Monday, April 13, 2009

Amazonfail Sunday

Argh. My trainer just came over and I worked out for the first time since January. It kind of sort of feels good, but mostly it feels like I was on the road for three months and I need to get back into some kind of shape.

I shall break out the Wiii fit tonight I think. And trampoline a lot.


Yesterday morning someone called @Zanzando twittered me, saying,
@neilhimself Neil, if you could tweet re: Amazon removing GLBTQ titles from searches & rankings (# amazonfail), that'd be great. Thanks!
I asked for links, expecting it not to be a real problem, and found myself discovering that, yes, Amazon were indeed doing this -- deleting books from the Amazon Rank database. And to books like Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. It was a very real problem. (A list of affected books is up at (The removal of a book's Amazon rank is, among other things, going to make it much harder to find on an Amazon search.) So I twittered about it, using the #amazonfail tag, and people read it and retweeted it and spread it around. And it rapidly became the top topic on Twitter. (Er, I'm not saying this was because of me. I probably speeded things up by a few minutes.)

Soon wonderful things like this were appearing, and I was retweeting them.  People within and without the GLBT communities saw the utter stupidity of this (along with the dangers of a more or less monopolistic retailer that was used as much for information as it was for sales deciding that only information it approved of could go out there).

Several hours later people were asking me about why I wasn't boycotting Amazon because Amazon hadn't fixed it yet, and I found myself pointing out that it was Easter Sunday, and honestly, you were going to have to give them a chance to fix it... 

(I mean, a week ago, a search for "Girl Scout Cookie" on produced sexy costumes, speculums, wolf urine and a Morgan Freeman biography as a result. Now the speculums and Morgan Freeman biography have vanished (although the wolf urine is still there). Obviously, Amazon listings are always in flux...)

Having said that, Amazon describing it to the AP as "a glitch" isn't as reassuring as they might perhaps have hoped. Something's obviously wrong, and it's something that Amazon should not ever have touched with a ten-foot bargepole. But who made it happen, and whether it was stupid or evil, and how long it's going to take to fix, and whether they're going to apologise, all remain to be seen. (NB. If you're an Amazon spokesentity and you're reading this, trust me, the whole apology thing would be a really smart idea.)

Here's a piece on why it may not be fixed overnight

Meanwhile, Cat Mihos is about to launch the redesign of the Neverwear Site, and she's holding a contest to celebrate:

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