Author Topic: KDP account closed without warning: Amazon says my KU borrows are suspicious  (Read 49129 times)  

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Indeed. And as people have pointed out up-thread, it's the very fact that we don't know how any of this works or what is going on that causes the anxiety.

All any of us can do is take whatever measures we can to avoid having our own accounts being terminated in the same way. Until we know more, the only completely safe thing to do seems to be to avoid KU altogether.
I would say that three quarters of my income comes from KU, so I am not about to abandon it. I would like to ask though, if anyone knows, is it allowed to borrow and read one's own books or will that cause alarm bells to ring? And do we get paid for reading our own pages? I just joined KU on the free trial and I have downloaded my own boxed set to read again. Now I am worried.


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Offline M.D. Massey

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I hope that they do work out something to block this sort of problem by working on the reader end, but assuming they don't, the far less ruthless solution in ambiguous cases is merely to kick authors out of KDP select (i.e. the KU program) and leave their accounts open to sell.

Agreed. And, it removes the profit-motive as well, making it less attractive for scammers. Although, I'm sure some scammers will just find a way to spoof a new identity and open a new KDP account. That being said, losing KU would completely tank many indie authors.

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Offline DanaG

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Arrgh, I keep checking back here hoping to see that she has her account re-instated! And it's not!  I really, really feel for the OP. This has gotten a ton of publicity, blogs are posting about it, I know that multiple people have emailed Amazon support about this issue...and STILL NOTHING??? How horrible.

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I would say that three quarters of my income comes from KU, so I am not about to abandon it. I would like to ask though, if anyone knows, is it allowed to borrow and read one's own books or will that cause alarm bells to ring? And do we get paid for reading our own pages? I just joined KU on the free trial and I have downloaded my own boxed set to read again. Now I am worried.

I wouldn't think it would be a problem, given that each account can only read a book once. What I mean is, if I borrow a book and read it, and then return it, and then borrow it again and read it again -- the second read through doesn't count.

Or I could borrow it and read it through 5 times -- only one read through counts.

I could put it on 3 different devices and read it through on each one -- only one read through counts.

Even if I have 10 people on my account and all 10 of us read it while I have it borrowed, only one read-through will count.  At least, that's the way I understand it.

So if you borrow your own book, at most you're giving yourself one read-through. Same as if you buy your book -- you can't buy multiple copies for yourself; the system only lets you buy each ASIN once.

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Offline AlexaKang

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This issue continues to scare me, and I don't even participate in the Amazon Affiliates program. Frankly I don't understand what it is and how it works. But I'm in KU and I'm afraid God knows what might happen and one day they'll slam shut an account. I think it's very easy for anyone (say, psycho ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend) to mess with your page reads that way and cause you to lose your account.

Plus now I'm all confused whether you can use link shorteners to link to your own ebooks. Does anyone know?

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This thread continues to baffle and scare me because of all the tangential nonsense conspiracy theories that people will come up with (and believe!) in the absence of information.

This is the only thing we know (and likely the only thing Pauline knows):

Her account was banned for having seen "too many borrows from fake accounts".

That's it, people!

Nothing to do with affiliates. Nothing to do with bank accounts. Nothing to do with Pauline. Just with some Amazon bot spitting out her account as suspicious. It could happen to all of us.

I am convinced of the following:

1. Amazon, being a behemoth company, and like all behemoth companies, is fragmented in its responses. The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. Think going to your Telco with a billing complaint. Multiply incompetence of individual employees times ten.
2. Amazon is no angel and no villain. It's just a big, cumbersome company trying, and occasionally failing, to automate stuff
3. I'm sure that once Pauline gets onto the right person, she will get this resolved, stressing though it will certainly be for her

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This issue continues to scare me, and I don't even participate in the Amazon Affiliates program. Frankly I don't understand what it is and how it works. But I'm in KU and I'm afraid God knows what might happen and one day they'll slam shut an account. I think it's very easy for anyone (say, psycho ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend) to mess with your page reads that way and cause you to lose your account.

Plus now I'm all confused whether you can use link shorteners to link to your own ebooks. Does anyone know?

Link shorteners & Amazon Associates participation rules are a different issue than the OP's problem with Kindle Select author participation & KU page reads/borrow spike. If you're not in AA and you're using link shorteners on your website or where ever, you're fine. AA participants have restrictions on how they can use links and/or link shorteners, such as not being allowed to use AA links inside Kindle books or for a certain amount of Free book traffic (80% off traffic or 20K books, I believe) in which the Amazon Associates will pay advertising fees on.

The OP received this notice & her KDP account was shut down:
"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."

It's been a very long thread, so sorry to repeat previous info. It's just that I've been answering a ton of emails from authors in my promos over this mess. Amazon Associates is a separate program from Kindle Direct Publishing(KDP) (and the optional program within Kindle Direct Publishing, which is KDP Select through which readers can borrow your books.) All of the programs (KDP, KDP Select, and Amazon Associates) have their own rules. Any vendor/individual can have Amazon Associates account to earn advertising fees; having a KDP account does not auto-enroll you in AA.

The OP's KDP was shut down over a spike in Kindle Unlimited borrows/page reads that appeared (to Amazon) to be some sort of manipulation of the program.

I am hoping to hear an update from Pauline soon. This is very scary, indeed, and I hope this gets sorted out for her. This really, really sucks, because as authors, we can't control who downloads or buys our books. It's ridiculous that the authors are being penalized without any sort of discussion with Amazon, and that the accounts (scam accounts) borrowing all these books are still active.   >:( >:(
   
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This thread continues to baffle and scare me because of all the tangential nonsense conspiracy theories that people will come up with (and believe!) in the absence of information.

This is the only thing we know (and likely the only thing Pauline knows):

Her account was banned for having seen "too many borrows from fake accounts".

That's it, people!

Nothing to do with affiliates. Nothing to do with bank accounts. Nothing to do with Pauline. Just with some Amazon bot spitting out her account as suspicious. It could happen to all of us.

I am convinced of the following:

1. Amazon, being a behemoth company, and like all behemoth companies, is fragmented in its responses. The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. Think going to your Telco with a billing complaint. Multiply incompetence of individual employees times ten.
2. Amazon is no angel and no villain. It's just a big, cumbersome company trying, and occasionally failing, to automate stuff
3. I'm sure that once Pauline gets onto the right person, she will get this resolved, stressing though it will certainly be for her

Bahahah we must have been reading/posting at the same time....except you're much more succinct than me
   
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Online Anarchist

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This thread continues to baffle and scare me because of all the tangential nonsense conspiracy theories that people will come up with (and believe!) in the absence of information.

This is the only thing we know (and likely the only thing Pauline knows):

Her account was banned for having seen "too many borrows from fake accounts".

That's it, people!

Nothing to do with affiliates. Nothing to do with bank accounts. Nothing to do with Pauline. Just with some Amazon bot spitting out her account as suspicious. It could happen to all of us.

I am convinced of the following:

1. Amazon, being a behemoth company, and like all behemoth companies, is fragmented in its responses. The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. Think going to your Telco with a billing complaint. Multiply incompetence of individual employees times ten.
2. Amazon is no angel and no villain. It's just a big, cumbersome company trying, and occasionally failing, to automate stuff
3. I'm sure that once Pauline gets onto the right person, she will get this resolved, stressing though it will certainly be for her

Thank you for that dose of much-needed sanity.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a good bout of the following as much as the next guy...





... but it's a little disturbing 15 pages in.
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Offline Becca Mills

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This thread continues to baffle and scare me because of all the tangential nonsense conspiracy theories that people will come up with (and believe!) in the absence of information.

Well, there's really a lot to keep straight. Those of us who are here on KB daily absorb the info slowly, as it comes out. That makes it easier. Imagine instead encountering a bunch of new info all at once. That can lead different issues to get connected in people's minds. This event is magnifying that tendency because it's reaching so many people. (My blog post on this has surpassed 20,000 views, now.) Also, the news about the crackdown on sites relying on affiliate income came out at about the same time, which makes it easy to conflate the two things under a larger "hard-ass Amazon" umbrella.

But yeah, human beings like to explain things. We like our effects to have causes. That's how we learn, so that we don't run into the same problems over and over. Being left with no explanation for what happened to Pauline is both frustrating and scary. So we try to push things into that void, fill it up.  :(




Offline lyndabelle

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I think besides what happened to the OP, there are the other closed accounts situations being considered at the same time. And everyone is trying to put it all together so we can all avoid a nuke to our accounts. I'm guessing why this is so popular now is everyone is trying to avoid the same thing happening to them. Most of us in KU don't want to loose that money stream, and we're trying to think smart. I mean, it could be construed to be a panic, but it's not a outlandish thought to want to avoid the same thing happening to you. It's what the hive mind on the board does so well, figure out stuff.

It may take some time to figure out what is really happening. Some are figuring to ignore KU all together, but some of us that do make legitimate money, writing real stories, aren't running quite yet. I'm mostly avoiding what might be triggers, Facebook group posts(which was already a problem at Facebook with people getting accounts closed there), the Affiliates Program(which I can't do since I live in California. Some states have been banned by Amazon for this program due to sales tax laws passed in the state), possible Fiverr or other author promo sites, and just sticking to author cross-promos. Sometimes it is good to lay low while Amazon goes through it's purging sieges. Always good to avoid the burn if you can. This board tends to be on top of the issues in most cases, and I've gotten good avoidance advice here. The OP did us all a favor bringing attention to the issue. Make fun of the panic, but it might be a way we finally figure out an answer.

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Offline Philip Gibson

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After seeing 'reads' on my books that could be seen by Amazon as suspicious, I asked KDP to look into my account and check everything was okay.  They answered thus:

Quote
Hello Philip,

I've checked your account and can confirm that your account and books are in good standing.

Ensuring the security of publisher account information is our top priority.

Also, please be assured that we will notify publishers before taking any action on the account.

I appreciate your understanding.

Thanks for using Amazon KDP. Have a nice day!

The part I bolded is somewhat reassuring. 
« Last Edit: June 21, 2016, 12:15:48 PM by Philip Gibson »

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Offline Book Club Promotion

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This is the only thing we know (and likely the only thing Pauline knows):

Her account was banned for having seen "too many borrows from fake accounts".

That's it, people!

We know more than that. We know Pauline's Amazon affiliate account had been suspended already.

This thread continues to baffle and scare me because of all the tangential nonsense conspiracy theories that people will come up with (and believe!) in the absence of information.

For me it's easier to believe that Amazon banned her KDP account after her affiliate account had been suspended for violating Amazon's TOS than to believe that some poltergeist is lurking in the dark sprinkling KU reads on writers' KDP accounts to get them banned.

I hope they let Pauline off the hook. But something tells me they won't buy a poltergeist defense, when they have access to her other accounts.

Update: changed banned into suspended
« Last Edit: June 21, 2016, 02:46:10 PM by Book Club Promotion »
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Offline Donna White Glaser

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For me it's easier to believe that Amazon banned her KDP account after her affiliate account had been banned for violating Amazon's TOS than to believe that some poltergeist is lurking in the dark sprinkling KU reads on writers' KDP accounts to get them banned.


"Poltergeist" seems a little disingenuous to me.  There are certainly scammers out there who have embroiled innocent people in their scams, and there are disturbed people--readers and writers, alike--who have used underhanded ways to retaliate against others for slights they've felt or imagined, or even just to attack somebody else's success. Does it happen often? Thankfully, no. But it's not unheard of and it's not ridiculous for folks to want to be cautious of running afoul such things. 
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Offline Becca Mills

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We know more than that. We know Pauline's Amazon affiliate account had been banned already.

For me it's easier to believe that Amazon banned her KDP account after her affiliate account had been banned for violating Amazon's TOS than to believe that some poltergeist is lurking in the dark sprinkling KU reads on writers' KDP accounts to get them banned.

I hope they let Pauline off the hook. But something tells me they won't buy a poltergeist defense, when they have access to her other accounts.

Her affiliate account was suspended, not banned, for the offense of using affiliate tags in emails, which is something lots of people were doing until recently -- either because of misunderstanding the TOS or because Amazon wasn't enforcing the rule. If that apparent slap on the wrist is the first strike in an unstated two-strikes-you're-out policy, we have great cause for concern.

It also leaves completely mysterious what the second strike was.





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This is the only thing we know (and likely the only thing Pauline knows):

Her account was banned for having seen "too many borrows from fake accounts".

We know more than that. We know Pauline's Amazon affiliate account had been banned already.

Is there evidence that actions taken against Pauline's affiliate account are related to her issues concerning her KU status?
 
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Online AliceW

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We know more than that. We know Pauline's Amazon affiliate account had been banned already.

Please link to your evidence of this.

I can see where the OP stated her affiliate account was suspended, and she received a warning. I can not find anywhere, where she stated it was banned.

Offline Pauline Creeden

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Hi everyone! Thanks for your thoughts, prayers and many letters to Amazon. Tonight my KDP account has been restored and soon my books will be back online!

I've been lurking but staying silent through the rough stuff because I hate being argumentative. So those who continued to show support and good faith in me, I thank you again from the bottom of my heart.


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Offline TheLemontree

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YAY!!!!!!!!!

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Hi everyone! Thanks for your thoughts, prayers and many letters to Amazon. Tonight my KDP account has been restored and soon my books will be back online!

Yay!

Offline M M

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Very happy and relived to hear this great news.


Offline BookwormT

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Hi everyone! Thanks for your thoughts, prayers and many letters to Amazon. Tonight my KDP account has been restored and soon my books will be back online!


That's so awesome to hear! I'm relieved for you!

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This is the very best news, and not just for the OP, but for everyone else losing sleep over the possibility of this happening to them. It's so good to know that this problem CAN be resolved and that Amazon DOES listen.

Welcome back!
 

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Hi everyone! Thanks for your thoughts, prayers and many letters to Amazon. Tonight my KDP account has been restored and soon my books will be back online!


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Fantastic news! All the very best. I sincerely hope Amazon considers taking a different approach in similar circumstances in the future.