Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Some people think #amazonfail was an overreaction and that we should be #sorryamazon.

I’m not sorry. Amazon has done an absolutely shitty job of communicating with its customers. Just a tad more effort on Amazon’s part could have avoided much of the #amazonfail anger. They could have acknowledged the problem on their front page. They could have tried a better explanation than saying it was just a “glitch.” They could have said that they value their LGBT customers and never intended for our books to be de-ranked. They could have used the words “sorry” or “apologize” in their “ham-fisted cataloging error” “statement.”

More importantly, let’s all realize that even though Amazon probably did not intend to piss off its LGBT customers, Amazon did in fact adopt a policy of de-ranking adult books, a policy they implemented without telling their customers or giving their customers the option to continue to see sales rankings of adult books or to continue to see adult books in our searches. Google has SafeSearch, but they’re up front about telling you that some results have been excluded because of it and they allow you to decide you want to see all results. Amazon should also do that if they’re going to continue to de-rank adult titles.

Amazon may be hoping this will blow over (although we can’t know that because Amazon isn’t communicating with us), but if they are, they’re wrong, and they’re misguided. They may be a behemoth, but they’re not a monopoly. We do have other choices, and many LGBT consumers will use those other choices unless Amazon does some better PR.

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Glitch this, Amazon!Yes, I’m jumping on the #amazonfail bandwagon, but it’s incredibly annoying that they think they can pass off the de-ranking of LGBT books as a "software glitch."

Sorry, Amazon, but enough LGBT-people are tech-savvy enough to know that it’s not some programmer leaving out a semi-colon someplace that caused all LGBT books, including ones such as Virtually Normal by Andrew Sullivan to be classified as “adult” while pornstar Ron Jeremy’s The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz wasn't also classified as adult.

What it was, instead, was a decision by some human being at Amazon to protect their “wider customer base” from having to see any LGBT titles at all. Don't condescend to us. If you’re going to be bigoted, be honest about it.

Good luck trying to spin this, Amazon. And who do you think has more discretionary income? Christianists who don’t want to see any LGBT titles or queers?

What makes me even angrier than the boilerplate "glitch" response I got to the e-mail I sent yesterday about this is the completely ignorant response I got this morning when I got a call back from a front-line customer service person. She thought I had a problem with a particular item on an order. She hadn't even heard of the issue with what is trying to call a glitch. I made her transfer me to a supervisor, and he at least got what I was calling about, even if he had no satisfactory answer. Hint to Amazon — when in the middle of a public relations fiasco, make sure your customer service department is better informed.

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