paleogymnast (paleogymnast) wrote,

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Amazon Rank/Amazon Fail Part Deux

So... Apparently the latest on the lovely Amazon Rank/Amazon Fail debacle is that this isn't a *new* policy (Amazon removing sales ranks from "adult" material), but simply a particularly ham-fisted implementation of an existing policy. See Meta Writer's latest, this Publishers' Weekly update, and Mark Probst's latest for this explanation.

OK, so if this is the "best case" scenario, Amazon has had a policy at least since 2008 saying no sales ranks on adult material, but they never bothered to define "adult" (at least anywhere in the policy) or implement it (considering that playboy, sex toys, and many other things one usually has to go to an "adult" store to find are still receiving sales ranks just fine—don't get me wrong, I don't think it's bad that these are ranked, just pointing out the seeming inconsistency in the purported policy).  But none the less, they're trying to implement it, and no one noticed that however they were writing their algorithm, it had extraordinarily overbroad and under-inclusive results.

That in and of itself isn't very confidence inspiring.  Amazon is a huge retailer that depends on its databases for its existence.  Am I really supposed to believe that they don't have say, a backup on which their database administrators could test such an algorithm to see what it was sweeping in before implementing it (or at the very least, check it after implementing to make sure the results were what they intended)?  Add to that, that if what author Craig Seymour has said is true, then Amazon was on notice back in February that either or both a) their working definition of "adult" was off or b) their algorithm wasn't woking as intended, they took a month to "fix" that with regard to one author and then proceeded along in the same or very similar course of action so that a lot of similar books/authors got swept in?  All that and their communications are somewhat crappy with the damage control?  If this is the result, I'm really not so sure that a combination of laziness, bad planning, and irresponsibility makes me feel any better than blatant, outright homophobia. 

Tags: bloggy
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