Chaos in the Amazon

By Team Digit Published Date
15 - Apr - 2009
| Last Updated
15 - Apr - 2009
Chaos in the Amazon

Like any event involving homosexuality, a large corporation, and epic failures, this one has raised quite a stir. Recently authors of books concerning topics on homosexuality, noticed that their books had been tagged as 'Adult' material, and had stopped showing up the the search results, and had lost sales rankings.


Now this is more serious than it may sound, especially since most of the books were not of an 'Adult' nature, but were by homosexual authors, or on topics regarding sexuality. Authors thrive on sales ranking, and books which you cant search for, are indeed hard to find.


Amazon has since appropriated the error to a data cataloging error, caused when a person in charge filled a field incorrectly. A lot of skepticism has arisen around this statement due to the inconsistencies found in the books being tagged as 'Adult', and the fact that authors who had notified Amazon of this quite a while back had been told that their book contained 'Adult' material. Another contradictory fact was that books containing explicitly sexual content such as 'American Psycho' weren't affected.


There are conspiracy theories abound and many are claiming that Amazon has an Anti-gay agenda, Twitter is overflowing with messaged tagged as '#AmazonFail'. A person in-fact even claimed to have caused this by hacking Amazon, referring to it as “how to cause moral outrage from the entire Internet in ten lines of code”. Although his claims lie debunked now, as Amazon has claimed responsibility themselves.


The biggest point of concern is that although this error had affected over 50,000 books, Amazon failed to respond in a timely enough manner. Reports of mis-categorizations such as this had been coming in for quite some time, however the authors were merely told that this was due to their books' Adult content.


An important thing to note here is that 'Adult' term here is used as to mean pornographic, or otherwise sexually explicit, a romantic novel involving two gay people is no more pornographic than one involving two heterosexual people. A mere positive reference to alternate sexual orientations is not necessarily pornographic or in-fact even an adult topic. With the controversies surrounding the legality of homosexuality, it is easy to chalk such an error to a 'secret agenda'.


Sometime however one has to look at the facts, an agenda held by a single employee is not necessarily one that the entire company shares. If one means to believe that this is indeed an agenda, Occam's Razor1 would suggest that it was orchestrated by a single employee with an anti-gay agenda, than one by an entire corporation.







1Simply stated: The simpler solution is in most likelihood the correct solution.

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