In a PBS.org article posted April 14, 2009, author Mark Hannah argues how Amazon.com isn’t using social media enough to address customer issues. The article, titled “Amazon’s Fail: Not Using Social Media to React to #AmazonFail Meme”.
An issue with an Amazon policy change to hide gay and lesbian themed books from the site erupted into an all-out controversy spreading like wild fire over Twitter. Hannah speculates the controversy “may never have provoked such widespread media attention — or an official company response — if the story hadn’t contagiously spread around the Twittersphere under the hashtag, #amazonfail”.
While Amazon did address the issue noting the policy change wasn’t specific to just gay and lesbian titles, but other titles as well. The issue erupted into a controversy due to Amazon’s slow response. Amazon could have responded to the issue quickly using its blogs or Twitter, but their slow response and inefficient use of social media allowed the issue to snow ball.
With over 42 Million visitors to the Amazon site, I was surprised to see only a handful of that number subscribe to the Twitter feed and Facebook page with just over 3000 followers and fans for each site.
Amazon has the name recognition to really gain a strong presents on the web, however its clear that before this controversy, and even after, they haven’t been able to leverage the power of social media to communicate with customers.