Amazon Fail: Certain “adult” books (like mine) are de-ranked

We will have more to say on this tomorrow, but for now read Jezebel here and here; the LA Times; Meta Writer; Alterdestiny; Trish Wilson; Daily Kos; Smart Bitches, Trashy Books; Heather Corrina; and TONS of folks on Twitter.

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67 Comments

  1. hoolissa
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    OMG! this makes me so fucking upset/angry… i buy things on amazon like every day, mostly because used books are so cheap there, but WTF, like 90% of the shit i buy there is gay related.I’M SO WRITING THEM A COMPLAINT LETTER.

  2. Flowers
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Yes. That is what I was trying to convey. I can see how saying, “I’m not gay” might be construed another way, but what I meant was, “Don’t speak for me Amazon! This het does not think that books that have any gay theme is objectionable!”

  3. Flowers
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Tax breaks.

  4. Pantheon
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    I wrote them a letter telling them that I sincerely hope this is a mistake that will be fixed soon, because it isn’t just their gay customers who are going to be offended by this bit of censorship. I also pointed out that they should be able to make an optional safesearch function without deleting all ranking info.

  5. bifemmefatale
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    It doesn’t wash, though, because some authors have been reporting this since February. I don’t think it’s the trolls who attacked this weekend; I think the issue just reached critical mass among bloggers this weekend.

  6. Chickensh*tEagle
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    My girlfriend has some Mormon in-laws. Several months ago, one was chez nous and we were discussing the gay marriage thing. He complained about gay rights groups posting boilerplate pans on Amazon of books that claimed homosexuality could be “cured.”
    So I wonder…could that “entire customer base” be, like Prop. 8, in large part Mormon?

  7. bifemmefatale
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Please read:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersectionality
    Btw, I’m a feminist *and* queer! Amazing, innit?

  8. Skwrr
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    They don’t want “adult” products to show up? I searched for “anime” on there a few days ago & the third item that came up was a hentai DVD with two topless women on the cover.
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw_1_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=anime&sprefix=an

  9. radishette
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    They’re trying to backpedal. I’m glad so many people diligently covered this before they tried to cover their tracks. I’m closing my account.

  10. radishette
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this suggestion. I just sent Amazon an email to close my account. Maybe they can PR their way out of some of the fire, but I don’t want someone censoring my options on any level.
    I’ll be taking advantage of their Amazon’s extensive site (if they reinstate fair search functions), but spending my money elsewhere!

  11. internets
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 11:03 am | Permalink
  12. EvilSlutClique
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Actually, according to the Human Rights Campaign Buying for Equality Guide (2009) Amazon and B&N both were “in the green” (meaning HRC recommends supporting them) although B&N did have a higher score (100 vs. Amazon’s 80).
    I’m guessing and hoping that the 2010 edition will include this new information.

  13. Jovan1984
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    It isn’t just books anymore folks. Playboy magazine no longer shows up in the overall rankings, either — and I know that they are in the Top 1,000.
    As soon as I find another site that sells DRM-free rock epics, I will be abandoning my Amazon account.

  14. Kathleen6674
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    The Your Recommendations page doesn’t seem to be affected – it showed me a rec for a gay-themed book yesterday. I could only find the Kindle version of that book when I tried searching for it directly in the “Search All Departments” link, though (it seems the Kindle versions of these books haven’t been deranked). I’d already put the hard copy of the book in my shopping cart from the Your Recommendations page, and the hard copy page showed up when I clicked the link in my cart.
    All this inconsistency makes me think that someone has hacked the database. I don’t know whether or not said troll is actually a fundamentalist anti-gay jerk or just someone who likes getting people all riled up.
    I suspect the latter, because it makes no business sense for amazon to derank/remove from searches any of their merchandise. Their business model/brand image is to offer a huge, varied database to any and all comers, which includes both us and the “How to cure teh gayz” types. If they derank books and make them difficult to access, they lose revenue and customers. I doubt anyone but a troll would try to cost the company money.

  15. Kathleen6674
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Yes Means Yes did appear on Saturday – I know because that’s when I put it in my cart.

  16. Vanessa
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Sorry about that folks, troll has been banned!

  17. Sabriel
    Posted April 13, 2009 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    Thanks :)

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