A book seller did something idiotic this weekend: it hid books. Books on preventing gay teenagers from killing themselves effectively disappear from Amazon search results, yet books by Christian quacks on homosexuality remain. Novels in which two men kiss vanish from search results for being too ‘adult’, while books featuring graphic heterosexual rape, murder and incest remain. Books that have gay characters but no sex also vanish (apparently gay people are just too “adult” all the time). Notice a theme?
And then this Monday morning (in the UK), things seem to revert to normal, at least in this test: searching for “Rubyfruit Jungle” in All Departments at Amazon.co.uk now works, at Amazon.com it still fails.
Until now I was a regular customer of Amazon, but even if they grovel this will cost them a couple of months of my custom. No groveling and I’ll go elsewhere.
Is this Amazon’s ’tonosama shobai’ moment?
“This is called tonosama shobai (toh-no-sah- mah SHO-bai), roughly translatable as “running your business as if you’re a feudal lord in ancient Japan,” and I guess it’s a way to show your customers that you are an extremely strong leader in your field, since no other company could get away with that kind of crap. If you’ve ever wondered at some of the bizarre actions taken by Sony over the years – the hubristic attitude that nothing could assail their strong position in video games, the Sony-only media formats, the rootkit DRM scandal of last year – now you know what the concept is called in Japanese” – Peter Payne
A good summary of Amazon’s stupidity is in An Open Letter To Amazon Regarding Recent Policy Changes