The following post contains explicit material. Due to mature subject matter, reader discretion is advised.
I don’t write explicit material. My blog is pretty tame. ahhh, who am I kidding? My life is pretty tame! I wouldn’t have anything explicit to share even if I wanted to.
Today, that changes. Today, I will share with you my rant against Amazon.com. I am a regular customer of Amazon. I have a wishlist. My kids have wishlists. My husband has a wishlist. I’ve purchased books, cameras, toys, and gifts from Amazon. I LOVE Amazon. Today, that love is being tested.
It all began innocently enough, with a search for a child’s book titled “Anna Banana”. I browsed through the list of search results, looking at the cute illustrations of children jumping rope. And then… on the third page… there it was…
Anna Wants Your Banana!
Yep, sandwiched between jump rope rhymes and scrumptious dessert recipes, was porn. Right there on the search page was a collage of several completely naked, provocatively posed women. Pictures of children playing Miss Mary Mack were immediately followed by pictures of Miss Mary’s Ass! Not only were there pictures, but there was text: ”lick dripping wet poon”.
Oh my! This is what my kids could come across while searching for a children’s book? On Amazon??!! I’m still stunned by this perverse discovery. I keep checking to see if it’s still there, or if perhaps it was a mistake that briefly slipped through the cyber safety net. And then I remind myself that this is the internet – the cyber safety net is ME! That’s not a comforting thought.
So, how far down the this raunchy rabbit hole has Amazon gone? I decided to do a little research to find out. I discovered that Amazon has a Men’s Interest section, including magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse. The pictures feature scantily clad women, but no full nudity and certainly nothing I would consider hard-core.
Through further digging, I discovered that Amazon has a statement on pornography in their content guidelines. Here it is:
Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with some examples of prohibited content:
Pornography. Pornography; X-rated movies; home porn; hard-core material, including magazines, that depict graphic sexual acts, amateur porn and soiled undergarments. Unrated erotic videos and DVDs and properly censored erotic artwork and magazines of the type you’d find at a typical bookstore are permitted. Nudity, graphic titles, and descriptions must be sufficiently concealed with censor strips on all items containing such content.
Hmmm, well based on this, the one I saw should clearly not be permitted. There certainly were no censor strips and the text would certainly qualify as a graphic title. So, what’s up at Amazon? Are they unable to adequately monitor all of their vendors? Do they have a rule in place that they cannot enforce? And where do they draw the line between soft-core and hard-core, acceptable and unacceptable?
My research continued. It turns out Amazon is SO massive that they cannot keep up with all the content on their site. In fact, they are so inept at monitoring that there have even been instances of child pornography being sold on Amazon. This is absolutely unacceptable! Not to mention illegal!
As I looked again at the naked women on my book list, I decided I should take matters into my own hands. If Amazon couldn’t keep up with their own site, perhaps they needed me to help out. I’m guessing that many items in violation of their content guidelines are actually brought to their attention by shocked, surprised, or irate customers. So, I sent an email. I provided plenty of detail so that they would be able to find the item.
An obviously cut-and-paste form email apologizing that I was not satisfied with their web sites search feature. And over 24 hours later, it’s still there in all it’s naked glory. Anna still wants your banana.
So, now what? Do I continue to pursue this? And do I continue as a customer of Amazon or do I refuse to use a business that places pornography with children’s literature and even unknowingly sells child pornography? And does it matter if I, as just one person, boycotts?
Here is the bottom line as I see it: even if the porn is being sold by outside vendors, the onus is on Amazon to clean up their act. A better system MUST be in place for ensuring that adult material remains completely separate from other material. A better system MUST be in place for ensuring that adult material is just that. FOR ADULTS. Not for, about, or to children.
What Do You Think?
1. Do you shop from Amazon?
2. If so, do you anticipate changing your shopping habits knowing that child pornography has been sold on the site?
3. Be honest… how many of you went and searched Amazon for ‘Anna Banana’? :-)