This past weekend while most of us were participating in Easter/Resurrection Day events Amazon.com was having an event of its own. Amazon.com removed sales rankings and listing on the main search page for 57 000 of its registered titles, many of which were books with gay/lesbian themes. When some of these authors realized what happened and more importantly that Amazon.com still had not responded to their challenge, they organized a social media campaign via Twitter, coined the term AmazonFail, and got media attention. Amazon.com later told Publishers Weekly...
that a "glitch" had occurred in its sales ranking feature that was in the process of being fixed. The spokesperson added that there was no new policy regarding "adult" titles. As of Monday morning, a number of titles affected by the glitch were still without sales rankings. No one at Amazon was available this morning to discuss when the problem might be fixed or what caused the glitch.
An interesting article here that suggests culprits behind AmazonFail.
Last night during #journchat we discussed #AmazonFail as a teaching tool for other pr firms. Long after the discussion I wondered how this event could serve as a teaching tool for online bookstores, authors, and brick and mortar stores.
Whether we want to believe it or not Twitter is more than a microblogging service. It can be used for many things, one of which is a tool for rapid response CS. If book stores whether mobile, online or in a store want to build value with their customers, they are going to have to devise a way to respond in real time to their base, especially when "glitches" and stuff happens. Because if they don't then they will experience a bit of the venom that was spewn onto Amazon this past weekend. I've been tempted at times myself to tweet a few crappers I've experienced dealing with publishing houses, bookstore chains, churches, you name it. But I didn't, haven't yet. However, as more and more Twittercotts tweet up, you'd be more than the wiser to have a contingency plan designed.
One tip I will throw at you: Use Twitter to monitor your brand. There are various twitter tools you can use to do that. Search through my blog I've shared some on here already.
Also this Saturday I will be hosting a workshop on The Virtual Fiction Writer's Conference about book events and I will be talking about the power of Twitter, of course, and designing your own instore event contingency plans. ;)