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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

AmazonFail: Another Company Being Stupid

It's apparently been going on for a few weeks, but it's only just exploded in epic proportions in the blogosphere in the last day or so (as far as I know). What is it? I'll give you the short version:
Amazon essentially changed he way they list books on their best seller's list, search feature, and the site in general, by removing sales information (specifically ranks) from books deemed to be "adult." They apparently wanted to make it so "adult" books could not end up on the best seller's list (and other reasons, I'm sure). Only, Amazon has seemingly gone off the deep end by removing sales ranks from a heck of a lot of books that are not only not adult at all (at least not compared to the stuff they've been letting through, such as American Psycho), but happen to have LGBT (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender) themes or characters (a good example of how stupid this is can be found here, where a non-fiction book was cut off, while a violent, bloody fiction book was not).
So, Twitter and the blogosphere (and all sorts of online news agencies) are throwing a fit over this, and rightly so (one fellow has even written an open letter to Amazon about the whole ordeal).  Yes, there are a lot of links in that sentence--to highlight the enormity of this, I assure you.  Amazon has apparently blamed this on a glitch in the system, but most are calling B.S. on that, and rightly so.

I was shocked when I first heard about it this morning. I don't know if this whole ordeal was done with any malicious intent; it probably wasn't. Maybe it was a glitch after all, but you'd think a company as big and influential as Amazon would have tested this thing before implementing it, or at least took the notices sent to them by angry customers seriously when this all began.

I'm going to keep this post short primarily because it seems like Amazon is going to fix the problem. If things don't improve, I think we can all begin to speculate on why Amazon is pandering to the whims of the religious right. Right now, it doesn't seem like there is much more to say other than pointing to the rants and angry posts of others. Am I upset by this? Yes, actually. Amazon better get its act together soon or they could end up with a hell storm on their doorstep. We'll see what happens in the next week.

Anyone out there have any thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment!

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  1. According to Amazon, the reason why the rankings went haywire was due to error (or so I heard on the news this morning)

  2. They have since fixed this. It was a database error.

  3. BlissHorizon10:22 PM

    There are plenty of us in the book community that aren't happy about the recent "glitches" and "Truncating" of books. Most agree and will understand certain material needs to be censored but the method at which they execute this is DRACONIAN to say the least! I hope those executives hear us loud and clear. I wont be spending another penny on their company until this is fixed. Good thing there is OVERSTOCK.COM right?

  4. Yup, I mentioned that in the post. Thus far it seems to be true, but there are folks being skeptical and angry still.

    Bliss: sucks. There's a reason why it almost went bankrupt...