Friday, 12 November 2010

How a Boycott of a International Company led to me on the Radio!

Yeah, so its been a mad 48 odd hours.

My last post was about the campaign to Boycott Amazon, via Facebook, blogs and Twitter. I kind of got the UK going on it, trying to throw all our weight behind the existing ~AmazonFail tweets online from the US. 

I had an email yesterday afternoon from the BBC World Service radio show "Have Your Say", who wanted to feature the international debate on the radio. Which is worldwide. And they wanted me to put the UK point across. Worldwide. 

Well, firstly I was nervous, which pretty much continued right to the end of the broadcast.

I'm writing this to kind of explain the radio thing, in case you didn't know I was doing it, and to really streamline, after the broadcast, why I feel Amazon should be boycotted and why I feel this is more than a free speech issue.

I was taken by car to High Wycombe to a tiny studio! And it was very easy to sit and listen to the others views- I had a note book with notes and made extras as people spoke.

Ross, the Presenter was great, really made me feel welcome, and told all of us (the others were in the US, and Belgium) to jump in and talk him out the conversation.

So, why do I still feel that Amazon should be boycotted? The books no longer for sale, so that's it right?


  • Firstly, whilst Amazon removed the book, they did this after the campaign really started to knock their rating- their share price dropped by 1.7%. It makes you think they didn't take it offline because they realised it was wrong to sell that book, but that they took it down due to them losing profits at what is one of the busiest times of year.
  • Secondly, as I said on the radio, Amazon is happy to sign you up as a customer, email you their latest offers etc. They take your money. But when a customer, or a large number of customers, question them, they ignore all requests to comment. They hide. 
  • Yes, the book itself is not illegal. It advocates illegal activity in that it tells paedophiles how to act on their urges without being caught, but in our country this is not illegal. So, that allows Amazon to sell items of this nature and allows the Freedom of speech/censorship argument to gain pace. Therefore, the Government needs to see that unfortunately we don't live in a society that practices a sense of morality and all its members agree that these kinds of books should not be in circulation, and pass a law banning any material which advocates criminal behaviour where a law banning the actual activity already exists.
  • Its not just this book, there are other titles of this kind, as well as video of other illegal activities, and this questions Amazon's ability to put social factors over making money. If they are unable to properly Police their site and put their social responsibility before profit, then they should have an independent body to do this for them
  • Finally, if Amazon learn one thing from this campaign, they should possibly learn that in their terms of use of hosting self published material (or otherwise) on the site all they say is that they will not host something they find offensive. There are two issues with this- its not clear cut. They really should have what they find offensive listed, set out in writing what they will and will not host and profit from on site. And whilst they said in the only statement they released prior to the book being removed that, yes, they found the book offensive but the right was there to sell the book as not everyone may find it offensive. So, if they did find it offensive, under their current terms it should never have popped up at all. By having it there, and not adding a "we do not agree with this book and will not receive money from it" it leads the consumer to feel that they do agree with its contents. Its very hard for them to hide behind such a loose terms list of "what we find offensive". MAKE IT CLEAR WHAT YOU FIND OFFENSIVE AND THEREFORE WILL NOT SELL AND WILL NOT PROFIT FROM! 
So, I for one will not be shopping at Amazon until they change their ways. Why should I help a company profit who care so little for their customers that they ignore countless efforts for them to release a statement? Where is the accountability?

So, before you shop online, think about how YOU want to be treated as a consumer. 


  1. I agree completely!! So boycotted! I love how you really did your homework on this. I agree that they should make those changes FIRST.

  2. well done, you were great on the radio!

  3. "and pass a law banning any material which advocates criminal behaviour where a law banning the actual activity already exists."

    Er, have you thought this through? Think of what such a law would have banned in the past. It would have banned gay rights advocacy. It would have banned womens rights advocacy- the suffragetes did a lot of law breaking, you know. It would have banned the anti-poll tax campaign. In fact, it would ban virtually all criticism of the current state of the law.

    I don't think you've thought this moral panic of yours through very well at all, frankly.


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