everything but the stuff I already own.

    At any rate, someday I hope that *MY* mailbox shows me something that I’d be interested in purchasing.

  7. The Gold Box is meant to be a way for Amazon to draw your attention to those parts of the site you’ve never browsed or purchased something from. I never get deals on electronics, movies, music or books because I’ve bought from those stores before. The idea is that I see something intriguing, like a gas grill, in my Gold Box and then go browsing through the housewares store for other gas grills, because hey, maybe I’m moving into an apartment with a decent patio. From that point on Amazon is in my mind as a place to go to get great deals on movies, music, books, electronics AND housewares.

    More interesting to me are the purchase circles in the ‘friends and favorites’ section. Just yesterday I went through and checked on what Amazon’s customers in India, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and China were buying. And Israel and Kuwait.

    My recommendations always suck, BTW. That machine may have an understanding of my interests, but no concept of my peeves whatsoever.

  8. chelde 21 years ago


    My husband is a Carpenter and would like a toolcrib catalog, do you know if one exists or is this as you say, a scam so to speak… for Amazon to direct you to their stuff they don’t sell…

    Thank you!