Businessweek Archives

Tightlipped Amazon


In light of Amazon’s “glitch” turned “ham fisted cataloging error,” the timing somehow turned out for a story I did in this week’s magazine about the lengths analysts go to to gather even the tiniest shred of insight into the e-tailer. Amazon is notorious for guarding any details about itself. So I bet we’ve heard the last explanation we’ll get about the error.

As to what happened, there are two reports from Mike Daisey (a former Amazon customer service employee turned author) and the Seattle PI that are similar and that seem to make sense. Because it’s hard to imagine that a company would be this obvious in censoring any particular type of literature.

The biggest issue is how long Amazon waited to respond after first saying it was a glitch. It’s funny how long a day has become, now that reaction can build so quickly online. Given how the Internet was buzzing, I think it would have made sense for them to reach out and explain that they were at least working on the issue. Waiting until you knew there were 50,000 some odd pieces affected makes people realize how big an issue it was, but it also makes you realize how much information gathering they were doing before they said anything.


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