Author Topic: FreeBookService (FBS) Update ,  (Read 70067 times)  

Offline KMatthew

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #475 on: December 08, 2013, 09:42:02 AM »
ENT takes 25% of royalties earned on books actually sold through their link.
That's actually a really good deal. If all advertisers did that, everyone would be buying advertising, because it would always be a win/win situation.

Offline she-la-ti-da

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #476 on: December 08, 2013, 09:42:20 AM »
Quote
Writers trade on their reputation. I use my real name on my books, and my real reputation is on the line here. I choose to do that because I'm confident that my real-world reputation is protected by my behaviour. I don't conduct myself dishonestly, or employ black hat techniques, or engage in rank manipulation, etc. I help people without expecting a reward. I tell the truth. That's my armour.

Thanks for your research, David. The above is pretty much my feelings as well, especially the bolded part. {Also thanks to Kat and KB -- great posts.}

Whether or not some people feel this is an okay thing, or they think it works for them (or if it does), I can only go by what I think, and I think I smell something fishy. And it ain't the fish sticks.
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Offline Wansit

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #477 on: December 08, 2013, 09:59:48 AM »
Lisa,
Has ENT started offering Bargain Book postings for a flat fee? You keep saying your ENT ad didn't earn out, but as late as last month, those ads weren't a flat fee: ENT takes (took?) 25% of royalties earned on books actually sold through their link. I think this is a fantastic way of charging, BTW, specifically because it *doesn't* disadvantage smaller genres. What you pay is based on what you earn.

So the "not earning out" bit has me confused. Or I could just need more coffee. Always possible.

In this instance she might be referring to a ENT BOTD - Book of the Day. The once a year promotion you can sign up to be blasted all ENT lists for the day. I don't know what they charge since I've never had it but I know it's a flat fee.

Offline Deanna Chase

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #478 on: December 08, 2013, 10:04:25 AM »
In this instance she might be referring to a ENT BOTD - Book of the Day. The once a year promotion you can sign up to be blasted all ENT lists for the day. I don't know what they charge since I've never had it but I know it's a flat fee.

Looks like a Bargain Book ad to me.

Offline ChristinePope

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #479 on: December 08, 2013, 10:25:29 AM »
In this instance she might be referring to a ENT BOTD - Book of the Day. The once a year promotion you can sign up to be blasted all ENT lists for the day. I don't know what they charge since I've never had it but I know it's a flat fee.

I did one last month. It was $60. I made back about quadruple what I paid.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #480 on: December 08, 2013, 10:35:19 AM »
If someone is making factual claims about a service and then either not disclosing results or being somewhat misleading, I think it's fair to point it out.  In fact, I think it's a help to this board for people to be held to such a standard.

Writers are watching this thread and trying to determine whether or not to spend hundreds of dollars on a service that might be anything from a scam to a wonderful new marketing tool.  If someone is skewing that appearance by making claims about sales or sales rank and then being disingenuous, I'm glad there are people on these boards who will hold them to account.

And I don't appreciate your cautions in this regard, Ann.

Ann is reminding people about tone.  It's fair to ask for information. It's not fair to attack them if they decide not to provide the information.

If an author reading this thread thinks the lack of disclosure reflects poorly on the recommendation, the member can choose to disregard the recommendation based on that lack of disclosure.

Betsy

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Online Monique

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #481 on: December 08, 2013, 10:40:37 AM »

If an author reading this thread thinks the lack of disclosure reflects poorly on the recommendation, the member can choose to disregard the recommendation based on that lack of disclosure.


I think it's this that's troubling people. It troubles me:

Quote
Here's the thing:  if a person used the service and is happy with the results, let it alone.

Should we let it alone if we think they're being misleading or purposefully or not omitting critical data? Esp. when we can provide more information that will help other members make an informed decision?

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #482 on: December 08, 2013, 11:07:58 AM »
Sorry, Monique, I kept getting distracted by Washington getting rolled over by the Kansas City Chiefs in the snow :(.  Took me awhile to type this.

If someone has specific information to contribute to decision making and wants to offer that, that's fine.  One can say, "I see this data (for example, Phoenix's post with data from Tracker) and this is how I interpret it and this is why I would or wouldn't use the service." What we've seen here is people posting that they were happy with their results, and why, and other people telling them that they shouldn't be.  

I re-read the entire thread this morning, yes, all 18 pages at that time.  More than one person has stated that they have been satisfied with increased ranking results they received from the service they purchased, despite few or no follow-through purchases.  That's fair.  The fact that they did not get many follow through purchases was disclosed.  People can decide whether getting ranking advancement enough is enough of an investment for them.  It apparently is for some, not for others.  Others have posted the reasons they would not use the service (no follow-through purchases, questionable ethics).  That's also fair.  There's plenty of information here for someone to come to a conclusion, as far as I can tell.

Questions are good.  Piling on someone is not.  Making assumptions of motive or state of mind is not.

You know, I have seen threads here before where people said they did not get their money back from an ad purchase somewhere, but that they thought the exposure was worth it.  You can agree or disagree with them, but you can't tell them how to feel about it.  And I see arguing here about someone's personal assessment.  That's the problem.

This thread has gone on for twenty pages now.  We're not trying to shut down discussion, no matter what David's rather poor analogy would seem to indicate  (David, you're one of my favorite members, but....  :()

We're just asking that members not pile on each other.

Betsy




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Offline gorvnice

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #483 on: December 08, 2013, 11:18:33 AM »

We're just asking that members not pile on each other.


What you see as possibly piling on, some of us see as simply bringing facts to light and being critically minded, using data and evidence to back it up.

I don't appreciate moderators discouraging intelligent discussion around a potentially expensive service that is perhaps making money off of uninformed authors.  By discouraging "piling on," I believe you're actually discouraging critical discussion about the service.  By trying to keep members nice at all costs, you're actually hurting authors who read here to stay informed.

I hope you'll allow the discussion to continue.  I do agree it shouldn't get personal or lead to ad hominem attacks, but the critical discussion should, in my opinion, be allowed without discouragement from overzealous moderators.


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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #484 on: December 08, 2013, 11:21:16 AM »
Sometimes piles are good. :)



PS - I'm watching the Snow Bowl (Det. vs Phi.) Love it!


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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #485 on: December 08, 2013, 11:45:54 AM »
What you see as possibly piling on, some of us see as simply bringing facts to light and being critically minded, using data and evidence to back it up.

I don't appreciate moderators discouraging intelligent discussion around a potentially expensive service that is perhaps making money off of uninformed authors.  By discouraging "piling on," I believe you're actually discouraging critical discussion about the service.  By trying to keep members nice at all costs, you're actually hurting authors who read here to stay informed.

I hope you'll allow the discussion to continue.  I do agree it shouldn't get personal or lead to ad hominem attacks, but the critical discussion should, in my opinion, be allowed without discouragement from overzealous moderators.


gorvnice,

I'm sorry, I don't see where intelligent discussion has been prevented  (I confess, I removed some snarky graphics earlier).  I don't see where anyone being critically minded has been discouraged.  I don't see where we've prevented anyone from presenting data and evidence.  I don't see where we have prevented anyone from asking for data and evidence.  I do think people have the right to provide information as they choose, and others have the right to draw their own conclusions from that.  But at some point, it's "asked and answered. (Or not answered.)"  The question, and the answer or not, is here for people to read. 

And I don't see where asking people to have civil discussion is overzealous.  We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

Really, I don't want the overall discussion sidetracked by this discussion.  I want useful information to be presented to our members, just as you do.  I just don't want members who are posting in good faith to be attacked.

Betsy
« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 12:32:16 PM by Betsy the Quilter »
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Offline Kat Lilynette

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #486 on: December 08, 2013, 11:49:02 AM »
Sorry, Monique, I kept getting distracted by Washington getting rolled over by the Kansas City Chiefs in the snow :(.  Took me awhile to type this.

If someone has specific information to contribute to decision making and wants to offer that, that's fine.  One can say, "I see this data (for example, Phoenix's post with data from Tracker) and this is how I interpret it and this is why I would or wouldn't use the service." What we've seen here is people posting that they were happy with their results, and why, and other people telling them that they shouldn't be.  

I re-read the entire thread this morning, yes, all 18 pages at that time.  More than one person has stated that they have been satisfied with increased ranking results they received from the service they purchased, despite few or no follow-through purchases.  That's fair.  The fact that they did not get many follow through purchases was disclosed.  People can decide whether getting ranking advancement enough is enough of an investment for them.  It apparently is for some, not for others.  Others have posted the reasons they would not use the service (no follow-through purchases, questionable ethics).  That's also fair.  There's plenty of information here for someone to come to a conclusion, as far as I can tell.

Questions are good.  Piling on someone is not.  Making assumptions of motive or state of mind is not.

You know, I have seen threads here before where people said they did not get their money back from an ad purchase somewhere, but that they thought the exposure was worth it.  You can agree or disagree with them, but you can't tell them how to feel about it.  And I see arguing here about someone's personal assessment.  That's the problem.

This thread has gone on for twenty pages now.  We're not trying to shut down discussion, no matter what David's rather poor analogy would seem to indicate  (David, you're one of my favorite members, but....  :()

We're just asking that members not pile on each other.

Betsy


But the key difference between this service and every other promotion service out there is that if they are generating the downloads artificially (bots, pay-per-download, whatever - doesn't matter), like the data seems to indicate, then it's a direct violation of Amazon's ToS, and any author using the service is in violation of the ToS as well.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #487 on: December 08, 2013, 11:49:35 AM »
Sometimes piles are good. :)



PS - I'm watching the Snow Bowl (Det. vs Phi.) Love it!



Awww.....yeah, well, right now I'm going through the membership list and banning everyone from Kansas City. :)
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Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #488 on: December 08, 2013, 11:52:07 AM »
But the key difference between this service and every other promotion service out there is that if they are generating the downloads artificially (bots, pay-per-download, whatever - doesn't matter), like the data seems to indicate, then it's a direct violation of Amazon's ToS, and any author using the service is in violation of the ToS as well.

This is a key point. We're not just talking about the efficacy of the service, but whether it's even legal in the first place, not to mention the ethical questions.

Offline freebookservice

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #489 on: December 08, 2013, 11:56:48 AM »
But the key difference between this service and every other promotion service out there is that if they are generating the downloads artificially (bots, pay-per-download, whatever - doesn't matter), like the data seems to indicate, then it's a direct violation of Amazon's ToS, and any author using the service is in violation of the ToS as well.

This is a key point. We're not just talking about the efficacy of the service, but whether it's even legal in the first place, not to mention the ethical questions.

------------------


You're not reading the thread or ignoring responses, because I know of several authors, including Shelley Hitz, who have emailed Amazon with their concerns, and in every case, Amazon has said these are legitimate Kindle owners and Kindle ap owners doing the dls. This means that yes, they are potential readers.


Even after proof is posted multiple times you are ignoring it. For what reason I do not know. If you aren't going to make constructive comments then I ask that you refrain your continued abuse towards me.
Our website is Freebookservice.com and our email is freebooksservice@gmail.com

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #490 on: December 08, 2013, 11:56:49 AM »
But the key difference between this service and every other promotion service out there is that if they are generating the downloads artificially (bots, pay-per-download, whatever - doesn't matter), like the data seems to indicate, then it's a direct violation of Amazon's ToS, and any author using the service is in violation of the ToS as well.
This is a key point. We're not just talking about the efficacy of the service, but whether it's even legal in the first place, not to mention the ethical questions.

Yes, that discussion has been a recurring theme, though not on the last couple pages of the thread. And is a perfectly valid discussion.   Please continue.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #491 on: December 08, 2013, 12:03:20 PM »
FBS,

I see questions and concerns by members; I do not see abuse.  I understand that there is frustration on both sides.  Let's remain civil.

Betsy
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Offline Kat Lilynette

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #492 on: December 08, 2013, 12:09:06 PM »
------------------



Even after proof is posted multiple times you are ignoring it. For what reason I do not know. If you aren't going to make constructive comments then I ask that you refrain your continued abuse towards me.

What proof? All I saw was an email saying that the downloads are coming from Amazon accounts. It doesn't mean they aren't all owned by one person, or being given incentives to download or whatever. I have emails here from Amazon too (one of which I posted already) that say that regardless of how you're doing it, if they aren't legitimate, "normal" customers (which the data overwhelmingly shows they are not), it's in violation of the ToS.

People questioning the legality of your service isn't abuse, especially when you're very likely putting peoples' publisher accounts at risk.

Oh, also, I've emailed Amazon and I'm attempting to get three questions answered that will put this all to bed (hopefully):

1. Does KDP/Amazon approve of this service's use?

2. Are authors breaking the Amazon ToS in any way by using this service?

3. If KDP does not approve of this services use, what are the consequences, if any, for authors who choose to use this service anyway?

Hopefully I'll be able to get a KDP rep who knows how to write replies longer than 1 sentence so we can get an official stance on this issue once and for all. The last reply I received completely sidestepped these questions and only talked about how much they frown on rank manipulation:

Quote
Dear xxxxx,

Thanks a lot for contacting us with your question and for bringing this website to our attention.

Amazon does not accept sales rank manipulation; while I am unable to comment regarding the mechanics of sales rank at our site, I can assure you that we have processes in place which discourage their manipulation. I've already forwarded your input for the appropriate business team to take action regarding this issue.

Feedback like yours helps us continue to improve our author and publisher experience.

As always, please feel free to contact us should you have future questions or comments.

I hope this helps. Thanks for your continued interest in Amazon KDP.

...............................................................
Did I solve your problem?

If yes, please click here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=A3E6LDKQOHI05H&k=hy

If no, please click here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=A3E6LDKQOHI05H&k=hn
...............................................................

Regards,

Nicole D.
Kindle Direct Publishing
http://kdp.amazon.com
=============================
Connect with KDP and other Authors and Publishers:
Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/KindleDirectPublishing
Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/AmazonKDP


No idea what the "take action" part means, but I pointed them right in your direction, FreeBookService, so they could give me a straight answer on whether they approve of its use or not.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 12:23:48 PM by Kat Lilynette »

Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #493 on: December 08, 2013, 12:14:37 PM »
------------------
Even after proof is posted multiple times you are ignoring it. For what reason I do not know. If you aren't going to make constructive comments then I ask that you refrain your continued abuse towards me.

If your service is on the up and and up it would be easy to establish that by being more forthright. Straight up, are you using some sort of "pay per click" system to generate downloads?

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #494 on: December 08, 2013, 12:24:54 PM »
------------------
Even after proof is posted multiple times you are ignoring it. For what reason I do not know. If you aren't going to make constructive comments then I ask that you refrain your continued abuse towards me.

There is still something I would like to know. In the first post you said that you created a mailing list through links in the back of your books. Then later you say you have a collection of blogs and websites (none of which are to be found anywhere). Which is it? Nobody is doubting that you are getting downloads but we are doubting how you get them and if they are real readers.

You want the clients but you don't want to answer any questions.

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #495 on: December 08, 2013, 12:29:46 PM »
Becca Mills - You missed my point. What works for erotica nad romance NYT best sellers, and those with huge backlists in romance, is not necessarily going to  work for less popular genres. It's not even realistic.

I receive private emails all the time from authors here who are frustrated, because a few "outliers" here tend to dominate and expect everyone to have the same results. I'll happily pay for the visibility, because yes, it does lead to modest trickle down, and if nothing else, builds brand recognition for  my future work.

If someone offers you a chance at visibility, right before Christmas, and thus a chance to be at the top of sub genre lists that are filled with your readers, you seriously don't see a benefit?

Fine, don't go with FBS. As I pointed out my last two ads with sites everyone respects, is not delivering the results it did a year or two ago either.

Romance skews results for all other genres. That's just a fact.


I totally see your point about romance. That's why I was particularly interested in your sell-through rate. Your Angel series is not in the game genre as my series, but it's closer than romance. I've already decided against FBS for multiple reasons, but others may not have.

Knowing if the amount of sell-through you're getting matches what you'd predict for X number of downloads, based on past performance, could help other YA and/or fantasy writers decide. For instance, if your usual sell-through rate is 3%, and you sell 150 more copies of Book 2 than usual, that indicates that 5,000 real potential readers downloaded Book 1. If you sell 450 more copies of Book 2 than usual, that indicates that 15,000 real potential readers downloaded your book (and would help validate FBS's claims not to be breaking the rules).

If all you get from FBS is a few days in the Top 100 Free and at the top of the genre lists, then it would help authors to know that they're going to spend $300 to purchase a chance for more exposure, and that recouping the costs (as you were hoping to do when you decided to buy a slot) is unlikely.

Offline Kat Lilynette

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #496 on: December 08, 2013, 12:36:03 PM »
There is still something I would like to know. In the first post you said that you created a mailing list through links in the back of your books. Then later you say you have a collection of blogs and websites (none of which are to be found anywhere). Which is it? Nobody is doubting that you are getting downloads but we are doubting how you get them and if they are real readers.

You want the clients but you don't want to answer any questions.

Pretty sure it's been confirmed that the "we are using blog networks and stuff" thing is a blatant lie as well. After receiving all his downloads, KMathew reported finding little/no additional promotion anywhere on the net that coincided with this promotion.


Yesterday, the downloads started rolling in. Though the service says you'll get your downloads over the course of two to three days, I'm pretty sure I got them all yesterday, as there hasn't been much movement today.

Also, I did a search on my book to see where it showed up for the day that my promotion ran. I did find one free book website that was promoting it, but that was all.


Before FBS chimes in and tries to say that these are all private networks (tens, hundreds, or thousands of blogs/communities that go to the lengths necessary to completely exclude themselves from all Google indexing, but are big enough to supply tens of thousands of downloads daily - lol), one would need to think about how large a network and how much traffic would be required to sustain these numbers for multiple purchasers. Then, on top of that, all of these communities would need to carefully and thoughtfully exclude every page of their community from Google indexing (which means no facebook, no twitter, no social media mentions of any kind, in addition to server-side noindexing calls in their .htaccess files). Oh, and Santa is real too.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 12:39:29 PM by Kat Lilynette »

Offline ゴジラ

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #497 on: December 08, 2013, 12:36:26 PM »
Last time I post in this thread - if you don't like Freebooksservice's service, then by continuing to engage him (fruitlessly, because he'll never admit to anything) is pretty much just continually bumping his thread to the top of the forum and giving him free promotion. I'm sure he doesn't care what anyone says at this point as long as it keeps getting his post to the top. Folks aren't going to invest 20+ pages of reading time to see the discussion that follows; they'll make their decision based on the first post.

Debating is fun and all, but you're accomplishing exactly the opposite of what I think most users want to get out of this conversation.

I think the ethics and techniques associated with FBS are pretty obvious at this point. Anyone who disagrees has probably already dropped their benjamins to roll around in fake downloads and enjoy the priceless "exposure."

There's nothing left to talk about. If you don't want to support this service, ignoring it is pretty much the best thing to do now.

My two cents.

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #498 on: December 08, 2013, 12:40:17 PM »
Last time I post in this thread - if you don't like Freebooksservice's service, then by continuing to engage him (fruitlessly, because he'll never admit to anything) is pretty much just continually bumping his thread to the top of the forum and giving him free promotion. I'm sure he doesn't care what anyone says at this point as long as it keeps getting his post to the top. Folks aren't going to invest 20+ pages of reading time to see the discussion that follows; they'll make their decision based on the first post.

Debating is fun and all, but you're accomplishing exactly the opposite of what I think most users want to get out of this conversation.

I think the ethics and techniques associated with FBS are pretty obvious at this point. Anyone who disagrees has probably already dropped their benjamins to roll around in fake downloads and enjoy the priceless "exposure."

There's nothing left to talk about. If you don't want to support this service, ignoring it is pretty much the best thing to do now.

My two cents.

I think that's a fair point and (once again) I'm going to try and bow out of this conversation. It just sucks watching fellow indie authors forking over their hard earned money for a service that, to me, is quite obviously a scam.

Offline freebookservice

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Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
« Reply #499 on: December 08, 2013, 12:42:53 PM »
There is still something I would like to know. In the first post you said that you created a mailing list through links in the back of your books. Then later you say you have a collection of blogs and websites (none of which are to be found anywhere). Which is it? Nobody is doubting that you are getting downloads but we are doubting how you get them and if they are real readers.

You want the clients but you don't want to answer any questions.


I have copy and pasted what I put in the first post just incase you had problems finding it.

The bulk of our reader-base has come from including opt-in forms on our own books. We placed forms in the description area using HTML, and with that, were able to build our list. We kept this extremely close to our chests, because literally everybody would be using the same method to create their own reader-base, in effect diluting our own list that we worked hard on creating. Since then, Amazon has overhauled their description pages, and you can no longer add Opt-ins to your book page.

Some books are still grandfathered in... Note, that is not my book: (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F23Q9CI/) however this can no longer be done. All of our readers are double opt in and completely can-spam compliant, and this method of promotion, as with BookBub, is in accordance to Amazons ToS.


I also mentioned we are working on other web properties, but if you have ever tried to build websites from the ground up then you would know they are extremely difficult to grow at any reasonable pace.




Last time I post in this thread - if you don't like Freebooksservice's service, then by continuing to engage him (fruitlessly, because he'll never admit to anything) is pretty much just continually bumping his thread to the top of the forum and giving him free promotion. I'm sure he doesn't care what anyone says at this point as long as it keeps getting his post to the top. Folks aren't going to invest 20+ pages of reading time to see the discussion that follows; they'll make their decision based on the first post.

Debating is fun and all, but you're accomplishing exactly the opposite of what I think most users want to get out of this conversation.

I think the ethics and techniques associated with FBS are pretty obvious at this point. Anyone who disagrees has probably already dropped their benjamins to roll around in fake downloads and enjoy the priceless "exposure."

There's nothing left to talk about. If you don't want to support this service, ignoring it is pretty much the best thing to do now.

My two cents.

Thanks for the reply.
Our website is Freebookservice.com and our email is freebooksservice@gmail.com