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.
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
Top 4 books for the same search on Amazon.com
- 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
- 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.