I just realized I’m mildly annoyed with Amazon.

 In I'm Kind of Ranting, Politics

As an author who publishes pretty much exclusively on Amazon (and yeah, you can yell at me for supporting the Evil Empire if you want, but it was a financial decision), I use their Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) platform to advertise my books quite a bit.

For some reason, I recently found myself reading the AMS content guidelines for ad creation and ad targeting.

Anyway, I found this little blurb:

LGBT: To protect customers and help ensure a trustworthy experience, we do not allow targeting related to purchase or browsing history about LGBT content, sexual orientation or sex-life. ASIN contextual targeting for related products (for example, we will allow LGBT related books alongside other LGBT content) is acceptable

First, this is confusing.  If I’m understanding it correctly, it says that you cannot target LGBTQ ads to people who have recently purchased something or browsed something related to LGBTQ content.  So in other words, you are looking for LGBTQ readers, but you cannot target people who recently browsed something LGBTQ related?

Am I just really dense and misreading that?  Because that makes approximately ZERO sense to me.

It’s like saying:

Bicycle ads:  To protect customers and help ensure a trustworthy experience, we do not allow targeting related to purchase or browsing history about bicycles, bicycle races, or bicycle lifestyles.  ASIN contextual targeting for related products (for example, we will allow bicycle related books alongside other bicycle content) is acceptable

BUT, Amazon adds, it’s okay to feature ads promoting your LGBTQ books alongside OTHER LGBTQ books.  That makes sense, but here’s why I’m annoyed:

I wanna be protected from straight people, tho.

When I’m browsing LGBTQ books, I always see Amazon ads for straight-people romance at the bottom of the page.  The “sponsored products related to this book” section is typically a mixture — there’s a handful of lesbian novels advertised, then gay guy novels advertised, but also ads with M/F couples on the cover.

Yet as far as I can tell, the reverse is never true.  I experimented just now and looked at some straight romance ads, and yep, they’re all for other straight romances.

So is the conclusion this:  “It is okay to advertise novels featuring a straight romance on a lesbian book page, but it is NOT OKAY to advertise a lesbian book on a straight romance page”?

How does that “protect customers and ensure a trustworthy experience,” Amazon?

What if I want to be “protected” from seeing straight couples?  Did you ever consider that?

Maybe I will run an experiment.  Maybe I will create some new ads for To Have Loved & Lost and specifically target some top-selling straight romances.  I wonder what will happen?

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Comments
  • JP Limodin

    Yes it seems stupid and I understand your aggravation.

    But I made a little experiment of my own, I went to “To have Loved & Lost” on Amazon.com (where I can’t buy any e-book, being outside the USA) and under
    “Sponsored products related to this item ”
    I found a lot of books I’d never read even if I was stranded on a desert island.

    “Customers who bought this item also bought” is much more useful to me

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