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Linton,

Good point, but that begs the same question, albeit with a twist, "Would
they grant access in order to audit the book referral programming
algorithms they use, THEN, would they allow data access for SNA
purposes.... maybe mount some software to ride piggyback on top of their
system to collect SNA data directly as the referrals are being made?"  Or
download historical data that would have little proprietary or market
value? Actually, now that I think about it, it seems like an amazing amount
of human decision making time would have to be spent in order to push the
"right" books if those referrals are NOT, in fact, real.  I.e, they'd need
to know a LOT about each of the millions of books they sell in order to
artificially generate a tie -- time that I doubt would be offset by any
increased sales as a result of such "point of sale" referrals.  Could be
wrong...

These questions also bring us to those exploring "administrative databases"
for research purposes...

Gavin


At 02:34 PM 8/1/01 -0700, Linton Freeman wrote:
>No, that isn't the question.  The data are, as Vladis said, publicly
>available.  I think the real question has to do with validity.  Obviously
>Amazon has an economic interest in pushing big profit or slow moving
>books, so one wonders if the co-buying information they provide has
>anything to do with co-buying, or is it simply embodying a sales strategy?
>I, at least, would be wary of believing Amazon without a lot more
>information.
>
>Lin
>
>
>
>
>On Wed, 1 Aug 2001, Gavin Hougham wrote:
>
>> Valdis,
>>
>> This begs the question, would (has?) Amazon let an academic access their
>> databases directly to answer these kinds of questions?  You never know...
>>
>> Gavin Hougham
>>
>>
>>
>> At 04:52 PM 8/1/01 -0400, Valdis wrote:
>> >If you are looking for network data try amazon.com.  They have great
>> >network data for books -- those interested in two mode nets can look at
>> >books and authors.  For those interested in how networks change over
>> >time mine the data on amazon's site weekly, monthly, etc. and you will
>> >see different connections and different nodes emerge.  Amazon has data
>> >available for both ego networks and larger group networks.
>> >
>> >The key is in Amazon's 'people who bought this book also bought...'
>> >data.   Put enough of these 'also bought' lists together and you have a
>> >nice network.  For an example of book ego network see:
>> >http://www.orgnet.com/buzznet.html
>> >
>> >For those that have been wondering...
>> >
>> >* Do Ron Burt's books span structural holes?
>> >    - Start your data gathering here:
>>
>http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/stores/detail/-/books/0674843711/simil
>> arities/
>> >
>> >* Does Wayne Baker's book on Social Capital *have* social capital?
>> >    - Start your data gathering here:
>>
>http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/stores/detail/-/books/0787953091/simil
>> arities/
>> >
>> >* Are Barry Wellman's books embedded in communities?
>> >    - Start your data gathering here:
>>
>http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/stores/detail/-/books/0813368219/simil
>> arities/
>> >
>> >* Is Tom Valente's book in a position of diffusion?
>> >    - Start your data gathering here:
>>
>http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/stores/detail/-/books/1881303225/simil
>> arities/
>> >
>> >Other 'interesting' questions that can be answered...
>> >Which is the most central social network book?
>> >Which SNA books are structurally equivalent?
>> >Which SNA books form a clique?
>> >What SNA emergent clusters have formed?
>> >Which other 'communities of interest' is the SNA community connected to?
>> >
>> >If anyone pursues these questions, please share your results with the
>> >rest of us.
>> >
>> >Enjoy!
>> >
>> >Valdis
>> >
>> >[log in to unmask]
>> >http://www.orgnet.com
>> >
>> >
>>
>
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>Linton C. Freeman                         Phone: Office: 949 824-6698
>Department of Sociology                   Sec.:          949 824-6336
>School of Social Sciences  SSPA 2143      Home:          949 494-6139
>University of California                  FAX:           949 824-3733
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>http://eclectic.ss.uci.edu/~lin/lin.html
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Gavin Hougham, M.A., Ph.D. (cand)
The University of Chicago
Project Director, Department of Medicine/Section of Geriatrics, and
Adjunct Instructor, Graduate School of Social Service Administration
5841 S. Maryland Ave. (MC 6098)
Chicago, IL 60637

(773) 702-6735 office
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