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Amazon Follies

On Amazon.com two days ago, mysteriously, the sales rankings disappeared from two newly-released high profile gay romance books: “Transgressions” by Erastes and “False Colors” by Alex Beecroft. Everybody was perplexed. Was it a glitch of some sort? The very next day HUNDREDS of gay and lesbian books simultaneously lost their sales rankings, including my book “The Filly.” There was buzz, What’s going on? Does Amazon have some sort of campaign to suppress the visibility of gay books? Is it just a major glitch in the system? Many of us decided to write to Amazon questioning why our rankings had disappeared. Most received evasive replies from customer service reps not versed in what was happening. As I am a publisher and have an Amazon Advantage account through which I supply Amazon with my books, I had a special way to contact them. 24 hours later I had a response:

 

In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

 

Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.

 

Best regards,

 

Ashlyn D

Member Services

Amazon.com Advantage

 

Yes, it is true. Amazon admits they are indeed stripping the sales ranking indicators for what they deem to be “adult” material. Of course they are being hypocritical because there is a multitude of “adult” literature out there that is still being ranked – Harold Robbins, Jackie Collins, come on! They are using categories THEY set up (gay and lesbian) to now target these books as somehow offensive.

Now in fairness I should point out that Amazon has also stopped ranking many books in the "erotica" categories as well which includes straight erotica. But that's a whole other battle that I'll leave to the erotica writers to take on.

 

Now I could probably convince the automatons at Amazon that The Filly is YA and therefore not “adult” in the least, and I could probably even convince them to reinstate my ranking.  But if they are excluding books just on the basis of being “gay” then by all means exclude mine too because I don’t want them just to reinstate the “nice” gay books, they need to reinstate all the gay books and if they are really going to try and exclude so-called “adult” material, then how come this has an Amazon ranking?

 

Here is a screencap of the case log from Amazon. Keep clicking on the image to make it bigger

************For everyone who has commented on my blog - Thank you very much. and everyone who has asked if they can use my name and link back to me. YES please do. Spread the word. Amazon will be beside itself in the face of all this fury!

*******UPDATE**************
Publisher's Weekly now has a story here, that an Amazon spokesperson claims this is all a glitch and they have no such new policy.  My caselog is still active in my Advantage account with the response from customer service rep Ashlyn D. Also I'd like to point you to this blog of an author who received this same response from Amazon back in February. Amazon has some 'splainin' to do!

***********UPDATE #2******************
As of 8 AM this morning (April 13th) The Filly has had its ranking reinstated by Amazon.  I also noticed Alex Beecroft's False Colors was reinstated as well.  Many others are not, so they haven't fixed the "so-called" glitch as of yet.

*******FINAL UPDATE******************
Amazon has released a statement of apology stating that it was  an "embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error" that pertained to 57,310 listings.  They also say that It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles.  So it's over.  Amazon admits they goofed, and I, for one, shall give them the benefit of the doubt and say I do not believe that there was any malicious intent. Case closed.

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Comments

( 411 comments — Leave a comment )
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planetspinz
Apr. 14th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
Amazon Follies
maybe the way to get the Amazon suits attention is to do a mass cancel Amazon accounts, then they will know what a computer glitch is

-- and here's how

1. sign into your Amazon.com account
2. Email Amazon from the "Contact Us" box on the right-hand side of the page, to request that your account be closed.
3. make sure to send your request from the e-mail address associated with the account you would like to close, so they can verify your identity.

Your account information will remain on their computer forever, but at least they will get the message -- pass this information on - from the bottom of the cancel account page
annburlingham
Apr. 26th, 2009 07:04 am (UTC)
how about pointing people to indiebound.org so they can find a local independent, *real* bookstore to buy books in? or link to one of the many wonderful independent LGBTO bookstores out there, instead of (blech) amazon?
soshife
Jun. 13th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
on the brighter side at least amazon man'd up for being wrong.
sirganisch
Aug. 14th, 2009 01:05 pm (UTC)
Cute dog you have haha!

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danhamil30
Aug. 28th, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
Amazon's goof
It's nice to see that at least Amazon made an apology. Usually the large faceless companies will just ignore their mistakes.

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shoppinggirl21
Sep. 22nd, 2009 02:17 am (UTC)
BullSh*t
That is a bunch of bull. I had no idea Amazon.com was a discriminatory site! That makes me want to boycot them, however, they do have some very good prices, so I am torn. I am highly offended by this information, and think someone should do something about this discrimination. Maybe start a petition of some sort, I don't know, just a suggestion.

Well, I am offended by this news and wish you all the best in getting this blatant discrimination issue resolved.

Sarah, Professional Shopping Deals Finder.
seowizzards
Nov. 11th, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
Amazon.com have something against Gays
tyciol
May. 8th, 2010 12:44 pm (UTC)
My Yaois
Why do they try to censor them? =(
designermode
May. 17th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
This should become normal
Still don't understand, why ppl make such a big fuzz out of gay and lesbian sexuality...
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( 411 comments — Leave a comment )