What do I think of Amazon's latest attempt at PR? Not a lot. Judge for yourself. This is Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener speaking to the LA Times at 3: 03 pm 4/13/09:
This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection.
It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles - in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica. This problem impacted books not just in the United States but globally. It affected not just sales rank but also had the effect of removing the books from Amazon's main product search.
Many books have now been fixed and we're in the process of fixing the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future.
They've restored many of the rankings under discussion, including mine. So yay for that. And many thanks to all the Amazon programmers doing the real work, a lot of it on a holiday weekend.
But there's still no apology, and no credible explanation. There's a lot we're not hearing (see, for example, this Seattle P-I article), which makes me very thoughtful. One of the things I'm thinking is that I might use the IndieBound Affiliate Program from now on.
But I'm tired of talking about the pursed-mouthed PR prats at the Behemoth Up the Street. I don't believe a word they say...
...which coincidentally is the name of a song written and performed by Janes Plane many years ago. It was caught for posterity on TV cameras.
Here's a screenshot (yep, taken from the infamous 'Yikes! You look like David Bowie!' series):
And here's the audio:
Not the best thing we ever did (not even close) but, hey, we were all nervous: Live in front of 2,000 people! TV cameras! (We were very young...) Besides, the vague paranoia and fudged internal band communication (no, those bridges really aren't meant to be that long...) seems perfectly appropriate this week.