from the I'm-gonna-need-a-price-check-on-4 dept.
leek writes "An Amazon.com pricing algorithm which lets sellers set prices based on other sellers' prices led to a positive feedback loop, causing the biology text The Making of A Fly to reach $23M. Biologist Micheal Eisen writes: 'What's fascinating about all this is both the seemingly endless possibilities for both chaos and mischief. It seems impossible that we stumbled onto the only example of this kind of upward pricing spiral. And as soon as it was clear what was going on here, I and the people I talked to about this couldn't help but start thinking about ways to exploit our ability to predict how others would price their books down to the 5th significant digit -- especially when they were clearly not paying careful attention to what their algorithms were doing.' The price of the book was reset but is currently back up to $976.98."
"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something
monstrous before we die."
-- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson