Author Topic: How some are scamming Kindle Unlimited and maximizing their payout per book/15 year old scams KU (ME  (Read 36269 times)  

drno

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The reason I mention this scam is the fact that dummies like me and probably you who follow rules went from making 0.5 cent per page read in KU2 to 0.4 cent. Where is the rest of the money going? To scammers. Does Amazon care? No! they pay out of a fixed pot of money and couldn't care less how the money is distributed.

I call it a scam, but please note that it is not against Amazon TOS to use this trick to maximize your KU payout per book.

Basic point: Amazon cannot see how many pages a reader has actually read. Amazon can only see at what page the reader stopped reading.

So if I have a box set in which I gather 10 of my stories and a fan only reads story 1 in this box set, I get paid for story 1. If the fan only wishes to read story 10, then I get paid for all 10 stories, even though he only reads 1 story.

In essence Amazon cannot see where you began reading, but can only see where you stopped reading. So If I have a box set with 10000 pages and someone borrows this box set and only reads 1 page, namely page 8888 I get paid for 8888 pages. If he only reads page 10, I get paid for 10 pages.

Box sets are very hot because 1 KU borrow can net you 500 bucks. That is until Amazon woke up and limited KU earnings per borrow to 3000 pages and about $15 per box set per borrow.
 
How did and do scammers get readers to read 10000 pages? Simple: by putting a link at the beginning with click here for the table of contents, which is logically placed on page 9999 of the box set. And if a link to a table of contents doesn't do it, under it is a link to win a FREE kindle or Amazon gift card, and the link conveniently points to page 10000 of the box set. In both cases, even if the readers never actually read 1 page in the box set, the writer gets paid as if the reader read every page in the box set.

Do you want an EXAMPLE?

Click link, click LOOK INSIDE, scroll down!

link removed.  --Betsy

Another EXAMPLE?

This writer: "Dorothy Thompson" has under different names more than a hundred box sets with the same 5 stories. The names of these stories are hidden and only revealed in the table of contents which you can find after clicking on a link that takes you to the end of the book.

Now you know as much as scammers and Amazon do and know why you, being a dummy, are making 0.4 cent per page read and not $15 per download.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2016, 07:16:12 AM by Betsy the Quilter »

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I'm hoping they'll wake up and crack down on scammers. If not and the payout keeps going down, I'll have to go wide. Never thought I'd say that, but I'm now considering it. We'll see what February's payout is. It better be more than January's.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 01:25:26 PM by juliatheswede »

Offline Cassie Leigh

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This particular scam was already discussed in another thread.
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Did you report them?

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drno

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Did you report them?
I don't think it's against Amazon TOS.

As far as I'm concerned now we all have the info and can use it ourselves to turn every KU download into a 15 dollar payout. Why should only some have this info and use it for themselves and not all the others?

For instance, why not add bonus stories in each and every one of our books to get to 3000 pages?

PS: I'm not doing it myself. But if anyone needs rent money or money for baby milk, have at it! ;)

Offline jarmzet

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The reason I mention this scam is the fact that dummies like me and probably you who follow rules went from making 5 cent per page read in KU2 to 4 cent. Where is the rest of the money going? To scammers. Does Amazon care? No! they pay out of a fixed pot of money and couldn't care less how the money is distributed.

KU payout has been around half a cent a page.

Offline David Chill

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Having conducted online research surveys for many years, I know it is possible to measure the length of time a person takes to complete a survey. If we notice a respondent taking say, 2 minutes to complete a survey that on average takes 15 minutes, then we know they are just plugging in answers and their survey is removed from the total and discarded.

I would assume Amazon can do this as well, and I'd be surprised if they haven't already implemented something. They obviously don't want to being paying $$$ on fraudulent page reads.

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Offline Moist_Tissue

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If you want Amazon to respond, a whole bunch of authors will have to email Jeff Bezos directly.
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Offline kcmorgan

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I don't think it's against Amazon TOS.

As far as I'm concerned now we all have the info and can use it ourselves to turn every KU download into a 15 dollar payout. Why should only some have this info and use it for themselves and not all the others?

For instance, why not add bonus stories in each and every one of our books to get to 3000 pages?

PS: I'm not doing it myself. But if anyone needs rent money or money for baby milk, have at it! ;)
There was one book made up of everything under the kitchen sink. It was an interracial romance with like 10 other books including a cookbook with an offer for a free kindle by clicking a link to the last page. Me and some other people reported it and it got taken down as did the rest of that "author's" books. So doing this is a bad idea that will probably lead to a ban.

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Amazon cannot see how many pages a reader has actually read. Amazon can only see at what page the reader stopped reading.

Has this been confirmed? Is there viewable evidence?
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Offline Amanda M. Lee

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Re: How some are scamming Kindle Unlimited and maximizing their payout per book
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2016, 02:15:21 PM »
Amazon is aware of the situation and that's why they came out with the 3,000 KENPC cap. They will take books down doing this with the link scam if you report them. The number of scammers doing it isn't small.

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Re: How some are scamming Kindle Unlimited and maximizing their payout per book
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2016, 03:04:04 PM »
Amazon is aware of the situation and that's why they came out with the 3,000 KENPC cap. They will take books down doing this with the link scam if you report them. The number of scammers doing it isn't small.
This^^
Yikes, there are soooo many books like this. It's crazy looking through the lists most days.

Offline MMacLeod

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Re: How some are scamming Kindle Unlimited and maximizing their payout per book
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2016, 03:26:05 PM »
What puzzles me is, doesn't a live human already have to look at a book and click a button somewhere to make it go live? You could just about train a monkey to spot the current scam books. It shouldn't be so hard to weed them out.

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Offline Wired

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Re: How some are scamming Kindle Unlimited and maximizing their payout per book
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2016, 03:27:53 PM »
What puzzles me is, doesn't a live human already have to look at a book and click a button somewhere to make it go live? You could just about train a monkey to spot the current scam books. It shouldn't be so hard to weed them out.

This. 1,000 times...this.

Offline Anma Natsu

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Re: How some are scamming Kindle Unlimited and maximizing their payout per book
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2016, 03:32:08 PM »
What puzzles me is, doesn't a live human already have to look at a book and click a button somewhere to make it go live? You could just about train a monkey to spot the current scam books. It shouldn't be so hard to weed them out.

Pretty sure there isn't or we wouldn't have so many keyword stuffed titles and other issues either.  My guess is if the software doesn't flag it as "potential issue", it's all automated or the person just clicks go without actually looking at anything but that it's pending.

Offline MaryMcDonald

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Re: How some are scamming Kindle Unlimited and maximizing their payout per book
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2016, 03:38:15 PM »
The reason I mention this scam is the fact that dummies like me and probably you who follow rules went from making 0.5 cent per page read in KU2 to 0.4 cent. Where is the rest of the money going? To scammers. Does Amazon care? No! they pay out of a fixed pot of money and couldn't care less how the money is distributed.

I call it a scam, but please note that it is not against Amazon TOS to use this trick to maximize your KU payout per book.

Basic point: Amazon cannot see how many pages a reader has actually read. Amazon can only see at what page the reader stopped reading.

So if I have a box set in which I gather 10 of my stories and a fan only reads story 1 in this box set, I get paid for story 1. If the fan only wishes to read story 10, then I get paid for all 10 stories, even though he only reads 1 story.

In essence Amazon cannot see where you began reading, but can only see where you stopped reading. So If I have a box set with 10000 pages and someone borrows this box set and only reads 1 page, namely page 8888 I get paid for 8888 pages. If he only reads page 10, I get paid for 10 pages.

Box sets are very hot because 1 KU borrow can net you 500 bucks. That is until Amazon woke up and limited KU earnings per borrow to 3000 pages and about $15 per box set per borrow.
 
How did and do scammers get readers to read 10000 pages? Simple: by putting a link at the beginning with click here for the table of contents, which is logically placed on page 9999 of the box set. And if a link to a table of contents doesn't do it, under it is a link to win a FREE kindle or Amazon gift card, and the link conveniently points to page 10000 of the box set. In both cases, even if the readers never actually read 1 page in the box set, the writer gets paid as if the reader read every page in the box set.

Do you want an EXAMPLE?

Click link, click LOOK INSIDE, scroll down!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0191R1K38/

Another EXAMPLE?

This writer: "Dorothy Thompson" has under different names more than a hundred box sets with the same 5 stories. The names of these stories are hidden and only revealed in the table of contents which you can find after clicking on a link that takes you to the end of the book.

Now you know as much as scammers and Amazon do and know why you, being a dummy, are making 0.4 cent per page read and not $15 per download.

Amazon does listen to this stuff. I had pointed out a scam in KU1, wrote it up as a blog post, with several examples and links to them. Then tPV picked up my blog post, so it got a lot of traffic, and I had several hits on my blog from Amazon. It wasn't right then, I think it may have been passed onto someone else, because a few weeks later, my blog had another rash of hits by Amazon, with clicks on the links, and then those particular books were gone.

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Offline Wired

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Re: How some are scamming Kindle Unlimited and maximizing their payout per book
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2016, 03:44:08 PM »
Pretty sure there isn't or we wouldn't have so many keyword stuffed titles and other issues either.  My guess is if the software doesn't flag it as "potential issue", it's all automated or the person just clicks go without actually looking at anything but that it's pending.

Hard to believe Zon would be so lax - especially since it's costing them money.

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Re: How some are scamming Kindle Unlimited and maximizing their payout per book
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2016, 04:03:34 PM »
Please correct me if my memory is wrong.

I recall that several months ago authors were moving the Table of Contents to the back of the book.
That was because the preview function only shows a few pages at the front of the book. Authors wanted them to get a taste of the story without wasting viewing space on the Table of Contents.

I don't recall at that time of anyone claiming that was a scam.

Offline Amanda M. Lee

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Re: How some are scamming Kindle Unlimited and maximizing their payout per book
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2016, 04:18:58 PM »
Please correct me if my memory is wrong.

I recall that several months ago authors were moving the Table of Contents to the back of the book.
That was because the preview function only shows a few pages at the front of the book. Authors wanted them to get a taste of the story without wasting viewing space on the Table of Contents.

I don't recall at that time of anyone claiming that was a scam.
Are you arguing that piling eighty books in one title, putting a link at the front that says "free giveaway" and takes you to the back of the book to trigger a full read isn't a scam?

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Offline kcmorgan

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Re: How some are scamming Kindle Unlimited and maximizing their payout per book
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2016, 04:24:10 PM »
Hard to believe Zon would be so lax - especially since it's costing them money.
It's not. They pay however much they decide to pay. The money for those extra pages are divided among the other writers in KU. So it's costing US money.

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Re: How some are scamming Kindle Unlimited and maximizing their payout per book
« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2016, 04:32:49 PM »
I don't think it's against Amazon TOS.

As far as I'm concerned now we all have the info and can use it ourselves to turn every KU download into a 15 dollar payout. Why should only some have this info and use it for themselves and not all the others?

For instance, why not add bonus stories in each and every one of our books to get to 3000 pages?

PS: I'm not doing it myself. But if anyone needs rent money or money for baby milk, have at it! ;)

I'm pretty sure that gaming the system and cheating or manipulating customers is against Amazon's very broad, very VAGUE TOS. If they want to ban an account and keep the money, they will.

Amazon already has the technology to determine how long it takes a person to read a book. Additionally, when I open a book, the first few minutes my kindle tells me it's "learning my reading speed" or something like that.

Amazon knows how long it takes each customer to read a book (avgs) and how long it takes for customers to read a specific book. With those two pieces of information (plus the KENPC pages), it shouldn't be hard to create a program to send up a red flag when 3k KENPC pages are read in a minute or two, or way below the average for that reader or type of book.

That being said, it's not a scam to have a box set with different authors or different stories. I have plenty of freebies where I will pick and choose the stories I read because I'm not a fan of each author/topic presented. The same goes for KU borrowed books.

Don't include legitimate authors in with the scammers. As someone said above, it's fairly easy for a trained monkey to spot the scam books. I've spotted a few myself. They have the exact same cover and have lots of "bonus" stories.

Amazon can fix this IF they wanted to.
The 3k page cap is just the beginning. A quick fix, if you will. More changes are coming. Will they hold off until June? Probably not. They certainly don't want to be known for allowing scammers to take advantage, nor do they want ticked off customers. IF they want to expand KU, they need to get a handle on this quickly.

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Re: How some are scamming Kindle Unlimited and maximizing their payout per book
« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2016, 04:59:21 PM »
I've seen this done in a few traditional publishers' ebooks as well.

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Re: How some are scamming Kindle Unlimited and maximizing their payout per book
« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2016, 05:20:40 PM »
Amazon needs to drop the 'pool', and just set a payment per page. You better believe then they'd be on top of these scams.

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Re: How some are scamming Kindle Unlimited and maximizing their payout per book
« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2016, 05:22:13 PM »
...
Basic point: Amazon cannot see how many pages a reader has actually read. Amazon can only see at what page the reader stopped reading.
...
I'm curious what your source on this limitation is. And, as a software engineer, I'm skeptical.  Amazon may not be able to tell whether or not you actually read a page, but they can certainly tell what pages you downloaded.

Per your example, if you get to page 8888, Amazon knows that's where you stopped. Well, when you were on page 8887, they must have known that was the last page you had "read," because if you chose to stop there, then they would "know" it, except that you went to the next page, right?  They know every bit of data that you download, because they serve it to you. Recording it would be so very, very simple that I can't believe they wouldn't do it.

So I'm curious where the notion that they can only track the last page you get to comes from. Is this reported somewhere by a legit source, or is someone just speculating? I know that counting the first, last and every page in between would be feasible. I'd be surprised if they weren't doing it.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 05:25:18 PM by Blocked Writer »

drno

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Re: How some are scamming Kindle Unlimited and maximizing their payout per book
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2016, 06:38:38 PM »
We are dummies! Each and every one of us. We thought Amazon had the page reads figured out when they introduced KU2.

If anyone here is waiting for Jeff Bezos to say that they don't have the page reads figured out then they will wait for a long time. Amazon was hoping that dummies like us who believe in Amazon and its almightyness would not figure out that there was a flaw in the system. They know that there are going to be scammers, but they also know that dummies like us will not figure it out. They are using our money to pay the scammers. That doesn't cost Amazon anything. Remember we, the dummies, went from 0.5 to 0.4 cent per page read. Smart people went from 0.5 cent per page read to $15 per download. Do you see how a small amount of scammers can destroy the income of many dummies?

If you don't believe me and you have a KU account or know someone with a KU account, you can test it yourself. (There is a latency issue, so make sure you give it time to report)

Remember Hugh Howey saying that from now on writers who delight their readers with great stories were going to benefit because these readers were going to read the whole book and that lousy writers were going to be washed away?

Remember when every time the pay per page read went down we were saying that more books were being read and we were happy because our books might be read? Uh? No! More and more scammers are taking advantage of the flaws in the system.