Amazon keeps plogging away

Was this review helpful to you? Somebody must be answering that question on e-commerce sites, because they keep asking it. Now Amazon has patented a method of serving up collections of those little product reviews, or "blurbs," in personal logs, or "plogs."

The patent in question, "Personalized selection and display of user-supplied content to enhance browsing of electronic catalogs," describes a system in which the online vendor's algorithms plug a targeted collection of someone else's blurbs into your plog.

"Electronic catalogs commonly lack the types of compelling content needed to attract and maintain the interests of users," reads the patent in explaining its raison d'etre. "One reason for this deficiency is that the operators of such systems typically lack the resources needed to generate such content. The present invention seeks to address this deficiency."

One Web site with no shortage of compelling content:

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