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So....

I haven't heard a word about AmazonFail since the internets exploded. What was the final verdict?

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( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
buffyannotater
Apr. 26th, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
I think the general consensus was no one was happy with Amazon's explanation, but they did restore all the searches to what they were.
scrollgirl
Apr. 27th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
Check out the meta_writer post which mirrored the AfterEllen article: http://www.afterellen.com/node/48877.

I'm emailing Amazon tomorrow from work to get my account deleted entirely. I can get my DVDs elsewhere.
buffyannotater
Apr. 27th, 2009 04:45 am (UTC)
What I actually find interesting in that article is that the author is saying that banning Amazon isn't the right option. Rather, people should be only purchasing GLBT-themed books from them, that that would send a clearer, more immediate message. And I tend to fall on that side of the argument.

To be honest, I'd love to avoid Amazon, but in this economy, if I need to buy a gift for someone (since I haven't been able to spend money on myself for the past year), I'm going with whichever store has the most reasonable price for any given item. If it's Amazon, that's the one I'm going with.
masqthephlsphr
Apr. 27th, 2009 02:02 pm (UTC)
A good idea, but not very practical. I don't buy a a lot of GLBT these days, and I've depending on Amazon for SFF.
scrollgirl
Apr. 28th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah, what Masq said. I mean, if I ever *do* buy LGBT books/DVDs, I'll go through Amazon just because. But the only things I buy these days are lunches from the caf and Stargate DVDs. So I'll cut out the Stargate DVDs at least -- and save some money at the same time!
a2zmom
Apr. 26th, 2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
Likely a programming bug on their side.
scrollgirl
Apr. 27th, 2009 04:14 am (UTC)
Alas, I don't think it was a glitch. Check out the meta_writer post which mirrored the AfterEllen article: http://www.afterellen.com/node/48877.
a2zmom
Apr. 27th, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC)
Interesting, but I must ask - did this happen to every kindle book listed as LGBT? Or just hers? If it was all books, then a agree it's a corporate policy. Just hers, then it 's something else.
scrollgirl
Apr. 28th, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)
You're right, I doubt it's official policy, but I also don't know that it matters if the effect is the same. Agreed, I have a hard time believing that Amazon would purposely make books harder for people to buy-- it's just not good business. OTOH, nothing they've said so far even comes close to a real apology or stating for the record, no, wait, we value LGBT books equally and would never assume LGBT = adult content/erotica or hide them from the general public like they're porn mags.

If it's a glitch, it's still happening to some people. There's some kind of programming error that could very well get triggered again, and I haven't heard anything to say they've fixed it.
a2zmom
Apr. 28th, 2009 09:33 pm (UTC)
Maybe because they haven't fixed it entirely? I do this for a living and random bugs can be notoriously hard to correct. What seems simple and obvious to the general population is incredibly difficult when you're talking millions of lines of code.

And saying it was ham fisted on their part is much more of an apology imo than you normally get. No company is going to own up to programming bugs, it makes consumers uneasy. However, the fact is, code is general is riddled with bugs - one system doesn't always talk to another system correctly, there are timing issues, there's a bug that only shows up on Tuesdays when Jupiter is ascending.A sophisticated program literally has thousands of pathways that data can go through and it's impossible to test every outcome.

I hate to tell you the number of known bugs that are in the systems I deal with - if it doesn't affect customer's actual money it gets pushed to the back of the line.
masqthephlsphr
Apr. 28th, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC)
I am also a programmer and have spent countless hours digging through code for bugs. This particular "bug" seems pretty targeted, for a bug.
scrollgirl
Apr. 28th, 2009 10:36 pm (UTC)
To add to Masq's comment, I would be okay (not great, but better) if Amazon would at least cop to the fact that LGBT books were disproportionately affected by this glitch. But in fact they went so far as to say the whole incident was "mis-reported" and then threw up the smokescreen of "many other titles were affected" as if all things were equal. (I mean, if Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul got de-listed then I apologise.)

Technical issues aside (you're right, bugs are tricky and require patience) I'm a little concerned by how Amazon has handled the incident. It's not the glitch itself that's ham-fisted.
a2zmom
Apr. 28th, 2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
I agree that their PR leaves a lot to be desired. You would think in this day and age, when news travels faster than a cold through a day care center, they would be more aware of how they come across and would be a lot more conscious of how they word things.
spiletta42
Apr. 26th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
Amazon deserves the blame, because they let it happen, but it wasn't a corporate-wide conspiracy to oppress anyone in particular, just clumsiness and a failure to actually pay attention to things brought to their attention until it completely exploded. Obviously they've been ignoring specific writers who complained by the ever popular not-quite-on-topic-form-letter method, so bad on them for that, but overall, apparently there was a tagging system that got exploited. I'm believing that explanation because of the fascinating search results one got for "Velveteen Rabbit" on Easter -- there's no way they did that on purpose, especially if OMG Protect The Children! was the real agenda, so that proves the tagging system is definitely exploitable.

Or maybe I'm deluded and just don't want to cancel my preorders, but the email they sent me in response to my complaint on Easter was not the same form letter I saw posted around, as it entirely failed to contain the word 'hamfisted' -- for which I feel slightly cheated.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that the general public shouldn't be tagging products without supervision. *eyeroll*
scrollgirl
Apr. 27th, 2009 04:15 am (UTC)
I only noticed this article a couple of days ago, so haven't posted about it yet, but I don't think it was a glitch. Amazon is definitely up to *something*.

Check out the meta_writer post which mirrored the AfterEllen article: http://www.afterellen.com/node/48877.
spiletta42
Apr. 27th, 2009 05:17 am (UTC)
I'll have to read that tomorrow when I'm more awake. I'm not surprised if people who work for amazon are up to something, but the company as a whole had better not be evil. *sigh* I like the preorder system, gorramit. Did I hear the suggestion that we all order some lesbian romances to make a point or something? I'd so rather do that than a boycott. I'll take recs.
londonkds
Apr. 26th, 2009 07:46 pm (UTC)
There have been some complaints that, outside the recent haywireness, certain non-porn works by small gay publishers have been treated similarly before and since. Probably because whoever does the "tagging to make sure porn doesn't turn up in normal searches" has some level of small-time prejudice about gay people and assumes that anything gay and possibly borderline between "general fiction" and "porn" should be treated as porn without bothering to make the effort to check.
scrollgirl
Apr. 27th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
I only noticed this article a couple of days ago, so haven't posted about it yet, but I don't think it was a glitch. Amazon is definitely up to *something*.

Check out the meta_writer post which mirrored the AfterEllen article: http://www.afterellen.com/node/48877.

(Masq, sorry for spamming you! Just wanted everyone to see the article.)
masqthephlsphr
Apr. 27th, 2009 04:25 am (UTC)
Not to worry. It's good to get a variety of perspectives on this. I'm still not sure what to believe, but I haven't been by Amazon since I removed my credit card info, and I haven't missed it at all.
ironed_orchid
Apr. 27th, 2009 06:22 am (UTC)
I think jonquil summed it up pretty well here: http://jonquil.livejournal.com/825117.html

Amazon handled it badly, and made poor decisions.
masqthephlsphr
Apr. 27th, 2009 01:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the link.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )