Amazon Fail

How long before the company reverses course on this ill-advised decision to remove rankings from gay-themed books? Hours? Days?

1 comment:

cfp said...

I want to know more about how this happened; what the metadata threshold was for deranking, etc. But of course I never will know any of that stuff because it is proprietary.

Assuming it wasn't just a wholesale deranking by assigned category, my guess is something like this: each item is given an "adultness" score based on the host of metadata Amazon keeps on it and anything above X was deranked.

I'm looking at the example of "All I Could Bare" and just the customer tagging alone is illuminative: not just "gay" but "sex," "sex trade," "pornography," etc.

Obviously this would be a highly inexact way to isolate "adult" materials. And so that's what I come back to: if you want to isolate the inarguably adult content of pornography, sex toys, and such, just create a category for those. There's something about this sort of solution that, at the very least, is too clever by half.

That doesn't necessarily amount to a dark conspiracy, but it does point to a squishy definition of "adult," something that Amazon should have clarified as a matter of policy. It's not all that brave at all to separate discussions of sex and sexuality from pornography-- is it? Libraries do it ALL THE TIME. We have these things called "collection development policies" that we can point to when someone gets upset because genitalia exists (or whatever). Of course we don't want their money. That may be the crucial distinction here.