Ok so I thought I would just update you all on a recent Amazon boycott I started (& won!) a few weeks ago.
It was brought to my attention by one of my Twitter followers, Gerrard Redican (@oldskoolg07) that Media Storehouse (Via Amazon) were selling a puzzle with an image of a Hammerhead shark being finned as the main focus, yes you read that correctly!
After a little investigation I found numerous puzzles showing sharks being finned and in addition to this there were puzzles displaying dried sharkfins. WHY anyone would want to buy these is beyond me but how Amazon had these graphic and disturbing images on sale to the public was a joke! Children searching puzzles could easily view these images on what a parent would probably consider a safe website.
So.. The boycott began.
Rule number one on starting a boycott? Take photographs of ‘The problem’ because if the ‘Offender’ removes the text, image etc you’ll have no evidence (See previous Hilton blog about why this is so important).
I contacted Amazon and received generic replies; so we got to work. I tweeted a series of images and text to various Amazon accounts whilst the #SharkArmy went to work tweeting to Amazon, leaving negative ‘Product reviews’ on relevant puzzles, writing email complaints, calling them and generally causing a stir. We started bombarding them.
With no movement from Amazon I contacted www.StopSharkFinning.net where we got even more momentum behind the boycott.
With 1,000s of people now in the loop Amazon backed down and silently removed all puzzles. They never once admitted responsibility or that they had a connection with the puzzles (Hence taking photos as rule number 1) and they never apologised; very typical of a large corporate company such as Amazon. I guess that doesn’t matter right? We won? Very true… However Amazon are a HUGE company, they can not monitor everything being sold on their ‘Marketplace’ and we may see these puzzles again.. and if we do we’ll have everything at the ready! Including evidence that they’d sold them previously and that they removed them previously which should make it all the easier in getting them removed a second time, if applicable.
Take home message?
I was notified about these puzzles, started a full boycott, and won. You too could do something like this too, even from your armchair
Does it really help sharks?
Well let’s think about how many people saw my tweets, your tweets, your followers tweets, their followers tweets.. Then add our Facebook reach! How many people searched #Amazon and saw our boycott? Then add the Amazon users/buyers that saw the negative products reviews, the forum thread about the puzzles…. That’s a huge outreach to the general public, including those who may’ve been totally unaware that ‘shark finning’ even exists. Then add the people at Amazon that saw our emails, took our calls… How many people will all of the above talk to? How many people will they then talk to? I believe one of our biggest challenges in saving sharks is the lack of worldwide education and the internet opens up a whole host of countries to engage. Changing the general public’s perception of sharks and simply showing people what is happening to one the oceans top predators is not only addictive it is now easily accessible with the help of the world wide web.
By starting something like this we reach a LOT of people who may want to learn more about shark finning? They may wish to help? They may help next time? And let’s not forget we won!!!!!!! How empowering is it that a few ‘Shark Huggers’ got a huge company like Amazon to do what we asked? That’s a pretty cool victory and something we should all be very proud of. Every success no matter how small is still that, a success and something we did together. We just need to keep chipping away.
Anyhow.. On to the next Perhaps we should go after Media Storehouse? Don’t wait for someone else to start a boycott you could lead the way with this one…..
Well done everyone involved, together we DO make a difference. FACT