Okay, if you somehow missed all the drama yesterday, Amazon was caught removing sales ranking stats from what they deemed “adult” literature, mostly GLBT books (even Heather Has Two Mommies, a, hello, children’s book!), but also heterosexual erotica, romance, and classic lit like Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Other “adult” literature and products were left alone, like Playboy and these anal plugs. They were also blocking books from search results, bestseller lists, and so on.
The timeline of events goes roughly like this:
- Hints of something weird going on start showing around the 9th, when Alex Beecroft notices her books have lost their sales rankings. More authors start noticing the same thing happening to them.
- Someone tweets about author Mark Probst’ Livejournal post wherein he says his book has been stripped of its sales ranking stats. More authors with stripped sales ranks start popping up. People start getting excited.
- A hashtag is born. Lots of people re-tweet each other. The Twitter shitstorm goes nova.
- People start posting about #amazonfail on their blogs, including some lovely posts by Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (who also set up a Google Bomb), Booksquare, and Mashable. (Some more posts can be found here and here.)
- A petition is set up to protest Amazon’s new policy.
- It comes out that shit like this has been going on (small scale) since February. Large-scale delisting has been going on for a week.
- #amazonfail hits the big news sites, like Publishers Weekly, the LA Times, and the Washington post.
- Around the same time, someone finally gets ahold of an Amazon representative who says that it’s all a big “glitch.” No-one believes that. A new hashtag is born.
- Someone else speculates it might have been some sort of internet prank, things start to quiet down, we all wait for Monday to bring us more news.
And now that it’s Monday? Someone’s got some splainin’ to do. I’ll be keeping an eye out and updating this post with anything that happens. And hopefully something will happen, like an explanation that doesn’t treat us all like we’re gibbering idiots. An apology would be nice, too.
Update @ 10:51 AM: Monday must mean Meta! Here’s some posts that have started showing up regarding the #amazonfail saga:
- Follow the Reader: The Bookish Community Is A Passionate Place & Other Lessons From The Twittersphere
- Wall Street Journal | Digits: Blogs and Twitter Coin “AmazonFail”
- Dear Author: Amazon Using Category MetaData to Filter Rankings
- Leah Braemel’s #amazonfail timeline (more detailed than my own, for those interested).
- Neil Gaiman: Amazonfail Sunday. He was there at the start! I think maybe he eve kickstarted the whole #amazonfail thing; I certainly seem to remember reading his tweet about it first.
- sbisson: Why hasn’t Amazon fixed things overnight?
- weev @ brutal_honesty: “I guess my game is up, but 300+ hits on google news for amazon gay and outrage across the blogosphere ain’t so bad.” Hmmmm. In the words of @sarahw, I’m reserving judgment on this. Update: And here’s a person who says “nay.”
- Jezebel: You Say Glitch, We Say Fail: Amazon Responds To De-Ranking Debacle. Some updates on delisted books (and some that have been relisted, like Heather Has Two Mommies).
- The Daily Beast: Is Amazon Really Anti-Gay? A different view on #amazonfail.
- Smart Bitches, Trashy Books: Amazonfail with lots of interesting links.
- Booklorn: Amazon claims glitch affected search & ranking; consumers say #glitchmyass
Update @ 11:15 AM: Dear Author has put a poll up regarding your Amazon buying habits. Jane also wonders how hard it would be for people to switch to something other than Amazon, like Powells. How much do you use Amazon? How much do you use another website, whether it be Powells or AbeBooks or what have you? Would you switch your patronage?