Author Topic: Amazon's fake book problem  (Read 15229 times)  

Offline PhoenixS

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #75 on: June 15, 2017, 03:21:57 PM »
I've heard that titles promoted by Genius Media (which is the one that turned up here touting their service) are having their ranks pulled as well, but haven't done any digging to confirm.

I have the names of a few more titles and authors they've promoted, but can't confirm that. What I can confirm is that one of their titles *right now* is in the Top 20 Free. :(

ETA: That title is showing up on a couple of other legit ad sites, the way others have as well. That gives them an ad footprint, which helps in the legitimacy department. But as we saw with other freebies we were invited to watch, the ads they have in aggregate are still about 10K short of the numbers needed for the ranks the books achieve.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 03:32:21 PM by PhoenixS »

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #76 on: June 15, 2017, 03:24:43 PM »
A bot program for page reads could simply have a delay encoded. That's a simple mechanism to put in place.

So a bot could certainly be programmed to flip the page every 60 seconds, rather than every second.

Yeah, you're right. *Duh* on my part.





Offline Learning by lurking

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #77 on: June 15, 2017, 03:29:44 PM »
Some of you may wish to edit your posts to not directly reference a company that you suspect is involved in this. Just saying.

Offline NeedWant

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #78 on: June 15, 2017, 03:31:10 PM »
Also, before it's all said and done, I look for all omnibuses to be yanked from KU. It will be a "one title, one time" ecosystem. One book per title, one title in the program. No bonus books. Period. When it happens, we're going to hear crying and screaming. The people determined to scam Amazon are creating the situation, though. It's just like with KU1. The people crying loudest when the switch was made to page reads were the ones breaking up books and purposely creating books that opened at 10 percent to trigger a full payout. Now bonus books and omnibuses will be next to go, and we'll hear more screaming. I don't know what people expect, though. They're purposely trying to game the system and it's going to come back to bite them.

Writing short in KU1 wasn't "scamming" Amazon and neither is writing long in KU2, it's just working with what you've got. Not to mention that erotica authors were writing short way before KU1 even came along. I assume novelists wrote novels even before KU2 came along? Omnibuses aren't gaming the system either. Those have been around before KU2 came along too.

As far as bonus books, I don't like them as a reader or a writer. It doesn't make sense to me to stack on another book at the end of another just because and I don't think highly of those who do that. But if they're upfront about it and don't do shady linking within the book, it's not scamming either. They're just working within a system that Amazon came up with (pages read).

Offline AliceW

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #79 on: June 15, 2017, 03:34:10 PM »
Some of you may wish to edit your posts to not directly reference a company that you suspect is involved in this. Just saying.

Nope. I have no issue saying Genius Media are using click farms to achieve their results. They have a thread on here where Phoenix went to some length to dissect their results and ask questions. Are you affiliated in some way that you don't think they should be named? If we don't openly discuss "marketers" using black hat techniques how on earth do we ever educate naive authors on red flags to look out for before handing over thousands of dollars?

Offline Learning by lurking

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #80 on: June 15, 2017, 03:36:26 PM »
Nope. I have no issue saying Genius Media are using click farms to achieve their results. They have a thread on here where Phoenix went to some length to dissect their results and ask questions. Are you affiliated in some way that you don't think they should be named? If we don't openly discuss "marketers" using black hat techniques how on earth do we ever educate naive authors on red flags to look out for before handing over thousands of dollars?


No, not affiliated. If I was I would be thanking you for the free advertising.

Online Amanda M. Lee

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #81 on: June 15, 2017, 03:37:42 PM »
Writing short in KU1 wasn't "scamming" Amazon and neither is writing long in KU2, it's just working with what you've got. Not to mention that erotica authors were writing short way before KU1 even came along. I assume novelists wrote novels even before KU2 came along? Omnibuses aren't gaming the system either. Those have been around before KU2 came along too.

As far as bonus books, I don't like them as a reader or a writer. It doesn't make sense to me to stack on another book at the end of another just because and I don't think highly of those who do that. But if they're upfront about it and don't do shady linking within the book, it's not scamming either. They're just working within a system that Amazon came up with (pages read).
I didn't say writing short was scammy. I said that purposely breaking up books and designing them to open at 10 percent just to trigger a payout was scammy. There's a difference ... and that's the reason we have the page read system. I don't doubt some people aren't bundling just for more money. It's the ones who do who will force the change on everyone, though, just like it was the writers purposely gaming the system under KU1 who forced KU2. I'm not talking about legitimate authors. The legitimate authors will get hurt because of the scammers again, though. It's only a matter of time.

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Offline Dolphin

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #82 on: June 15, 2017, 03:41:03 PM »
No, not affiliated. If I was I would be thanking you for the free advertising.

Honestly, that might be the only thing that's accomplished in these threads. Black hatters get validation, encouragement, and advertising. What else changes? Can we point to any correlation between our complaints and Amazon's anti-fraud efforts?

I may have been underselling the point earlier when I said that I don't think it's productive to fret. It may be actively destructive instead of merely wasteful.

Offline anniejocoby

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #83 on: June 15, 2017, 03:43:36 PM »
My *guess* is that that's not right. Think about it: if you're paying $2K/month just to boost rank in pursuit of visibility, but visibility doesn't lead to legit sales, how long will you keep paying $2K/month? Not long, right? And if the boost in rank were leading to enough legit sales to justify spending $2K/month, the review totals would've been much higher.

I agree, that doesn't sound great. I would think that, if your book becomes visible by being in Top 100 lists, it will lead to sales. But, then again, that guy that came on, come to think about it, didn't have great sales. I think he said that he only was getting like 200 sales per month, which, for him, was "skyrocketing." He did say that he was getting amazing page reads, so, you're right, come to think of it. He must have been part of a page-reading scam. At any rate, he lost all his ranks, but his books are still up to this day.

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Offline AliceW

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #84 on: June 15, 2017, 03:49:40 PM »
But, then again, that guy that came on, come to think about it, didn't have great sales. I think he said that he only was getting like 200 sales per month, which, for him, was "skyrocketing." He did say that he was getting amazing page reads...

He was getting All Star bonuses every month, which is what now - 4 million pages read for the bottom payout?

Less then 200 sales and more than 4m+ pages read. Anyone else see the disconnect?

Offline NeedWant

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #85 on: June 15, 2017, 03:55:19 PM »
I didn't say writing short was scammy. I said that purposely breaking up books and designing them to open at 10 percent just to trigger a payout was scammy. There's a difference ... and that's the reason we have the page read system. I don't doubt some people aren't bundling just for more money. It's the ones who do who will force the change on everyone, though, just like it was the writers purposely gaming the system under KU1 who forced KU2. I'm not talking about legitimate authors. The legitimate authors will get hurt because of the scammers again, though. It's only a matter of time.

There will always be those who game the system Amazon comes up with. That's a given. I'm not sure I agree that splitting a book into parts is scamming, though. Under KU1, it was actually a smart thing to do. If it was a real book and not gibberish, I don't think there's anything wrong with it as long as it was labeled properly for the readers. Those publishing scamlets (shorts that opened at 10% and were basically gibberish) were scamming IMO. Real writers deciding to write shorter because KU1 rewarded shorts? Not so much.

As for the one title, no bonus books idea, I'd welcome it. I make more from my individual titles than the one bundle I have anyway. The bundle is just there for readers who prefer having the first three books at a lower cost or as one file. I know that as a reader, I prefer individual titles as well.

Online Amanda M. Lee

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #86 on: June 15, 2017, 04:09:56 PM »
Under KU1, it was actually a smart thing to do.
Which is exactly why we have KU2 and the imprint authors are still paid when someone reads 10 percent of a book.

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Online brkingsolver

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #87 on: June 15, 2017, 04:13:07 PM »
There will always be those who game the system Amazon comes up with. That's a given. I'm not sure I agree that splitting a book into parts is scamming, though. Under KU1, it was actually a smart thing to do.

I'm sorry, but if I take a 300 page novel and break it up into 30 chapters that I post for 99 cents each, and then get paid $1.30 for each of them because opening the book hits 10%, that is a scam taking advantage of the system. You can rationalize it any way you want, it's ethically flawed, and it caused Amazon to come down on the practice with a sledge hammer.

"What I can get away with" does not equate with ethical. No matter how people attempt to justify such practices to themselves, it hurts the overall ecosystem. You can't justify murder just because you didn't get caught.

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Offline NeedWant

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #88 on: June 15, 2017, 04:28:21 PM »
Which is exactly why we have KU2 and the imprint authors are still paid when someone reads 10 percent of a book.

And I put the blame for that squarely on Amazon. Interesting about the imprint authors, did not know that.

I'm sorry, but if I take a 300 page novel and break it up into 30 chapters that I post for 99 cents each, and then get paid $1.30 for each of them because opening the book hits 10%, that is a scam taking advantage of the system. You can rationalize it any way you want, it's ethically flawed, and it caused Amazon to come down on the practice with a sledge hammer.

"What I can get away with" does not equate with ethical. No matter how people attempt to justify such practices to themselves, it hurts the overall ecosystem. You can't justify murder just because you didn't get caught.

I've never seen anyone splitting a novel into 30 parts under KU1. Maybe 5-6 parts? Which was usually 10,000-15,000 per installment.

And if they did? So what? Splitting a novel into a hundred parts won't magically make that novel make a hundred times as much. Will readers want to borrow a short chapter? Most prefer a whole book. As long as the readers know what they're getting, it's not a scam. Would I do it? No. Just like I don't add bonus books to my books now, but as long the readers know what they're getting, I don't think it's scamming anyone. And it's certianly not akin to "getting away with murder."

At the end of the day, I place the blame on Amazon. They're the ones who came up with a faulty system in the first place. If they don't want people doing certain things, they shouldn't allow them in the first place.

Online Amanda M. Lee

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #89 on: June 15, 2017, 04:36:32 PM »
Amazon warned people what was going to happen. They sent out that email and told authors what readers preferred in KU. Whether or not they should've recognized how unethical some people would become is a moot point. It's the people who intentionally set out to scam the system who forced the change. The writing was on the wall when Amazon sent that email about longer works. People didn't listen and now we have KU2. The writing is also on the wall for KU2. When the next change comes, people are going to complain just as loudly even though it's clear that it's coming. It comes back to that saying "this is why we can't have nice things." Well, both of these instances are examples of why we can't have nice things.

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Online David VanDyke

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #90 on: June 15, 2017, 05:37:01 PM »
Nope. One was a religious-themed book of some kind.

Interesting...i had forgotten the name, but did some digging and found the book. It's still on Amazon and in KU. But it has no rank now. Actually, all four books in the series no longer have a rank.

So who knows, maybe I'm wrong, maybe they didn't catch them but rather the book is experiencing a rank glitch.

That was the naive guy who came asking WTH was going on. Clearly, they had shut him down.


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Offline NeedWant

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #91 on: June 15, 2017, 05:41:08 PM »
Just to clarify, I DO have a problem with actual scammers. Those that manipulate rank, reviews, borrows, pages read, etc. People who split their novels up in KU1 or those adding bonus books in KU2? They're not scammers, unless they engage in black hat methods to get those books moving. They're just working within a faulty system Amazon created.

I think actual scammers have more to do with the changes Amazon makes to KU, than authors taking advantage of the loopholes in their faulty KU system.

Amazon warned people what was going to happen. They sent out that email and told authors what readers preferred in KU. Whether or not they should've recognized how unethical some people would become is a moot point. It's the people who intentionally set out to scam the system who forced the change. The writing was on the wall when Amazon sent that email about longer works. People didn't listen and now we have KU2. The writing is also on the wall for KU2. When the next change comes, people are going to complain just as loudly even though it's clear that it's coming. It comes back to that saying "this is why we can't have nice things." Well, both of these instances are examples of why we can't have nice things.

When KU1 came around, a lot of people (including me) jumped on the erotica shorts bandwagon. Some quit jobs based on the money they were making, and then Amazon took it all away with, what, a 15 day notice or something like that? Sorry, but people had a right to be upset. I can't say I was surprised when it happened, I was just surprised it happened so damn fast. "Oh by the way, next month we're introducing KU2! Good luck!" People had a right to be upset. You're free to think that people were foolish to think it would last, but legitimate authors had a right to be upset when Amazon screwed them over without much warning. You don't have to sympathize, but there's also no need to belittle.

And yeah, sending out a letter of what readers prefer is hardly a warning. It's not a heads up. They were just saying what kind of content they preferred in KU.

Offline Dolphin

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #92 on: June 15, 2017, 05:46:00 PM »
The writing was on the wall when Amazon sent that email about longer works. People didn't listen and now we have KU2. The writing is also on the wall for KU2.

How do you think KU3 will be different from KU2?

Online Amanda M. Lee

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #93 on: June 15, 2017, 05:52:37 PM »
How do you think KU3 will be different from KU2?
No bonus books. No omnibuses. No anthologies. No samplers. Each title can only be in one time and only one title can be in a "book" (whatever the length). As for payment, I'm sure there will be a tweak. I have no idea what that tweak will be.

Oh, and edited to add, I think there will be a smaller cap.

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #94 on: June 15, 2017, 06:04:37 PM »
When KU1 came around, a lot of people (including me) jumped on the erotica shorts bandwagon. Some quit jobs based on the money they were making, and then Amazon took it all away with, what, a 15 day notice or something like that? Sorry, but people had a right to be upset.
Now we come down to it. You were working the system and you're upset that the gravy train ended. Thank you for coming clean. Despite what your rose-colored memories tell you, there were a lot of people publishing "serials" of 10 pages each designed to trigger a payment when they were opened. Authors of longer works stayed completely away, and readers were voting with their feet. When Amazon saw they had a non-viable revenue model, they ended the program and put something in place that had a chance at making them money.


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Offline NeedWant

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #95 on: June 15, 2017, 06:13:58 PM »
Now we come down to it. You were working the system and you're upset that the gravy train ended. Thank you for coming clean. Despite what your rose-colored memories tell you, there were a lot of people publishing "serials" of 10 pages each designed to trigger a payment when they were opened. Authors of longer works stayed completely away, and readers were voting with their feet. When Amazon saw they had a non-viable revenue model, they ended the program and put something in place that had a chance at making them money.

I don't have to "come clean" about anything. That would imply that I was doing something wrong. I also don't have to "come clean" about writing novels now because they pay better under KU2. (Not to mention that writing novels was always the plan anyway, so the change from KU1 to KU2 wasn't personally upsetting to me. It was an opportunity to focus on doing what I've always wanted to do.)

So no, I'm not upset the "gravy train" ended. I'm making about the same money with novels now that I did writing shorts under KU1, and I'm enjoying it more to boot. Oh, and I work less hours now!

Edit: Also, feel free to look at my early post history. I've talked about my "dark past" of writing erotica shorts during KU1 before. The fact that you judge me for writing erotica for money says more about you than me, frankly.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 06:28:18 PM by NeedWant »

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #96 on: June 15, 2017, 06:32:45 PM »
Edit: Also, feel free to look at my early post history. I've talked about my "dark past" of writing erotica shorts during KU1 before. The fact that you judge me for writing erotica for money says more about you than me, frankly.
I haven't judged you at all. I freely admit that I have erotic shorts published under a pen name. The ones still for sale were written after KU2 started, but that's beside the point. Oh, and I wrote them solely for the money. No guilty conscience here.

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Offline NeedWant

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #97 on: June 15, 2017, 06:36:42 PM »
I haven't judged you at all. I freely admit that I have erotic shorts published under a pen name. The ones still for sale were written after KU2 started, but that's beside the point. Oh, and I wrote them solely for the money. No guilty conscience here.

So you're judging me for daring to write them when they were more profitable (under KU1)?
« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 06:38:17 PM by NeedWant »

Offline Dolphin

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #98 on: June 16, 2017, 12:41:04 AM »
So you're judging me for daring to write them when they were more profitable (under KU1)?

Yeah. Somehow I don't think anybody's going to say "Thank you for coming clean" about somebody who chose to write novels during KU2, since longer books were best the way to "Work the system."

Offline Shelley K

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Re: Amazon's fake book problem
« Reply #99 on: June 16, 2017, 01:15:08 AM »
Now we come down to it. You were working the system and you're upset that the gravy train ended. Thank you for coming clean.

I'm actually a fan, but to be fair, whether you meant it to be or not, the phrasing does come across as judgmental.

And this isn't aimed at you, but something people seem to forget is that many of us were already writing erotica shorts, and doing DANG WELL, when KU1 hit. We didn't ask for the 10% payout, didn't demand it, but there it was.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2017, 01:20:15 AM by Shelley K »

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