I’m gonna make this a quick summation for those that are wondering what the fuck this #amazonfail tag is on Twitter.

The short and sweet, from the WSJ

Amazon.com Inc. is facing criticism from authors of books with gay themes who say the e-commerce site deleted the sales rankings of their titles.

By midday Monday, the rankings of many books that had been missing in recent days, including titles by E. M. Forster and Gore Vidal, began to be restored.

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The Associated Press on Sunday quoted a company spokeswoman blaming the problem on a technical “glitch” that it was fixing. But at least one author says Amazon told him the problem stemmed from a reclassification of the books as adult.

Amazon’s canned response to a writer wondering where the fuck his books went:

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

The author in question’s book was classified as “Young Adult” by Amazon until they pulled it down. (Ok, it was a gay romance novel, but one targeted at teens. It wasn’t porn.)

Which is interesting, because that writer points out:

if they are really going to try and exclude so-called “adult” material, then how come this has an Amazon ranking?

The problem here is that Amazon used a blunderbuss method to try and fix their search engine, which as Neil Gaiman points out, is unpredictable at best:

I mean, a week ago, a search for “Girl Scout Cookie” on Amazon.com produced sexy costumes, speculums, wolf urine and a Morgan Freeman biography as a result. Now the speculums and Morgan Freeman biography have vanished (although the wolf urine is still there).

Amazon has gotten so big and diverse that they can’t help but stumble over themselves, and when they went to try to clean up their content, they probably used a half-ass search filter that chunked everything that had too many “adult” incoming links or content tags. The net was so huge that it drug a lot of stuff down with it like Brokeback Mountain, for example.

Of course, it didn’t help that they immediately dropped the “glitch” line on the bloggers with torches and pitchforks. That line didn’t ring true when they used it to describe what happened to bad reviews of Spore last year. And it rings less true now. This was just sheer negligence on their part.

Which in a way, I can forgive them for. If my future accident child is searching for My Little Pony, I don’t want the little fruit coming across The Filly. I mean, the kid needs to figure that it out on their own.

Plus, it was EASTER FUCKING SUNDAY. Half this country was getting drunk trying to ignore the other half that got dressed up, went to church and made weird noises in honor of some Jewish zombie.

I think we need to worry more about a nation where our fellow people are worshiping a circumcized zombie and not crucify Amazon for what is probably just a shit coding job.

(You see what I did there, right?)