Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Amazon apologizes profusely ... hands up, anyone who believes any of this

Today, from SeattlePI.com...

Amazon calls mistake 'embarrassing and ham-fisted'

Amazon.com has offered a response to the AmazonFail fiasco.

Because there's so much attention to this, I'll offer spokesman Drew Herdener's comments unfiltered:

This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection.
It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles – in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica. This problem impacted books not just in the United States but globally. It affected not just sales rank but also had the effect of removing the books from Amazon's main product search.

Many books have now been fixed and we're in the process of fixing the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future.


Former Amazonian Mike Daisey offers some insight.

"After hearing from people on the inside at Amazon, I am convinced it was in fact, a 'glitch,'" he says on his Web site. "Well, more like user error--some idiot editing code for one of the many international versions of Amazon mixed up the difference between 'adult' and 'erotic' and 'sexuality.' All the sites are tied together, so editing one affected all for blacklisting, and ta-da, you get the situation."

According to Daisey's inside sources, "A guy from Amazon France got confused on how he was editing the site, and mixed up 'adult,' which is the term they use for porn, with stuff like 'erotic' and 'sexuality.' That browse node editor is universal, so by doing that there he affected ALL of Amazon."

[end of quote]

We have a term for this.

We call it damage control.

You blame a human, who can be fired ... this is sooooo convenient. I'd say it's far too convenient. It's the backdoor route onto the fire escape you leave yourself when you're going to try to censor anything to do with human sexuality, in the event you get caught.

They got caught and roasted, and they fled for the fire escape.

What really needles me is that people are genuinely going to believe it. I'm not usually into conspiracy theory, but to me this just looks blatant. Put it this way: I'm far from convinced. It'll take years of loyalty to the GLBT community before Amazon will woo me back into the truth faith worship of the 1,000lb gorilla.

I'm old enough by now to be a lot more suspicious. What I can see is that the attempt at censorship was made -- and didn't work; it was a ham-fisted attempt, along exactly the same lines as those navigated by Kevin bloody Rudd in his vain and moronic attempts to enforce Internet censorship on Australia. Amazon was caught red-handed, and had been "canny" enough to leave themselves an escape chute.

They're out and free today, having learned the hard way that K.Rudd-style Censorship doesn't work; therefore, switch to Plan B, which is "swift, slick damage control ... and whole new generation of brilliant, subtle code that'll sneak through the desired results in 2010 or '11.

Put it this way, guys: I'll believe it's NOT happening when we reach 2012 and it hasn't happened. In the meantime -- seriously! -- having seem the writing very clearly on the wall, I'm already exploring other avenues which will either not involve Amazon, or, if they do, they'll use the Big A merely as a checkout and drop-shipping service.

I don't have the trust today that I had back in March. Do I sound cynical? Well ... I guess I am. 25 years in this game has made me fairly cynical -- though I prefer the word pragmatical.

Got to get to work now...

UPDATED on April 16 with a couple of backlinks:

If you think I'm just being paranoid, you have GOT to see these:


Woah. Paranoia is the least of it, guys.

Ciao for now,

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