Meg's Blog

Amazon Fail Sunday*

I finally finished the book I’ve been working on (Allie Finkle #5, Birthday Bash), and I slept till noon today! I had breakfast for lunch and I’ll probably have lunch for dinner, and now I have to get started on the next book (Airhead #3) I have due. It’s all just crazy.

But not as crazy as what went on this weekend during the great Easter Amazon Fail, whereby it was discovered that someone—or more likely, a metafilter—at Amazon has been de-ranking books with “adult” themes.

So Twitter (and the Internet) did what they are supposed to do: went to work exposing the fact that books like Ellen Degeneres’s biography, classics like EM Forster’s Maurice, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and many books with gay and feminist themes (but not books with heterosexual male-oriented themes, such as Ron Jeremy, the Hardest Working Man In Show Business), were no longer to be found in Amazon’s search engines, unless you tried really, really hard.

So the “we have a new policy of no longer ranking books with adult themes” explanation, offered by Amazon to one author last February, when this first started happening, made no sense.

It was more like, “all books the Church Lady complained about” were de-ranked.

The Church Lady does not approve of your book! It is de-ranked from Amazon!

When your book is “de-ranked” it means it will no longer show up in the Amazon search engine when someone looks for it, or does a general search for its topic. Nor will it show up on bestseller lists, or show how well your book is selling on Amazon (something all of us authors are DESPERATE to know at all times, and why most of us are in therapy and also on anti-depressants. But don’t worry about us, we’re just fine. No, really, WE’RE FINE!!!!).

Because of this “glitch,” as Amazon later called it (apparently back-pedaling on the “new policy” explanation), and as Just Jared pointed out, if you entered the word “homosexuality” into Amazon’s search engine this weekend, the first books to come up were parenting books explaining how to “prevent” homosexuality.

Silly Easter rabbits! Obviously homosexuality cannot be prevented, anymore than heterosexuality can. Can you imagine if you were a boy-crazy thirteen year old girl, and your parents tried to “prevent” you from liking boys? HA HA HA!

Don’t worry! The Church Lady is making it so you only see the books SHE wants you to see on Amazon!

Though it should never have happened at all, Amazon did get right to work on the problem today (whatever it was that happened, be it a “new policy” or a “glitch”). I have seen the rankings of some of the books restored already (as of this writing, however, the homosexuality thing was still showing mostly only “healing” and “prevention” books).

There are many theories as to what went wrong (it was not, however, a “hacker,” no matter what anyone is saying. The “new policy” statement received from Amazon by the author this happened to last February proves that. So shut up please, hackers trying to take credit for this. We know it wasn’t you).

It would be nice if Amazon would just tell us what did happen, and also apologize. Neil Gaiman put it best in his Amazon Fail Sunday blog.

The Church Lady says: “It’s okay to read instructional dog-fighting manuals with super violent content! Just not books about people with two mommies. I had those de-ranked.”

I am exhausted just from following the whole thing (as mentioned earlier…I slept till noon! Part of that was the book I just finished writing though. Also watching my new favorite show, The #1 Ladies Detective Agency. Also staying up till 1AM reading Tweets about this. Also the Ambien I accidentally took at 6 in the morning. It was dark out! I thought it was 2AM!).

Mainly, I want whoever did the Amazon thing to change it so that next time, the real names of everyone who has written one star anonymous reviews are revealed! I don’t think this is too much to ask. Hey, a few years ago, at Amazon Canada, a “glitch” in the system caused this to happen, and we got to see the real names of all the reviewers! It was shocking how many of the one-star reviews were actually written by best-selling authors, stabbing one another in the back!

I would LOVE to see something like that happen at Amazon US.

But then as was established last week… I am a little bit of a trash-talker.

I’m working on trying to be a better person, though. I am!

Just not the kind Church Ladies approve of.

Shame on you, Meg Cabot!

More later.

Much love,


*Added Later: And…now Amazon has issued an explanation (see sorryamazon).