athousandwinds: (Default)
[personal profile] athousandwinds
In case there's anyone who hasn't heard, Amazon.com are stripping the sales figures and rankings from books deemed "adult". This applies to erotica and romance novels, but also to books dealing with GLBTQ issues even if they're not explicit.

Smart Bitches Trashy Books have set up a googlebomb for Amazon Rank.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-13 04:30 am (UTC)
ext_8719: (Default)
From: [identity profile] st-aurafina.livejournal.com
*cries* I'm so angry about Amazon. I have no words for how much that little bit of discrimination hurts, more than anything else I've ever encountered, because I thought that they understood.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-13 12:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] athousandwinds.livejournal.com
I think what gets to me is that it's so stupid - what on earth do they have to gain from doing this? They're infuriating a portion of their userbase, and for what? Are they getting sponsored by an anti-gay group? Is that money worth losing their users? They're a shopping site, what's the point of them being politically biased?

On that note, I just did a search for Mein Kampf (not to Godwin us all, but it was the most politically unacceptable book I could think of) and guess what still has its ranking. (Four and a half stars, just to depress everyone even further.)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-13 12:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-shoveller.livejournal.com
Chances are they took a policy decision to stop stocking Adult books (unwelcome, but not an unusual business move) but left somebody with an agenda (i.e. a homophobe) in charge of organising it. They've since backtracked.

I'd be inclined to keep boycotting them anyway, at least for a while.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-13 01:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] athousandwinds.livejournal.com
I think that might be the case, since they've deleted other books which are definitely adult. But in that case, why not say so? Why wasn't it made clear (especially since this has apparently been going on since February) on a policy page or in a mass email that Amazon had decided to stop stocking Adult books? And how do they plan to enforce that? Particularly considering Marketplace, where you can sell just about anything. Or, if it was due to a single employee, why aren't they scapegoating?

I don't want it to be deliberate, I want it to be a case of bad judgement. But I'm not sure.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-13 01:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-shoveller.livejournal.com
My sources are saying they did announce a policy somewhere - and it's not a decision to stop stocking, but to stop listing them in search results. I see the logic in that (even if I don't necessarily agree with it) but the implementation has been used for other ends.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-13 01:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] athousandwinds.livejournal.com
Dear Author (http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2009/04/12/amazon-rank/#more-11470) says they haven't removed Playboy's rankings and it's still found in a front-page search. So Adult content remains searchable, just not if it's GLBTQ.

(How are you supposed to buy things from Amazon's stock if they're not listed?)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-13 01:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-shoveller.livejournal.com
Have you actually checked yourself?

When I search Amazon myself, I find no shortage of gay erotica. Presumably the issue has been addressed to some extent.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-13 02:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] athousandwinds.livejournal.com
I checked it for Mein Kampf and Heather Has Two Mommies - the former came up, the latter didn't. Having just done a search for Maurice, out of print copies show up on Marketplace (not ranked) and one significantly older printing shows up on the main search, which is interesting, given that it's been reprinted quite a few times (the Penguin Classic edition, for example, doesn't show).

I'm annoyed that they did it in the first place. I'm glad they're fixing it, but that doesn't exactly help.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-13 03:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-shoveller.livejournal.com
Typing in "gay" gets me the likes of "Every Frat Boy Wants It" and "The Gay Man's Kama Sutra". This ties in with the theory that there's an organised campaign from outside the company - they can't target subject matter (too big) but they can eliminate the most high profile examples.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-13 06:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] athousandwinds.livejournal.com
Someone did a spreadsheet (http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2009/04/12/amazon-possibly-using-category-metadata-to-filter-rankings/) on which categories were attacked and which weren't.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-13 03:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] athousandwinds.livejournal.com
A list of the banned books (http://community.livejournal.com/meta_writer/11992.html), for reference.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-13 02:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-shoveller.livejournal.com
The theory I'm hearing at the moment is that Amazon may be the victim of an organised campaign by right-wing groups. Essentially, if enough people report an item as "offensive" using automated procedures (i.e. "click here") then the same automated procedures will start listing items as "adult", "potentially offensive" or whatever.

Its happened before, with organised phone-in campaigns. It wouldn't surprise me if that's the case here.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-13 03:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] athousandwinds.livejournal.com
Mark Probst (http://markprobst.livejournal.com/15293.html) has his email reply from Amazon which suggests that it isn't simply "targeting" like [livejournal.com profile] tehdely thinks.

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