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Thread: Amazon removing "adult" material from sales ranking

  1. #176
    AW's Resident Commie bsolah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacAllister View Post
    Frankly, Amazon spent the weekend pissing on queers and queer issues, among many other sane and sex-positive human beings, and all they can say about it is "Oops, a glitch seems to have happened. A guy in France thought gay & lesbian = adult = pornographic and it goofed the whole system! Wow, how embarrassing!" That just doesn't cut it for me.
    Yeah, the excuse is such a fraud.

  2. #177
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    I'm not telling anyone what to do. My personal choice is to support other stores. I don't shop at Walm*rt, and haven't for years. Now I don't shop at Amaz*n either. I'll go right on buying books, linking to books, reviewing books, recommending books.

    Just not there.

  3. #178
    This hat is getting too hot Chumplet's Avatar
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    I explained the situation to my husband, who is not interested in any fiction, much less gay, erotic or otherwise. He simply responded, "How can they do that? It's ludicrous!"

    The Toast Bitches are definitely missing from front page searches under my name, and I consider it to be one of the tamer Ravenous Romance titles.

  4. #179
    AW's Resident Commie bsolah's Avatar
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    No problems Mac.

    I won't be shopping there either. I have a few personal boycotts myself.

    I'm slowly going to work out who to move to in regards to linking to books and covers...

  5. #180
    practical experience, FTW GregB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacAllister View Post
    Frankly, Amazon spent the weekend pissing on queers and queer issues, among many other sane and sex-positive human beings, and all they can say about it is "Oops, a glitch seems to have happened. A guy in France thought gay & lesbian = adult = pornographic and it goofed the whole system! Wow, how embarrassing!" That just doesn't cut it for me.
    It's your site, and of course you have every right to do with it whatever you want. However, I honestly do not understand how you or anyone else can interpret this Easter Sunday fuckup that affected 57,000 books -- among them, some but not all of the 20,000+ LGBT-related titles Amazon carries in its Gay & Lesbian section -- as spending "the weekend pissing on queers and queer issues."

    I absolutely believe bigotry should be denounced, with righteous outrage
    AND with one's pocketbook, whenever and wherever we see it. Or even suspect it -- I have no problem whatsoever with the Internet community's immediate and vociferous response to this. It clearly motivated Amazon to give the issue top priority.

    But a day later, it's become pretty clear that there was no bigotry here. A poorly designed cataloging system ripe for a monumental screwup? Sure. An inadequate PR response? You bet.

    But Amazon pissing on queers? Come on. This kind of reaction after the facts are disclosed will only serve to dull the impact and credibility of our voices the next time, when they need to be raised against actual bigotry.

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/amazon/archives/166384.asp
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  6. #181
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Let's examine the fact that someone wrote "Gay & Lesbian" into the terms searched for within publisher metadata that flagged books as adult = pornographic, therefore to be unranked....but "Bestiality" wasn't.

    If you don't think that's institutionalized homophobia, that's totally cool. You should spend your dollars wherever you want, Greg. I plan to do the same.

  7. #182
    Wow, I'm definitely never buying anything from those homophobic arsewanks again.
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  8. #183
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    Originally Posted by MacAllister
    Frankly, Amazon spent the weekend pissing on queers and queer issues, among many other sane and sex-positive human beings, and all they can say about it is "Oops, a glitch seems to have happened. A guy in France thought gay & lesbian = adult = pornographic and it goofed the whole system! Wow, how embarrassing!" That just doesn't cut it for me.
    I think it's more that people consider two people of the same sex kissing as profane-- To them the hate is so ingrained that the guy in France skipped from gay lesbian right to pornographic. Adult didn't become a consideration because adult is reserved for likeminded folks.

  9. #184
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Fury View Post
    I do hope, though, that people don't take out their justifiable anger at Amazon on authors who can only sell books through them...including the ones who can't just go elsewhere for exposure. In other words, let's try not to get other authors who have absolutely nothing to do with this caught in the crossfire. I assume most of them are running to Barnes and Noble as fast as possible just in case...
    If you're with a legit publisher and/or distributor, you should have no problem finding another venue. Amazon is not the only place selling books. Mine is sold on BN, Wal-Mart, Books-a-Million, Buy.com, Powell's, Target, etc. etc. (hint hint)
    Last edited by maestrowork; 04-14-2009 at 07:28 AM.

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  10. #185
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    And let me be perfectly clear - Amazon links in member sigs, posts, profiles, etc? That's completely up to each of you.

    I'm absolutely not trying to dictate a no-links-to-Amazon for ANYONE but myself, personally--I think it would be grossly inappropriate and offensive for me to even attempt to do so. So if anyone is worried on that account, don't be.
    Last edited by MacAllister; 04-14-2009 at 07:31 AM.

  11. #186
    practical experience, FTW GregB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacAllister View Post
    Let's examine the fact that someone wrote "Gay & Lesbian" into the terms searched for within publisher metadata that flagged books as adult = pornographic, therefore to be unranked....but "Bestiality" wasn't.

    If you don't think that's institutionalized homophobia, that's totally cool. You should spend your dollars wherever you want, Greg. I plan to do the same.
    Did you read the link I posted, Mac? All the evidence suggests there was nothing "institutionalized" about this whole fiasco -- except perhaps the "Severity-1" response yesterday.

    Anyway, you've allowed me to express my opinion, even if it's unpopular, and I appreciate that. For that matter, I couldn't care less whether anyone patronizes any particular bookseller. I just hate to see the AW community take a public position for all the wrong reasons, and I've already explained why it concerns me. So I'm done.

    Edited my irrelevant concern based on your clarification.
    Last edited by GregB; 04-14-2009 at 08:12 AM.
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  12. #187
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregB View Post
    It's your site, and of course you have every right to do with it whatever you want. However, I honestly do not understand how you or anyone else can interpret this Easter Sunday fuckup that affected 57,000 books -- among them, some but not all of the 20,000+ LGBT-related titles Amazon carries in its Gay & Lesbian section -- as spending "the weekend pissing on queers and queer issues."
    As Medievalist mentioned earlier, someone altered the SQL query to categorically treat the "gay & lesbian" metadata as equivalent to "adult" as well as erotica. It's not just a random glitch, but programmed filter set based on a PUBLISHED company policy (to not show any "adult" material in search). That would explain why one edition of a book has a rank (because it doesn't have the "gay and lesbian" metadata) and another doesn't (because it has the metadata).

    Now, whether that programming alteration is based on prejudice or bigotry, we can't really know for sure, but one thing is certain, it's not a random bug, and some approved that alteration.

    And it doesn't matter, even if you take the gay thing out of the equation -- personally I think this policy is hypocritical. Instead of allowing the customers to set up their own filter and put the control in their hands, they're passing a company-wide policy to basically say, "some of our products are not suitable for you -- we get to decide which!" That's hypocritical. Why sell them if you don't want them to be searchable? It's a discriminatory policy at the core -- something is deemed "inappropriate" but guess what, we'll still sell it to you if you can find it. Bullshit.
    Last edited by maestrowork; 04-14-2009 at 07:41 AM.

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  13. #188
    Lost in the Fog rugcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacAllister View Post
    Let's examine the fact that someone wrote "Gay & Lesbian" into the terms searched for within publisher metadata that flagged books as adult = pornographic, therefore to be unranked....but "Bestiality" wasn't.

    If you don't think that's institutionalized homophobia, that's totally cool. You should spend your dollars wherever you want, Greg. I plan to do the same.
    I'm not sure that "someone" equates to institutionalized homophobia. They screwed up royally, and handled it poorly, but intent is a very big thing to me, and I see stupidity rather than intent here. At least, for Amazon as a whole, though not for that "someone."

    We're all going to have to make our own judgment calls here, as Mac has pointed out.
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  14. #189
    From the ashes, baby! Phoenix Fury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maestrowork View Post
    If you're with a legit publisher and/or distributor, you should have no problem finding another venue. Amazon is not the only place selling books. Mine is sold on BN, Wal-Mart, Books-a-Million, Buy.com, Powell's, Target, etc. etc. (hint hint)
    Mine too...but Target's online bookstore is run by Amazon, so guess you have to get rid of that from your potential list. And according to Mac, Wal-Mart should be gone too isn't a place she would personally choose to patronize either. I agree that there are still lots of places to sell your books, and Amazon really, really screwed up horrendously here. But again, I'm a little concerned about authors who use Amazon as their primary source getting hammered for something--an act of abject stupidity--they had nothing to do with.
    Last edited by Phoenix Fury; 04-14-2009 at 09:02 AM. Reason: For clarity.

  15. #190
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Fury View Post
    Mine too...but Target's online bookstore is run by Amazon, so guess you have to get rid of that. And according to Mac, Wal-Mart should be gone too. I agree that there are still lots of places to sell your books, and Amazon really, really screwed up horrendously here. But again, I'm a little concerned about authors who use Amazon as their primary source getting hammered for something--an act of abject stupidity--they had nothing to do with.
    I do understand and it's unfortunate. But consumers do have the right to choose where they shop, and sometimes they have to stick by their principles. And some people will get hurt because of that -- that's why I said Amazon was stupid! Not only are they hurting themselves, they're also hurting authors and publishers who use them as their primary source of sales. I think such authors have the right to be angry at Amazon, too.

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  16. #191
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacAllister View Post
    Oh calm down, Phoenix. Since when does "I don't shop at Walmart" mean "Walmart shouldn't exist"? That's not what I said, nor did I say the rest of it.

    Don't put words in my mouth, it's offensive and it's guaranteed to piss me off--and frankly, that's a damned short trip, tonight.
    But whether you meant it or not, this should still be true.

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  17. #192
    This hat is getting too hot Chumplet's Avatar
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    *Sigh* I realize my books can be bought through vendors like B&N and such, but many consumers only understand "Amazon" when buying a book that is only available online. My babies might be with small POD pubs, but they're still my babies.

  18. #193
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    You can update your website and links to point your fans to other venues.

    But look, I may not shop at Amazon, but I'm sure not telling everyone not to. It's your choice. And if someone happens to go to Amazon, finds my book, and buys it, I'm not going to give the money back.

    What Mac, and others have said is that they PERSONALLY wouldn't shop there. Why should you care where Mac and I shop or not?

    (BTW, I'm a sucker for Trader Joe's. And haven't shopped at Wal-Mart for years not only because I can't stand the stores, but also because of their unscrupulous business practices especially when dealing with third-world, undeveloped countries. Where do you think their everyday low prices come from?)

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  19. #194
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Fury View Post
    Um--please give me a break. You said "I don't shop at Walm*rt, and haven't for years." I wasn't claiming you wanted to remove the store from existence.
    Want to try that again? That's exactly what you said.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix Fury View Post
    Mine too...but Target's online bookstore is run by Amazon, so guess you have to get rid of that. And according to Mac, Wal-Mart should be gone too.
    Look - this is very simple:

    --I had a crappy experience this weekend with a retailer.

    --That retailer made sort of vague and evasive explanations for that crappy experience, and ended up blaming some anonymous schmuck overseas for that crappy experience.

    --I won't be returning to that retailer with my wallet in hand, any time soon.

    --I won't be recommending that retailer to my friends, family, and acquaintances, anymore.

    I'm not planning to picket them. I did not participate in the google-bombing, either. If someone asks me, though, "hey, what about that retailer" I'm perfectly within my rights to say, "well, do what you want -- but I had a crappy experience there, and I'll be walking down the street to my local bookstore and ordering it there, instead."
    Last edited by MacAllister; 04-14-2009 at 11:36 AM. Reason: Gonna chalk this up to a misreading

  20. #195
    delicate #!&@*#! flower Perks's Avatar
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    I don't want this to come off Pollyanna-ish, but there's a silver lining here. The end result, should this mess get cleaned up satisfactorily, could be a net positive.

    I absolutely see and understand the insult of cherry-picking gay and lesbian references across Amazon as automatically adult material. If it was intentional it was shitty, and if it wasn't, it's, at the very least, a groaning reminder of how far we have yet to go.

    But look at the public outcry. The proverbial shit hit the fan and it wasn't only queers who were outraged. The explosion of chatter and protest came from people who support gay and lesbian issues, which is great, but almost better yet, there were many complaints from people who simply cared about the books and the issue of Amazon skewing access to what's in print for sale.

    The noise could make a little music, maybe.

  21. #196
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perks View Post
    The noise could make a little music, maybe.
    Is it adult music?

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  22. #197
    delicate #!&@*#! flower Perks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maestrowork View Post
    Is it adult music?
    a) you're weird

    b) is there 'adult music'?

  23. #198
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perks View Post
    The noise could make a little music, maybe.
    There's hope. There's an interesting comment from Brook Moses over at Making Light that I think is a good idea; Amazon can offer a 20% off price for a month or a week or whatever for all 57,310 books that were affected.

    That would say a lot, and honestly, get Amazon both income and good will.

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  24. #199
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Hey, if it gets me off my ass and down the street to a local indie bookseller to spend my book dollars, it's a very good thing indeed.

  25. #200
    AW's Resident Commie bsolah's Avatar
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    I just want them to admit that it was homophobic, whether the company or one person, was responsible.

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