Mail on Sunday WH Smith Ebook Search Filter Failure Article

On Sunday 13th October the UK’s Mail on Sunday, sister paper to the Daily Mail, uncovered the search failure of UK bookseller WH Smith’s weak search filter. Searching on the word “Daddy” brought up erotica titles together with the children’s books on the same screen, causing a shutdown and removal of the books from the site before it was relaunched without the adult books in question.

It outlines the basic commonsense approach which a normal bookshop would have taken – adult physical books would simply have had a higher shelf position or been behind the counter on request, something that would have taken more coding on the web if it were even practical. Even then, a Google search might have caused the same thing to happen outside of WH Smith’s site. It’s an unfortunate screwup, but has been rectified at the Smiths site. The Daily Mail article is here and also compares the policies of other E-tailers.

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