Over the course of Easter Sunday, Amazon, one of the world’s largest online retailers, has managed to upset, it seems, the entire Twittersphere by re-organising the way they categorise their adult material – in particular, books considered to be about homosexuality. The New York Times reports this far more eloquently than I can.
What is immensely interesting however is the way that Twitter users have taken on the free speech mantle, with hundreds of tweets tagged with #Amazonfail appearing each minute (it’s 01:20 GMT).
Amazon has picked an inopportune time to change this policy – with most of their employees taking a long Easter break, the crisis management team could be completely unaware of the sheer scale of vitriol that is beginning to be aimed in their direction. Most likely, they will be making frantic phone calls today to stem the tide of anger that has swept across Twitter users.
Amazon could take this opportunity to engage with the Twitter community and explain their actions rationally and it provides a perfect chance to show how in tune with online feeling they are.
If they do not react calmly, in good time and with a forward thinking resolution to this topic, Amazon may find themselves losing customers and their reputation irrevocably damaged for a long time to come.