New reports about the Amazon brouhaha have pointed at a poor catalog click by an employee in France. They're falling all over themselves to apologize.
And that fatal click was made back in February, when authors started noticing and inquiring, but only hit the fan on Easter weekend?
If it was a catalog filter, why did it take a month and a half to run? Databases don't work like that. If Amazon's huge and constantly changing db waits a month and a half to run a global filter, something is seriously messed up at that company.
If it was a mistake, and they knew it to be a mistake, why didn't they pull out the mea culpas as soon as the outrage started, instead of when it crescendoed? Why was there a curt and bullshit response from their PR department instead of instant placation of the masses? When PR failed, why didn't some uppity up at Amazon get on the phone with the press and make a statement?
I work for a company for which brand and reputation are everything. We lose our rep, our brand is garbage and our sales tank. We have whole departments to scour for news articles, blog posts, internet rumour, and another two departments to respond at any time. Had something like this happened to us, someone would have woken the CEO up, if necessary, and he would have gotten out there and reassured our customers. This is the expected and reasonable response from any company who's currently doing business on the web. In this, the internet age, news travels like a wild fire. It starts out a small spark in the dark, and within minutes, it is a roaring, furious mass destroying everything in its path. For a company with as huge a web presence as Amazon, it is absolutely not possible for me to believe that they didn't have some sort of policy in place to handle Extreme Internet Uproar. It's not possible for me to believe their PR people wouldn't have known just how bad internet rumour can get, and to have been hired specifically because they were capable of handling this kind of uproar. I'd be willing to bet the PR person spoke without confirmation from Amazon, and didn't actually know it was a "glitch", but felt they needed to say something when this whole thing spiralled.
Amazon said nothing. Even if they didn't know why, placation of the masses was still necessary and did not, and HAS NOT, happened. There's been "Oops, our bad." but nothing even remotely resembling an apology. A simple, "We're sorry. We don't know what happened, but we'll look into it and fix it." would have cut this issue off at the knees. It still would have. Instead, they've chosen to handle it the worst way possible, and come up with a story that is, frankly, not believable. The outrage didn't require an explanation. It required reassurance that, no matter why, it would all be put right.
I pulled my account. I do not intend to resume my account. If they're not up to handling a minor crisis like this, they don't deserve my money. If they're going to fail a huge portion of their customer base like this, they're not going to do it with my money. At this point, I don't really care why it happened. I care about the response.
The response is inadequate.