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Old 07-20-2009, 05:18 PM   #1
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ZDNet Slams Amazon!

Great article at http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=4944&tag=nl.e539
reporting on Amazon's shameful deletions from Kindle users. I urge all to read and respond there so Amazon will see that they are losing customers (if they are). My own response was:

Thanks For Having Some Guts

The only thing worse than how Amazon has been acting toward their customers is that the press has not reported it well. This is the first story I have read which indicates that Amazon may not get away with all of their draconian ways. This, of course, is not the first time Amazon has deleted books. It is amazing and their user terms of service need to be class actioned because they would never hold up in court. They really threaten the very future of computing. Suppose I had bought an app for my iPhone. Suppose Apple had been sued or threatened with suit by a copyright holder. Would Apple, simply because they are the hardware manufacturer, have the right to delete that app from my iPhone? What Amazon should have done is to delete it from THIER servers, and emailed all downloaders to ask them to delete their copies and to reply to the email that they had done so for a full refund (with maybe a coupon for a free book too).

There are lots of reasons to despise Amazon at this point:

1) The above delete-your-books situation.
2) Fonts that are absolutely lousy and although there is a well-known font hack that replaces them (and legally so under Adobe's published license agreements) Amazon officially ignore its existence.
3) Screens that have failed in the sun, screens that have failed in not correctly forming characters, screens that are far grayer in the background then they should be -- without one recall.
4) The world's worst DRM. They hide the Kindle's serial number which generates a secret PID. That PID must be there to read the book. So if you buy a Sony next year you have lost all your books. Compare to other DRM schemes which protect using a credit card number so your books can be read on other, future devices.

I loved my Kindle 2 when I got it. Now, thanks to Aaazon's policies, I hate it. It was a gift from my kids so I cannot just eBay it but will get rid of it at some point.

Word to the wise: If you are looking for an eReader the Kindle 2 is probably the best out there and yet the worst choice to buy thanks to its manufacturre's greed and lack of understanding of the most basic consumer priorities.
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:21 PM   #2
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Sorry, but that article is BS. This issue with 1984 has nothing to do with DRM whatsoever.

Also I don't agree with your points at all, especially #4. How is Kindle's DRM any worse than Sony's? If you have a Sony and buy something else you have the exact same situation.

Last edited by carld; 07-20-2009 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:23 PM   #3
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I agree with everything you said except the last paragraph. I don't think the K2 is the best out there, in fact it's a step back from the K1 IMO.

I'm not surprised that this is becoming big news. Amazon has a major PR nightmare on their hands, and they've shown in the past that they aren't well equipped to handle bad press. It doesn't seem to be a corporate priority for them.

Thanks for posting this.
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:27 PM   #4
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Please read this post by Wallcraft.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:00 PM   #5
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Hi Daffy4u -- I was familiar with that post. However, I think that Amazon has now pretty much stated that it is not simply a synchronization issue. They themselves have used phrases such as "deleted on our servers and on user machines." A number of people have reported the books vanished not from their archived folders but from their user areas.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil View Post
Hi Daffy4u -- I was familiar with that post. However, I think that Amazon has now pretty much stated that it is not simply a synchronization issue. They themselves have used phrases such as "deleted on our servers and on user machines." A number of people have reported the books vanished not from their archived folders but from their user areas.
Hi Neil,

I posted the Wallcraft link because it indicates that Amazon knows it handled the situation badly and is taking steps not to remove books from users in the future.

I do believe this was handled badly, they should have contacted users first. When my copy of "The Stand" had to be removed for correction, I received an email informing me of the issue, asking me to delete my current copy and to download the new version. Amazon should have done the same thing, send an email asking users to delete and refunding their money. Even if, they user did not delete their copy of 1984, Amazon would have made a good faith effort to do the right thing.

They screwed up but they are trying to make sure it doesn't happen again.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:48 PM   #7
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http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10...ag=mncol;posts

Maybe this will explain the whole issue with the book deletion...
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:56 PM   #8
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Wow, I agree with almost nothing you said. Love my K1 and don't care much for the K2 at all.

Also, I learned early on to back up my purchases off of Amazon's servers. They can't delete what they can't touch.

And, Sony's DRM is just as screwed up as Amazon's. Most or all DRM schemes are screwed up, so why pick on Amazon??
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:12 PM   #9
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I agree with the ZDNet link. This isn't fixed when Amazon says they won't do it again, it's fixed when they've upgraded how their system works so it can't happen again.

This reminded me of Apple's 1984 Superbowl add. What a great marketing opportunity for another company to enter the ebook market with a splash.
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:27 PM   #10
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This reminded me of Apple's 1984 Superbowl add. What a great marketing opportunity for another company to enter the ebook market with a splash.
Meh.... Memories are short, people won't even register this in a few months. The Sony rootkit scandal was far worse, but people today don't even think twice about it before lauding their Sony as the benevolent alternative to the Kindle...
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:04 PM   #11
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As ZDNet said, just saying they won't do it again isn't enough. Until they change their ToS it's empty words. (By the way, for those somehow defending Amazon by asking why aren't I bashing Sony all I can say is I guess it is because I don't know anything about Sony. But if Sony IS as bad as Amazon, well, two wrongs don't make a right! Or, in this case, two attacks on rights are still wrong.)
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:10 PM   #12
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
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By the way, for those somehow defending Amazon by asking why aren't I bashing Sony all I can say is I guess it is because I don't know anything about Sony.
Yeah, that kind of proves my point.

Sony has long been a defender of draconian DRM, proprietary formats and proprietary media; the former two are often criticisms of the Kindle.

Separately, a few years ago Sony added spyware to their audio CD's; put one in your Windows PC, and without your permission or knowledge it installed a bunch of software that, among other things, restricted your ability to burn certain Sony/BMG audio CDs. The spyware took many steps to hide itself and make it difficult to uninstall, which in turn provided a method for malware to hide itself on the effected machines. Eventually several anti-virus companies put the Sony rootkit onto their malware lists.

After much criticism and lawsuits, Sony released an uninstall tool... that installed an ActiveX control that removed a security feature -- thus allowing any site to install programs via ActiveX without restriction. While not a malevolent act, it was painfully sloppy and opened up a huge security hole.

And of course, as the operator of an MMORPG, Sony essentially "deletes content" all the time, most notably characters. Often this makes sense, as they are targeting gold farmers and possibly griefers. It's a necessary requirement for running a virtual world.

The point is not that "Sony's actions excuses Amazon's." It's that Sony's actions are the same if not far worse than Amazon's, yet a) some people on this board turn to Sony as though they were a protector of digital rights, which is absurd; and b) as egregious as they can be, clearly people forgot about it fairly quickly.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:12 PM   #14
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The point is not that "Sony's actions excuses Amazon's." It's that Sony's actions are the same if not far worse than Amazon's, yet a) some people on this board turn to Sony as though they were a protector of digital rights, which is absurd; and b) as egregious as they can be, clearly people forgot about it fairly quickly.
I still count Sony's rootkit fiasco as the worst corporate intrusion into the consumer's life. Amazon's snafu (whatever your opinion of their actions) is extremely small potatoes in comparison.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:14 PM   #15
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I mostly agree with ZDNet piece, but they are a little over the top about the DRM. I wouldn't call it the world's worst DRM. I still enjoy my Kindle despite the constant issues and complaints around the place.
Also I don't think you can place the blame solely at the feet of Amazon when many of the publishers would have DRM requirment clauses in their ebook contracts with Amazon. The Kindle has to implement them somehow or the publishers simply won't sign on. Many Publishers still think like the music industry did in 2000.
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