I Feel Beautiful

#amazonfail April 15, 2009

Filed under: Activism,Money,Politics — Jill @ 3:19 PM
Tags: , , , ,

I think my big problem with #amazonfail is Amazon, inadvertently or otherwise, made me question the trust I’ve had in it for many years and has done absolutely nothing to acknowledge that nor made any attempt to remedy it.

I’ve used Amazon for years and have always been more than satisfied with their prices, selection, and customer service. I did feel like a faceless credit card number, but I didn’t feel that I was valued any less than the millions of other faceless credit card numbers so all was well. Right or wrong, the glitch (to give them the benefit of the doubt) this weekend made me feel threatened, dismissed, and closeted in the same ways as any other homophobia, sexism, or other bigotry. If the literature of my communities needs to be ghettoized to protect the greater customer base, what does that imply about Amazon’s attitude toward me?

Glitch or malicious, #amazonfail was not a personal attack on me. However, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling blindsided and betrayed by this. On Sunday, when I first heard about the deranking, I was initially angry, but wanted to find out what had actually happened, instead of forming opinions based solely on speculation. I was dismayed at the results, but didn’t hate Amazon, and was open to explanations that exonerated them completely.

Unfortunately, it’s now Wednesday and I still haven’t heard an apology from Amazon. Yes, they’ve acknowledged that there is a problem and have started to fix it, but that’s not the same as acknowledging that a lot of people were hurt, either financially or more viscerally, by this. Regardless of how or why, many people lost trust in Amazon and they need to own that. Simply taking responsibility for the full spectrum of this debacle would go a long way toward making me feel better about doing business with Amazon and restoring some of that lost trust.

I understand that Amazon has a lot going on right now, but this trust thing is big and I’m finding it hard to understand why they aren’t acknowledging the damage that’s been done. If Amazon can’t condescend to provide us with a detailed, believable explanation (Read the dispatches from Amazon itself instead of the accompanying speculation: not much real information there.) of what went wrong and how they’re going to prevent future incidents along with a genuine apology, I won’t be able to feel good about shopping there. It will always be in the back of my mind that this company cares more about covering its own ass than about keeping books accessible to people who need them. I’ll always be reminded that this company appeared willing to silence my communities instead of having clearly stated, transparent policies. It’s time to remember that my money needs to support the people who support me.

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2 Responses to “#amazonfail”

  1. Bandananon Says:

    The most likely scenario has risen… you just weren’t paying attention. A well known internet troll used the URL that goes reports a book and linked to it through iFrames embedded within a number of sites to get random, unsuspecting people to report the books as inappropriate.

    Investigation into the matter (a number of people have been looking into it. I myself have, but this guy explains it pretty clearly http://bryant.livejournal.com/672165.html) reveals that it’s entirely possible and actually quite plausible. Add to that the fact that Amazon is much too worried about it’s reputation to do something like this. Also, on top of that, they would have been much, much more thorough on the matter and de-ranked hundreds of other homosexual-related literature or movies that everyone can clearly see they missed.

    I’m glad to see you didn’t jump on the band-wagon and just assume that Amazon would do something like this without hard evidence. The best evidence is already out there clearing Amazon’s name. You can rest easily knowing they’ll most likely reverse the process and re-rank them within the week.

    • Jill Says:

      I had come across that, but one guy speculating isn’t the same as Amazon clearly stating that is what happened. My point was Amazon has been ridiculously silent on this issue: no real statement from them on how this happened and no acknowledgment of the damage that was done. So no, I can’t rest easy when I see a company I have spent a great deal of money with burying its head about huge incident of discriminatory silencing.


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