I think I have mentioned before that Amazon’s search engine gives me a rash. But yet the site contains so much information I can’t help using it. And despite the fact that Amazon’s regular search engine bothers me a lot, there are other offerings on the site that are making it more and more fun to use. Forum threads, for example, are now available by RSS feeds.
You may have noticed at the bottom of Amazon’s product pages there are links to forum threads. Sometimes all you need to do to find interesting discussions to monitor is find a related book, then look at the discussions going on around that book. Other times you might want to do a search outside Amazon for interesting threads. If you want to use Google to search Amazon for forum threads, here is your base search:
Add your keywords. Note also that Amazon has a forum for each tag that’s been used on Amazon, and often they don’t have any discussions around them. You can eliminate those by adding -inurl:tag to your search.
If you do a search like lactose intolerant site:amazon.com inurl:forum you’ll see a couple dozen results covering everything from parenting to making yogurt to, for some reason, Sony. Once you’ve found a topic of interest that you’d like to monitor, look for the RSS feed link and symbol in the right nav. If you have an Amazon account you can also sign up to get e-mails when a forum thread updates.
I think for very technical, computer related discussions, I would still refer to Usenet, Yahoo Groups, or Google Groups. But I think for more consumer-oriented discussions or “everyday life” discussions, this’ll be the place I start. Amazon has a ton of traffic and has made it very easy for anyone to put in their two cents.
Now if I could just use the regular search engine without tearing all my hair out…