As we reported earlier today, Amazon has been removing GLBT related books from its sales pages on the grounds that they are “adult content” even when they aren’t.
Amazon is now denying that they are banning gay books from their sales lists, saying instead that the removal of GLBT material is a “glitch.” As I noted on Twitter, since when could a “glitch” be homophobic. There’s also a problem with what can best be described as an attempt to paper over a PR nightmare: Amazon has already told at least one author it wasn’t a glitch but a policy decision. So far, nobody believes the glitch story, even if it turns out to be somehow true.
PR disasters on a Sunday are always a little rough, and no doubt that the Amazon PR team has been caught off-guard. They’ll no doubt try to spin a better story in the coming days to explain their homophobic “glitch,” but it may be too late.
Twitter is already being flooded with people calling for Amazon boycotts and users who have canceled existing orders, and others who have sworn to close their Amazon accounts for good.
Angry Twitter users alone may not account for millions in lost sales, but it’s the seed of something much larger. Every angry Twitter user will tell their friends that Amazon is homophobic. And they’ll tell their friends….and before you know it Amazon will lose tens of thousands of customers, maybe even more. Even if Amazon spins their heart out now, the damage has already been done, and there will be no stopping lost orders; the only possibility is to mitigate the flood.
A stretch? well, so is calling this thing a “glitch” when it’s pretty clear that GLBT content has been targeted. We may have just seen a company crucified on Twitter (appropriate given it’s Easter Sunday) and #AmazonFail will go down with Dell (Dell-Hell) in the history books of companies that did the wrong thing, and were damaged by social media.
I’d be selling AMZN stock when the NASDAQ opens Monday morning US EDT if you hold any, if not for the hit on sales they’re about to take, but because they were stupid enough to do this in the first place, whether you agree with the politics or not.