What happened to Amazon’s book rankings by city?

Do you remember when Amazon used to rank books by their popularity in various cities? I enjoyed seeing which books were topselling in Chicago. Or at my alma mater, Illinois Wesleyan University. But Amazon no longer has those rankings listed with the books. What gives?

To find the answer, I tweeted this question and my friend Abhay pointed me to this blog post, Amazon’s purchase circles: MIA?. A guy that was on the Amazon development team wrote a comment explaining:

“if you try to access the purchase circles on amazon’s site, you’ll get a message that says the ‘purchase circles’ are being rennovated. I think maybe the word should be ‘re-evaluated’ as the whole concept was very controversial to begin with. It opened a host of privacy issues and was an open data-mine source if you knew how to use them. (most people didn’t realize how granular you could get with the purchase circles data). Too bad though. privacy and company espionage issues aside, it was a fabulously fun feature.”

I agree, it was a fabulously fun feature. It’s funny how that blog post is from 2007. It only took me five years to notice this feature was missing. Well, five years later and Amazon still has not brought it back. Maybe we’ll get it back in another five years. 2017, baby!

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