If you haven’t been hanging around on Twitter this morning, you may have missed the #amazonfail that exploded all over the Twitterverse. Amazon has been removing sales ranking stats from GLBT titles, some heterosexual erotica and romance, and even classic lit like Lady Chatterley’s Lover, effectively censoring them from searches and best seller lists because they’re “adult” and thus not fit for the general Amazon consumer. No matter that some of the books censored aren’t even adult-oriented!
Dampening my snickering glee at being ranked among Movements and Periods is the news that Amazon seems to be stripping the sales figures and accompanying rankings from GLBTQ books, erotica, and romance novels, particularly those with what they term “adult content.”
In short: someone in Amazon has utter shit for brains.
Authors such as Jaci Burton, Maya Banks, Larissa Ione and Stephanie Tyler have reported that since being stripped of their sales rankings, their titles are no longer found in searches on Amazon.com. MetaWriter is also compiling a list of titles that have been stripped of their sales rank.
Links for more posts and info can be found here. Oh, and be sure to check out Booksquare‘s Open Letter to Amazon Regarding Recent Policy Changes.
The Smart Bitches have also set up a rather clever Google bomb, which I’ve decided to participate in because I want to be clever and/or awesome, too (don’t we all?).
You can keep an eye on what’s happening Twitter-wise through the hashtag #amazonfail. Lots of interesting stuff is happening! This could be bigger than the #facebookTOS fiasco from February. Let’s hope it’s just as effective as well!
Update: Some more posts on what’s happening re: Amazon’s stupidity (this’ll be updated as new posts pop up):
- Jezebel: Why Is Amazon Removing The Sales Rankings From Gay, Lesbian Books?
- Mashable: Amazon Accused of Removing Gay Books from Rankings
- Dear Author: Amazon Censors Its Rankings & Search Results to Protect Us Against GLBT Books
- LA Times: Amazon de-ranks so-called adult books, including National Book Award winner
- Booklorn: Amazon accused of manipulating site content (again): Searches and rankings this time
- Edward Champion’s Reluctant Habits: Amazonfail: A Call to Boycott Amazon
- The Purple Patch: Amazonfail: epic corporate fail day is Easter, apparently
- Publishing Talk: an open letter to Jeff Bezos
- tehdely: On Amazon Failure, Meta-Trolls, and Bantown. #amazonfail as possible Bantown antic?
- WashingtonPost.com: Amazon ‘glitch’ removes sales rank from gay books
Update #2: There is now a petition protesting Amazon’s skeezy antics! Generally I don’t place much faith in internet petitions, but signing never hurt anyone, eh?
Update #3: Turns out this malarkey has been going on since February! Check it out:
Here’s my story: I’m the author of a memoir, All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C. (Atria/Simon & Schuster), which is about my journey from grad student to stripper to entertainment journalist to college professor. (I’m currently Associate Professor of Journalism at Northern Illinois University.) Like many authors, I frequently check my sales status on Amazon, so imagine my shock, back in early February when the “Amazon.com Sales Rank” completely disappeared from the Product Details of my book. The book also disappeared from the search listings, so that if a customer looked up “All I Could Bare by Craig Seymour” on the Amazon home page, nothing came up.
Of course, I immediately sent emails to Amazon asking about this situation. I also placed several phone calls. But I could never get a straight answer, until February 25, when I received an email stating that “the sales rank was not displayed for the following reasons: The ISBN #1416542051 was classified as an Adult product.”
Update #4: Here’s a particularly interesting post re: the #amazonfail shitstorm and it’s potential impact on Amazon:
It must be really tough being a stupid company on the Internet. Once you make a silly decision and it’s out there, travelling via the Interwebs, you’ll pay for it very dearly – and probably would be paying for it forever, as it is likely to become the first thing that customers discover about you on Google. We have a growing number of various consumer advocates blogs and online groups to thanks for that. The rise of Twitter has even compensated for the relative decline in the power of once very powerful blogs like The Consumerist – which have seen themselves somewhat silenced by the proliferation of aggressive “search engine optimization” services like ComplaintRemover.com, which remove / demote links to online complaints about companies and their products (or that Mother of All Complaints – their customer service). And still – blame it on social media, but almost every time I see a group of bloggers and social media guys take on a company that has made an outright stupid decision, they usually win.
Update #5: Amazon finally speaks up!
On Sunday evening, however, an Amazon spokesperson said that a glitch had occurred in its sales ranking feature that was in the process of being fixed. The spokesperson added that there was no new adult policy.
LOL WHUT. I do not believe this at alllll. What do you all think?