Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Amazon could stand to tighten up their search algorithms

I recently found myself in need of a 16" x 26" frame (because I did the Kickstarter for this cool poster which is actually 16 x 26 1/2 but good luck finding a 16 x 26 1/2 frame; I'll just shave 1/4" off each edge instead) and so turned to Amazon, my trusty go-to for Things I Need in the World.

So in the search box I typed in "16x26 frame".  Here's the first problem with Amazon's search results: I got 33,650 results.

Let's say you're the most obsessive frame shopper in the world.  That choosing a frame is the greatest pleasure you get in life.  You STILL would never, ever have the patience to choose from one of 33,650 frames.

That's assuming, of course, that the search actually returned 33,650 16x26 frames.  Obviously it did not.  Which brings us to Problem #2 with Amazon's search results: They are wildly inaccurate.  You have to wade through pages and pages of shit you're not looking for.

To Amazon's credit, result #1 was an example of what I was looking for: a simple 16x26 frame.  So good on you, Amazon.  Then shit started to go south.  The next result was a 16x24 frame, which is good, because it's a frame, but bad because it's not the size I was SPECIFICALLY searching for.

Results 3-8 were other frames in various sizes, mostly not 16x26.  Result #9, hilariously, was a windshield wiper.

It would be fun to ask Dopey Search Engine how this 22" windshield wiper is like a 16x26 frame.  "Ummmm, they're both over 20 inches?  They come in units of 1? You could tape your art to the windshield wiper and hang it on the wall?"  BAD SEARCH ENGINE, BAD.

Result #16 was a Heavy Duty Wedding Party Tent.

While not remotely related to what I needed, I can at least understand; the dimensions "26 x 16" appear not far from the word "frame," so I can see how Dopey Search Engine gave me this.

Result #32 was tragic.

Jesus Christ.  What kind of lunatic puts Nightmare Before Christmas Jack Skellington Graveyard Front & Rear Car Truck SUV Seat PlastiClear Floor Mats in their car truck SUV?  Also, you'll note, these things, whatever the fuck they are, are decidedly NOT 16x26 frames.

I could go on, but you get the point.  Dopey Search Engine served up anything with a "16" or a "26" in the description. THANKS, THAT'S HELPFUL.  It was still giving me actual 16x26 frames on page 5, but you have to dig through so much extraneous shit by that point you're like oh fuck it.  There's gotta be a better way, Amazon.

Although I am kinda tempted:

That'll look good hanging in my Wedding Party Tent Canopy Carport White!  THANKS AMAZON.


GG said...

You need a market-specific website like, that will let you input the dimensions as search parameters. Or just take it to Framed & Cornered on San Jose.

Andrea Prete said...

Cheap Pete's on 6th and Geary.

TK said...

Thx for the recs, guys!

Tamagosan said...

Those are great places (I like Back to the Picture, the last of the dead breed of DIY frame places) but if you're near a thrift store, it's always worth a gander since they often have standard-sized stuff. Just throw away the puzzle of the Muppets in NY (my last find; great frame!) and stick in your stuff. Unless you need matting and then you need to go to a framing place to buy that anyway. You could probably use a windshield wiper blade to squeegee whatever you end up with.

Tamagosan said...
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Tamagosan said...
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Tamagosan said...

Whoa there, Blogger! Quick trigger on the "publish your comment" button...

Janet said...

I'm having the same trouble--I don't ever stoop to shop Amazon, but just googling 16" X 26" picture frame gets you anything but! And I need glass (am making a custom dry erase board, you can get lots of colors in the 16" X 26"), but there will be four thousand other kinds of 'cover' which they tout but fail to describe in the basic terms like thickness (so I can know if it's as rigid ad glass and thus will bear writing upon). I got the dry erase film in two days and it is going on two months and I still do not have a frame. Don't suggest going to one of the DIY frame places--way way too expensive for the purpose. And you just won't find that size in a thrift store. It is not standard and it is rare. No, it's just anarchy in the picture frame business, from Amazon to Walmart and all stops in between (if you hit the Walmart result for the search term, you will get 28 pages of crap to wade through, and none of them turn out to be 16 X 26 even though you got them as a google result. In fact, I think the algorithm fault might be google's in the first place.

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