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Outrage as Amazon removes thousands of gay authored and themed books from sales rankings

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  1. This Amazon thing is a disgrace and I’ve emailed them to say so. But it was also quite shocking to see John Barrowman taking part in Al Murray’s Personality Disorder on ITV this evening alongside the Schwul character. Does Barrowman never know when to turn down work offered to him. Hasn’t he any self-respect. Boycott Amazon and boycott Barrowman, I say.

  2. Nothing but a publicity stunt.

  3. James from Chicago, IL 14 Apr 2009, 7:01am

    Wew’ll see if they fix their ‘glitch’. And it would be nice to see if someone(s) is canned for their bringing their backwards religion to work.

  4. So you guys have no real idea why it happened, yet you automatically assume the worst? nice… As it were, this affected much more than just GLBT books, so your theory on the homophobic amazon is – how should it be said – #fail

  5. A weird ‘glitch in the system’ if it just excluded LGBT books. How would it know? This suggests that they’re all automatically labelled ‘adult’ just because there’s some gay link and this labelling allowed the ‘glitch’ to remove them.
    Reminds me of my local library where I can’t access Pink News because their filter tells me it’s pornographic. In fact, it won’t even let me type ‘gay’ into the search engine.

  6. paul canning 14 Apr 2009, 8:34am

    My take on this: Let amazonfail be a warning http://tinyurl.com/devo2h

  7. Sensibly Common 14 Apr 2009, 9:21am

    It’s quite possible and plausible that it’s something known as a CSRF attack.

    There is some more info here: http://bryant.livejournal.com/672165.html

    So, less of the outrage until we find out what actually happened.

  8. Amazon has got to be stopped. It is killing all its competition. It is undercutting small booksellers and even larger bookshops. It deliberately aims to dominate the marketplace.

    How many of you know that Amazon takes for itself about 70% of the Recommended Retail Price of any book it sells, i.e. paying only 30% of the RRP to the publisher. You might say, “Well, publishers shouldn’t place their books to Amazon then!” But that’s not an option. Amazon dominates the world marketplace. If you don’t sell through Amazon then you don’t sell. Publishers have no option.

    Amazon has got to be stopped.

    Several years ago a major UK newspaper put an undercover journalist into one of Amazon’s dispatch centres and discovered a mass of disgruntled youngsters working in McDonalds-fashion for McDonalds-type wages.

    It was probably one of these kids who unilaterally tweaked the classification system so that anything with a gay tag got eliminated from the sales ranking system.

    Amazon is dangerous. It needs to be controlled.

  9. Eddy: Why is it that sucess is always sneered upon in this country?
    Jeff Bezos spent five years setting up Amazon without a single cent of profit, and since then it has expanded into a massive business. I have nothing but admiration and respect for a company that looks after it’s customers, and it#s staff, (and yes, I know many that work for them, and they all love them) -those “kids” were summer labour used just in the warehouse – They wouldnt be let near a computer.

    Recently there was an outcry that one could buy bloody great hunting knives on eBay, so virtually *every* knife, including silver cutlery was withdrawn. Now you tell me if that was the right thing to do. Gay literature is almost always adult themed, so to save anything untoward slipping through the net, they have labelled it adult across the board. You know damn fine well some apparently innocuous looking book will be full of homosexual smut and end up getting pasted in the teen area, and all the blue-rinse nannies will be having coronaries about it all warping our children’s little minds.

    What’s the big damn hairy deal? So it’s a book company with it’s own ratings system. It’s not like it’s an international standard. Amazon can change whatever they likes if they think it will sell more books, or in this case, avoid the wrath of middle-class Britain.

    Yet another bunch of disaffected screaming queens whinging on about a storm in a Wedgewood teacup.

  10. Simon Murphy 14 Apr 2009, 12:34pm

    RobN – seeing as Amazon is not meant to sell to under 18′s without parental consent I think people have every right to question their motives. If they are only meant to be selling to adults then who decided that gay books were unsuitable?

  11. Sister Mary Clarence 14 Apr 2009, 1:28pm

    Hving seen the expose on Amazon, they’ll never see my custom again. I think to say they have employment practices anything like McDonalds is doing Mcdonalds a bit of a dis-service.

    According to the Sunday Times workers were:

    Warned that the company refuses to allow sick leave, even if the worker has a legitimate doctor’s note. Taking a day off sick, even with a note, results in a penalty point. A worker with six points faces dismissal.
    – Made to work a compulsory 10½hour overnight shift at the end of a five-day week. The overnight shift, which runs from Saturday evening to 5am on Sunday, means they have to work every day of the week.
    – Set quotas for the number of items to be picked or packed in an hour that even a manager described as “ridiculous”. Those packing heavy Xbox games consoles had to pack 140 an hour to reach their target.
    – Set against each other with a bonus scheme that penalises staff if any other member of their group fails to hit the quota.
    – Made to walk up to 14 miles a shift to collect items for packing.
    Given only one break of 15 minutes and another of 20 minutes per eight-hour shift and told they had to notify staff when going to the toilet.

  12. I and all my friends will now be shopping elsewhere, shame on you Amazon you ought to change your name too there are a lot of Amazonian women out here lol!!!

  13. RobN, you really need to wake up, let the scales drop from your eyes. You appear to laud Amazon because it is the massive dominator of the music and book marketplace that it is (as well as, increasingly, dominator in other categories of products as well). Clearly, you laud Amazon because it supplies you with cheap products. You need to start questioning how and why it is supplying you with the products at the cheapest possible prices? You don’t know a sixteenth of the story, RobN. For example, I am quite SURE you have not a inkling of an idea that there is not just one website selling the books and CDs you like, i.e. Amazon.co.uk. No! Amazon.co.uk has at least TWENTY other websites with completely different names saturating the internet marketplace, all of them offering exactly the same products at exactly the same LOW prices. They are all Amazon. But through strategies of this ilk Amazon has a complete and total grip on the marketplace. Their desire is to be THE one single shop in the world. Do you not know that there is besides the twenty-odd mirrors of Amazon in the UK, also a separate Amazon in many other major countries? It’s got a worldwide stranglehold on the market and it’s killing publishers.

    But you don’t care, perhaps, because you are just a buyer, and a buyer who will always buy from whichever seller is selling at the lowest price. You don’t ask ethical questions. You don’t CARE about the ethics of the seller.

  14. “Sister Mary Clarence”, many thanks to you for hooking out the facts below regarding working conditions at Amazon. They are, of course, just part of the disgusting Amazon story.

    “According to the Sunday Times workers were:

    Warned that the company refuses to allow sick leave, even if the worker has a legitimate doctor’s note. Taking a day off sick, even with a note, results in a penalty point. A worker with six points faces dismissal.
    – Made to work a compulsory 10½hour overnight shift at the end of a five-day week. The overnight shift, which runs from Saturday evening to 5am on Sunday, means they have to work every day of the week.
    – Set quotas for the number of items to be picked or packed in an hour that even a manager described as “ridiculous”. Those packing heavy Xbox games consoles had to pack 140 an hour to reach their target.
    – Set against each other with a bonus scheme that penalises staff if any other member of their group fails to hit the quota.
    – Made to walk up to 14 miles a shift to collect items for packing.
    Given only one break of 15 minutes and another of 20 minutes per eight-hour shift and told they had to notify staff when going to the toilet.”

  15. I’ve gone off Amazon ever since my friend looked at listing her new DVD for sale on there – they take 50% for DVD’s. Now that may not be as bad as the 70% they take from publishers, but we are talking about individuals and small business here not just publishing companies. If she sells her DVD’s on Amazon she would not have enough left to even cover the production cost.

  16. Eddy: I don’t laud Amazon for being huge. I laud them because of their business model and the fact they are one of the few surviving companies from the original late 90′s dot.com boom when everyone assumed that internet business worked differently to any other business. As a web developer, I saw many rise, and virtually as many fall in the same period. Amazon was one of the few that did things right, looked after their customers and planned long-term.

    Please don’t treat me like some cretin that you imagine everyone else on here to be. Monopolies often occur because there is insufficient, or poor competition. I am well aware of how large the company is, but like so many others, everyone squeals when the big guys muscle in. But they weren’t always big, and all the other businesses had the opportunity and fight back, but just like music and film companies complain about piracy, they sat on their hands and screwed the public with artificially high prices until other, more shrewd companies came in underneath and cut their legs off.

    I just think you are just a bleating Marxist that wants everyone to give their profits away. There is nothing wrong with capitalism, it’s the way the natural world works. Big fish eat small fish.

  17. RobB, I just ask you to think about things more deeply. Yesterday you stated you thought we should laud Amazon because it was started by a guy from nothing. That’s is nothing of merit! Jesus! Think, man! Hitler bloody well started from nothing. Everything in the entire damn world can claim to have started from nothing. It’s what you work your way TOWARDS that is the determining and important thing. Today you say we should laud Amazon because they have survived. So your criteria as to merit are 1. must start from nothing 2. must become very big 3. must continue to survive. RobN, have you absolutely no awareness whatsoever of the appalling deleterious effects of vast multi-national trans-global trans-national corporations? Are you not aware that the harbours of the Med are choc-a-bloc with vast multi-million-pound super-yachts owned by the rules of these disgusting exploitative empires? What’s your opinion on that “Sir” Fred who has walked away with a 16 million pound pension? Wake up. Get down and apply your mind to some grass-roots politics. Think about the real wisdom of sitting on YOUR hands and simply accepting a world where, as you say, “Big fish eat small fish”. Don’t you see how passive that is? Do you not feel any human compassion for the small fish. Do you despise those who are kept down by “the big fish”.

    No, I don’t imagine you to be a cretin. And I don’t, as you say, imagine everyone writing here to be a cretin. There are some fine and original thinkers writing here.

  18. Eddy: I was right. You ARE a bleating Marxist.
    20 years ago, nobody had heard of Amazon, (or Google, or eBay etc)
    and of course everything starts from nothing, (WTF has Hitler got to do with this?) I did NOT state I respected them because of that. I said it was because of the business model they used, and the methodology in their expansion. Whereas you seem to have this whole attitude that if it’s “Mrs Miggins Olde Pie Shoppe” it’s fine, but if they do well and become “Miggins International” then all of a sudden, they are despicable. Why is it that successful people are always viewed with such bile and consternation by leftie types such as you?

    Capitalism emulates the natural world. Survival of the fittest and all that. Smaller, weaker ones die, and big ones get bigger. (But even then, the mighty can fall, as recent events have demonstrated). It is the way of the world. Socialist politics is all very well on paper, but when it is attempted, it always dissolves back to the “look after number one” scenario. Ask any Labour politician for his expenses account; That says it all.

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