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Amazonfail

Yeah, so, I was going to rant about AmazonFail, but you've all done so already.

Basically, amazon.com have deleted the sales rankings from what they're calling "adult" books, which actually means books with any sort of queerness in them. Like, Ellen Degeneres's autobiography has been de-ranked, but Ron Jeremy's hasn't. Classic literature like Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit has been de-ranked, but Chuck Palahniuk (much as I love him, he's definitely "adult") hasn't. A collection of Playboy centrefolds is fine, but a biography of Harvey Milk isn't. Stephen Fry and John Barrowman's autobiographies, Tipping The Velvet, Brokeback Mountain, and Heather Has Two Mommies have all lost their rankings. (You can tell by the title the latter is an "adult" book, can't you?)

Deleting the sales rankings means that the books don't show up in searches, unless you search specifically for them by title. They don't show up when you're browsing, and they never get recommended. It can have a huge effect on a book's sales, and just generally on the visibility of non-heterosexuality.

I can't tell what's happening with amazon.co.uk - the sales ranks seem to have been deleted for some of the books but not all of them, and it doesn't seem to have affected searches yet. Except that would mean that this has always been what you get if you search for "homosexuality"

amazonfail

Ouch.

This is all over twitter and ye olde blogosphere today: markprobst broke the story here, and there's more from mashable, Daytona Beach News Journal (somewhat randomly, but it's a good article), the LA Times book blog, and Jezebel. There's a compilation of links here and a post compiling information about what's been affected here, both at meta_writer.

I do feel slightly sorry for the Amazon CTO on Twitter, he's getting mashed. Tweets with the #amazonfail hashtag are currently running about two a second, and have been for hours - if you're feeling masochistic, you can try and keep up with them on twitterfall. And Amazon's site hits are going to be MASSIVE today, as the entire internets tries to figure out what they've de-ranked and what they haven't - I do hope this doesn't backfire!

(Also, my semagic really isn't working. Hmm.)

Comments

marcella_riddle
Apr. 13th, 2009 01:07 am (UTC)
I keep feeling like I should pinch myself because I can't believe this is happening.
pickwick
Apr. 13th, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)
They seem to be backpedalling liek whoa and trying to say it's just a software glitch (!???!) - good news in that it'll get fixed quickly; bad news in that some people will no doubt believe them, and not believe anyone who brings up any issues like this in the future :S

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