Saucers of Mud

April 13, 2009

Boycott Amazon (Egregious Homophobia Edition) [UPDATE: OK, you can stop now]

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 7:31 am

Apparently Amazon.com has caused a lot of innocuous books about gays and lesbians to disappear from its searches, while leaving up some desperately homophobic books (and some total obscenities). This is a clear case for a boycott (and frankly, I think the misconduct is so egregious that it might be worth continuing the boycott for a little while after they fix the problem–not indefinitely, but they should lose a couple of months of your business, and the longer they keep this up the more business they lose).

Here’s a link to Powell’s. Thanks to irony-chan.

[UPDATE: Amazon is saying it’s a glitch, but they’ve got some ‘splainin to do.]

[MUCH LATER UPDATE: It looks like it was some overenthusiastic employee goofed up some tags when trying to blacklist porn titles and got everything that was tagged gay or lesbian and a couple of other things. So you can stop boycotting. But it does suggest that Amazon should maybe get out of the business of trying to hide products from searches.]

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2 Comments »

  1. The article you link to says that Amazon is removing the sales rankings, not the searches in general. I wondered if it would suppress LGBT books, so I tried searching on Rubyfruit Jungle and got it, a few more books by Rita Mae Brown, and a probably YA book about two girls who fall in love with each other.

    Comment by Matt's mom — April 13, 2009 @ 2:15 pm

  2. Removing the sales ranks removed the books from the searches — Rubyfruit Jungle at least currently has its sales rank. Before I posted I searched for “Ellen DeGeneres biography” and the Lisa Ianucci biography virtually didn’t come up,* just now I searched again and it did… but without a sales rank. This is true for a couple of other books that had been mentioned as disappearing from searches (but another one, Mark Probst’s The Filly which had been delisted months ago, seems to have its rank back). So I’m thinking Amazon is trying to restore some of the books, and maybe has found a way to do it without the sales rank.

    I don’t know what happened — whether someone inside Amazon decided to purge gay books, or whether they were the victim of some kind of hack, or (perhaps more likely) if they have some kind of third-party rating system that got exploited, but they really ought to be forthcoming about it. What happened was ungood.

    *By which I mean, it came up with a listing (maybe for an out-of-print hardback?) that didn’t include a cover picture and that displayed one copy available on Marketplace for $90.

    Comment by matt w — April 13, 2009 @ 5:22 pm


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