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General Discussion > Amazon Rank - Fight Discrimination

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message 1: by The Flooze (last edited Apr 13, 2009 07:28AM) (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 1593 comments Latest edit:

Amazon blames stripped ratings on glitch.

http://www.publishersweekly.com/artic...

_____________________

Amazon has shown its discriminatory side against books with sexual, erotic, romantic, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or queer content by stripping many of them of their ratings.

So the people at Smart Bitches Trashy Books have decided on a Google Bomb. Read more on their site:

Amazon Rank


Nichole (DirrtyH) (dirtyh) I was ready to dismiss this as rumor because it sounded so ridiculous. Then I went to Amazon and searched for a gay themed book that I actually purchased from Amazon a couple of months ago, Jet Mykle's Heaven Sent, and it doesn't come up.

However, I then tried searching for some other authors that I know write gay romance and had no troubles. I also tried searching those very "hot words" mentioned above, and again, no troubles. So I'm a little confused by this whole thing. I can't tell if this is a true issue or some Internet rumor.


message 3: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 1593 comments I'm on twitter and a lot of the genre authors I follow are going nuts over it, implying that it's certainly affecting them.

Also, a petition claims that it indeed isn't all books, but a certain category of books.

Overall, the fact that they would eliminate the titles from sales ranking lists alone is unfair and discriminatory.


message 4: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 1593 comments This states the case more clearly:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/in-p...


message 5: by Pamela, Moderatrix (new)

Pamela (foxglovewitch) | 614 comments Mod
Thanks for posting this here, Michelle. I'm hoping this is one big fuckup on Amazon's part, because SERIOUSLY, removing some books' rankings for "sexual content," most of which just happen to be GLBT books? I call shenanigans. Maybe if we bitch loudly enough, they'll realize that they don't need to play nanny and prevent us from finding naughty books.

Really, I wonder if they didn't realize this would affect their sales. I mean, I often find new books through searches and recommendations. They're shooting themselves in the foot here.


message 6: by Jessa (new)

Jessa Slade (jessaslade) | 114 comments I wonder if Dan Savage already knows about this. The topic is right up his alley, and he's had some minor success in Google bombing ;)


Nichole (DirrtyH) (dirtyh) The Discriminating Fangirl wrote: "Really, I wonder if they didn't realize this would affect their sales. I mean, I often find new books through searches and recommendations. They're shooting themselves in the foot here."

Not that this makes it okay, and I still agree with you that this will be bad for their business, but as far as I can tell it has not affected recommendations. I have purchased more than one M/M book from Amazon, and I'm still getting plenty of other M/M books in my recommendations, as well as all of the listmania lists at the bottom of a given book's page.

Or maybe this just hasn't fully gone into effect yet?




message 8: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 1593 comments Dunno. Listmania is a different animal, so I can see how that wouldn't be affected. As for recommendations for you, perhaps the amazon system itself is still tracking sales so it sends you read-a-like stuff based on past orders, but since the ranks aren't publicized, it would affect general searches?


message 9: by Irene (new)

Irene Hollimon | 182 comments hmmm I'm 45 if Amazon is preventing me from catching titles because they are homosexual in content, that would really chap me off.
I've often wondered how the recommendations section works- It'll say on the bottom "recommeded because you purchased such a book" But I tend to do a run on an author, if I like that author, I'll read everything they wrote that I can find- now you'd think Amazon would like that and send those authors my way- but they don't always- sometimes they ignore authors= amd I don't get because I read pretty tame stuff- I've tried adjusting the scores, I give books- and short of the "do not use for recommendation" button once Amazon decides to advertise or not advertise something to me- that's it- they choose certain authors they don't choose others. I don't know why. Again, my reading tastes are pretty tame.
While I still do look over Amazons recommendations for me- I've branched out a site called lovereading for author recommendations, google searches, blogs and most recently this site.
Furthermore, due to convenience and pricing- more than a vague suspicion of censorship- I rarely buy from Amazon anymore.
Before I even heard of them possibly taking homosexual literature off the menu, Amazon had stopped being my first source for books. It seems as I'm not alone. Other people aren't as thrilled with Amazon either. It's sad really. Amazon used to be such a great company.
Now, I just have such an urge to go out and buy some really titallating Gay literature and maybe a couple of text books too- I've always wondered how they...
They will look great on my shelf next to my copy of Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren which by the way I did NOT buy from Amazon.


message 10: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 1 comments Jennifer Finney Boylan here. I'm one of the authors being blocked in searches, and have been "de-ranked." She's Not There was one of the first bestselling books by a trans American, and the fact that the cover could note that it was a bestseller-- a status it received in part because of the OLD amazon rankings for it-- gave it a certain legitimacy for some nervous readers and helped it break through to them. My life is not a 'glitch" and neither is the book about my life.


message 11: by The Flooze (last edited Apr 13, 2009 07:33AM) (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 1593 comments Jennifer wrote: "Jennifer Finney Boylan here. I'm one of the authors being blocked in searches, and have been "de-ranked." She's Not There was one of the first bestselling books by a trans American, and the fact ..."


Thanks for weighing in, Jennifer. We appreciate your input!

Latest info on the situation....

Amazon blames stripped ratings on glitch.
http://www.publishersweekly.com/artic...



Nichole (DirrtyH) (dirtyh) Michelle M. wrote: "Latest info on the situation....

Amazon blames stripped ratings on glitch.
http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/..."


Don't know if it's just me or not, but that link isn't working.




Unapologetic_Bookaholic Thanks for posting the petition here. I signed.


message 14: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 1593 comments Nichole, it worked for me from 2 computers. Go to www.publishersweekly.com

It was a top story.


Nichole (DirrtyH) (dirtyh) Thanks, Michelle! I was able to read it this time.




message 16: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 1593 comments No prob!


message 17: by Jess (last edited Apr 13, 2009 04:39PM) (new)

Jess | 173 comments This is absolutely ridiculous! This is pretty much the equivalent of book burning. Just because some people deem these books "inappropriate" they've made them unsearchable?? People can decide what to read for themselves, and if they think literature is too inappropriate for them, they won't read it.

Same thing as banning books. ugh.


message 18: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 1593 comments The "glitch" claim is rather suspect, based on what sorts of books were stripped of their ratings. I certainly want to see the final resolution to all of it.

::giving Amazon the hairy eyeball::


message 19: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 1593 comments More info posted to twitter:

#amazonfail Amazon officially speak out about their mistake - 'embarrassing and ham-fisted'

http://bit.ly/OuGCI


message 20: by Pamela, Moderatrix (new)

Pamela (foxglovewitch) | 614 comments Mod
Yeah, I'm really not buying the glitch excuse, either. Frankly, I'd be more satisfied if they just came out and said, "We were trying something to protect the virgin eyes of our delicate customer base, and it backfired. We screwed up. We're very sorry." They haven't apologized for the glitch, which for some reason is really bugging me.


message 21: by Theresa (last edited Apr 14, 2009 08:19AM) (new)

Theresa  (tsorrels) I spoke with my mom about this last night and she didn't really understand what the big whoopla was about (if Amazon did it on purpose) so I explained to her that if Amazon can get away with effectively "banning" these books, what is next? Christian books, Muslim books, etc. If they got away with it with little to no public outcry or drop in sales, what is going to discourage them from taking it a step further?

As a side note, yesterday morning when I first heard about this, I did a general search for Larissa Ione's books and only her Demonica series and Snowbound came up. When I did another general search last night, her "Sydney Croft" books came up too. Looks like maybe they are fixing it?


Nichole (DirrtyH) (dirtyh) To be honest, I still don't really understand what happened. They stripped certain books of their sales rankings - what exactly did that affect? Was it just that they no longer showed up on best sellers lists? As I mentioned above, I did several searches for authors that I know write gay fiction, specific books I know are homoerotic, as well as general searches using the terms "gay" and "erotica" and I had no problems whatsoever. I'll admit to never looking at bestsellers lists, so maybe that's why I didn't notice any changes. But as far as I could tell, whatever it was they did didn't really "ban" anything. I was able to find everything I was looking for. Now, I guess it's possible that it didn't effect the books I was looking at for some reason, though that seems weird. Can anyone explain to me exactly what stripping the sales ranks would do?


message 23: by Pamela, Moderatrix (new)

Pamela (foxglovewitch) | 614 comments Mod
Nicole, from what I understand, stripping the books of their sales rank also removed them from topic searches (for example, searching "homosexuality" brought up no positive books, and the first result was a book on how to prevent homosexuality in your kids), some books wouldn't even show up if you searched for their specific titles, and it removed them from Amazon's suggestion feature ("If you liked this book, you might like..."). So it made most of these books almost impossible to find on the site.


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