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stevene9 said:
I'm just curious if they are handling the DVD of Brokeback Mountain the same way?
The DVD of Brokeback Mountain still has a sales ranking. The book, Brokeback Mountain: From Story to Screenplay, does not.

L
 

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How about the short story collection it originally came out in?  I'll try and research and see.  Mainly because I wonder if they are doing it manually, in which case this collection should be  classified the same, or if somehow it is a computer algorithm.
 

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Red said:
How about the short story collection it originally came out in? I'll try and research and see. Mainly because I wonder if they are doing it manually, in which case this collection should be classified the same, or if somehow it is a computer algorithm.
Brokeback Mountain was included in Close Range, which still does have a ranking.

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If the collection still has ranking it makes me wonder if they are taking books the publishers are flagging with this genre and then some computer algorithm is doing it from there.  Which is still Amazons version of censoring, IMO, which bothers me.  Don't know why I feel the need to figure it out, except that it is inconsistent.
 

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Here is an analysis of metadata that shows, among other things, why some editions were spared.

http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2009/04/12/amazon-possibly-using-category-metadata-to-filter-rankings/

From the blog post:

Thus, as a "glitch" it was a remarkably targeted one that seems to support the emails that Mark Probst and Craig Seymour received from Amazon which was gay and lesbian works were deemed "adult" content regardless of actual content. This evidence appears to indicate that it isn't so much a glitch but a specific policy. The question is then who implemented the policy of marking GLBT books as adult and who knew of the implementation? What kind of supervisory person signed off on it?

An example given was the John Barrowman book, Anything Goes. The edition with no mention of "gay" is still ranked and the one listed as Gay & Lesbian is stripped of rank.
 

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Well it may be a very targeted glitch, but glitch can also mean "parting shot from employee on his/her way out the door" or "employee with personal agenda (who is now on his/her way out the door)".  If a peeved/crusading programmer decided to set up his/her own rules for the program it might takes months for the results to be seen and ferreted out.  It seems a bit haphazard to be a new policy.  With computers auto-generating letters and CSR's reading scripts to answer questions it wouldn't actually take that much to make it look like "official" Amazon policy for a few weeks.

I did tell Amazon I was against this, but I didn't make any threats of boycotting, etc.  I think they are getting enough press over this it will be fixed pretty soon. 

Lara Amber 
 

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LaraAmber said:
Well it may be a very targeted glitch, but glitch can also mean "parting shot from employee on his/her way out the door" or "employee with personal agenda (who is now on his/her way out the door)". If a peeved/crusading programmer decided to set up his/her own rules for the program it might takes months for the results to be seen and ferreted out. It seems a bit haphazard to be a new policy. With computers auto-generating letters and CSR's reading scripts to answer questions it wouldn't actually take that much to make it look like "official" Amazon policy for a few weeks.

Lara Amber
Before they called it a gitch, they were calling it a policy. The email sent to Mark Probst:

In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.

Best regards,

Ashlyn D
Member Services
Amazon.com Advantage


I buy that it was a glitch in the sense that they didn't mean it to work the way that it did, but emails like the above negate it being solely a disgruntled employee. Also, somehow gay became synonymous with adult, no matter how tame the book. So, okay, I buy that someone misinterpreted something...maybe.

But that doesn't completely fix anything. If we hadn't noticed, if it hadn't targeted some of the wrong books, is there a scenario where it's okay to suppress results? To put books and authors at a disadvantage? Why should any of these books be weighted differently?
 

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Rankings have been reinstated on False Colors, Transgressions, and The Filly. False Colors shows up as no. 1 on the gay & lesbian list, no. 24 on historical, which is pretty good. At least three books have had the glitch fixed.

The print version of L. A. Mischief, also published by Mark's company, Cheyenne Publishing, doesn't have its ranking back. On Thursday, before all this started, it was no. 41 on the gay & lesbian list.

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Leslie said:
I wonder if Ashlyn still has a job this morning?

L
I hope so. I don't think she really did anything wrong. If it became a cat that was not supposed to be let out of the bag, it wasn't that when she sent the email. She couldn't have seen the storm clouds in the distance on this one. I mean, there isn't any evidence that she shouldn't have typed it at that point. In fact, there was no other explanation she could have offered at that point.

If you do something that a company is okay with and in full compliance with their rules, I don't think it should be able to come back and bite you in the patootie.
 

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Only 10% of the books in the "gay and lesbian" section have ranking, and none in the erotica section. The 10% in "G&L" seem to anti-gay christian (or other religious) books.
 

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There is so much info to read through. It's overwhelming! I do hope they fix it soon.

It sounds to me like the problem started long ago when they lumped all GLBT books in the "Adult" category regardless of content. Now suddenly they are de-ranking that category and all the books that have been in there are being de-ranked as well... is that right? So the problem started long ago when they lumped regular books with a GLBT character, or books to help a teenager come out, or WHATEVER in with the erotic books (GLBT or otherwise).

I tend to be an optimist- I HOPE it was just some oversight, or that they get enough flack that they fix it fast.

 

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I'm sorry if all my links have added to the overwhelming feeling. I've actually held back quite a bit. There's a lot of info out there.

***
As of about an hour ago:
AMZN stock down -1.79% with loss of $1.43 since opening bell.
 

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Leslie said:
Please keep posting the links, Michelle. I'm trying hard to stay on top of this.

Did anyone post the link to the online petition?

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/in-protest-at-amazons-new-adult-policy
I posted it, but it probably go lost in the shuffle.

This sums up much of my theory:
http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/011173.html

Except sex toys are still ranked.

I've been posting so many places, that I can't keep track of what I typed where. I did go ahead and cancel some pre-orders until this is resolved.

Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, says in a statement: "GLAAD has reached out to Amazon.com and they indicate this was an error, so we expect to start seeing evidence of its correction immediately, and any loss of visibility of gay-themed books as a result of this error will be made right by Amazon … When people learn about the lives of gay and transgender people and the common ground we share, the culture changes and advances. It is so important that stories about the lives of our community are available, and that companies like Amazon promote these titles in an equal fashion."
 
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