Author Topic: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts & Flood New Release Lists  (Read 25091 times)  

Offline Monique

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Another great, informative, and frustrating article by David Gaughran with guest Phoenix Sullivan.

Sadly, we've seen this before.

https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/ku-scammers-attack-amazons-free-ebook-charts/

eta: For info regarding the massive flood of scam books into the KU new release lists, keep reading.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2016, 01:26:03 PM by Monique »

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Offline SevenDays

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2016, 09:09:04 AM »
That's utterly infuriating.

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Offline Stacy Claflin

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2016, 09:10:55 AM »
Read that this morning. Completely frustrating.
 

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Offline Amanda M. Lee

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2016, 09:22:39 AM »
We were talking about the free list hijack over Easter weekend in another group. It's unbelievable. I think Amazon is going to drop the cap further for the KU page reads and possibly disallow bundling altogether in the next several months. I see them going the "one title" per book route. The crying we will hear then will be unbelievable. I'm actually all for that. I have some omnibuses but I think the best thing to do is drop the cap to 1,000 and make it so only single titles are allowed in KDP. Bundling the same books over and over again only hurts the store, so I think it's next to go.

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Offline mmandolin

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2016, 09:23:09 AM »
Like Phoenix and David point out, this stuff has been going on for years. This ain't 2012 anymore.

For it still to be happening on a large scale, in 2016, is  :'(

Offline Atunah

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2016, 09:27:06 AM »
That's bad. But I said it before, we as reader can't find anything anymore in the sea of this scammy stuff. I don't even browse anymore on Amazon.
I could spend an hour sifting through this stuff on both paid or free and have a hard time finding actual real books.

Yesterday, I spend 3 minutes on my Voyage with the new recommendation engine on goodreads and found 5 books I want to read in that short time. You know how long it would have taken me to find 4 books browsing on Amazon?

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Offline Roz Marshall

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2016, 09:33:00 AM »
I'm a prawn, so it will make no difference to Amazon, but I'm pulling all my books out of KU because of the page bloat and click here scammer tricks and falling page read reward. However I suspect I'm not the only one, and if enough decent authors leave, KU becomes less attractive for readers.

This is just another sad manifestation of the warrior forum-type tricks that makes me angry for honest authors that should have won all-star bonuses, or who spent $$$ on promotions only to have them hijacked by cowboys.

I think KU is turning into a bit of a farce. But how long will it take Amazon to realise that?










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Offline lilywhite

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2016, 09:40:09 AM »
This, right here:

Quote
I want to be the vendor Amazon wants me to be--exclusive, smart about promoting, someone who drives legitimate traffic to their site, a money-maker for us and them, and a cheerleader for their services.

Why do they make it so hard?

We all feel you, Phoenix. For real. :(

Offline lilywhite

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2016, 09:42:37 AM »
I'm a prawn, so it will make no difference to Amazon, but I'm pulling all my books out of KU because of the page bloat and click here scammer tricks and falling page read reward. However I suspect I'm not the only one, and if enough decent authors leave, KU becomes less attractive for readers.

I unclicked all my Select renewal boxes, and emailed Jeff Bezos to tell him so. (Got the standard phone call then email reply from Executive Relations wanting to reach me but I'm done talking to them. It's just platitudes.) I said straight out in my email that I don't sell enough that it's going to matter to Amazon, but I won't play the game anymore.

Offline D-C

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2016, 09:56:03 AM »
Until authors leave KU in droves, Amazon won't do anything to stop this.

But leaving KU is not an easy thing to do. Leaving KU means you instantly get a ranking kick-in-the-teeth, and then you spend months and months building traction on other sites. Meanwhile, it's money out of that author's pocket. Like I've said elsewhere today; KU authors are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I was going to put my next UF in KU in June, (do the whole 99c release week hoopla) but I'm sick of the KU BS. Why should decent, hard-working authors have to struggle against the mountains of scams and click-farms!

Vote with your books. Go wide. If you're leaving the KDPS renewal button checked when your 90 days are up, you're telling Amazon you're happy with KU.

Offline PaulineMRoss

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2016, 09:56:38 AM »
The other trick I've seen is to unpublish a book, then republish a couple of days later. That retains rank and reviews, but resets the Select enrollment, so - another 5 free days.
   

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Offline Moist_Tissue

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2016, 10:25:03 AM »
I think we need to initiate a coordinated effort. We need to draft a single, uniform letter hitting these points. Then we have to send that uniform letter to Jeff B. A few dozen of these letters sent at the same time to the recipient is very effective. They dismiss us because we send one-off letters. It needs to be a unified effort stating this is unacceptable and we deserve a time line for when this will be addressed.
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Offline lisamaliga

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2016, 10:26:36 AM »
I'm glad David and Phoenix have taken the time to write this and highlight the tricks the scammers pull. Thanks to both of you and also thank you for including screen shots.

I'd written about this topic last year and some things haven't changed...
https://lisamaliga.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/dont-buy-or-borrow-kindle-unlimited-rip-off-ebooks


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Offline lilywhite

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2016, 10:34:17 AM »
I think we need to initiate a coordinated effort. We need to draft a single, uniform letter hitting these points. Then we have to send that uniform letter to Jeff B. A few dozen of these letters sent at the same time to the recipient is very effective. They dismiss us because we send one-off letters. It needs to be a unified effort stating this is unacceptable and we deserve a time line for when this will be addressed.

I report and send an email every time I see a blatant TOS violation. I've been called a snitch, a traitor, and saw my books/reviews attacked as a result (which is why they're not in my sig). I've been told to "mind my own business" and to "stop worrying about this and just write another book" (as though there aren't enough hours in the day to do both). Meanwhile, this situation has progressively worsened over the last 8-10 months (not that it wasn't bad before), and a fair number of those people who had snarky advice for me 4, 5, 8 months ago were wailing and moaning in the thread about David G's last article on Amazon scammers (the DK debacle).

I don't know when enough people will get on board to make a difference, but I do know that some of us have been fighting the fight all along.

Offline Victoria J

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2016, 10:43:16 AM »
I feel like we all need to get together and have some kind of Google Hangouts author meeting/summit on what to do about this issue. This is taking money out of our pockets and going directly to thieves.  :(
« Last Edit: April 15, 2016, 10:45:01 AM by Victoria J »

Offline C. E. Stocker

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2016, 10:47:01 AM »
I'm a total newbie at this--just published my first novel at the end of March, and put it in KU hoping it would at least help visibility. Along about the same time I was getting ready to publish, I decided to enroll in KU as a reader and see what the service was about.

I have to echo Atunah's experience with browsing--it's really been a disappointing experience as a reader trying to find books I'd like to download through KU. Aside from the Amazon imprints, which seem to ride the top of any of the separate trending lists, I find it almost impossible to just browse the actual category and find quality reads.

I'm hoping they clear out all the scamming, for sure, because the customer experience seems pretty tarnished by it.

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Offline Salvador Mercer

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2016, 10:53:14 AM »
 >:(

Offline BookwormT

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2016, 11:01:50 AM »
That's bad. But I said it before, we as reader can't find anything anymore in the sea of this scammy stuff. I don't even browse anymore on Amazon.
I could spend an hour sifting through this stuff on both paid or free and have a hard time finding actual real books.

Yesterday, I spend 3 minutes on my Voyage with the new recommendation engine on goodreads and found 5 books I want to read in that short time. You know how long it would have taken me to find 4 books browsing on Amazon?

Yes! Same. As a reader, I used to go to Amazon to find books similar to ones I'd read or by browsing through their top lists, and now it's impossible to wade through all of the scam books that have zero to do with what I'm looking for. I'm buying a lot more books on my Kobo app because I can browse there without the glut of non-books.

As an author, I've ruled out launching my book in KU. I'd rather start wide and not alienate readers who prefer other platforms, but also, I don't think any bonus ranking pushes from KU will help people find my book if those lists are just crammed with scam books anyhow.

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Offline EvanPickering

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2016, 11:10:40 AM »
Where there's a market, there are thieves.

Just the way of the world, I guess. Sucks ass though. I'd bet in time Amazon will find a way to root out this crap. Create some text-scanning algorithim or some crap. Question is how long will it take, lol.

EP

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Offline Moist_Tissue

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2016, 11:13:55 AM »
Okay. Maybe two simultaneous campaigns. One from readers. One from authors. One letter will be dismissed but a dozen or more letters sent to the top will be much harder to dismiss. It does not have to be a massive amount but just unified.
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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2016, 11:19:12 AM »
Where there's a market, there are thieves.

Just the way of the world, I guess. Sucks ass though. I'd bet in time Amazon will find a way to root out this crap. Create some text-scanning algorithim or some crap. Question is how long will it take, lol.

EP
Amazon won't bother until it's hurting their bottom line. Right now, the damage is being done to the authors, and Amazon doesn't notice or care. You can tell from the canned responses people get that this is not viewed as a priority.

Offline Alan Petersen

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2016, 11:49:56 AM »
Wow, that "To Kill a Mockingbird" example David mentioned was depressingly eye-popping.



They even copied the "Harperperennial Modern Classics" branding in their title stuffing. And that "analysis" book has a "Bestseller" badge and ranking very well.

One of the one-star reviews wrote that this "analysis" referred to Harper Lee as a man. Oy. Now that's an in-depth analysis.

Offline EvanPickering

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2016, 12:16:32 PM »
Amazon won't bother until it's hurting their bottom line. Right now, the damage is being done to the authors, and Amazon doesn't notice or care. You can tell from the canned responses people get that this is not viewed as a priority.

Of course they care.

I think amazon is smart enough to know anything that hurts their brand or credibility is a threat worth addressing. Obviously, I'm not on the inside, but this is pretty high quality most of the uber-successful companies take very seriously (apple, google, and amazon too.)

It will hurt their bottom line if KU authors leave and go wide, causing the program to eventually sink. They've poured countless millions into KU in the hopes that it will eventually become the gold standard, I imagine. Scammers is not something they will brush off. It's a cancer that will balloon out of control if not fixed, and they know that.

I have nothing to gain by defending amazon. If KU submerges it'll just give me a reason to go wide, which I figure will happen eventually anyway. I'm just saying that looking at this objectively, a company like Amazon will not stand by and be robbed. (realistically, yes its "our" money being taken out of the pool, but it's Amazon's money that was put there to keep US here. If the page read cost drops down to like .003 people will leave in droves and they know it.)

Anyway, just my thoughts on the matter.
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Offline PermaStudent

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2016, 12:26:47 PM »
Amazon won't bother until it's hurting their bottom line. Right now, the damage is being done to the authors, and Amazon doesn't notice or care. You can tell from the canned responses people get that this is not viewed as a priority.

Yup.  In the grand scheme, I don't think complaining indie authors are that numerous, and we aren't a priority.

If their subscription service starts getting a bad reputation with *customers* because of all the "best selling" scam in their lists and search, they'll probably react faster.  Is anyone here really good at creating viral memes showcasing this type of farce?  (I joke. Kind of.)
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Offline mmandolin

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Re: KU Scammers Attack Amazon's Free Ebook Charts
« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2016, 12:36:51 PM »
Wow, that "To Kill a Mockingbird" example David mentioned was depressingly eye-popping.

They even copied the "Harperperennial Modern Classics" branding in their title stuffing. And that "analysis" book has a "Bestseller" badge and ranking very well.

One of the one-star reviews wrote that this "analysis" referred to Harper Lee as a man. Oy. Now that's an in-depth analysis.

Gotta love Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2XZOSA41BVOUO/  :P