#amazonfail: The aftermath

I realize it’s been about a decade, Internet-time, since the events of #amazonfail, but I dislike leaving my last post with no follow up. (I got busy last week finishing On Bended Knee. All turned in now; just corrections left!)

I don’t think Amazon is anti-gay. That said, however, there are a couple of things that are rather troubling about the incident. First, as you probably know, Amazon took about an Internet-year to respond to the crisis and basically said, “Calm down, kids, Daddy’s taking care of it.” Via AP. No direct response? No apology? No explanation? Saying “We know about the ‘glitch’ are are fixing it” isn’t exactly enough to inspire confidence these days. Their response frankly made them seem archaic and it does not bode well for their ability to adapt speedily in the future.

More disturbingly, why were these particular books (some gay- and lesbian-themed, some feminist studies, some straight erotica etc.) specifically flagged in the first place? And why weren’t the anti-gay books similarly flagged? (Not to mention straight mainstream porn?) Very suspicious, Amazon!

So now we have been made graphically aware of how easy it would be for one large retailer to influence what consumers can access. This time someone spotted the issue and the word was spread rapidly (which was amazing to watch, incidentally. Go, Internet!), but what about next time? It was the final straw for me, at least; I am researching alternative bookstores now (IndyBound! A Different Light!) and have stopped using my Amazon.com credit card.

BTW, I also wrote to cancel my Amazon Associates account — not exactly a hardship, since I never actually made anything with it — and made the mistake of telling them amazonfail was part of the reason. They wrote back the by-now-standard excuse (“We recently discovered this glitch in our systems regarding GLBT books and it’s being fixed.”) and didn’t cancel my account! I have to write them AGAIN. How irritating.

I admit, one thing I’ll miss from Amazon is the universal wishlist. I’ve been looking into others; I used TheThingsIWant.com a while ago and didn’t care for it; Kaboodle looks promising, but I haven’t really checked it out yet. Anybody got recs?

(Hey, my Twitter feed is showing up again! It’s like magic.)


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