How can Amazon still have such suckass search a quarter century and billions into it?

And I guess the answer is in the question: because it rules the world or nearly so, so why the fuck bother fixing it?

But why does it seem I am the only person who actively finds it infuriating? You all DO notice it, doncha? For fucks’ sake, it’s fucking Amazon and they can’t do Boolean/filtered/refined searching properly? Seriously?

If you have never noticed anything and you are happy with the way it works, stop reading and stay satisfied.

But others: “sort by” magically ADDS another 15,000 results to the 2,000 results you started with? And usually doesn’t actually work anyway? WTF?

I was gonna get into it, but I decided not to… I just want to know if I’m the only one paying attention to it… grrr…

Agreed. It’s almost useless if you use the options other than “featured”.
It gets somewhat better if you have Prime and you choose the “Prime” checkbox.

I have Prime and most of what I order is covered by Prime.

That’s me! I place at least one order a week and am happy as a clam, whatever TF that means.

Oh, absolutely. No doubt it is the way it is because they make more money with a bad search, suggesting all sorts of things you aren’t looking for. But if I search specifically for a 5" round mirror, don’t give me 13 inch triangular mirrors!

If I’m searching for part # 255S3129 (the burner for my specific stove) I’m really not going to be interested in burners for other stoves!


I’m sure Amazon’s search works exactly how they want it to, for the benefit of Amazon, not their shoppers. I also think it is a legitimate question as to whether Amazon would make more money with a customer focused search, versus what they have now. I’m sure Amazon thinks they make more money the way it is now.

I agree with the OP.

I have Prime and I’m generally satisfied with Amazon, but their search functions are for shit.

Their shipping promises suck, too.

I find it works better if you use Google when you are not in Amazon. Just search on Google for “Amazon 5 inch round mirror”.

I think it depends where you are. There are 4 Amazon DCs local to me, so most of my deliveries are next day, a few next day, a few 2 day. In the early days of Covid it was a crap shoot.

As said, I am sure Amazon knows exactly what it wants from its search. Their goal is to get you to buy stuff. Your goal is to get the exact item you want cheaply with no extraneous info.

So if Amazon has some idea of additional things you might buy and such things appear in your list - theoretically - is this predestination? Serendipitous? Not so much.

I don’t mind an extra day or so for shipping, but don’t tell me that the item will be delivered on day 3, then it shows up on day 4 or 5. That’s been happening a LOT to me lately.

To the OP: sorry to derail your thread with this.

I write it off to inertia. A lot of what we see on the major websites is now 20+ years old. Do you have any idea how costly it would be to change any of it? It would be like changing over US automobiles to right-side driving - not gonna happen.

Not to hi-jack, but I have the same complaint about email. It really hasn’t changed in 30 years.

The only time I’ve had deliveries that didn’t show up on the promised day, it’s been stuff sent via USPS and it’s been USPS’s fault. I have informed delivery and I’ll see that my item is out for delivery and my mail person has screwed up.

I think your claim is that the search is bad because they haven’t seriously invested in improving it over the years? While that’s certainly an issue with software development, in particular with enterprise software where horrible usability etc. doesn’t affect the purchasing decision makers , I’d be shocked if that was what was happening here.

Selling more profitable stuff at Amazon’s scale has to be a number squeezing game. I cannot believe they’d leave money on the floor with poor search that doesn’t maximize their revenue. Especially a company like Amazon that actually does spent a lot of money on R&D. I tend to agree with the others that any awfulness is far more likely caused by a mismatch between the consumer’s intent and Amazon’s profit enhancing intent.

I should add to my remarks that this is something of a mixed blessing if you spend more money because you see more stuff you want at prices you are willing to pay.

I started a thread on the toxicity of data. I gave medical examples so it became sidetracked. But if data is so valuable your civil liberties are in practice ignored than too much data is toxic. This is not necessarily the case here, though.

I would add I think Amazon does a good job with delivery and people who complain about it still use it because it is good at what it does.

Out of curiosity, what would you change about email? It’s one of those mature technologies where the user interfaces more or less coalesced about 15-20 years ago onto a particular set of functionalities, and nobody’s had a burning need to add to it as far as I know.

I’m with the crowd that thinks Amazon’s searching wretchedness is by design; it’s not some legacy search engine that’s just old and janky, it’s something that never even worked right when it was new.

Mostly what I tend to see is when you search for something like “T30 Torx screwdriver”, they return everything with “Torx” in it- maybe you might get a single good hit low in the results, but by God, you’ll get EVERY screwdriver set with a Torx bit in it early in the results.

I have no problem with the “Sponsored Results”, although I wish they wouldn’t insert them into the search results as if they were actual results. But I do object to the idea that if I search for “Xacto knife”, that the first actual Xacto brand knife is the fifth result, after the sponsored results which often only tangentially resemble the search terms.

I would guess that someone did one of two things- either an analysis to see if accurate search terms yielded more or less money, or they did an experiment to see. I can’t imagine that a company of that size is just letting their searching on their big retail user interface languish in obscurity; anything that important is almost certainly by design, or at least by choice.

It means you won’t mussel your way in line

My comments are more about the format and functionality, rather than the overbroad or biased search results. Could we have more factored style filtering capabilities, like we see in a lot of other retailer sites?

Regarding email, my system does not allow nested folders - that is something I would like. I would also like more applied intelligence for filtering and categorizing incoming mail - separating the wheat from the chaff. Surely we have advanced to the point that these features would be universal, yah?

It does seem to behave strangely sometimes. Often I’ll type in something somewhat vague and look through the results, then I’ll type in something very specific that I might have seen on the first page from the first search, and it will come up with… nothing. Then the only way to get back to that item is to repeat the first vague, general search again. Weird.

This. Only do the google search like this (no space between “site,” the colon, and “”):

“5 inch” mirror round

Amazon’s own search function is crap. If you search twice in a row for the same thing, you’ll get different results.

Sometimes the results are repeatable, like when I was seeking some craft supplies for a Girl Scout meeting. I posted the search term on Facebook, without naming the eyebrow-raising result, and quite a few people saw the same non-age-appropriate item I did.

That was 10+ years ago; the same term does not turn up anything X-rated.

But just today: I wanted to buy some generic Nasacort. So I did a search for “triamcinolone acetate” and had to scroll a fair bit to find it in the results. The first hits were things like Pedialyte. The next few were for competing products which were at least in the same realm as allergy treatment products.

But yeah, their in-house search is truly dreadful.