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Amazon Is Delisting Gay Content

amazonfailk.jpg

Update: From what I'm seeing, people who have e-mailed Amazon to complain are starting to get official responses that claim this is a glitch, but no word yet as to what caused it. I'm still subscribing to the Bantown theory, as it's very suspicious that this all happened on a holiday weekend, the perfect time for something like this to hit.

The issue is apparently now the biggest topic on Twitter, and can be tracked with the tag #amazonfail. A Twitter user named Bill_T has even made a nice logo for the scandal. (seen above)

Amazon is a huge seller of games, and honestly until I know exactly what is going on here I'm not buying a thing from them. Here's an overview of what's going on, and has apparently been quietly happening since February. Selected books are being suddenly de-listed from Amazons sales rankings. The reason? They contain 'adult' content, and adult content isn't calculated in with the sale rankings. This makes them much harder to find using a subject search, and in some cases may actually remove the book from Amazon searches entirely.

The problem is the selection of books. From what has been discovered so far, books with gay-friendly content are being targeted, as well as books on feminism. Even stranger, only the American site is affected. Amazon's Canadian site is just fine. Here's an example, done at the time of this posting.

Top 4 books in subject search for 'homosexuality' on Amazon.CA
  • Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You by Peter Cameron
  • The Gay Man's Kama Sutra by Terry Sanderson
  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
  • What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality by Daniel A. Helminiak
Top 4 books for the same search on Amazon.com
  • A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality by Joseph Nicolosi and Linda Ames Nicolosi
  • You Don't Have to Be Gay by Jeff Konrad
  • For The Bible Tells Me So ~ Gene Robinson, Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • Can Homosexuality Be Healed? by Francis MacNutt

See what I mean? On the American site three of the top four are books about curing or preventing homosexuality all of a sudden. Award winning books of fiction AND non-fiction are suddenly not coming up in searches, merely because they have controversial content that in many cases looks to not even be that 'adult'. So far the only response to the whole brouhaha I can find is that one Amazon rep referred to it as a glitch that is being fixed.

Theories are flying around but the one I find most probable is that some group has learned how to game the system, as it were. Either by using tags, e-mail and letter-writing campaigns, or some other tactic, they've found a way to get the Amazon ranking system to change the category of books they disapprove of. I certainly hope this is the case because I would hate to think this was some sort of internal decision.

Regardless of what caused this, Amazon has a lot of PR work ahead of them cleaning up this mess. We'll keep you posted on any further changes in this story.

Amazon de-ranks so-called adult books, including National Book Award winner [LATimes.com]
Amazon responds to queries, blames a 'glitch' [LATimes.com]


18 Comments

hangedman1984 said:

I really hope this truly is just some sort of glitch. I shop in amazon quite a bit but if this does go deeper I will just have to find some other online retailer

Kalil said:

Thanks for covering this. Given the reactions around the blogosphere and twitters, I'm guessing there'll be enough pressure that Amazon will feel obliged to roll this back promptly. I've had several friends commit to a boycott and/or call the company to complain.
Fer crying out loud, they even de-ranked Bagemihl's Biological Exuberance, which was cited by the Supreme Court of the United States in support of their Lawrence v Texas decision. They really were amazingly thorough...

Sami said:

I think this is a continuation to the current situation gays have in the US, with many things (gay rights, legislation etc.) going backwards instead of advancing.

I fear you guys have to start standing up to yourself more again. :/

Neo said:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_w_h_?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=homosexuality&x=0&y=0

1.) Can homosexuality be healed
2.) A parents guide to preventing Homosexuality

and so on, 7 out of the top 12 are Negative books relating to dismissing history [2 are about Greeks]. the other 4 are about how it destroys families.

The UK site is seemingly affected too as although I don't remember which books usually rank there they were definetely gay fiction stories as opposed to gay hate fiction.

I wonder what it would take to DDOS Amazon? I shall enquire after sending an E-mail to Amazon.

Mad Mage said:

This is messed up. If it is a glitch, why are other adult contented rated books which don't have to do with homosexuality still listed?

Foss said:

Seems some believe this wasn't a glitch at all and that Amazon is lying through their teeth.

http://markprobst.livejournal.com/15293.html

Foss said:

Seems some believe this wasn't a glitch at all and that Amazon is lying through their teeth.

http://markprobst.livejournal.com/15293.html

I heartily suggest everyone simply fail to purchase anything through Amazon until the day that this is completely, utterly fixed.

Communication is important, and the dollar talks the most clearly of all.

It doesn't matter what has caused this since February, all that matters is that it must be fixed.

Maybe we should fight back they way they knocked it down. I think it is time for another gay-collation.

No more Mr Nice Gay.

Glandmaster said:

Time for a boy-cott ;p

Pete. said:

It's great that For the Bible Tells Me So is in there. It's a GREAT doco. It's in a great position there to oppose the other ones - and it looks like cos there's "Bible" in the title the power that be haven't noticed ^_^

Akio said:

Oddly enough I have always been a amused by how much gay content Amazon has/had. I've seen wang on book covers and a ton of media I had no idea they had.

Seems like a strange glitch, but all the same maybe the aforementioned wang is the reason for this. Or something like that...

Jaesin said:

As someone said on twitter, there's a glitch with my credit card, it refuses to purchase things from amazon!!

Also, fascinating article that shows most of the book bannings have happened on a meta-data categorical basis.

http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2009/04/12/amazon-possibly-using-category-metadata-to-filter-rankings/

Brett said:

Yeah... I'm gonna give it a week to see if they clear it up, and if not, boycott on an epic level.

Kung Fu Monkey said:

I took a term full of Gay and Lesbian studies a few years ago, so I used Amazon to get a few of the texts we were reading. Since then, I've always had G&L books offerend to me on my customized shopping page.

Today, however, I notice that this section is noticably absent. Even after actively purusing the G&L section in Amazon, logging out, and logging back in, this selection is missing from my main page. Given that, I'd say this isn't a glitch or a bug, but rather intentional.

*cracks knuckles*

Right. So to whom do I speak about this?

Hodges said:

"And Tango Makes Three" is the most glaring out of all of these that it is intentional. If you look at books' page, it lists it as numbers one, four, and nine bestseller in various categories. If you look at those categories, it does not appear in any of those spots. In fact, it doesn't seem to appear at all in those lists, unless you click on the list from the books' listing. Then it magically appears. Tricky.

Aximill said:

The problem seems to have been fixed. Pro-Gay content back on when searching for LGBT by subject.

boy1der1983 said:

Hmm, thats strange, I was logged in on Amazon.com on Friday afternoon and "Someday this pain will be useful to you" was the #1 reccomendation (though I already have the book so I didnt order it). This has to be a glitch. I'll side with Amazon for now, don't we live in an innocent until proven guilty country?

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boy1der1983 on Amazon Is Delisting Gay Content: Hmm, thats strange, I was logged in on Amazon.com on Friday afternoon and "Someday this pain will be useful to...

Aximill on Amazon Is Delisting Gay Content: The problem seems to have been fixed. Pro-Gay content back on when searching for LGBT by subject....

Hodges on Amazon Is Delisting Gay Content: "And Tango Makes Three" is the most glaring out of all of these that it is intentional. If you look...

Kung Fu Monkey on Amazon Is Delisting Gay Content: I took a term full of Gay and Lesbian studies a few years ago, so I used Amazon to get...

Brett on Amazon Is Delisting Gay Content: Yeah... I'm gonna give it a week to see if they clear it up, and if not, boycott on an...

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