Amazon: Know your inventory
Blogger Cecily Kellogg wants her readers to know: She was not the one to suggest boycotting web retail behemoth, Amazon. In her words: "Here's what happened. Early in the day [on November 10, 2010], my friend Tiffany sent me a link about something horrid -- a "how to" guide for pedophiles -- being offered for sale on Amazon (it was offered for the first time on 10/28/10.) She was upset, and asked me to get the word out." So, Cecily turned to her nearly 50,000 followers and tweeted this:
This wasn't the first time Amazon had been called out for peddling pedophilia-related products: In 2002, the company was criticized for selling "Understanding Boys and Boy Lovers." They fought back with First Amendment arguments, stating that though they didn't "endorse" the book, "people have the right to choose their own reading material."
Still, whether it was the creepy cover art of the book, the Twitter element (nonexistent in 2002), or simply the extremely offensive nature of the book's topic, Amazon got slammed by mommy bloggers, tech bloggers, and Twitter users calling for a boycott. Things weren't helped when Gawker reported all the coverage had resulted in a 101,000 percent sales boost of the book.
At first, Amazon stuck to their guns, as they had in the 2002, saying: "Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions." Eventually, headlines screaming "Amazon defends 'Pedophile's Guide" couldn't be tolerated any longer, and the retailer removed the book from the site.
Like all of the bloggers in this article, Kellogg received plenty of abuse on her end. She was attacked relentlessly on Twitter and through her blog. At the end of it all, she had this to say: "...A retailer deciding not to carry a title because it promotes illegal activity is not censorship... I will defend unto my death the right of this twisted, evil [man] to publish his book. I, however, also have the right to question the wisdom of any retailer that is willing to sell it. That would be me exercising MY right to free speech, after all."