theEweekly news wrap 17 April 2009


Fiddling the books

Online retailer Amazon has been accused of censorship this week as thousands of literary works were removed from the site’s ‘Bestseller’ list. The company came under scrutiny after a number of gay and lesbian titles - from authors such as Jeanette Winterson and EM Forster - were stripped of their sales rankings and banished from the top seller list.

High-profile books removed from the ‘Bestseller’ list include:

  • Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
  • Alan Hollinghurst’s Booker-winning novel, The Line of Beauty
  • DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover
  • Maurice by EM Forster

Thousands of users voiced their protest via social media sites such as Twitter after Amazon initially justified the move as a ‘family-friendly’ procedure. The company has since said the issue had been the result of a technical glitch and will be rectified in the near future.

"If Amazon are making a value judgment here, then that's much more serious and obviously that needs to be addressed,” author Jeanette Winterson told the Guardian newspaper.

Bad Phorm

Amazon made further headlines on Thursday 16th April after the company revealed it would be opting out of Phorm’s infamous targeted-advertising technology. The loss of the second most-visited shopping site in the UK is the latest blow to Phorm’s Webwise programme as it means the system will not be able to use data from Amazon consumers in its targeted advertising.

More trouble at Yahoo?

In what appears to be a fairly downbeat week for news, The New York Times has speculated that search engine giant Yahoo is considering further redundancies in the near future. A story published in the American newspaper has suggested that several hundred employees could soon be laid off.

Yahoo made over 1,000 workers redundant in 2008 and it is believed the cuts are in response to the company’s decreasing share of the online marketplace and a decline in advertising revenue.

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