Author Topic: KDP account closed without warning: Amazon says my KU borrows are suspicious  (Read 49812 times)  

Offline Pauline Creeden

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"We are reaching out to you because we have detected that borrows for your books are
originating from systematically generated accounts. While we support the legitimate
efforts of our publishers to promote their books, attempting to manipulate the Kindle
platform and/or Kindle programs is not permitted. As a result of the irregular borrow
activity, we have removed your books from the KDP store and are terminating your KDP
account and your KDP Agreement effective immediately.

As part of the termination process, we will close your KDP account(s) and remove the
books you have uploaded through KDP from the Kindle Store. We will issue a negative
adjustment to any outstanding royalty payments. Additionally, as per our Terms and
Conditions, you are not permitted to open new KDP accounts and will not receive future
royalty payments from additional accounts created."


No, I did not hack into Amazon's algorithms to boost my borrows, nor did I pay anyone else to do so. So if someone hates you and wants to see you fail, and know how to do this... they can sabotage you and take away your KDP account.

I have been in contact with them for over a week now, and am currently just in suspension while they look into this. Needless to say that if I get my account back, I will be pulling all my books from KU.

Adding in:
There was a sudden spike in borrows on one of my books which caused this fiasco - it was a book that I had no promos for at all, although I had done promos on other books this month, the book that had the borrows was not one I'd run a promo on. Bknights is a reputable site and I have nothing but positive things to say about them. In fact, they are helping me with contacting KDP to what they can do to help this situation.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2016, 03:28:11 PM by Pauline Creeden »
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Offline Jane_Dough

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2016, 08:45:15 AM »
OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Offline Speaker-To-Animals

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2016, 08:47:06 AM »
Have you run any promotions recently?

Offline WasAnn

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2016, 08:50:07 AM »
This is twice I've heard about this from relatively low selling authors who've done nothing wrong that they can figure out. By relatively low selling, I only mean not consistent best sellers. No offense.

Was this linked to a promo site you used? The other one suspected it might be linked to a promo she did a few months before she got this notice.


Offline Pauline Creeden

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2016, 08:50:50 AM »
Just the usual - BKnights - mailing list promos with Patty Jansen and Rebecca Hamilton... nothing strange or huge. - And the book that I had the problem with was not promo'd by BKnights - or the other two either. So I'm not blaming any of them.


Just posting here for the benefit of new people just reading the thread that apparently, as posted later in the thread, the book that Amazon had issues with was not one of the ones promo'd by the above services.  See http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,237687.msg3310798.html#msg3310798. --Betsy/KB Mod
« Last Edit: June 16, 2016, 03:26:15 PM by Pauline Creeden »
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Offline Pauline Creeden

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2016, 08:51:35 AM »
I don't have a suspected promo site at all - but no offence taken. I'm low selling - happy just to stay out of the 100,000s
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Offline Pauline Creeden

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2016, 08:52:34 AM »
BTW - did your friend get his/her account back? They keep telling me they'll get back to me in about 5 business days - they need time to look into it.
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Offline BookwormT

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2016, 08:56:08 AM »
That's terrible and I'm sorry you're dealing with it. I hope your account gets restored soon.  :-[

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Offline Jeff Sproul

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2016, 08:58:32 AM »
I could imagine a situation in which a promotion service (whatever it be) might buy borrows, to help boost the promotion. Albeit entirely unbeknownst to yourself, as the customer of the service. But also it raises the greater problem of authors (or anyone for that matter) having the means to destroy your livelihood. I only need about $700-$1000 to live comfortably from my writing career. Meaning, that I would technically be a low mid-lister. (Thereabouts.) It would be pretty easy for someone to destroy my only source of income if they were; bored, upset with me over something, or simply wanted to derail competition in a niche genre. The only solution would be to beg Amazon to reinstate your account, and then of course completely rid yourself of KU. (Which for some authors, is a significant source of their revenue.)   
   
This is the same issue that some partnered youtubers ran into, when overzealous fans (of smaller-time youtubers) would frantically click all their ad-links. The youtuber would soon find their monitization rights/options removed.

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Offline DGS

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2016, 08:59:35 AM »
Do you have a link to the back matter in the front? Maybe people reading books then once their kindles sync, it creates a boost of borrows over few days and that triggered it?

Offline Pauline Creeden

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2016, 09:01:38 AM »
I could imagine a situation in which a promotion service (whatever it be) might buy borrows, to help boost the promotion. Albeit entirely unbeknownst to yourself, as the customer of the service. But also it raises the greater problem of authors (or anyone for that matter) having the means to destroy your livelihood. I only need about $700-$1000 to live comfortably from my writing career. Meaning, that I would technically be a low mid-lister. (Thereabouts.) It would be pretty easy for someone to destroy my only source of income if they were; bored, upset with me over something, or simply wanted to derail competition in a niche genre. The only solution would be to beg Amazon to reinstate your account, and then of course completely rid yourself of KU. (Which for some authors, is a significant source of their revenue.)   
   
This is the same issue that some partnered youtubers ran into, when overzealous fans (of smaller-time youtubers) would frantically click all their ad-links. The youtuber would soon find their monitization rights/options removed.

YES! This! That's why I decided to go ahead and go "public" with what's happening to me now - This is a way for people to get back at someone else or destroy what they deem competition - or for an overzealous fan/helper to get you in trouble for, etc.... etc...
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Offline Pauline Creeden

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2016, 09:02:14 AM »
Do you have a link to the back matter in the front? Maybe people reading books then once their kindles sync, it creates a boost of borrows over few days and that triggered it?

Nothing like that - it's just the book with back matter in the rear - no link
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Offline Jeff Sproul

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2016, 09:02:24 AM »
Do you have a link to the back matter in the front? Maybe people reading books then once their kindles sync, it creates a boost of borrows over few days and that triggered it?

The problem that Amazon has detected, is that they've flagged certain accounts that probably do a LOT of borrowing, like...crazy amounts of borrowing. Those accounts then probably borrowed her books, which then caused her account to be flagged. It's highly unlikely that it's a sync issue with legitimate borrowers.

Jeff Sproul

Offline NeedWant

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2016, 09:03:34 AM »
YES! This! That's why I decided to go ahead and go "public" with what's happening to me now - This is a way for people to get back at someone else or destroy what they deem competition - or for an overzealous fan/helper to get you in trouble for, etc.... etc...

Or a promo service using shady tactics...

Offline Jeff Sproul

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2016, 09:05:49 AM »
YES! This! That's why I decided to go ahead and go "public" with what's happening to me now - This is a way for people to get back at someone else or destroy what they deem competition - or for an overzealous fan/helper to get you in trouble for, etc.... etc...

It's a really terrible situation to be in. I'm sorry that this happened to you. :( I had those exact same feelings when I lost my youtube partnership/monetization rights because a guy I knew across the US was spamming my links every day for a week. I was so low in views, that it was a huge red flag and I've never been able to monetize with google adsense from that point forward. I really hope Amazon leans your way on this. (I have no way of knowing if you DID or DIDN'T actually pay for borrows, but I'll just assume you didn't. :)   
   
But I really can't envision a good way for the developer/backend side of things (for Amazon) for them to be able to know one way or another that it was the Author, or simply someone else who ends up buying those borrows. It's a really tough situation for Amazon to deal with fairly.

Jeff Sproul

Offline michaelsnuckols

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2016, 09:07:16 AM »
I have a terrible sinking feeling about this.  What if the blackhat "authors" overseas are trying to cover their tracks by "borrowing" indie books at the same time they borrow their own drivel? This would make it harder for Amazon to filter out those cheating the system.

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Offline Jeff Sproul

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2016, 09:08:00 AM »
Or a promo service using shady tactics...

It's really unfortunate, but I imagine you could create a profitable business by going this route, and if you have the means to buy borrows (through a bot-net account, or however that works) than you as the "creator of the service" have nothing to lose. Amazon can't ban your website. And if you get a bad name for that website, you just create another and promote it. It really sucks.

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Offline Lynn McNamee

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2016, 09:08:26 AM »
The problem that Amazon has detected, is that they've flagged certain accounts that probably do a LOT of borrowing, like...crazy amounts of borrowing. Those accounts then probably borrowed her books, which then caused her account to be flagged. It's highly unlikely that it's a sync issue with legitimate borrowers.

I think this may be correct. But if so, then shouldn't Amazon punish those accounts instead of the authors, who may not even know about it?

Let's say you are part of one of these "borrow rings." You constantly borrow the books you're told to borrow, but you don't read most or any of them. Then one day, you're on Amazon, and you see a book that looks interesting. So you borrow it and and actually read it.

Should that author be punished for your unethical activities on other books?

Offline Pauline Creeden

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2016, 09:08:50 AM »
It's a really terrible situation to be in. I'm sorry that this happened to you. :( I had those exact same feelings when I lost my youtube partnership/monetization rights because a guy I knew across the US was spamming my links every day for a week. I was so low in views, that it was a huge red flag and I've never been able to monetize with google adsense from that point forward. I really hope Amazon leans your way on this. (I have no way of knowing if you DID or DIDN'T actually pay for borrows, but I'll just assume you didn't. :)   
   
But I really can't envision a good way for the developer/backend side of things (for Amazon) for them to be able to know one way or another that it was the Author, or simply someone else who ends up buying those borrows. It's a really tough situation for Amazon to deal with fairly.

I agree that it's hard to deal with fairly - but for my wish - take away all my borrows for the month and kick me out of KU - that would be fine with me. On a normal month I only get like 2000 pages read anyway...
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Offline Pauline Creeden

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2016, 09:10:02 AM »
I have a terrible sinking feeling about this.  What if the blackhat "authors" overseas are trying to cover their tracks by "borrowing" indie books at the same time they borrow their own drivel? This would make it harder for Amazon to filter out those cheating the system.

Ack! Scary thought - but that's my point. If their system is so vulnerable to manipulation, should we really be taking part in it?
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Offline Jeff Sproul

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2016, 09:11:31 AM »
I agree that it's hard to deal with fairly - but for my wish - take away all my borrows for the month and kick me out of KU - that would be fine with me. On a normal month I only get like 2000 pages read anyway...

I wished that Google/Youtube had dealt with me in that fashion, but when you're running a free model like this, they go with the route that holds them less liable. "You're" the one taking money from them, but then so are those bot accounts...So... Yeah. They can ban the bot borrowers and they can ban you as well. It's easier to just do both and then take on less risk for themselves.

Jeff Sproul

Offline Jeff Sproul

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2016, 09:14:39 AM »
You may even want to send an email off to Bezos. Tell him how detrimental this is to authors. (I don't have the email but I imagine it's easy to find.)   
Just have a nicely worded email about how the current system can destroy legitimate authors, and that authors shouldn't be the one to get fully banned. The system should target those borrowing bot accounts, and then just deduct those borrows from us, instead of terminating our accounts.

Jeff Sproul

Offline Kyra Halland

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2016, 09:16:45 AM »
I thought I was having a bad day, with my domain name provider playing Stupid Domain Name Provider Tricks (no one can figure out if they've gone out of business or if they're just really really incompetent; the result is that half the time my website is inaccessible), but this is way way worse. I really hope you get it sorted out soon.


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Offline Pauline Creeden

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2016, 09:20:23 AM »
You may even want to send an email off to Bezos. Tell him how detrimental this is to authors. (I don't have the email but I imagine it's easy to find.)   
Just have a nicely worded email about how the current system can destroy legitimate authors, and that authors shouldn't be the one to get fully banned. The system should target those borrowing bot accounts, and then just deduct those borrows from us, instead of terminating our accounts.

Wow - do you think he'd really care, though? I guess it wouldn't hurt to at least say something...
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Offline Jeff Sproul

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Re: How Kindle Unlimited can be BAD for Authors... Very Bad.
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2016, 09:21:49 AM »
Wow - do you think he'd really care, though? I guess it wouldn't hurt to at least say something...

I'm pretty sure the email that people contact him through (People,  being folks like us.) Is monitored by a small team, not just him. I'm sure they sift through it and see what warrants the most attention. It can't hurt. :)

Jeff Sproul

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