Religious Orders

What to Think About Amazon

Posted: Tuesday April 14 2009 @ 6:53am

Religious Order: Science and Technology

In case you haven't been reading the tech blogs, there's been an uproar over Amazon.

The problem is that gay-themed books started disappearing from search results and the Best Sellers list. (Well, gay-positive ones disappeared. Anti-gay hate mongering remained.) When one of the affected authors queried Amazon as to why, the response was that those books had been marked as 'adult' to avoid offending their overall customer base.

Well, that pissed me and a whole bunch of other people off. I had placed an order the night before, which I quickly cancelled.

Then, out came the explanations and excuses. The first explanation was by a hacker who claimed that he had hacked Amazon's customer-driven 'inappropriate' flagging mechanism to delist the books. In order to believe this explanation, one has to accept that Amazon, perhaps the world's biggest online retailer, doesn't have any monitoring in place to watch for abuses of customer-driven site aspects.

Amazon itself blamed it on a 'glitch.' Eventually, they expanded on the glitch, claiming that one of their employees had miscategorized a load of stuff on the French version of the Amazon site, which quickly propagated to all the other Amazon sites.

What? You mean to tell me that single Amazon employees can make wide-scale changes to the public Amazon site with no review or oversight. And, furthermore, that those changes will propagate across the entire Amazon universe, again without review or oversight? If that's true, I don't want these computer-illiterate morons touching my credit card number ever again.

I mean, holy crap, my half-assed blog posts don't go directly out on the net. Who the hell designs their web presence like this?

Basically, we're stuck with a choice between a company willing to hide some of its books in order to appease the intolerant portions of its customer base or a company that is utterly incompetent regarding web technologies.

In either case, it's not a company with which I'd like to continue doing business.


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