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Wish Granted! Tips, Tools, and Templates to Write a Winning Grant
by Holly Rustick

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Kindle Edition published 2017-08-22
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INCLUDES BONUS FREE E-DOWNLOADS: TEMPLATES FOR GRANT WRITING!

Grant writing shouldn’t feel like a trip to the dentist. Take the pain out of the process with this innovative and fun, yes fun, guide. Learn all the inside tips and tools of the grant-writing trade in this easy-to-read and upbeat book.
This book is definitely for you if:
•You break out in a cold sweat when your boss mentions the word ‘grant’.
•You’ve been tempted to throw your computer against the wall while writing a grant.
•You happily tell stakeholders there’s plenty of grants out there … but haven’t the faintest idea how to write and get one!
•You think you can send out a bog-standard letter to a bunch of organizations and get funded.
•Your eyes glaze over when you’re presented with grant writing jargon and acronyms.
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Author Topic: Inside a Click Farm  (Read 5488 times)  

Offline LAStriker

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #50 on: July 13, 2017, 02:52:26 PM »
As long as the scammers get paid, they will have incentive to keep scamming. I hope they can put a stop to it because it seems very unfair to the honest authors.

I do agree with Anarchist in that Amazon is likely well informed of what's going on and are focusing on what they think will make them the most money.


Offline Seneca42

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #51 on: July 13, 2017, 06:25:51 PM »
I may not be understanding all of this, but if Amazon is indeed paying a large amount of money to scammers, it seems to me they could take the money they are paying the scammers and use a portion of that to weed them out. it might save them money in the long run and make things better overall for the actual authors.

Ultimately, the situation boils down to the following: authors get screwed by all this, not amazon.  Amazon gets their $10 KU subscription whether it's from a scammer or not. It's the author who gets paid less per page read when the pot gets watered down by scammers collecting fat thousand dollar royalty payments that are taken out of the KU pool everyone gets paid from. 

So Amazon isn't losing anything, it's purely the authors losing. Hence why they don't care about fixing the problem. Why should they spend millions to fix something that doesn't impact them financially?

Which, if this is your first time viewing a thread like this, your next question will be: why do authors put up with such treatment?

Which will then leads into one camp of authors saying "Whatever, i still make more than if I wasn't in KU" and another camp saying "I'm wide because I refuse to be treated like crap."

So until:

A) authors start leaving KU or
B) readers start leaving KU

Amazon ain't going to lift a finger (beyond what they are currently doing) to address the issue.

It took me a long time to truly understand that Amazon doesn't in any shape or form care in the least about its vendors. Many don't see this yet and think their behavior is merely lack of awareness, or resources, or technological capability or whatever.  It's not. Amazon just doesn't care. Their policy is "If you don't like it, f*ck off. You don't have to sell through us."

Amazon ain't no sweet little old lady with a warm apple in the window sill. They are more like the Terminator and we're just the batteries that power it.

Online HSh

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #52 on: July 13, 2017, 07:12:14 PM »

Ultimately, the situation boils down to the following: authors get screwed by all this, not amazon.

Disappointing and probably completely true.

Which will then leads into one camp of authors saying "Whatever, i still make more than if I wasn't in KU" and another camp saying "I'm wide because I refuse to be treated like crap."

Or it leads to some authors saying, "I'm wide because KU stopped earning me money after they tweaked or broke something, and now I do better wide."

Don't confuse newbies into thinking KU is the ONLY way to earn money.  If it works for you, great.  It worked for me through the first two iterations, till they broke something or changed something.  Now it doesn't.

Not everybody earns more through KU.


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Offline KateDanley

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #53 on: July 13, 2017, 07:15:34 PM »
If it pleases the court, I'd like to make an argument why this actually does impact Amazon's bottom line - in fact, by millions.

When given effective tools, legit authors are able to sell the crap out of books.  I mean...  take a look at what permafree does.  It seems on paper to be nothing but a Loss Vortex.  But for those of us who have been around for a bit, we all know that the magic is once we hook readers with our first book, if it is good, they go on to buy the rest of the series, bringing in a lot of money for Amazon.  I could rattle off a list of at least 100 authors I know personally who are earning six-figures, and a few making seven-figures a year, and if they're pulling in that kind of cash, that means Amazon is earning a crapton of money, too. 

So, while these scammers are merely taking money from the fixed KU pot which mitigates the financial hit Amazon takes, it is the sell-thru that actually gets the hit.  The scammers aren't bringing in customers who are then buying a series of twelve full-priced books outside of the KU program plus an impulse purchase of a patio furniture set.  They're just taking the money and running.  Soooo... obviously the fact these folks are still around means that nothing is going to be done about it, and technically no laws are being broken... but for a scammer like the one in the article to take $2.4M from the KU pot and for them to then bring in no financial benefits to Amazon...  I don't know.  That seems like it's not a loss leader, that's just a loss and, to my mind, a couple million dollar handouts might be something a company might want to plug up so that authors who ARE bringing in money can do so more effectively.  That said, Amazon's the one controlling the world and I'm a mere cog in the machine.  More brilliant minds than mine have a holistic view of the situation, and I'm describing the elephant based upon the tail I'm holding.  But... it seems like there are ways to solve the problem better so that those of us hustling to bring in the real money have an easier time.

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Offline Seneca42

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #54 on: July 13, 2017, 08:21:41 PM »
So, while these scammers are merely taking money from the fixed KU pot which mitigates the financial hit Amazon takes, it is the sell-thru that actually gets the hit.  The scammers aren't bringing in customers who are then buying a series of twelve full-priced books outside of the KU program plus an impulse purchase of a patio furniture set.  They're just taking the money and running.

The sell through doesn't get hit. People still find great authors and follow them. Most of these scam books aren't being read by actual readers. They're published by scammers and then bot read for page read money (and they don't climb too high in the charts and so don't draw attention to themselves). Or the other scam is a legit author will pay to have their book "bot borrowed" but not read, which doesn't generate page reads but it does boost the book up in rank (because amazon are idiots and count a borrow as a purchase).

The only thing the scammers and bots really do is steal money from the KU pot. Otherwise they don't really impact anything.

This is the biggest reason I think Amazon hasn't tackled the issue... it's not really affecting readers. They are more than happy to let authors absorb the financial cost of these scammers rather than spend to fix the problem.

Kind of off topic, but you should look at what Walmart is doing to its shippers. Truly brutal stuff going on. These big monolithic companies will stop at nothing to maximize profits. And the very first place they will turn to get the blood they need to survive are those most dependent on them (so usually their vendors and shippers).

The only thing surprising in all this has been just how willing authors have been to defend Amazon... it should be a case study in Stockholm syndrome :)

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #55 on: July 13, 2017, 08:57:20 PM »
Don't brick-and-mortar stores write a certain level of shoplifting loss into their budgets? Maybe this is the digital version of that for Amazon: something it's just not worth worrying about because the losses aren't big enough to justify the cost in additional personnel-hours it'd take to stop it from happening. When there's a PR impact, well, that kind of cost is less predictable, so they bestir themselves a little. Otherwise, not really.

Offline KateDanley

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #56 on: July 13, 2017, 09:48:16 PM »
The sell through doesn't get hit. People still find great authors and follow them. Most of these scam books aren't being read by actual readers. They're published by scammers and then bot read for page read money (and they don't climb too high in the charts and so don't draw attention to themselves). Or the other scam is a legit author will pay to have their book "bot borrowed" but not read, which doesn't generate page reads but it does boost the book up in rank (because amazon are idiots and count a borrow as a purchase).

The only thing the scammers and bots really do is steal money from the KU pot. Otherwise they don't really impact anything.

Respectfully, here's what happened to me.  A couple months ago, I landed a BookBub freebie promotion and decided to go balls-to-the wall.  This was for a permafree book that had never been advertised on BookBub before and is not in Select.  I spent about $1000 stacking ads that week.  Unfortunately, on several of the days, there were a lot of those KU scamphlets taking up the Top 20 slots on the bestseller list and my book was pushed to page two.  When the KU freebie days expired on the scamphlets, I would shoot up to #2 and #6 in the Top 10.  In total, I had about 34,000 downloads total over the week. 

Now, a buddy of mine who writes in the same genre, also non-Select, she scored a BookBub ad around the same time, stacked her ads, and managed to luck out and hit when there weren't these low quality KU books in the Top 20.  She had 70,000 free downloads.

Of course there are variables, but it would appear that books on page two of the bestseller list take a visibility hit vs. books on page one.  Phoenix has done a great job tracking figures and can address the overall specifics far better than I can, but it would appear the days I was kept off of the Top 20 by those scam KU books kept potentially 36,000 copies of my book... heck, let's say my friend is a better writer than I am and has a better cover and a better blurb and I would have only had 1/3 of the people interested in my book... 12,000 additional copies from being downloaded by real, non-Select subscribers, who may have gone on to purchase book two in my series, who would have brought money to Amazon coffers.  Even at a 1% conversion rate, that's a lot of sell-thru copies which were lost because of visibility, visibility that was given to books who will never show a return because they are being read by robots (robots who also happen to be making money flipping through pages.)

I dunno.  I am sure that Amazon has the math all figured out.  But as folks upthread who have been tracking certain books and reporting said books and say that those books continue to earn... it just seems like a problem that could use some new solutions.  And, listen, I love Amazon.  Amazon has given me my life.  I am pro-Amazon and want them to do great things and succeed and if that's Stockholm syndrome, then buy me a first class ticket to Sweden.  But I would love to figure out how to operate my business effectively in this reality.

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Offline LKRigel

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #57 on: July 13, 2017, 10:32:18 PM »
Respectfully, here's what happened to me.  A couple months ago, I landed a BookBub freebie promotion and decided to go balls-to-the wall.  This was for a permafree book that had never been advertised on BookBub before and is not in Select.  I spent about $1000 stacking ads that week.  Unfortunately, on several of the days, there were a lot of those KU scamphlets taking up the Top 20 slots on the bestseller list and my book was pushed to page two.  When the KU freebie days expired on the scamphlets, I would shoot up to #2 and #6 in the Top 10.  In total, I had about 34,000 downloads total over the week. 

Now, a buddy of mine who writes in the same genre, also non-Select, she scored a BookBub ad around the same time, stacked her ads, and managed to luck out and hit when there weren't these low quality KU books in the Top 20.  She had 70,000 free downloads.

Of course there are variables, but it would appear that books on page two of the bestseller list take a visibility hit vs. books on page one.  Phoenix has done a great job tracking figures and can address the overall specifics far better than I can, but it would appear the days I was kept off of the Top 20 by those scam KU books kept potentially 36,000 copies of my book... heck, let's say my friend is a better writer than I am and has a better cover and a better blurb and I would have only had 1/3 of the people interested in my book... 12,000 additional copies from being downloaded by real, non-Select subscribers, who may have gone on to purchase book two in my series, who would have brought money to Amazon coffers.  Even at a 1% conversion rate, that's a lot of sell-thru copies which were lost because of visibility, visibility that was given to books who will never show a return because they are being read by robots (robots who also happen to be making money flipping through pages.)

I dunno.  I am sure that Amazon has the math all figured out.  But as folks upthread who have been tracking certain books and reporting said books and say that those books continue to earn... it just seems like a problem that could use some new solutions.  And, listen, I love Amazon.  Amazon has given me my life.  I am pro-Amazon and want them to do great things and succeed and if that's Stockholm syndrome, then buy me a first class ticket to Sweden.  But I would love to figure out how to operate my business effectively in this reality.

much love for this. yes yes yes

Offline Seneca42

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #58 on: July 13, 2017, 11:17:36 PM »
I dunno.  I am sure that Amazon has the math all figured out.  But as folks upthread who have been tracking certain books and reporting said books and say that those books continue to earn... it just seems like a problem that could use some new solutions.  And, listen, I love Amazon.  Amazon has given me my life.  I am pro-Amazon and want them to do great things and succeed and if that's Stockholm syndrome, then buy me a first class ticket to Sweden.  But I would love to figure out how to operate my business effectively in this reality.

It's a problem that's been around for a long time. They aren't going to fix it... ever. If you want to love on them that's your call. I'd suggest viewing them the way they view you, as a business arrangement. And I used the term Stockholm syndrome because it reflects someone who held hostage long enough begins to sympathize with their captors... and for many sp authors that's exactly what is happening, they have nowhere else to go so they end up loving on Amazon even when treated horribly.

You just lost half the value of your bookbub because Amazon doesn't care about fixing its system. They'd rather people like you simply eat the cost of having scammers around. I know you think if they only knew how many more books you could have sold if not for the scammers that they'd fix things because they'd make more money also.... but this is what I'm saying... they don't have their *(&^ together as a business and are doing just fine regardless. Their attitude is "This is how it is, take it or leave it." They don't care in the least if they cost you hundreds or thousands of sell through sales. It's truly inconsequential to them.

I'm on Amazon, but I'm fully aware that I'm being treated like livestock :)  I'm not in KU, so it's not as bad, but I still acknowledge that Amazon as a company cares far more about squeezing me out of profits than helping me maximize them. That's what KU is all about at the end of the day, squeezing the content provider down to razor thin margins (with the promise that they "might" make it up through greater quantity of readers).

I guess, I'm just saying they don't care about the scammers the way people think they do. You eat the cost, not them. And more over, they don't care about the author in the least, they care about their profits.

I said a few months ago and I still say it, I predict a .038 per page KU read out before year end. Eventually people are going to wake up that Amazon has zero interest in fixing anything and will expect authors to eat the cost for a long time to come.

Online Going Incognito

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #59 on: July 14, 2017, 12:22:58 AM »
...but I still acknowledge that Amazon as a company cares far more about squeezing me out of profits than helping me maximize them. That's what KU is all about at the end of the day, squeezing the content provider down to razor thin margins...


He's never even tried to hide it, either. "Your margin is my opportunity."
Hard to get any clearer.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 12:24:36 AM by Going Incognito »

Offline KittKatt

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #60 on: July 15, 2017, 06:14:15 AM »
Another example:

I wrote this post in April 2016 - actually a guest post from Phoenix Sullivan: https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/ku-scammers-attack-amazons-free-ebook-charts/

Look at the book at #3 in the charts. That scammer is still operating, under the same author name and same book titles and covers. Still using the same tricks to crash the free charts and bounce up the paid charts and grab from the KU pot - despite being reported repeatedly by loads of people.

If you click to her author page, you will see "Customers Also By Books By.." and see the same names of scammers which always pop up over the last 18 months at the top of the charts with dodgy books and plagiarized content.

It's the same people, over and over again, using the same clickfarms. Amazon knows who they are.

Tell me again that Amazon is taking this seriously and it's just a matter of time until they... what?


David I appreciate all you do to draw attention to this issue. It is so frustrating to work hard and find scammers taking a large chunk of the pot over and over.

I know this has been reported to Amazon KDP but have people written to Jeff B. directly?

Offline KittKatt

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #61 on: July 15, 2017, 06:17:24 AM »
Don't brick-and-mortar stores write a certain level of shoplifting loss into their budgets? Maybe this is the digital version of that for Amazon: something it's just not worth worrying about because the losses aren't big enough to justify the cost in additional personnel-hours it'd take to stop it from happening. When there's a PR impact, well, that kind of cost is less predictable, so they bestir themselves a little. Otherwise, not really.

But if it has been reported and many of the same folks are the culprits...why wouldn't they crack down. If for no other reason than to show respect for their platform. I just find it hard to believe that Amazon does not care about their customer's experience. And surely many of these books are not providing a good experience.

Offline Anarchist

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #62 on: July 15, 2017, 06:38:28 AM »
Don't brick-and-mortar stores write a certain level of shoplifting loss into their budgets? Maybe this is the digital version of that for Amazon: something it's just not worth worrying about because the losses aren't big enough to justify the cost in additional personnel-hours it'd take to stop it from happening. When there's a PR impact, well, that kind of cost is less predictable, so they bestir themselves a little. Otherwise, not really.

I agree.

Amazon probably has thousands of projects in the works at any given time. And it likely has hundreds of business analysts who prioritize those projects according to resource availability (funds, bodies, server capacity, etc.), customers' needs, revenue potential, economic climate, and cohesiveness with other projects and project teams.

The general sentiment on KB seems to be "Amazon makes oodles of money. The fact that this problem [insert scam here] still exists means Amazon must not care about it."

This sentiment betrays a lack of understanding about how large companies tackle issues.



 
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #63 on: July 15, 2017, 06:59:55 AM »

I said a few months ago and I still say it, I predict a .038 per page KU read out before year end. Eventually people are going to wake up that Amazon has zero interest in fixing anything and will expect authors to eat the cost for a long time to come.


A .038 per page? That would be AWESOME! :) Sorry, just wanted to lighten up the proceedings a bit. I know what you meant.

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Offline Colin

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #64 on: July 15, 2017, 07:11:53 AM »
I agree.

Amazon probably has thousands of projects in the works at any given time. And it likely has hundreds of business analysts who prioritize those projects according to resource availability (funds, bodies, server capacity, etc.), customers' needs, revenue potential, economic climate, and cohesiveness with other projects and project teams.

The general sentiment on KB seems to be "Amazon makes oodles of money. The fact that this problem [insert scam here] still exists means Amazon must not care about it."

This sentiment betrays a lack of understanding about how large companies tackle issues.

Many of us have the understanding - and some have the proof - that they've known about the scams for ages and have not done much to put and end to them. Whether it's a large or small company, there is this old fashioned notion of doing the right thing - a notion that anyone can understand... if they really try.

 


Offline PhoenixS

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #65 on: July 15, 2017, 07:22:32 AM »
I agree.

Amazon probably has thousands of projects in the works at any given time. And it likely has hundreds of business analysts who prioritize those projects according to resource availability (funds, bodies, server capacity, etc.), customers' needs, revenue potential, economic climate, and cohesiveness with other projects and project teams.

The general sentiment on KB seems to be "Amazon makes oodles of money. The fact that this problem [insert scam here] still exists means Amazon must not care about it."

This sentiment betrays a lack of understanding about how large companies tackle issues.

But large corporations divvy up their internal divisions and make each responsible for their own division's profit-loss. Now, there may be pooled resources, such as programmers that the divisions have to compete for, but KDP seems to have a dedicated tech team too.

We use the terms Amazon and KDP synonymously a lot, but while "Amazon" may not care about KU scammers or about KU in general, KDP and the team that runs KU should. They may have to fight for resources, but those teams aren't concerned about problems outside their division any more than authors care about whether Birkenstock abandons Amazon or not. It's mildly interesting and something to consider, but has no impact on our goals or KDP's goals.

So yes, the company has a ton of pressing issues and KU is likely low in importance on the company's radar. But the way it was being pushed on Prime Day seems to assure us it is of high importance to KDP, the overall Books division and to the teams running it. Their focus is not on Chinese knock-offs and affiliate scammers, but on book sales in their ecosystem, and how to make the customer experience *in the books section* flawless. That's a vastly more manageable landscape.

Offline Art Covers

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #66 on: July 15, 2017, 07:29:56 AM »
Click farms are the worst thing ever!

Offline Anarchist

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #67 on: July 15, 2017, 08:05:48 AM »
Many of us have the understanding - and some have the proof - that they've known about the scams for ages and have not done much to put and end to them. Whether it's a large or small company, there is this old fashioned notion of doing the right thing - a notion that anyone can understand... if they really try.

Opinions vary on what "doing the right thing" is. I don't believe Amazon has a moral or legal obligation to make the KU platform conform to what others think is appropriate. I believe its obligation - and its directors' fiduciary responsibility - is to serve the best interests of the company and its shareholders.

That might conflict with what some folks perceive as honorable, just, proper, etc. But these notions aren't codified in corporate law.



"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu

Offline Colin

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #68 on: July 15, 2017, 08:29:47 AM »
Opinions vary on what "doing the right thing" is. I don't believe Amazon has a moral or legal obligation to make the KU platform conform to what others think is appropriate. I believe its obligation - and its directors' fiduciary responsibility - is to serve the best interests of the company and its shareholders.

That might conflict with what some folks perceive as honorable, just, proper, etc. But these notions aren't codified in corporate law.

Ah yes. Good old corporate law.

Offline Anarchist

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #69 on: July 15, 2017, 09:57:34 AM »
Ah yes. Good old corporate law.

Don't blame me. I'm an anarchist. ;)


Edit: removed a sentence to avoid running afoul of the "no politics" rule.

« Last Edit: July 15, 2017, 10:15:25 AM by Anarchist »
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu

Offline Colin

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #70 on: July 15, 2017, 10:24:30 AM »
Don't blame me. I'm an anarchist. ;)

The trouble with you anarchist is you lack organisational skills!

 :P

Offline Anarchist

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #71 on: July 15, 2017, 10:32:53 AM »
The trouble with you anarchist is you lack organisational skills!

 :P

Ha! I've got jedi-level organizational skills.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu

Offline cadle-sparks

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #72 on: July 15, 2017, 11:18:14 AM »
And here I'm wasting my time trying to write a good book... :(

I honestly believe, in my heart of hearts, that it is not a waste of time. Not only is it the right thing to do, and the moral thing to do, and important to our souls and artistic integrity, but it'll win through in the end as a business strategy.

Sign me "pollyanna" I suppose, but I do believe it.

(listen to the birds singing today. Aren't they pretty?)

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #73 on: July 15, 2017, 12:28:02 PM »

So Amazon isn't losing anything, it's purely the authors losing. Hence why they don't care about fixing the problem. Why should they spend millions to fix something that doesn't impact them financially?


If anything, they probably benefit more. They can lure in more readers with promises of "millions and millions of books", while authors are forced to pay more and more for keywords and advertising to combat the illicit methods used by others. Of course it will reach a critical point where the store is filled with nothing but trash and they lose tons of readers and authors, and they'll have to spend millions cleaning out the junk, banning people left and right, trying to win back the trust of customers and the writing community.

A similar thing happens on Steam (gaming platform). There are hundreds of thousands of people that cheat at games, buying programs that allow them to win. Valve (company that created Steam) allows this, because every so often, they do a mass banning that bans maybe 50K+ of these players. Are the players banned from playing? No, just banned from that specific copy of the game, so they just buy another copy. For a little while, things are better for legitimate players, but it all builds up again. Valve benefits because every so often, they can get 50K people to buy games all over again (the cheaters don't care, some of them have bought games 3, 4, 5+ times, spending hundreds of dollars on one video game just to keep cheating).


Offline Eric Thomson

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Re: Inside a Click Farm
« Reply #74 on: July 15, 2017, 12:35:02 PM »
Ha! I've got jedi-level organizational skills.
Which isn't saying much, considering the ease with which Palpatine wiped out the Jedis in Episode III.  8)


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