Author Topic: AMS Ads Learning  (Read 105788 times)  

Online Jena H

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1050 on: June 18, 2017, 07:05:32 PM »
Maybe it's just me but there's waaay too much info being thrown around in this thread... it makes my head spin, and not in a good way.   :-\

As far as I can tell, also, there is NO general consensus on the who/what/when/where/how of AMS ads-- best practice for creating them, and what specifics to aim for, etc.  All the testing in the world will yield only info on past results, and not necessarily a blueprint for future ads.


Now, having said that, I bet it probably isn't the best time for me to ask for confirmation that contemporary romance / women's fiction is a tough field for ads these days.  Very crowded, can run up the daily spend if I want to be seen, etc.  Is that currently correct?  I'm planning to throw an ad up for one of my very first books, which has been languishing in the back of beyond.  I figure that spending a few bucks on it can't hurt and might succeed in getting the ball rolling a bit (even if it's rolling on a flat plateau, lol).
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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1051 on: June 18, 2017, 07:08:16 PM »
I just submitted the following message to "Contact Us:"

Referring to the Advertising Campaigns Chart, does the Est. Total Sales figure reflect only eBook sales, or does it also include any Paperback sales that may have occurred as the result of clicking on AMS ads?

Thanks for your anticipated reply.

Gordy

Offline LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1052 on: June 18, 2017, 09:28:21 PM »
Maybe it's just me but there's waaay too much info being thrown around in this thread... it makes my head spin, and not in a good way.   :-\

As far as I can tell, also, there is NO general consensus on the who/what/when/where/how of AMS ads-- best practice for creating them, and what specifics to aim for, etc.  All the testing in the world will yield only info on past results, and not necessarily a blueprint for future ads.


Now, having said that, I bet it probably isn't the best time for me to ask for confirmation that contemporary romance / women's fiction is a tough field for ads these days.  Very crowded, can run up the daily spend if I want to be seen, etc.  Is that currently correct?  I'm planning to throw an ad up for one of my very first books, which has been languishing in the back of beyond.  I figure that spending a few bucks on it can't hurt and might succeed in getting the ball rolling a bit (even if it's rolling on a flat plateau, lol).

I was unable to get traction for a romance that had no specific subcategory to cling to; I could not find any authors writing the same kind of story. (Perhaps I didn't look hard enough.)

In women's fiction, author names seem to work, and of course, similar covers, hooky blurbs, etc. Unfortunately, for most, a 25-cent bid or higher seems necessary to get the best placement.

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1053 on: June 19, 2017, 03:49:50 AM »
As far as I can tell, also, there is NO general consensus on the who/what/when/where/how of AMS ads-- best practice for creating them, and what specifics to aim for, etc.  All the testing in the world will yield only info on past results, and not necessarily a blueprint for future ads.

I'm going to be making a presentation of AMS to a group of indie authors, and sadly I'm reaching the same conclusions regarding best approaches. I suppose I'll focus on how to set one up, make some suggestions, and with a shrug of my shoulders say "good luck" with a straight face.  :D

Unfortunately, for most, a 25-cent bid or higher seems necessary to get the best placement.

I think this has more to do with the 25-cent default bid price that Amazon displays while setting up keywords. It becomes the defacto starting benchmark for most. Probably the 'Zon's way of keeping the bid prices up. I wonder how things would be if they defaulted to 10-cents instead.
 

Offline LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1054 on: June 19, 2017, 04:46:37 AM »
I think this has more to do with the 25-cent default bid price that Amazon displays while setting up keywords. It becomes the defacto starting benchmark for most. Probably the 'Zon's way of keeping the bid prices up. I wonder how things would be if they defaulted to 10-cents instead.

You could be correct, although I didn't start my ads that high. When everybody jumped into the pool, things changed in popular categories. I started at very low numbers, like 2 cents and 6 cents. I can still be on page one in nonfiction history at 7 cents because there's very little competition, but in a subcat of romance, no way. However, in most cases I am not paying 25 cents per click even though I am bidding higher than that.

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1055 on: June 19, 2017, 05:06:28 AM »
You could be correct, although I didn't start my ads that high. When everybody jumped into the pool, things changed in popular categories. I started at very low numbers, like 2 cents and 6 cents. I can still be on page one in nonfiction history at 7 cents because there's very little competition, but in a subcat of romance, no way. However, in most cases I am not paying 25 cents per click even though I am bidding higher than that.

How far back in the carousel did you find your books?  And (without being nosy, so you don't have to go into detail) were you able to get sales at all from your ad?  I don't mind using the default .25 bid, as I'll have a relatively low daily budget.  I haven't yet looked into authors to use as keywords--I don't really have a solid subcategory to specify, either, but have a number of particular keywords I'm going to try.
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Offline Gertie Kindle 'a/k/a Margaret Lake'

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1056 on: June 19, 2017, 06:08:39 AM »
I just submitted the following message to "Contact Us:"

Referring to the Advertising Campaigns Chart, does the Est. Total Sales figure reflect only eBook sales, or does it also include any Paperback sales that may have occurred as the result of clicking on AMS ads?

Thanks for your anticipated reply.

Gordy

Yes, it does include paperbacks.


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Offline LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1057 on: June 19, 2017, 07:16:18 AM »
How far back in the carousel did you find your books?  And (without being nosy, so you don't have to go into detail) were you able to get sales at all from your ad?  I don't mind using the default .25 bid, as I'll have a relatively low daily budget.  I haven't yet looked into authors to use as keywords--I don't really have a solid subcategory to specify, either, but have a number of particular keywords I'm going to try.

Basic answer: These ads sell my books. I've already netted (not grossed) more so far this year than I earned in the previous two, when my ad costs were random, much smaller, and mostly not AMS--although I made some relatively costly mistakes in those years. I am only at the prawny level, even so. Plenty of people release books to much higher organic sales than I am achieving through paid ads. I'll take what I can get.

In a subcat of romance, I can reliably find my lead title (book 1 of a series) on page 1 or page 2 of the general category, and I just looked at my top-selling author keyword and my book is on page 1 of her listing, but on page 16 of the carousel under her most recently released book. I don't think people are buying my book from that carousel. This ad has a $15 daily spend limit it has never reached, so arguably it isn't perfectly targeted. So far, no one who has reviewed any of the books in this series has said, "She writes like so-and-so," so I have no conclusive sense of how my series stacks up against other authors in this subcat.   

In women's fiction, using an author's name as keyword, I just found my standalone book on page 4 of the carousel, and page 7 of the overall category of her name. This ad has a $1 daily spend limit. The other sponsored ads mostly were off-base, heavy sex, suspense, very young people, and billionaire books. Does my ad sell a ton of books? No, but it sells a handful, and since the book is in KU, I also get page reads. I'm not risking much with a $1 daily spend limit, but over time, the apparent cost of the ad does climb, because the KU reads are not taken into account. My bid for that author name keyword is 46 cents, and my average spend per click has risen to 26 cents. The ACoS is 39.20% for that keyword, but more like 63% overall for the ad. Which is why I paused it for a bit. But those figures don't count the 510 KNEP (whatever) pages I get each time someone reads this book. Also, the book has zero reviews, the main heroine is 55 years old, and it's a standalone. I'm happy to sell a few of these here and there.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 10:15:54 AM by LilyBLily »

Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1058 on: June 19, 2017, 07:38:27 AM »
Now, having said that, I bet it probably isn't the best time for me to ask for confirmation that contemporary romance / women's fiction is a tough field for ads these days.  Very crowded, can run up the daily spend if I want to be seen, etc.  Is that currently correct?  I'm planning to throw an ad up for one of my very first books, which has been languishing in the back of beyond.  I figure that spending a few bucks on it can't hurt and might succeed in getting the ball rolling a bit (even if it's rolling on a flat plateau, lol).

Romance definitely is a tough field for ads.  My romance novels are on the borderline between romance and women's fiction.  One was as much about dealing with a cancer diagnosis as falling in love.  The other about dealing with grief.  They don't fit in with most "contemporary romance" titles and I don't read enough romance to know who to put them up against in terms of authors.  To add to that, the first one is sort of snarky and humorous, too.  Because, you know, lots of people want humor and cancer combined in the same novel.

Which is to say not only am I targeting romance but I did not write to any known category at all.  A marketing nightmare.

Early on--over a year ago--I had a fantastic run with AMS ads on that first novel.  I spent $8 and had over $100 in sales. That was with a Product Display ad.  But then I struggled to get ads to work on that book again. I got another Product Display ad working on it earlier this year but then that fell off.

I just could not get enough impressions to get it going and was not willing to bid really high.  But I released book 2 and figured I had two books for people to go to.  So what worked for me was doing a free run on book 1, running my long-standing slow-moving but profitable Sponsored Product ad on that book 1 through the free period, and then keeping it going afterward.  I think AMS rewards momentum and high-ranked books so you have to get that outside of AMS either through other ads or organically.  (But that's just a guess.)

I am bidding high.  I think when I first did the free run I was over $1 on words like "romance" and "contemporary romance" but have since backed those down.  And my ACoS is close to 300% because of the free run and borrows, but between borrows and sales I'm making a profit and that book is hanging in the 8-20K range right now whereas before it was in the 125K range.

I think combining a free run and AMS works if (1) you're in KU so people can borrow during your free run, (2) you have a genre that borrows heavily so you can come off your free run at a high enough rank, and (3) you're willing/able to bid high enough.  I'm doing this on a novel priced at $4.99.  I think I'd be losing money if it were priced lower even though a lot of that rank is coming from borrows.  (Yesterday I had two sales and about 8 full read equivalents, for example.)

I should note that I tried this with my fantasy novel and it has not worked as well.  That book never made it high enough during its free run and is now moving around in the 35-50K range where it came out after its free run, but it's like pulling teeth to keep it there.


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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1059 on: June 19, 2017, 08:31:33 AM »
Question: How do you terminate or delete a campaign that has been rejected? The status column has no pop-down for that.

Online Jena H

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1060 on: June 19, 2017, 09:02:14 AM »
Question: How do you terminate or delete a campaign that has been rejected? The status column has no pop-down for that.
I don't believe you can.  It's just going to sit in your file as Rejected.   :(   (I have one, too.)
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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1061 on: June 19, 2017, 09:58:05 AM »
Thanks, Cassie and LilyBLily.  My book also straddles the romance/women's fiction line (no cancer, but not standard romance, either).  I'll have to poke around bit to see what authors to use as keywords (again, outlier book).
Jena

Offline Hasbeen

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1062 on: June 19, 2017, 12:34:22 PM »
I just had a campaign end. I wanted to evaluate the keywords etc. after a month. I thought I could just restart the campaign after I looked things over and decided what I wanted to change etc.

Well when I went to try and re-start the campaign I found I couldn't all I could do was 'copy' it. So I copied it and tried to start a new campaign will all the keywords etc. When I 'started' this new campaign it only brought over the first 52 keywords and left the other 200 or so behind.

Am I missing something or am I going to have to re-enter all of the keywords beyond the first 52? Isn't there a way to re-use an existing campaign without going to all that trouble?

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1063 on: June 19, 2017, 12:40:48 PM »
I just had a campaign end. I wanted to evaluate the keywords etc. after a month. I thought I could just restart the campaign after I looked things over and decided what I wanted to change etc.

Well when I went to try and re-start the campaign I found I couldn't all I could do was 'copy' it. So I copied it and tried to start a new campaign will all the keywords etc. When I 'started' this new campaign it only brought over the first 52 keywords and left the other 200 or so behind.

Am I missing something or am I going to have to re-enter all of the keywords beyond the first 52? Isn't there a way to re-use an existing campaign without going to all that trouble?

When setting up an ad, don't put an end date. If a campaign is "ended" you can't restart it. Also, if you don't have an end date, pause it. Don't terminate it.

I've copied ads and all keywords were transferred. Did it copy into Excel for you?



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Online weigle1234

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1064 on: June 19, 2017, 12:46:20 PM »
Yes, it does include paperbacks.

The general consensus on this forum seems to be the Est. Total Sales figure does include paperback sales.  The object of my message to the Contact Us folks is to see if they will or will not acknowledge such - and if they do, whether they will also acknowledge including only those paperback sales resulting from AMS ad clicks.

If organic paperback sales are also included in the Est. Total Sales that figure is basically worthless for determining how our AMS ads are performing.

Online Jena H

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1065 on: June 19, 2017, 01:03:46 PM »
I just had a campaign end. I wanted to evaluate the keywords etc. after a month. I thought I could just restart the campaign after I looked things over and decided what I wanted to change etc.

Well when I went to try and re-start the campaign I found I couldn't all I could do was 'copy' it. So I copied it and tried to start a new campaign will all the keywords etc. When I 'started' this new campaign it only brought over the first 52 keywords and left the other 200 or so behind.

Am I missing something or am I going to have to re-enter all of the keywords beyond the first 52? Isn't there a way to re-use an existing campaign without going to all that trouble?

Some of us have experienced a sad effect:  that copying an ad results in an ad that's never quite as successful as the original.  Personally I haven't noticed that a copied ad "loses" keywords... maybe just a glitch?  In any case, I know it's a pain, but it shouldn't be too difficult to copy the 'old' keywords and paste them into the new ad.

When I run my next ad, I'm going to make it without an end date, and then just pause it after X amount of time.  That way I'll be able to use it again and again.
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Offline Marian

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1066 on: June 19, 2017, 01:54:30 PM »

I think this has more to do with the 25-cent default bid price that Amazon displays while setting up keywords. It becomes the defacto starting benchmark for most. Probably the 'Zon's way of keeping the bid prices up. I wonder how things would be if they defaulted to 10-cents instead.

I don't believe it has anything to do with the default price. I've seen prices for keywords go up steadily, going from 15 cents to over 30 cents in women's fiction to get impressions at the beginning of the carousel.


In women's fiction, author names seem to work, and of course, similar covers, hooky blurbs, etc. Unfortunately, for most, a 25-cent bid or higher seems necessary to get the best placement.

This has been my experience.

Offline Marian

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1067 on: June 19, 2017, 02:44:45 PM »
I just checked my AMS dashboard and found something interesting. Two books have 2 fewer clicks each than they had eight hours ago. The spend amount is the same.

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1068 on: June 19, 2017, 02:54:18 PM »
The general consensus on this forum seems to be the Est. Total Sales figure does include paperback sales.  The object of my message to the Contact Us folks is to see if they will or will not acknowledge such - and if they do, whether they will also acknowledge including only those paperback sales resulting from AMS ad clicks.

If organic paperback sales are also included in the Est. Total Sales that figure is basically worthless for determining how our AMS ads are performing.

It would be handy to have a filter to include/exclude paperbacks from the data output. However, if you track it every day, you'll know when you sell a paperback. I make sure to exclude it from my ROI calculations on my advertising spreadsheet.

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1069 on: June 19, 2017, 05:23:56 PM »
I just checked my AMS dashboard and found something interesting. Two books have 2 fewer clicks each than they had eight hours ago. The spend amount is the same.
I've seen that too. I think we're dealing with beta software.

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1070 on: June 19, 2017, 05:44:36 PM »
I've seen that too. I think we're dealing with beta software.

Gasp!  The famous algos are betas?  Mama might be imperfect?  We really are all throwing ad money into a black hole where it might or not be placed, somewhere , sometime, with no reason given and at a price to be told to us after the event?  Please say it's not so!   :o  Or my faith will be utterly destroyed.
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Offline NatPane

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1071 on: June 19, 2017, 07:01:16 PM »
Gasp!  The famous algos are betas?  Mama might be imperfect?  We really are all throwing ad money into a black hole where it might or not be placed, somewhere , sometime, with no reason given and at a price to be told to us after the event?  Please say it's not so!   :o  Or my faith will be utterly destroyed.

I hate to say it, but I think it is so. I've tried to give Amazon the benefit of the doubt but they have yet to restore my faith in this wonky Ad system. Frankly, I think it's a bit of a scam. But, I'll quickly eat my words if I see anything different. I have an ad running for weeks (product display) which has curiously frozen on me for some weird reason. Clicks and impressions just stopped. I was told here that this normally happens and to lower my bid which is set at a $1.00. I decided not to touch it to see what would happen and it crawled suddenly with one or to impressions and I think two clicks. Then froze again. I lost my patience and any feelings of curiosity with this ad and decided to do what was advised here: lower my bid. But guess what? I can't do this. It will not allow me to. So I'm stuck with a frozen ad which in all likelihood I will have to terminate. And btw, I have never seen said ad, to date. Crazy? Yup, I think so.

Offline LilyBLily

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1072 on: June 19, 2017, 07:40:33 PM »
I hate to say it, but I think it is so. I've tried to give Amazon the benefit of the doubt but they have yet to restore my faith in this wonky Ad system. Frankly, I think it's a bit of a scam. But, I'll quickly eat my words if I see anything different. I have an ad running for weeks (product display) which has curiously frozen on me for some weird reason. Clicks and impressions just stopped. I was told here that this normally happens and to lower my bid which is set at a $1.00. I decided not to touch it to see what would happen and it crawled suddenly with one or to impressions and I think two clicks. Then froze again. I lost my patience and any feelings of curiosity with this ad and decided to do what was advised here: lower my bid. But guess what? I can't do this. It will not allow me to. So I'm stuck with a frozen ad which in all likelihood I will have to terminate. And btw, I have never seen said ad, to date. Crazy? Yup, I think so.

Try asking Amazon for some help.

As to AMS ads being a scam, I have the payouts, the improved rankings, and the lovely sales charts to prove that is incorrect. But wonky, oh dear yes.

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1073 on: June 19, 2017, 09:16:19 PM »
It would be handy to have a filter to include/exclude paperbacks from the data output. However, if you track it every day, you'll know when you sell a paperback. I make sure to exclude it from my ROI calculations on my advertising spreadsheet.

I sold my first paperback via Amazon on April 28 of last year (I just checked).  I spent many, many years in the mail order business and always kept accurate records.  I have done likewise with Amazon.  Unlike myself, I believe most folks here let Amazon and Kindle handle everything, but I do not.  I have every book printed (the same books I wrote and sold for the last 30 years - with updates) and shipped from Rockford, with others doing all the footwork.  Since starting with Amazon I have sold something less than 300 books.  At any time I can check my records and account for every penny, who spent it, when, their address, and for which book.

I love selling books - it is clean, quick, and easy.  I developed other products for mail order, but most of my money came from book sales.  I got lucky and had a few breaks long ago and sold tons of books.  I rode a huge gravy train for almost 25 years, and thought it would go on forever - until the mail order business started going bust about 10 years ago.  In the meantime I was consistently netting between 300 and 400K each year (of course, the tax thieves always stole what they thought was their share). My point is (other than bragging) I can account for every penny ever spent over all those years.

I am but a drop of water in the ocean compared to Amazon and Kindle - and I can assure you; they also keep accurate records.  They did not get to where they are by being stupid.

This Est. Total Sales thing (and a few other things) really bothers me.  The powers that be should show us exactly which sales are via Kindle and which for paperback, with those sales broken down into those that result from AMS ads along with those and/or from organic sales.  It is a complex thing, but should be a simple matter for them.  Without us knowing exactly what the true Est. Total Sale really is, that information is meaningless.  We can only make a very rough guess at whether or not our AMS ads are working (perhaps not working).  It is the old Confusion Factor that I addressed in an earlier post - the old Mushroom Effect - feed them horse manure and keep them in the dark.

Actually IMHO, Amazon does a really great job overall.  From what I can gather, only about half of us ever sell even our first book.  Amazon loses millions right up front carrying that burden - most folks could not sell a single page if they had to do it on their own.  And of the remaining half, only a small percentage make any real money - with Amazon also carrying that burden.  Looking at the whole picture, I feel Amazon has accomplished something amazing.  Who else has ever come even close to their success?

But, I sense the pain and frustration of folks on this, and other forums - we deserve better feedback.  I am 75 years old - I will be lucky to even be alive 5 years from now.  You guys and gals are pretty sharp, with a future - you are the ones making money for Amazon, and deserve to be treated better.

P.S.  If Kindle and Amazon keep tabs on these forums (which, at least to some extent, they likely do) I may soon be part of their history - but so be it.

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Re: AMS Ads Learning
« Reply #1074 on: June 20, 2017, 03:58:54 AM »
Gasp!  The famous algos are betas?  Mama might be imperfect?  We really are all throwing ad money into a black hole where it might or not be placed, somewhere , sometime, with no reason given and at a price to be told to us after the event?  Please say it's not so!   :o  Or my faith will be utterly destroyed.

Not sure I'd classify them as being in beta. AMS has been around for a long time, but within the past year was made available to everyone (previously only those in Kindle Select had access). I think the wonky behavior is mostly due to the algos being overloaded due an over-subscribed system. So, yeah, in a way they might as well be in beta.  ::)
 

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