About two days ago, gay and lesbian books started to lose their Amazon sales rankings on their profile pages. Each Amazon product gets a sales ranking after at least one sale, which affects where the book will appear in some searches, bestseller lists, etc.
markprobst emails in and gets this response:
In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.
Hmm. Okay. Trouble is, Amazon's version of 'adult' seems to be anything that's either categorised as 'erotica' or 'gay/lesbian', leaving gaping discrepencies in what has and hasn't been spirited away. To wit, via rwday:
Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet? Adult. No rankings.
Alan Moore's Lost Girls? Not adult. Ranking. (This is an adult graphic novel. Trust me on this one.)
Mark Probst's The Filly, a YA novel dealing with gay themes? Adult. No ranking.
Rosemary Rogers' Sweet Savage Love, Kathleen Woodiwiss' The Wolf and the Dove, Bertrice Small's Skye O'Malley? Explicit heterosexual romances. Not adult. Ranking.
Alex Beecroft's False Colours and Erastes' Transgressions? Explicit gay romances. Adult. No ranking.
Nookii: The Grownup Game for Playful Couples? Not adult. Ranking.
The Dildo Master DVD? Not adult. Ranking.
Realistic White Boy Vibrating Dildo. Not adult. Ranking.
There's an updating links collection going on here, a stream of Twitters here and a list of affected authors is being collated here.
So far, amazon.co.uk and other branches don't seem to have enacted the same changes. I'll edit if I find out otherwise.
(I really would try and stay up to the minute on this today, but I've got to finish my springtime_gen entry, so help me. *runs back to writing*)
ETA: Targeted books now include children's lit (Heather Has Two Mommies) and anything dealing with 'alternative' sexuality, like books with sex tips for people with disabilities. Playboy remains unharmed, while titles such as -- oh god, I can hardly type this without weeping TEARS OF RAGE -- Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape are ushered away from the public eye.
Also, word on the street is that .co.uk's been affected too, I'm off to investigate.
ETA2: Yep, as the list here continues to grow (STEPHEN FRY, GUYS), UK listings are most certainly there, though weirdly not in any sort of consistent fashion. What the hell is going on?!
ETA3: Amazon Rank.
ETA4: Wait, this happened back in February? WTF.
ETA5: (oh hell oh hell this fic will never get written!) Here's an example of what the direct impact of Amazon's shenanigans is - the top two results on amazon.co.uk for 'homosexuality' are now Can Homosexuality be Healed? and A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality - and .com is even worse.
ETA6: !!! The Amazon Rank link is already the second result on Google. Internet, ilu sometimes.
ETA7: LA Times covers the story. #amazonfail is the top trending topic on Twitter, Amazon Rank is the top search result on Google, holy hell.
ETA8: I'll be poking through the amazonfail tag on delicious. In the meantime, off to sleep for me! New post tomorrow, probably.
this post on Dreamwidth