mythicalgirl: (Eris)
My Sissy sent me an e-mail asking why I'm upset over the #amazonfail clusterfuck. 

I will admit that part of it is a knee-jerk reaction to the seemingly discriminatory nature of the 'glitch'.  I don't like the idea that books tagged as lesbian, gay, and homosexuality are removed from rankings (and in some cases it has been reported that they stopped showing up in searches altogether).  Meanwhile books promoting racism, a "cure" for homosexuality, bashing of particular religions, rape, and hetero porn remain ranked and searchable.  That smack of censorship.  Amazon.com is not a monopoly but it is close and it is huge.  When something this big starts engaging in censorship we should all be worried. 

Less knee-jerky but no less visceral is my reaction to Amazon's reaction.  As in they haven't really had one.  Yeah, there was a brief e-mail about a 'glitch' earlier.  And now people are getting a form letter response about a cataloging error.  Where is the public statement, posted on the main page of amazon.com that says "we messed up"?  The first tenant of doing business in the internet age is Don't Get Caught!  the second, for when you do get caught, is admit you f!cked up.  So Amazon tried to implement a policy that would keep people searching for Harry Potter from getting Harry Porker or some other such adult fare.  This is not a bad policy in and of itself (although I can think of a dozen other ways to filter truly adult material than using the rankings).  It was implemented for shit and turned into a clusterfuck and a PR nightmare.  So fess up, fix it, and move on. 

I am not saying that Amazon needs to offer up an apology to the gay and lesbian community.  I am saying they need to offer up one to the entire amazon.com customer/client community.  Anyone who has ever bought from them.  Any author that has ever sold through them.  Any publisher that has ever used tham as a distribution vehicle.  Not every book affected by this fiasco is GLBT.  According to reports even a cozy mystery was unranked! 

No, Amazon fucked up.  Whether it was intentional and they got caught, or it was unintentional and they have crappy controls in their programming environment, they owe their customers and their clients some sort of explanation. 

As I have said before, I am an IT person.  I know something like this can take days to fix.  I have no problem with the fact that it is taking a while for things to get straightened out.  It does not take that long to issue a statement to the press however.  Or to post a special section on their main page with an explanation of the issue and what is being done about it. 

Now I am going to go read (a book I bought from a brick and mortar bookstore long before this cluster started) and order a pizza for dinner.
mythicalgirl: (not amused)
If you don't know what #amazonfail is then you haven't been paying attention to Twitter or the blogosphere today. 

Here are a few links to get you started plus both Neil and Lili include more than enough links themselves. 
http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/04/amazonfail-sunday.html
http://www.lilithsaintcrow.com/journal/

I have printed off my various wish lists - and then deleted them from amazon.  I have also deleted my payment info.  All in an effort to keep me from going to them as an easy means of getting books.  Until they either fix this "glitch" or admit that it was an asinine policy gone bad and apologize, I for one will not be ordering from them.  Nor will I be perusing my recommendations.  I will have to go elsewhere for my book habit for now. 

Until they offer up a mea culpa, and maybe even after, Amazon.com has lost my business. 

UPDATE 1: The latest is that a programmer of some kind updated some filters on the metadata and inadvertently caused the rankings to be removed on anything with a tag of gay, lesbian, sex, etc.  My question is, if this is true, what the hell was someone doing updating the filters directly in production?  Doesn't amazon do this shit in a test environment first to make sure it doesn't cause problems?  Cause I'm an IT person and if I were to update something like this directly in production I'd be fired.  My second question; if they did do it in test first, who was the idiot who signed off on it to move to prod?

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September 2013

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