Tuesday, 14 April 2009


Twitter ye or Twitter ye not, the likelihood is you will probably have heard of #amazonfail somewhere along the line by now.

While the element that caused the most brouhaha - the random sales de-ranking of GLBT material of all levels of content - has been reversed, and put down to a genuine, if stupid, categorisation error, questions remain.

Is there or isn't there an 'adult material' policy? Several authors were told yes, and there is information going back to August 2008 to back this up. So there is a policy. But what is the policy? Should we not be told? And whatever the policy is, is it applicable only to the UK customer base? Black Lace and other erotica publishers have had their material re-ranked in the US and other territories - but not here. No sex please, we're British? Really?

So I'm scratching my head and waiting for a reply to my email of today from the UK arm of the monop, ahem, company. I hope that publishers are aware of this and voicing their displeasure accordingly.

At least there was some fun to be had amongst the outrage. I did enjoy the SmartBitches Googlebomb, for instance. And cyberactivism is quite exhilarating in its way. It does tend to wreck concentration though.

UPDATE: All Black Lace titles restored to their rightful places at the top of the erotica charts. I can relax and do something productive now, hurrah.


  1. I'm very confused by the whole thing. I hate to stereotype Americans like this, but I've always thought America was a little more...prudish than us. Or at least, a massive section of it is- we have nothing like those hardcore right wing Christian groups over here.

    So what gives, Amazon? What did you say in your email, Justine? I haven't done it yet, but I'm not sure what to say.

  2. I'm confused too, and thinking one of two things:
    1) amazon want to de-rank BL type stuff and are leaving the UK stuff unranked as a precursor to eventually unranking them generally, once the hoo-ha has died down.
    2) they intend to restore the sales ranks on the UK site and continue as before but haven't got round to it yet.

    Obviously, I hope (2). I just asked them if they realised that there was a discrepancy between the listings on other sites and the UK sites, and if so, was it a conscious policy.

    Will I ever get a reply? Hmmm.

  3. Well done to everyone who petitioned, wrote letters and kicked up a fuss. It worked!

  4. I've been really impressed with how quickly and fiercely a force was mobilised. An army of erotica writers would kick some ass (and then write about it)!

  5. I'm hoping Amazon might try and restore faith by doing a massive promotion on dirty books and LGBT texts. Their response has been pretty feeble considering the outrage and upset they caused.

    Nice cover, btw, Justine! I like the knickers on the bed to prove he's not gay. See! That's all it takes - little touches to target the correct readership.

  6. I'm delighted you like my enigmatic Suit Man! I was chuffed with him too.

    As for Amazon, they emailed me earlier to ask if I wanted 52% off the Richard&Judy top ten. Poor effort!

    And I have to say HELLOOOO, thanks for commenting! 'Asking for Trouble' is the first BL book I ever bought, and one of my all time favourites. I've come over all fangirly!