Asta 2

More on the Amazon Debacle

Via proggrrl via twitter, Amazon's glitch may have been the work of a troll. And a theory as to what happened before the troll outed themselves. If this is all true, it restores some of my faith in Amazon. However, it says something about Amazon's ranking system, technical staff, and PR departments. :/ Has Amazon addressed the issue publicly and directly yet?

ETA: See comments for additional info that the troll may be full of s***.
Thanks! I just updated my post to check out comments.

The troll may be full of it, but I guess I would like to believe there is something going on besides Amazon being homophobic. I'm just flummoxed they have yet to publicly address the issue since mainstream news sites are reporting the story now.
Yeah, that was an interesting theory, but it's not what happened. There have been some pretty damning demonstrations that the rankings were pulled based on book metadata, which is why some editions of the same book were excluded when others weren't. It's most likely a really poorly-thought-out algorithm that Amazon created, though they might have done so because of pressure from outside groups.
At the very least, Amazon is guilty of having a very flawed ranking system. As I mentioned yesterday, this all seems oddly timed to me. Why didn't their seeming homophobia reveal itself years ago?
This isn't Domino's Pizza, which is run by a very right-wing Christianist. What I think happened is that, in trying to separate adult content out from general searches using their rankings, someone (or several someones) made the decision that GLBT = adult. Which is dumb and offensive and homophobic on a number of different levels, but I doubt it was an overt corporate policy.
I agree, this is what I think happened too. It's not as evil as "we're intentionally deranking anything even remotely connected with the gay or lesbian experience", but it's at the very least shortsighted, most likely ignorant and definitely stupid. (My money for who got it right on the nose is Dear Author.)
Thanks for the link. Visuals always help. :) It also helps to explain why Amazon is calling it a "glitch". Using such vague parameters is going to cause a lot of material that isn't even remotely obscene to have it's rankings stripped. You're right, at the very least this shows short sightedness and stupidity on their part. At worst, the possibly biased opinions of one or a handful of individuals was used to determine what constitutes explicit content.
I like the comment that the right hand at Amazon doesn't know what the left is doing. I'm still rather shocked that Amazon has let this become the PR fiasco it has become.
Amazon gave a statement about it but was certainly not thorough:

As others have said, I think they were trying to do something with the adult material (and they haven't even admitted to that, which is lame, because it's a bit obvious that's what was going on) but somewhere in their database all the GLBT stuff was grouped together with "adult content", which is stupid and wrong in the first place, but even regardless of that someone should've known there would be a PR issue in all of this.

In the aftermath, it's frustrating they they haven't said "This was a terrible misunderstanding and of course Amazon proudly carried a diverse array of titles, including materials geared toward gay and lesbian audiences." If they felt that way I think they would have (and should have) said that by now. Oh Amazon, I thought you were better than this.