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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

marrog
Apr. 13th, 2009 11:32 am (UTC)
gip
There's no way they won't have to recant - I just can't see what justification they would possibly find for the choices they made, regardless of their parameters. They're never going to admit to doing anything on purpose though...
pickwick
Apr. 13th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
Re: gip
Ha, icon win!

Yeah, I think they're recanting, but they'll either try to stick to the "glitch" story, or they'll blame one poor coder. (It may well actually be one person or one team who's set the parameters wrong this time, but, you know, they put the mechanism in place for someone to do so.)

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