Over this past weekend a
glitch caused 57,310 books, primarily those with gay and lesbian themes, to lose their important sales ranking on Amazon. The sales ranking, which allows users of Amazon to find best sellers easier, is important not only to potential readers but to authors as well. And, while according to Amazon it was “an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error” that caused the removal, a hacker is taking credit as well.
While Amazon maintains that the error was caused by a “glitch in our systems,” a (yet unnamed) hacker took credit for it, claiming that he used bugs on Amazon to trick people into flagging gay-themed books as inappropriate. The whole issue even caught the attention of Twitter users, who began using the hash tag “#amazonfail.”
Though, according to Mark R. Probst, author of “The Filly,” a gay western romance aimed at young adults, “I believe it was an error. I don’t think it was anything malicious they were trying to do.”
However, others aren’t so easily convinced. Author Daniel Mendelsohn, whose memoir “The Elusive Embrace” lost its ranking, says, “There are mistakes and there are mistakes. At some point in this process, which I don’t understand because I’m not a computer genius, the words gay and lesbian were clearly flagged, as well as some kind of porno tag. I say, do I want my book in anyone’s mind to be equivalent to a porno? And the answer is no.”
Image Credit: Amazon.com