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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"



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.)


Apr. 13th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
As far as I can tell, it means that if you search in "all departments", the book doesn't come up. If you search within "books" AND for the actual title, the book will come up; if you search for the author it'll come up, but way down at the bottom of the search listings, because they're generally ranked by "bestselling". And they'll never appear on bestseller lists, recommendations, or "more books like this" links.
Apr. 13th, 2009 04:33 pm (UTC)
I see, thanks

I think I may use Amazon in a different way to most people judging by the uproar.I'd never by a book on a recommendation from strangers or by how many other people have bought the book. (Both things seem a bit mad to me.) In fact I almost always know what book I'm looking for before I go on to Amazon.

Bu it seems like a Bad Thing anyway. I hope they fix it soon.


bad wolf
Notes from extinction

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