Amazon ranking controversy
Easter vacations are coming to an end and classes start again on the 15th. I’m really surprised on myself, I didn’t think I’d be as productive as I managed to be. Did a lot of reading, all the vacation work I was given, some more work I’d left behind from the previous weeks. I wouldn’t mind a few more days to rest, but well.
I was so productive that I decided to give myself a gift and, on the 7th of this month, ordered Six Feet Under’s seasons three and four from Amazon. Also because, now that I’ve paid my tuition in full, I had some extra money that didn’t need saving. But all of that aside, just yesterday something surfaced about Amazon.
It’s a bit confusing to me and I’m not sure I know the entire story, but apparently they’ve taken down the rankings on several LGBT books. When asked, they said that, as to try and please their general costumer base, they wanted to “exclude adult material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists” and that “since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.” But some people are saying this adult content is only LGBT content, and even that some of it is not adult content at all.
This article on LA Times explains it well, with examples. There’s also this one from The Consumerist, which is how I found out about the whole thing. Now there’s a list with all the affected authors and books, from which you can see not all the material de-ranked is considered for adults, and something called a Google Bombing happened too (don’t ask me, it’s confusing, but I’m contributing anyway: Amazon Rank). I read on Twitter that someone from Amazon said they were aware of the complaints and would have more information tomorrow (or today, seeing as it’s 6AM now). But it was on Twitter, so I have no sources and don’t know for sure if it’s true.
Anyway, I’m hoping that Amazon changes everything back, that this turns out to be nothing but a mistake . A misunderstanding maybe. Or a glitch. Or some angry ex-employee who decided to take his revenge on Amazon by upsetting most of their costumers and creating an e-riot against it. Anything. Because I love you Amazon, but that’s just a very stupid thing to do. And that Play.com, although a bit more expensive, offers free shipping. The Book Depository seems really nice and trustworthy as well, I’ve heard a lot of good things about them. I don’t know. We’ll see.
And update: They claim it was a glitch.
This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection.
It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles – in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica. This problem impacted books not just in the United States but globally. It affected not just sales rank but also had the effect of removing the books from Amazon’s main product search.
Many books have now been fixed and we’re in the process of fixing the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future.
I want to believe this is true, but the issue is far from being over. This person right here is very articulate and informed, so just go ahead and her post. Very thought provoking. I guess that’s it for now.