Dampening my snickering glee at being ranked among Movements and Periods is the news that Amazon seems to be stripping the sales figures and accompanying rankings from GLBTQ books, erotica, and romance novels, particularly those with what they term “adult content.”
In short: someone in Amazon has utter shit for brains.
Authors such as Jaci Burton, Maya Banks, Larissa Ione and Stephanie Tyler have reported that since being stripped of their sales rankings, their titles are no longer found in searches on Amazon.com. MetaWriter is also compiling a list of titles that have been stripped of their sales rank.
When pressed for a reason, Amazon.com’s customer service department told YA author Mark Probst:
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.
What, I ask, the fucking fuckhell? Many an Amazon customer is infuriated, and the #amazonfail hashtag on Twitter has pretty much become the only thing worth following. What to do, what to do?
It’s time to hit ‘em where it hurts. No, not a boycott. When you want someone to pay attention, you hit ‘em in the PR.
It’s Google Bomb Time!
We did it for Bill Napoli. Now it’s Amazon’s turn. As always, fuckwittery should not go unrewarded. We propose the following entry be entered into the lexicon:
Inflected Form(s): amazon ranked
1. To censor and exclude on the basis of adult content in literature (except for Playboy, Penthouse, dogfighting and graphic novels depicting incest orgies).
2. To make changes based on inconsistent applications of standards, logic and common sense.
Etymology: from 12 April 2009 removal of sales rank figures from books on Amazon.com containing sexual, erotic, romantic, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or queer content, rendering them impossible to find through basic search functions at the top of Amazon.com’s website. Titles stripped of their sales rankings include “Bastard Out of Carolina,” “Lady Chatterly’s Lover,” several romance novels, GLBTQ fiction novels, YA books, and narratives about gay people.
Example of usage: “I tried to do a report on Lady Chatterly’s Lover for English Lit, but my teacher amazon ranked me and I got an F on grounds that it was obscene.”
Alternate usage: “My girlfriend wanted to preserve her virginity, and I was happy to respect that, then she amazon ranked and decided anal sex was okay.”
Making this the top result, which is also dependent upon algorithms and shit, requires help from you savvy folks.
I’ve created a page with the definition for “amazon rank.” LINK TO http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/amazonrank with “Amazon Rank” as the anchor text. The link should look like this:
This is known as Google-bombing.
Second of all: Urbandictionary.com. We’re creating a definition and if it’s approved, you can vote on it to increase its prominence. Vote early, vote often to increase the definition’s power.
All you have to do is link to the page using these words: Amazon Rank. The more you do it, the higher up in rank the page will go, and the more successful it will be. One would hope.
The goal: that “Amazon Rank” points to the definition that underscores Amazon.com’s shortminded censorship and inconsistent policing of what ought to be accessible to the book buying public.
ETA: As of 7:54pm EST, Amazon has given out a host of explanations, which I’ve heard from Twitterers, along the lines of “people complained” to “we will have more information tomorrow.” I smell a giant meeting in PR at Amazon HQ bright and early tomorrow. We’ll see what the morning brings.
But in my inbox, an email from Craig Seymour whose book, All I Could Bare, a memoir of his job as a stripper, was stripped of sales rank back in February 2009, despite memoirs from prominent pornography actors remaining within the ranks. So this has been creeping up insidiously, it seems, until massive delisting occurred over the last few days. Pokes some mammoth stripper-pole sized holes in the “we responded to customer complaints” response.
Jane from DA has, of course has a template response letter to send, as well as links and a full-bodied explanation of why sales rank is important. Carolyn Kellogg from the LA Times book blog also covered the story today. We’ll see what tomorrow brings in #amazonfail.
ETA 9:13 pm EST: Oh Noes! It was a glitch! One that’s been in operation since February, according to Craig Seymour, and one that clearly should be blamed for a whole mess of other problems.