Over the weekend, you might have noticed steam pouring out of Twitter and the blogosphere as Amazon customers reacted furiously to the news that the bookselling colossus seemed to be censoring gay and lesbian content from its bestseller lists and search algorithms.
An early response from customer service seemed to indicate that this was a policy change of some sort – that gay and lesbian content had been recategorized as ‘adult’, and therefore hidden from many parts of the site. A company statement later referred to the problem as a ‘glitch’.
But what really happened, claims an anonymous Amazon employee, was simply human error from an employee in France. He had filled out a field incorrectly in the database and 57,000 items were suddenly tagged as “adult”.
Poor Amazon employees were called back from their Easter break and worked on the issue until midnight on Easter Sunday, when it was handed over to the international team. I imagine there’s a certain French staffer who’s on the receiving end of an awful lot of angry emails today.
In the meantime, let’s have a little calm when this sort of thing happens in the future, shall we? Innocent before proven guilty, and all that?
Microsoft today announced plans to extend the services offered on Xbox live, pushing the console even further from being a pure games machine to include movies too. There’s also plenty of content for existing games, and a gameshow.
Starting with the movies, Microsoft has done a deal with NBC Universal, which means that a limited selection of films will be offered for people to buy using Microsoft points, in both standard and high definition. Average price is £3 – £5, depending on which format you want, and how new the film is.
Then there’s a selection of bonus content for a variety of games. More content for Gears of War 2, Grand Theft Auto IV, Fallout 3, Tomb Raider, Fable 2, Lips, Rock Band, Guitar Hero World Tour and Scene It will be available, all of which will be exclusive to the Xbox 360 platform.
Lastly, there’s going to be some sort of weird quiz show thing called 1 vs 100. Over to Microsoft to explain it: “a completely exclusive, completely interactive television quiz show game giving gamers the chance to compete against each other and win real prizes”. Is anyone even remotely excited about that?
Overall, it’s a decent upgrade to the system and a ‘thankyou’ to owners, but I don’t think it’s going to be selling any new consoles over this. Especially when the company is banning people who identify themselves as a lesbian.
However, singer Tila Tequila is leveraging her huge MySpace popularity (two million friends and counting) to launch… a bisexual dating show on MTV. Well, I guess that qualifies as playing to your audience. Tila puts it best on her blog: