Amazon Rank

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 MetaWriter is also compiling a list of titles that have been stripped of their sales rank.

When pressed for a reason,’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:

Amazon Rank

amazon rank
Function: verb
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 containing sexual, erotic, romantic, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or queer content, rendering them impossible to find through basic search functions at the top of’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 with “Amazon Rank” as the anchor text. The link should look like this:

Amazon Rank

This is known as Google-bombing.

Second of all: 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’s shortminded censorship and inconsistent policing of what ought to be accessible to the book buying public.

ETA: As of 6:15pm EST/2:25pm SBTB Time, we are number one in google results for Amazon Rank. Holy smoke. Behold the power of angry bookfolk, Twitter, and the interweb.

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.


General Bitching...

Comments are Closed

  1. Leah Braemel says:

    Does it also work as a blog title?  That way I can hit ‘em several ways at the same time.

  2. Michelle says:

    Awesome “alternate usage” line!  I just linked my blog – I hope many many follow suit.

    Michelle (@antinmitchfield)

  3. she reads says:

    This is such mindblowing crap.

    off to link…

  4. Ann says:

    I linked at my blog.

    Will repeated links provide the same result?

    Amazon Rank

    Let´s find out!

  5. Viviane says:

    I’ll bookmark this on as and amazonfail. Thanks!

  6. I just linked from my blog. All of my Ellora’s Cave books have been stripped of their rank as well.

    Anna J. Evans

  7. Dark Puck says:

    I linked to the definition page on my LJ and will be encouraging people on my FList to do the same.

  8. Anastasia says:

    Made a post about this in my blog, also plan on bookmarking it in Delicious.

    Bad move, Amazon!

  9. j says:

    Just like to add that Foucault’s The History of Sexuality has also been stripped of its sales ranking.

  10. Talia says:

    I’m a good friend of Candy’s here in the OR and had actually called her right around the time you IMed her about Google Bombing this. I’ve got the link up on both my blogs, and I thought I’d also drop you a line to say: you’re made of Win.

  11. Eden Bradley says:

    I totally *heart* you right now!
    My books have been amazon ranked, too. But I can still search for and buy vibrating anal sex toys there, so all is not lost.

  12. Jenn says:

    Off to link it both of my blogs

  13. feministgamer says:

    Can anybody give a quick run down for the best way to aid in the Google bomb?

  14. Stephanie says:

    Done!!! Thanks guys 🙂

  15. Tracy says:

    Your alternative definition is almost perfect. May I suggest just one tiny improvement?

    My girlfriend wanted to preserve her virginity, and I was happy to respect that, then she amazon ranked and decided saddlebacking was okay.”

  16. Michele Lee says:

    Oh look, Backdoor Friends, a gay erotica anthology published through CreateSpace still has it’s ranking

  17. TarotByArwen says:

    I may or may not be a bit miffed about this new Amazon stupidity. I may or may not still be in the process of hitting every online group I am with. 🙂

  18. You can add me to the list.
    My Samhain historical romances can be searched for and found, but put my Ellora’s Cave erotic, “Sunfire,” into the search engine and it doesn’t come up. The only way you can find it is by hitting one of the Samhain books, then hitting my author name and it’s listed there.
    Not in the search engine any more. That’s the important thing, these books cannot be searched for any more.
    I’m boycotting Amazon until they get this sorted out. And I’m putting your link on my website and taking out all the Amazon links I can find.

  19. I should add that “Sunfire” is an m/f erotic romance.

  20. evgeny says:

    I’d be happy to repost any other interesting examples of anti-Amazon cyberactivism like this on my ForeignPolicy blog on technology and politics – so do not hesitate to leave comments there with examples. thanks

  21. C2 says:

    Done.  Grrr.

    My spam verification: car54 Srsly. LOL

  22. Helen M says:

    While Amazon may be made of fail, you, SB Sarah, are made of win.

    Off to post this everywhere I can.

  23. Linked on my blog:) They pulled A Little Harmless Sex, I guess because of the word Sex. Left all my other books, but ALHS has never had a sales rank at Kindle even though I get paid for copies sold.

  24. oceruleanskies says:

    I just put this website on my LJ:

    I repeat,

    I hope this´ll teach them… with everyone´s effort

  25. LesleyW says:

    I’ve linked at my blog as well.

  26. Ninjakitten says:

    Stephen Fry’s autobiography Moab Is My Washpot has lost its paperback rank but not its hardback rank.

    Main difference I can spot, aside from thickness of cover? One’s list of categories includes “Gay & Lesbian > Biographies & Memoirs > Gay” and “Gay & Lesbian > Literature & Fiction > Fiction > Gay”, and one does not. Three guesses which is which, and you don’t need the first two.

  27. rayvyn2k says:

    Done and done.

    I hope this doesn’t show up twice, so much traffic here…my first entry errored…

  28. Done!  Linked it on my blog.  Grrr.

  29. Dark Puck says:

    I’ve linked at my LJ, JF, and my story journal.  Folks on my FList are following suit, and a few people over at SF_Drama have also mentioned it.

    Follow-up news from SF_Drama, apparently you can still get PORN and DILDOS from Amazon, but “Heather Has Two Mommies” is considered adult material.

    Epic fail on the part of Amazon.  I’m boycotting for sure now.

  30. Reacher Fan says:

    I cannot tell you how disappointed and disgusted I am with Amazon.  Was Jeff Bezos born again or something?  This is just so stupid.  Why make people hunt for titles?  I linked this and the two Dear Author threads to my blog where I posted my email to Amazon.  In 2008 I spent over $2,000.00 on Amazon, mostly on books.  Obviously, I am and have been a very good customer of theirs for years.  I’ve started looking for alternatives.  The possibility of my buying a Kindle has gone from small to ‘Not in this lifetime’.  What a stupid, self-destructive move.

    This reminds me of how eBay managed to turn a hugely successful site to a train wreck I avoid like the plague.  Hubris is a funny thing.  It destroys the largest companies and most successful people in ways their competitors/enemies could never dream of.

  31. Shelley says:

    NinjaKitten, same thing for John Barrowman’s autobiography – paperback subjects only mentions drama and broadway, it’s there. The hardback has subject headings about gay and lesbian, it’s not.

    I’ve sent an e-mail to Amazon and posted in my LJ complete with amazon rank link. I saw that Neil Gaiman ( linked too, so that should help even more.

  32. Done. I hate losing respect for a company I shop from (frequently). It already shows up as #10 when you google search amazon rank. (although not the definition, but this posting- hmmm….)

  33. Jay says:

    currently at 11 – let’s get this on to the first page!

  34. Barb Ferrer says:

    Done.  And I just emptied my cart of the nearly $250.00 worth of merch I was going to be buying in the next few days.  Pity that.

    I also posted a thread at the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards forums.  I had kept this fairly quiet, but I had entered, half as a lark, but didn’t progress past the quarterfinals.  Now I’m glad I didn’t advance and I made certain I said that in my post.


  35. Liz A says:

    Opened up my abandoned blog to bomb (won’t work as well, but at least it means I can spam bomb). Some seem to be bombing the wrong page – this page has hit #1 (which is awesome) instead of the definition page. XD

  36. Lori says:

    @Reacher Fan: I suspect this is nothing to do with the beliefs of Jeff Bezos or anyone else at Amazon. Having seen enough of these things my assumption is that someone, or more likely a small, but organized group of people complained about having GLBT content shown to them on the from page or suggested to them via the “If you liked X you might also like Y” thing.

    There are some people who don’t cope well with the existence of anything of which they do not approve. People whoare like that who do not approve of Teh Gay have had a very rough time of it lately. I suspect we’ll see a lot more of this in the coming weeks and months.  The only way to make it stop it to push back, hard.

    Which is my way of saying—-Go Bitches!

  37. earthgirl says:

    FAIL. Already posted on my LJ, and I’ll be adding a thread on a message board I frequent.

  38. Liz A says:

    Or rather, #1 on page 2 – sorry, didn’t know I was on page 2! 😮

  39. MargoW says:

    Wow what FAYL. Posted about it in my blog; spreading the word!

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