Amazon's Unwanted Ads
July 24, 2012
Ying Ma’s memoir, Chinese Girl in the Ghetto, describes her family’s plight—their escape from Mao’s China, their efforts to make it in an Oakland terrorized by gangs.
What ads do Google’s spiders link to her book on Amazon?
Girls in China—100s of Girls in China
Download Asian Teen Images for Free
She writes in The Weekly Standard:
When I first saw these, I winced. Then I realized that the words “Chinese Girl” must have caused Amazon’s ad technology to identify my book as a product that might appeal to people who also had a crass interest in Asian women.
After calling Amazon repeatedly, it became clear that would take a month to clear out the offensive ads.
Still, I thought—a month? For four more weeks, by no fault of my own, my book would be publicly associated with online trafficking in vulgar fantasies. Isn’t Amazon a Fortune 500 company on the cutting edge of e-commerce? Shouldn’t it be able to flip a switch and stop my book from being used to flog Asian teens?
Yes, it should. She calls for a “smarter, more discerning Internet.”