CATEGORIES CinematicalA mere six weeks after Amazon incited outrage when it was discovered that a "glitch" had de-listed thousands of books with gay and lesbian content, the massive online retailer has announced a partnership with gay-themed cable network Logo to create a revamped LGBT section in Amazon's Movies & TV store.
Calling it a "first-of-its-kind collaboration for Gay Pride Month" in a joint press release, Viacom-owned Logo will create and manage customized content for the new 'Gay & Lesbian" section, linking to related LGBT content and offering DVDs for up to 60 percent off throughout the month of June.
The rollout comes less than two months after Amazon took a big hit for removing sales rankings from thousands of books with gay content, a move which caused the titles -- including notable books like Brokeback Mountain, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and Rubyfruit Jungle -- to appear much lower on keyword searches, which find titles by popularity. After a few tech-savvy buyers noticed the change, the blogosphere erupted and Amazon was forced to respond with the tepid "it was a system error" defense.
The Logo/Amazon rollout appears to be a little bit too extensive to have been created entirely as a response to the incident, however. In addition to linking with Logo and offering a sale on LGBT DVDs, the awkwardly named Gay & Lesbian Movies & TV Store will also host video clips from Logo original programming (like the animated Rick & Steve: the Happiest Gay Couple in the World), blogs and video-logs on gay entertainment news, top ten lists and content related to Logo's annual NewNowNext Awards, which "pays homage to the pioneers of today who are transforming and defining tomorrow's pop culture." The awards ceremony will be broadcast on Logo on June 13th.
Laura Orvidas, director of Amazon's DVD Store, said in the release that the content "will enhance the shopping experience for Amazon customers" -- but given the recent kerfuffle over the retailer's handling of gay-themed materials, it still feels a little like they're trying to buy back the goodwill they lost with a large segment of their customers.
It's also hard to tell if this is truly a progressive move ("Look! A whole, special section devoted to LGBT movies and TV!") or if it's actually marginalization ("Here ... why don't we put all the gay stuff over here, away from the other content?")
At any rate, it's all up and running at Amazon's Gay and Lesbian Movies & TV Store page.