Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Phuket Is Not a Dirty Sentence, Amazon

Fresh from the "this is the dumbest thing I've seen in a long time department" comes my frustrating experience trying to post the Vulture Peak review, as shown in the previous post, to Amazon.com (which was the source of my review copy, in the first place).

It seems that Amazon has some kind of snazzy computer program that looks for offensive words and the program kept rejecting my review.  I removed the obvious possibilities such as "sex industry" and "ex-prostitute" but still had no joy in getting the review through the Amazon robot censor.  I edited, and edited, and tried again, and again - a total of 8 more times.  Nothing worked.  The review got shorter and shorter.

Then it hit me.  I made reference to an island off the coast of Thailand called Phuket because that is where much of the novel's most exciting scenes take place.  Never did I dream that the computer would think that Phuket was my attempt to disguise the use of a rather common "obscenity."  But it did.

I removed Phuket from the list of places visited by the detective, and the review sailed right on through.

Unbelievable.  I just wasted an hour of my life.


  1. Does that mean you now have to put a warning on your blog? -

    Book Chase: Warning - Contains Language

    I guess Amazon's programming must have some similarities to the overzealous internet filters that prevent you from getting to sites on breast cancer information or whatnot. It's been years since I've written an Amazon review, but I don't think I ever had trouble getting one to go through.

  2. Yep, Library Girl, a waning label...just what I need. :-)

    I hear that this happens a whole lot over at Amazon when the reviews are about something written by Japanese authors. Pronouncing the names phonetically apparently produce some interesting sounds for the computer to grab hold of and reject.

  3. When I was in college there was a Thai restaurant called Phuket Thai. I admit, we had more fun with that than we should have.

  4. I still can't believe it took me so long to find the problem, James. Duh...it's so obvious once in clicks. But I've always heard it pronounced with a silent "H" that emphasizes the "P" sound. Even then, the spelling should have hit me a whole lot quicker.

  5. I was on my company's top 25 internet policy violator list a few years ago because I had googled for information on a urinary tract infection and then actually clicked on some of the links. Computers. Not so smart.

  6. Geez, Factotum, that reminds me of the automatic reprimand I received from my company computer system when I looked up the dates for a breast cancer charity walk. All it took to set the hounds on me was the word "breast."