Amazon Turns Off Search

Some weirdness at Amazon this morning. The search boxes appear to have vanished from the top of the page and the sidebars. One is still hiding way down at the bottom of the page. This is a very bad change since site-specific search is one of the primary ways users navigate Amazon. I’m not sure if this is a temporary glitch or a rare example of bad Amazon design. Usually Amazon is one of the more usable and intelligently designed sites, so this comes as a bit of a shock.

Perhaps it’s a temporary glitch. I notice I can’t log into my account there right now either:

We’re sorry!

An error occurred when we tried to process your request. Rest assured, we’re working to resolve the problem as soon as possible. If you were trying to make a purchase, please check Your Account to confirm that the order was placed. We apologize for the inconvenience.

4 Responses to “Amazon Turns Off Search”

  1. John Cowan Says:

    Works fine now.

  2. Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:

    Still seems to be off for me this morning, though. Did they turn it off, turn it back on again, and then turn it off again? Or is there something weird about my browser? (Firefox 2, Mac). The Error Console doesn’t show any problems.

    OK, this is interesting. In Safari I see the search box. In Firefox I don’t. I suspected a CSS or JavaScript glitch but it looks simpler than that. Viewing source shows that Amazon is sending different HTML to the different browsers. The version they send to Safari has four forms, and the one they send to Firefox has only one, the bottom search form. I wonder why they’re doing this?

  3. Sixten Otto Says:

    Firefox 2/Win shows all 4 forms, at least as of 11:15am EST.

  4. Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:

    I finally figured this one out. At some point I had configured Firefox to send Googlebot/2.1 (+ as its user agent string. Apparently I was seeing what Amazon sends to Google, which surprise, surprise, is not the same thing it sends to regular browsers. I wonder if that’s a Google violation for which Amazon could be penalized?

    This likely also explains some sporadic weirdness I saw on a few other sites.

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