Romance community be warned: Amazon is stripping rankings from titles

From Hypable:

A big blow to the romance community has surfaced as romance and erotica authors are having their titles on Amazon stripped of their ranks and reviews.

Towards the end of March, the romance community began to notice romance and erotic novels being stripped of their ranks and/or reviews, without an explanation.

Although Amazon has yet to make a statement about what’s going on, it’s clear that any book that contains adult content could be stripped. Of course that’s devastating to both authors and readers. Both of these things allow authors to successfully sell their works and helps readers to find titles they would be interested in.

In an effort to try and save their reviews and rankings, some romance/erotica authors have taken to removing any keywords that might cause their titles to be stripped. For those that have published in the erotica category, it might prove even more difficult to protect their books from these changes.

Since Amazon isn’t being transparent about what is happening, it’s not clear why these novels are being stripped. Many authors believe it could be in response to the FOSTA bill, while others believe it could be an internal update from Amazon to push these books off the ranks.

The Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) was touted as a bill to make everyone safer by creating accountability for internet companies. However, the bill was met with great backlash for many reasons, including the amount of censorship it would allow.

As the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains, the bill will “force online platforms to police their users’ speech more forcefully than ever before.”

One of the first major impacts of the bill was that Craigslist pulled down its personal ads section. And shortly after, the romance community started noticing abnormal activity on Amazon regarding erotica titles, as well as romance titles.

Link to the rest at Hypable

6 thoughts on “Romance community be warned: Amazon is stripping rankings from titles”

  1. The official answer is: “Sorry. It was a bug, not a feature.”

    Rankings are reportedly restored.

    Could be a contingency plan that got triggered prematurely, something Hawaiians know can be scary and annoying.

    • I’ll believe it was inadvertent when it happens to cozy mysteries.

      I’ve been a big fan of Amazon, but I’ve started to not trust them.

      • I suspect they coded a switch to be activated when the anti-sex law goes live and it went off early.


        It is a stampede bill and like most stampede bills, it is unfocused and imprecise, lacking specificity so it can be interpreted as covering all kinds of sex related commerce, whether forced or consensual, or imaginary. It targets “enabling” which includes speech about the subject.

        So, frankly, instead of fretting over Amazon prudishness I think erotica authors need to be talking to their lawyers about their potential exposure. It is a really really bad bill that will most limely be declared unconsitutional for being overly broad and violating the first amendment but before that happens lawsuits will fly.

        • Take note:
          “In fact, it preserves what’s called the ‘Good Samaritan’ provisions of the Communications Decency Act, which protects good actors who proactively block and screen their sites for offensive material,” he said in remarks on the Senate floor. “Thus, it shields them from frivolous lawsuits.”

          Amazon intends to be proactive, just as Craig’s list is being proactive. They’re already being targeted by the media and the prez, after all.

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