Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html en-gb 30 Thu 03 Sep 2015 16:20:18 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html David Cooper http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=98#comment50 This post has been Removed Fri 08 Jan 2010 12:23:11 GMT+1 Spreadtheword http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=96#comment49 Amazon are a complete monopoly!!!A brand new range of Panasonic phones were launched on Friday 8th May 2009 and were in stock with 2 suppliers on Amazon, however as Amazon are not due to receive stock themselves unit the 21st May 2009 they have the items listed only as pre-orderable meaning that the people who actually have them in stock are unable to sell them. They say that there is a technical issue that they need to resolve, however this is rubbish. Their real reason for not allowing the product for sale is because they will not receive all the pre-orders for the products themselves!A completely unfair domination of the market place!!Luckily for me, i actually rang the other companies and i am now the proud owner of the brand new panasonic phones. Unluckly for the sellers, Amazon seems too big to fight! Mon 11 May 2009 10:32:49 GMT+1 U9528187 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=94#comment48 If my post has been "referred to the moderators", but it says "all posts are pre-moderated" anyway, what is going on? There are new posts appearing that have obviously been approved, so if you are going to disapprove it please just do that so I know don't just leave people in limbo?? if there's something wrong with it please tell me I can edit it or something I don't know... Wed 15 Apr 2009 09:43:23 GMT+1 Jon Freeman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=92#comment47 is that it brings to light the fact that Amazon has a system in place that is obviously designed to "back-shelf" certain booksI think I'd probably have one too and don't think I'd read too much into the existence of one.I'd might prefer for example to be prepared for a change in a Country's law or perhaps be able to operate one software design in countries that have different laws than to face these things as they might occur or have multiple versions of the software for different regions. Wed 15 Apr 2009 09:06:01 GMT+1 Anne Sullivan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=90#comment46 If this has truly happened because Amazon has a system deliberately designed to remove books from the public eye based on content, rather than a technical glitch, what other types of books have been removed that have not yet been noticed?As a private company, they certainly have the right to conduct their business as they choose, as long as they remain within the law. However, if it is indeed true that Amazon - THE major bookseller in the world -- has deliberately chosen to use their influence to encourage sales of certain books at the expense of others, based on personal opinion (whether their own opinions or that of external pressure groups), this type of censorship seriously damages their credibility for all books and insults the intelligence of all of their customers.It is as foolish and shortsighted for a bookseller to try and tell readers what content to read as it would be for a clothing store to try and make customers buy only blue shirts by hiding all the others in the back stockroom.At this point, Amazon's reputation has been seriously brought into question and they need to step up and openly and publicly explain this situation. Wed 15 Apr 2009 05:23:35 GMT+1 HarryApe http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=88#comment45 The problematic aspect of the "glitch" -- whatever its cause -- is that it brings to light the fact that Amazon has a system in place that is obviously designed to "back-shelf" certain books. The fact that this mechanism was misused or had a technical hiccup that caused "the wrong books" to get this suppressive treatment isn't a comfort to me. Why does this filter even exist? The most obscene title in the world can be offered for sale, and its content described, without any obscenity.What are the correct books to be so suppressed? Who calls the shots?Will Amazon soon be in collaboration with the Chinese government to offer "approved" literature on the mainland?Years ago, I made a purchase at Amazon that persuaded their 'recommendation engine' that I was gay, and for a while I was offered gay publications, some with mildly erotic content. I didn't complain and over time those offerings thinned out.But I imagine others so misidentified would probably be spittin' bullets and raising holy hell with Amazon, and this suppressive system may have been a result Wed 15 Apr 2009 02:47:34 GMT+1 ikamaskeip http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=86#comment44 Censorship of books, film, tv, radio, photos, posters, cds etc. is hardly ever justified or acceptable.The single proviso to my mind being that any form of the above should not include anything exploiting for sexual purposes children (i.e. under 16)..Other than that put all the books etc. on display on web pages, in shops, advertising boards etc.If the people of faith, the people of right or left poitical opinion etc. don't like it: Tough! Tue 14 Apr 2009 22:06:15 GMT+1 U9528187 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=84#comment43 Debunking of the "glitch" propaganda from Amazon PR:Replies from Amazon reps before PR got to it and attempted to spin the policy once it became unpopular as "a glitch": http://snipurl.com/fvlnk & [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] Tue 14 Apr 2009 19:38:40 GMT+1 racheinderbys http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=82#comment42 You said:"First of all, that it's a bit of a nightmare being an online retailer. If WH Smith or Waterstone's decided to put gay literature on more obscure shelves (remember - the books weren't banned, just made harder to find) would anyone have made a fuss - or even noticed?"I couldn't disagree with you more here. This is not putting them on more obscure shelves, it is putting them behind the counter with the porn. It is not just books with gay themes but also those discussing sex and disability. It is not just fiction but also non-fiction. Not just books of no particular interest for children but books actually written for teenagers and children.Also medical textbooks. If any big chain (if they still exist, don't have any of them here in rural Derbyshire) filed all these behind the counter with the porn and only handed them out if you asked for them specifically by title and author I think there would, rightly, be complaints. Tue 14 Apr 2009 16:44:32 GMT+1 thomas betham http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=80#comment41 When I browse through the Amazon gay interest section they target me with ads, or sponsored links as they call them. This is what appeared today - Find gay singles in your area. Browse by age and location – with a clickable link.I would imagine that this crass subjective decision, with blatant overtones of homophobia in its application, has upset a lot of advertisers as well as customers. Tue 14 Apr 2009 16:31:18 GMT+1 A2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=78#comment40 A few things:Waterstones is NOT owned by Amazon. As mentioned before, Amazon used to host and manage their website but that service stopped years ago.Amazon DOES NOT censor any articles unless deemed illegal in the country of sale (if they wanted to censor anything, wouldn't it be easier not to stock it and mark it as 'unavailable'? do you think they would willingly hold stock of something they don't want to sell?)Amazon does delete ratings on articles BUT ONLY when 1.- The item has not been released and therefore the ranking cannot be based on real purchase/use expereince (like 'I don't think this game is going to be any good') 2.- The rating has been done by the author itself, which drove Amazon a couple of years ago to delete a mass number of ratings discovered to have been made by the authors themselves!Those who think Amazon has a monopoly or an obligation to have everything for sale. I don't think so, they stock what they know can sell, they don't have to stock everything just for the sake of it; if you don't find what you are looking for, look somewhere else... but be assured that if many people search for the same thing in their site, they'll be looking to stock it ASAP, stupid they are not. Tue 14 Apr 2009 15:52:01 GMT+1 Elettaria http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=76#comment39 Debunking at http://bryant.livejournal.com/672165.html. Tue 14 Apr 2009 15:15:30 GMT+1 malcolm_reynolds http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=74#comment38 @alli_y - according to that blog he says amazon have removed customer reporting of books, so the code he offers site would work as such now. The link gathering code still works, there is now a video of someone doing it.Anyone got a link to this guy being debunked? Apart from, admittedly, his mysterious friend who runs top 1000 websites (if true he could no doubt be tracked down by amazon looking through their logs), it all still seems pretty plausible to me. Tue 14 Apr 2009 14:27:51 GMT+1 rabidFruitFly http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=72#comment37 Although I am not a lawyer, I believe that Blue_Blood1 is incorrect. Under UK law, it is illegal for any business to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services. Amazon.uk do not have the choice about obeying this law. Tue 14 Apr 2009 13:34:23 GMT+1 EmmaCollingwood http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=70#comment36 @ Jon Freeman:I don't know if that is true but.. Going by that description (which does not seem to me to indicate a homophobic policy on the part of Amazon, hacker or pressure group).I was talking about text books with GLBT content, so yes, it absolutely looks like homophobia to me. Especially seeing how the first two books on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com offered when looking for the term "homosexuality" were works like "A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality".Is it really that difficult to understand why people were worried? And still are? Tue 14 Apr 2009 13:16:53 GMT+1 Chris http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=68#comment35 @ U3316594 No. 17I am neither a 'closet homophobe' nor would I be pleased to only have (what you call) 'clean' literature on sale.I merely said if Amazon chose to do this (which they didn't) then it is their choice, as the way they catalogue their site is up to them.If people don't like it, they have the right and ability to take their business elsewhere. Tue 14 Apr 2009 13:12:39 GMT+1 IRcutekitten http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=66#comment34 It's not the first, and won't be the last problem with Amazon removing things. A few months ago, they removed hundreds of reviews on "Spore", as almost all were giving the game a 1-star rating on its release. By keeping only a few positive reviews, they gave the game a MUCH higher rating than it would have got otherwise. The lesson? They are Amazon's servers. They make the rules. They can do anything they want with them. That includes blatantly obvious mass censorship, and manipulating search results to sell certain products. Tue 14 Apr 2009 12:47:37 GMT+1 Jon Freeman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=64#comment33 All other issues aside, the fact that text books and scientific texts were concerned as well due to (non-existing) "adult content" alarmed me. Text books. You know - those things you need to study. The BBC readers will hopefully forgive me for finding this a bit disturbing,I don't know if that is true but.. Going by that description (which does not seem to me to indicate a homophobic policy on the part of Amazon, hacker or pressure group).I would be more disturbed that it should be seen as a homophobic issue by some than I would the issue of lack of availability/difficulty in finding some books. Tue 14 Apr 2009 12:47:27 GMT+1 alli_y http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=62#comment32 "The person behind this attack has already owned up and revealed how he did it.http://community.livejournal.com/brutal_honesty/3168992.html explains the attack and the purpose - essentially for the hell of it. Amazon are culpable only in that their security model was weak to this attack - but frankly I would imagine many sites of this magnitude would be similarly vulnerable if anyone put their mind to it."That's already been linked by Rory. Actually, a few people have tried that code and found it doesn't work. Most likely it was done by someone just hoping to stir up trouble. Just for the hell of it.That said, if a flaw in Amazon's system had been manipulated or hacked, I wonder if Amazon would own up to it. After all, they are responsible or holding millions of peoples' bank details. Would people trust them if they found their "secure system" was so easy to play? Tue 14 Apr 2009 12:40:11 GMT+1 vashtan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=60#comment31 @malcolm_reynolds:That "hacker" has been debunked as a troll. He didn't do it. Tue 14 Apr 2009 12:39:57 GMT+1 mogwaipr http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=58#comment30 All Amazon had to do was put a flag in the membership preferences if they wanted to include the Adult/Adult Gay menu by checkmarks.No need to form an issue. Tue 14 Apr 2009 12:35:13 GMT+1 malcolm_reynolds http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=56#comment29 The person behind this attack has already owned up and revealed how he did it.http://community.livejournal.com/brutal_honesty/3168992.html explains the attack and the purpose - essentially for the hell of it. Amazon are culpable only in that their security model was weak to this attack - but frankly I would imagine many sites of this magnitude would be similarly vulnerable if anyone put their mind to it. Tue 14 Apr 2009 12:16:35 GMT+1 Chlobr http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=54#comment28 In answer to "If WH Smith or Waterstone's decided to put gay literature on more obscure shelves (remember - the books weren't banned, just made harder to find) would anyone have made a fuss - or even noticed?"I can say from personal experience of working for a major bookseller in the UK (when we moved such stock simply because it just wasn't selling well anymore) that, yes, yes they would. Tue 14 Apr 2009 12:14:00 GMT+1 EmmaCollingwood http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=52#comment27 From "amazonfail" to the treatment of its employees - year after year, I order less from Amazon, simply because I'm not comfortable anymore giving them my money.I'm an author myself, but don't sell through Amazon. All other issues aside, the fact that text books and scientific texts were concerned as well due to (non-existing) "adult content" alarmed me. Text books. You know - those things you need to study. The BBC readers will hopefully forgive me for finding this a bit disturbing, aren't you usually the first in line when it comes to complain about the rotten state of education in this country?I have to give some of the bloggers of both this blog and the readers of HYS credit though: whenever I suffer from writer's block while writing a homophobic character, I surf on here and find plenty of inspiration... Tue 14 Apr 2009 12:11:43 GMT+1 ChrisM http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=50#comment26 The fact that this happened over the Easter weekend (mostly) got peoples suspicions up. It wouldn't be the first time the religious right has attacked the gay community on a religious day.So it seems it was a 'mistake', well even so im willing top bet a human hand, authorised or not, was behind it. Tue 14 Apr 2009 11:54:59 GMT+1 David http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=49#comment25 Would that be the same "company that prides itself on offering complete selection" that quietly removes the BUY button from books where the publisher doesn't allow them to call the shots and purchase stock at the rock-bottom price they demand? Tue 14 Apr 2009 11:52:15 GMT+1 FrankyB http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=47#comment24 Amazon used to do the online content for Waterstones - I remember the online webpages saying "powered by Amazon" - but this is no longer the case.Waterstones relaunched its webpages completely independently of Amazon and no longer has any ties to the mega-corp of that name. Tue 14 Apr 2009 11:36:29 GMT+1 U8534899 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=45#comment23 The point that Mark was attempting to make was that his book "The Filly" is a YA (young adult) book with gay protagonists. Amazon, by removing his ratings and the ability to find it by search, had made it almost impossible to find -- and worse, had deemed it unsuitable for its target audience! enough to make one's head explode.Amazon USA have now replaced the rankings, but I'm still in contact with Amazon UK as they have not. Tue 14 Apr 2009 11:19:39 GMT+1 Toumai http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=43#comment22 If such a block happened because of perceived outside (or inside) pressure then we should be concerned. By all means campaign to discourage readers from chosing a particular book or genre but do it openly with reasons, not a blanket banishment. Recently, Waterstones cancelled a book launch for Patrick Jones's new poetry collection because of threats: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7725790.stmIt reminds me of the woman who told me how much she hated "His Dark Materials" and it should be banned despite her not ever having read it. Tue 14 Apr 2009 11:10:08 GMT+1 vashtan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=41#comment21 Rory,thank you for your even-handed coverage. It's nice not to be defamed as a "rabid Internet mob". As the one who compiled that list on meta_writer (until it got to big and had to compile itself), it wasn't "American bloggers", but a really international, English-speaking bunch. I think the focus was at first on English (British) writers. Kind regards,Vashtan Tue 14 Apr 2009 11:01:55 GMT+1 alli_y http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=39#comment20 Amazon has much more of a Monopoly than people realise. Many book stores, Waterstones included, get their stock from Amazon rather than directly from publishers in addition to public and private school libraries. As a consequence, not being able to view any book on searches and bestseller lists seriously damages that book's publicity, it simply won't be noticed and therefore not bought. And private company or not, being so large means that Amazon is very much in the public eye. Anything that remotely resembles censorship, whether it actually was or not, is going to cause uproar as a natural consequence.I should also point out that is wasn't just books dealing with homosexuality that where removed. There were books dealing with sexuality of disabled individuals and a book written to dissuade teenagers from committing suicide, amongst others. Tue 14 Apr 2009 10:33:29 GMT+1 deshepherd http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=37#comment19 A blogger claimed that Amazon had been "gamed" ... if so it wouldn't have been the first time. Several years ago someone spent some time constructing sufficient browsing history so that various gay titles came up as the choices in the "people who looked for this also looked at" list on a selection of books by right-wing Christian authors Tue 14 Apr 2009 10:30:32 GMT+1 Elettaria http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=35#comment18 You've missed one of the key points. Books on various topics - queer themes, feminism, rape prevention - were listed as "adult" and deranked. But actual pornography and sex toys weren't. This looked like deliberate targeting."If WH Smith or Waterstone's decided to put gay literature on more obscure shelves (remember - the books weren't banned, just made harder to find) would anyone have made a fuss - or even noticed?"Waterstone's has already done this. I remember a few years ago, fiction was arbitrarily filtered into mainstream (given pride of place) and gay/lesbian (put in a small niche at the back of the bookshop, or on the same gondola display as the pornography). As a young woman, I didn't feel comfortable being surrounded by men browsing pornography, so I moved away in embarrassment. It may still be the same, I've not been in their shops for a few years due to developing a visual impairment.There was also a problem the other year with Calibre, an audiobook service for the visually impaired, flagging up some of their audiobooks with a warning that they contained "homosexual content" or "homosexual scenes" (including books with no sexual content). When I contacted them to point out that this was offensive, I got vague excuses (elderly conservative readership; couldn't be bothered to rewrite the notes in their catalogue) followed by a member of staff hotly explaining that those warnings were there because people needed to be warned about such matters. At no point did they acknowledge that what they'd done was offensive, and they still haven't removed all the warnings. I avoided their service in disgust and went for the RNIB's audiobook service, which is rather bizarrely organised but at least shows no signs of homophobia. Tue 14 Apr 2009 10:25:18 GMT+1 Jon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=33#comment17 I think Hanlon's Razor applies here - "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." Tue 14 Apr 2009 10:20:14 GMT+1 U3316594 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=31#comment16 This post has been Removed Tue 14 Apr 2009 10:18:42 GMT+1 harpy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=29#comment15 Surely Waterstones isn't owned by Amazon as stated further up this thread. Their web site says they're part of the HMV group. Tue 14 Apr 2009 10:15:23 GMT+1 thomas betham http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=27#comment14 This kind of censorship means that Amazon?s rankings simply can?t be trusted.It also appears to be a policy which in practice discriminates against a section of the community and could soon be unlawful in the UK.On Monday 30th April parts 2 of the Equality Act 2006 comes into force as do the Sexual Orientation Regulations which will make it illegal for businesses and services to discriminate against people because of their religion or their sexual orientation. Tue 14 Apr 2009 10:04:36 GMT+1 mark http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=25#comment13 The analogy to real life stores is rather poor, since searches on an online site are rather essential, and have no comparison to real life stores.A better analogy would be if Waterstones still stocked the books, but had them removed from the shelves, and only sold them if you asked for them. And if people found out they were doing that, yes I hope there would be outrage."If Amazon want to de-list anything, it is their choice, because it is their list, they are a private company and can do what they want with it."And what if they did that in response to "rabid" people who call for search results to be hidden? In that case, it's fair game to complain in response.If instead it's just a glitch, then complaining results in them fixing the issue (as has now happened). It seems therefore they were right to complain."If the rabid bloggers and Twitterers (including many who probably don't shop at Amazon, and were probably just jumping on a bandwagon)"As opposed to rabid commenters who just jump on a bandwagon here? Right. Of course it's so much easier just to sit in your armchair and complain in the comments section of a blog, even though you have no evidence for your claims."Will I listen to either? No, I believe a private company can do what it wants with it's catalogue, and I'm not going to listen these bloggers or campaigners who are only interested in pushing their own agenda."The only ones pushing an agenda are those who scream "Think of the Children!" My experience is that pro-censorship lobbyists tend to have more power and influence, and often work as organisations. Examples like this show that perhaps this can change through use of the Internet, allowing individuals more chance to have a voice. Tue 14 Apr 2009 09:51:25 GMT+1 happyTiasmith http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=23#comment12 This post has been Removed Tue 14 Apr 2009 09:40:55 GMT+1 gaytoz http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=21#comment11 The lumping of all LGBT things into the 'adult' category is common. It also happens to LGBT web sites, which are sometimes blocked by library computer firewalls, and emails blocked by over-zealous spam filters.I know we've been trying to assimilate, but I for one wish we could appreciate the services the LGBT community has already created for itself. For example, the 'Gay's The Word' bookshop. Tue 14 Apr 2009 09:39:48 GMT+1 Dougie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=19#comment10 Google has safesearch (with three choices) which I have set to "Do not filter my search results". Folks who are overly sensitive can remove results that they dislike or disapprove of based on Google's hidden filter definitions.Amazon should introduce an equivalent profile switch. I don't want any search on any website censored if the censorship isn't in my control. Tue 14 Apr 2009 09:28:15 GMT+1 Jon Freeman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=17#comment9 "Amazon is the closest thing there is to a monopoly in book sales. As such, it becomes more than a private company, and gains a responsibility to respect freedom of speech."I disagree. If it did decide to close the door on one area, it merely opens a new door for another company. Tue 14 Apr 2009 09:28:02 GMT+1 DKAlbion http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=15#comment8 firebird2100 seems to be unaware that Waterstones is actually owned by Amazon. It used to be be an excellent book store, but since it's takeover has merely become an Amazon clone and offers this reader at least no alternative choice at all. Tue 14 Apr 2009 09:27:10 GMT+1 firebird2110 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=13#comment7 Ikarus is wrong, Amazon is far from a monopoly. If you don't like their service you have plenty of alternatives, you just need to make the small effort to use them. I'm a customer of Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk but I also regularly buy books from Waterstones, Alibris and The Book People. Tue 14 Apr 2009 09:11:14 GMT+1 racheinderbys http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=11#comment6 Amazon.co.uk was affected. "Maurice" was unranked in at least one of its editions. The key was that all books tagged as "gay and lesbian" we unranked. So different editions of the same book were not affected if they were listed as "fiction" instead. The same happens to books on sexuality and disability - if listed under "sex" they are unranked, but under "disability" they are there. It does matter if books are unranked. They do not turn up in searches (at least not on the first page) and remember this includes a lot of nonfiction and a lot of fiction for children and teens. These books are _far_ from "adult".I lean more to the cock-up rather than the conspiracy theory, but the fact that it happened, and Amazon's (lack of) response are unfortunate to say the least. Tue 14 Apr 2009 08:41:25 GMT+1 Ikarus http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=9#comment5 Blue_Blood1 is dead wrong.Amazon is the closest thing there is to a monopoly in book sales. As such, it becomes more than a private company, and gains a responsibility to respect freedom of speech. A bookseller (or library) who is willing to censor its stock in any way is committing a fundamental betrayal of their purpose. One would expect that from a "Christian Bookshop" next to a church (one reason why I would never willingly enter such an establishment), but not from a global online retailer. I could have sworn Amazon used "banned books week" as promotional tool for some books, rendering the current scandal all the more hypocritical.Amazon taking steps to censor books in the US is similarly abhorrent to Google censoring searches in China. Google, at least, has the excuse of adhering to local laws. What excuse does Amazon have? "It was just an 'error' that we would never have corrected if people hadn't kicked up a fuss"? Tue 14 Apr 2009 08:40:58 GMT+1 llturro http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=7#comment4 This post has been Removed Tue 14 Apr 2009 08:40:55 GMT+1 Simon_Bradshaw http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=5#comment3 Although this was certainly cock-up rather than conspiracy (tech blogger Simon Bisson gives a very good explanation of the issues at http://sbisson.livejournal.com/927640.html) it's still very embarrassing for Amazon. If one programming error caused all this, and made it as hard to fix as now seems, it casts doubt on the reliability and robustness of Amazon's stock database - hardly good news for the world's leading brand in online sales! Tue 14 Apr 2009 08:30:44 GMT+1 Jordan D http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=3#comment2 Blue_blood1 has got it spot on.Plus if all these people who keep claiming that they are going to boycott Amazon do so, then my service will improve.A ham fisted error rather than some consipracy - not that that is going to quieten the issue. Tue 14 Apr 2009 08:10:11 GMT+1 Andy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=1#comment1 The email you received was a canned response that anybody gets when they send a question on the situation.The fact of the matter is Amazon has made no official response. There's nothing on their front page, nothing in their onsite blog, nothing in the mainstream media. The silence is damning and every hour they don't respond just gets them in deeper. Tue 14 Apr 2009 08:09:09 GMT+1 Chris http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/04/the_amazon_firestorm.html?page=0#comment0 If Amazon want to de-list anything, it is their choice, because it is their list, they are a private company and can do what they want with it.If the rabid bloggers and Twitterers (including many who probably don't shop at Amazon, and were probably just jumping on a bandwagon) want to start a campaign against Amazon for doing so then that is their right as well.Will I listen to either? No, I believe a private company can do what it wants with it's catalogue, and I'm not going to listen these bloggers or campaigners who are only interested in pushing their own agenda. Tue 14 Apr 2009 07:56:37 GMT+1