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TBD
by TBD

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Kindle Edition published 2016-01-12
Bestseller ranking: 757432

Product Description
With the odd disappearance of her parents, Gussie Gibson has lived her entire life with her granny on a peaceful pecan orchard, owned by the meanest man in all of Georgia—Mr. J.P. Combs. Granny teaches Gussie many valuable life lessons as a black woman growing up in the still-segregated south. Mr. Combs is an evil underhanded banker who takes liberties beyond his privilege. When Granny dies, Combs informs Gussie she owes him back rent—but he wants much more than money for payment—and more than Gussie can live with.
After defending herself against his sexual advances, Gussie flees to escape certain vigilante justice when she meets a charming, handsome stranger, Sam Johnson, who is just returning from World War II.
Gussie and Sam’s friendship is short-lived when Mr. Combs hunts her down and drags her back to Green Ridge, driven by his craving for revenge and a grudge too deep to comprehend. Gussie fights to return to Sam and his lo...

Author Topic: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books  (Read 10566 times)  

Offline AlexaKang

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2017, 01:00:17 PM »
Wow. I hope people report this. It might be possible for these scammers to get paid if they did it quickly and quietly, pulled their books after a particular time so they would go under Amazon's insufficient radar. Clearly a sign that Amazon's systems to detect fraud in KU is not working. Think of all the legitimate new releases that get kicked off the charts because of these scam books. Every hour that legitimate books are knocked off the charts is money lost for those authors.

I hate to say it but it's getting to feel like what's the point of reporting because Amazon will give you a canned response, TY whatever and a pat on the head, but don't even promise you they will do something about these books and author accounts, let alone the bigger scamming problem.

Offline Louise Bourgeois

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2017, 01:01:39 PM »
Now, I'm a forgiving kind of girl to a fault, and I sometimes have too much hope. Because who knows! Maybe one of them really is what they try saying it is. Maybe it's just some guy who got too overzealous with his smut collection and accidentally released it after filling in gibberish just to upload it and download the MOBI file or something like that. But when you have too much hope, you'll learn how bad despair feels real quick.

These types just ruin it for the rest of us. Amazon is like that strict sort of principal who says "the good must suffer with the bad" and then take away recess for everyone when two kids get into a fight. Scammers are stealing from the pot via 5,000-page paper-libraries of gibberish and artificially pushing them to the top of site rankings via Chinese and Thai clickfarms? That obviously means you have to take actions that do nothing to stop scammers but do make it even harder for indie authors to make a living and undermine the whole point of your program.


Offline Riven

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2017, 05:01:03 PM »
I hate to say it but it's getting to feel like what's the point of reporting because Amazon will give you a canned response, TY whatever and a pat on the head, but don't even promise you they will do something about these books and author accounts, let alone the bigger scamming problem.

I reported one of a group of very similar books back in August that I found on a new release list one weekend. Different titles, same cover, identical Russian text inside.

Checked back a few days later and they were gone. It may have been nothing to do with my reporting them but it only takes a few seconds to do so via the report button at the bottom of the book page so I think it's worth doing.

Offline Eric Thomson

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #28 on: October 02, 2017, 06:19:50 PM »
Months of teeth-gnashing, hand wringing and sundry debate, yet this meme remains evergreen because Amazon doesn't care about you, me or anyone else.



Go ahead, mods... nuke it again!  :P


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Offline Lefevre

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2017, 07:19:59 PM »
What a disgrace, Amazon is becoming a dumpster.
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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #30 on: October 02, 2017, 07:24:59 PM »
Further proof that Amazon needs to do a little live vetting. How many seconds would it take a real human being to realize these books are part of a KU scam?

You'd think that they would. Doesn't Facebook hire people to make sure people don't have to see nipples (oh, heaven forbid)?

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Offline AlexaKang

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #31 on: October 02, 2017, 08:03:18 PM »
These books are now botting higher up and spilling into other genre categories. Just saw them in New Releases for Genre Fiction>Satire. I wonder if how long this epidemic will go this time.

Offline Lynn Is A Pseudonym

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #32 on: October 02, 2017, 08:07:46 PM »
These books are now botting higher up and spilling into other genre categories. Just saw them in New Releases for Genre Fiction>Satire. I wonder if how long this epidemic will go this time.

With titles like that, it really does make Amazon look like--

[snip] a dumpster.

Pathetic.

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #33 on: October 02, 2017, 08:34:08 PM »
I guess this just highlights the importance of maintaining one's own database of fans. Presumably if this goes on, more and more customers will be turned away from actually shopping in the store. I'm sure people will keep buying from Amazon, but they might not bother browsing.

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Offline Seneca42

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #34 on: October 02, 2017, 09:05:21 PM »
I guess this just highlights the importance of maintaining one's own database of fans. Presumably if this goes on, more and more customers will be turned away from actually shopping in the store. I'm sure people will keep buying from Amazon, but they might not bother browsing.

Well, the future is curation. Whether that's accomplished through Amazon lists or email blasts or other forms of visibility, or whether it's via third parties (goodreads (user-driven curation), bookbub, etc.), it's the future.

Between the insane marketing spend some authors engage in, and the botting, and the fake reviews and author review swapping and incredibly biased ARC street teams (often times all of these applied to a single book)... yes, the end result is a marketplace with almost zero consumer trust because you can't trust what your eyes tell you. A book that is top of the charts with great reviews may be total crap; which means the charts are useless if they don't reflect some degree of quality or consumer consensus.

It's clear Amazon is not concerned with having a "healthy" market, but rather a "captured" market. They will then curate not based on any kind of quality, but rather, based on driving awareness of whatever books they so desire. Right now, they drive visibility in part based on consumer habits/interests (you read these 20 books, you might like these 5). But you better believe in the future, just like the top of the charts are today, emails will be full of Amazon Imprint books. You will consume what Amazon tells you to consume (because that's what you will know exists).

I really don't think people understand how damaging KU is to the long-term health of the book market. The blind greed and desperation has truly created a state of magical thinking.  Amazon has no interest in your long-term wellbeing. In fact, the opposite. If they manage to truly seize the market beyond any concerns of future challengers (right now they aren't there yet; they can still be dethroned under the right circumstances), indies are gone. Goodbye, it's all over.

You'll still be able to publish on the store, but good luck ever being read with zero visibility. If you want visibility, you will have to submit to Amazon's conditions; and even then, only a small percentage of authors (even after submitting) will be blessed with any kind of visiblity. The botting by authors who should consider it insane to risk their author profile, are doing it because that's how bad this has already gotten... they are desperate for visibility. It also explains why zon seems to only act when books bot into the top 100 lists.

Zon doesn't care about anything that's not visible. We fool ourselves into thinking being on the store means something. It doesn't if no one can see you. So outside what's visible, zon has no interest cleaning up the mess.

KENP rates are going down, visibility is going to get harder and harder (and more reliant on zon's decisions; even marketing spend won't get you the visibility you want on amazon), the store is going to get messier and messier... authors are going to suffer badly (except for a handful that zon blesses), but zon will do just fine, because they'll still be selling books.     

[anyway, end of my diatribe hehe. I just read a Yale paper all about Zon and antittrust, so I'm more convinced than ever with regards to what Amazon is doing now. It doesn't end well for us. The only hope is wide and pray the other retailers can stave off zon's complete dominance.].
« Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 09:08:06 PM by Seneca42 »

Offline dgcasey

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #35 on: October 02, 2017, 09:48:50 PM »
Further proof that Amazon needs to do a little live vetting. How many seconds would it take a real human being to realize these books are part of a KU scam?

It's not just the vetting by the readers. How does a book like this make it through the review process? I get my submissions kicked back every now and then for some piddly like error, but these people are getting thousands of pages through. Seems to me that the person that reviewed and ok'd these pieces of trash needs to be fired.
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Offline dgcasey

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #36 on: October 02, 2017, 09:50:56 PM »
So there is no compelling reason for them to act.

Oh, there would be a compelling reason to act if a national news show took an interest in this just one time.
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Offline Kal241

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #37 on: October 02, 2017, 10:57:05 PM »
Oh, there would be a compelling reason to act if a national news show took an interest in this just one time.

Didn't that happen once already? Some "author" put up a book titled "reasons to vote democrat" or something, but it was a bunch of blank pages inside. The news got ahold of it for about a day, as I recall. Not sure if the book is still up...

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #38 on: October 02, 2017, 11:01:30 PM »
Oh, there would be a compelling reason to act if a national news show took an interest in this just one time.

Yeeeeeah I don't know about that. Much, much, much more serious events get covered on international news, and nothing happens to change them.

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Offline Scrapper78

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #39 on: October 03, 2017, 05:21:28 AM »
for the record, "ulkovusile " is not Russian, Belorussian, Armenian, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian or any other language I can find.


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Offline AlexaKang

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #40 on: October 03, 2017, 05:37:59 AM »
for the record, "ulkovusile " is not Russian, Belorussian, Armenian, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian or any other language I can find.

My next book title: #%|{\\|<>=+^#<?

Offline AlexaKang

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #41 on: October 03, 2017, 05:40:06 AM »
It's not just the vetting by the readers. How does a book like this make it through the review process? I get my submissions kicked back every now and then for some piddly like error, but these people are getting thousands of pages through. Seems to me that the person that reviewed and ok'd these pieces of trash needs to be fired.

Good question. There was a theory recently that these are Amazon inside jobs. That some Amazon/KDP employees are the ones who put these books up, seeing that KU = free cash.

Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #42 on: October 03, 2017, 05:55:56 AM »
Seneca42, the voice of reason on Kboards.

KU may make some legitimate authors money, but it is pure invitation for scammers to game the system. For only $9 a month (if Zon does away with the freebie month) scammers have unlimited bot-reading potential, raking in a larger and larger share of the pot. And the scammers' numbers are growing.

The longer KU survives, the worse it gets. The longer we keep it alive, the worse it gets for all of us authors. Despite legitimate people making bank in KU, it is a poison pill.
 

Offline she-la-ti-da

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #43 on: October 03, 2017, 05:57:40 AM »
Quote
Seems to me that the person that reviewed and ok'd these pieces of trash needs to be fired.

It's not people, it's bots. The only real people look at a book is those poor saps in the Philippines who get to check out the erotica. And to be honest, I'm not even sure real people(TM) do that.

All this scam mess could be stopped if they'd only hire real people(TM) to vet uploads. Edited to add:  I mean in Select, the rest of the store they can do with their usual bots. The entire book wouldn't have to be read, just skimmed (check the first part, then random checks throughout). Wouldn't take long. It could be a work from home job, and goodness knows there are plenty of Americans who would love to get paid $9 an hour to be home with their kids or sick relative (or their own disability) and earn some money.

The thing Amazon seems to miss with their reliance on automation is that they'd make tons more money if their stuff was vetted. Authors would flock to KU if they knew they weren't competing with the cheaters, and readers would love the great books they'd be getting. And all they'd have to do to pay for it is take the money they're paying out right now to people who are scamming their way to all that easy money, and also the bonuses.

If this had been done from the beginning, like I and many others said it should be, there wouldn't be problems like this, because if there's someone stopping the nonsense books from getting in, the scammers would find something else to do.

But, well, spitting into the wind.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2017, 05:59:26 AM by she-la-ti-da »
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Offline K.Peters

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #44 on: October 03, 2017, 06:00:57 AM »
That's a question for someone who is not me (lol). It would be funny if it turned out to be some really great book in Russian though.

Yes, it's Russian. I speak some Russian but not well enough to skim through this and tell you what it's about.

Offline Seneca42

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #45 on: October 03, 2017, 06:23:34 AM »
Seneca42, the voice of reason on Kboards.

KU may make some legitimate authors money, but it is pure invitation for scammers to game the system. For only $9 a month (if Zon does away with the freebie month) scammers have unlimited bot-reading potential, raking in a larger and larger share of the pot. And the scammers' numbers are growing.

The longer KU survives, the worse it gets. The longer we keep it alive, the worse it gets for all of us authors. Despite legitimate people making bank in KU, it is a poison pill.

haha, I wouldn't say that. All the top sellers in KU would disagree wholeheartedly with my conclusions and would say people have been calling for the sky to fall since the beginning (and that this is the greatest time in history to be an author). But like all bubbles, no one thinks the sky can fall until it actually does; and until it does people don't want to hear why it "might" fall one day.

But I think we're already seeing early signs of a system falling apart. To me it's not really in the realm of speculation anymore, it's happening now, it's just early days. It's already getting harder to market, more people are using gray (and black) hat tactics, and payouts are consistently dropping.

I mean, I'd hate to be a new author in this market. You really need some deep pockets and a catalog to make marketing pay off these days. 

And all of the market's ills, in my opinion, stem from KU. If KU did not exist, if people weren't fighting over scraps, things wouldn't be nearly as bad. They'd still be tough, but they'd be tough because of the general economy and discretionary spending among consumers, not because amazon was putting a boot on everyone's throats.

Offline PhoenixS

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #46 on: October 03, 2017, 08:41:46 AM »
It's clear Amazon is not concerned with having a "healthy" market, but rather a "captured" market. They will then curate not based on any kind of quality, but rather, based on driving awareness of whatever books they so desire. Right now, they drive visibility in part based on consumer habits/interests (you read these 20 books, you might like these 5). But you better believe in the future, just like the top of the charts are today, emails will be full of Amazon Imprint books. You will consume what Amazon tells you to consume (because that's what you will know exists).

One thing I've noticed in the past 3 months or so is that the genre newsletters Amazon sends out have changed pretty dramatically. Used to be a new release pushing hard or a book that hit in the top of the Countdown list that week would be featured face out. There were several subcats listed, and I would typically see about half indie/half trad in the NLs.

But then the indie half started skewing towards about half or more of THOSE books being ones picked up because they were ranking well due to rank manipulation techniques.

Probably coincidence only (because if I'd noticed, Amazon likely had too), but after I called out several incidences of books that had, for example, been botted to the Top 10 in the store, and had been rewarded with a face-out feature in the next genre newsletter, the content and structure of those newsletters changed.

Now, there's one big curated feature for a new Big 5 or Amazon Imprint release, followed by 4 smaller features, with maybe one of them a subcat and the others "bestsellers," "new releases," etc, and all of them obviously curated. If there's an indie represented, it's likely to be a big name with their Amazon rep advocating placement for them.

The rest of the newsletter is then filled with 4 books personalized from your browsing and views. And these recs don't even need to be in the same genre. For example, I routinely get Legal Thriller recs in the SF/Fantasy NL.

Newsletter mentions used to be one of the most lucrative perks for indies out there. While the odds were always poor that any one indie book doing well in the charts would get randomly featured, over the last 3 months the odds have dropped to practically nil.

Maybe this was a change Amazon planned all along, but it sure feels like Amazon took away everyone's chance at the toys based on the actions of the bad actors.

Just another example -- one I've yet seen discussed -- of the injury scammers inflict on the entire ecosystem. Or of Amazon purposefully squeezing visibility for indies. Or both.   

Offline Seneca42

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #47 on: October 03, 2017, 09:47:53 AM »
Maybe this was a change Amazon planned all along, but it sure feels like Amazon took away everyone's chance at the toys based on the actions of the bad actors.

Just another example -- one I've yet seen discussed -- of the injury scammers inflict on the entire ecosystem. Or of Amazon purposefully squeezing visibility for indies. Or both.   

One of the things that shocked me in that Yale report was finding out that Amazon charges the big 5 for everything. Like the "pre order" button... the trads have to pay for that button. hehe. Apparently, stuff that we think is just part of your product page, the trads are being billed by amazon for. 

One thing that I think is safe to say is that zon offloads costs onto everyone but itself. I mean, what's with charging a delivery fee? Really? There's no need for that. But hey, if they can ding you even a penny, they will.

That's why the botting is so horrible; those costs are being offloaded onto KU authors (one way or another); as well as suppressing non-KU authors pricing power (in the aggregate of course). And the real tragedy is that in the end, zon won't show any appreciation for authors sticking by them through all this. Indies will get squeezed (and squeezed out) the moment it suits zon's interests to do so.

But they absolutely must capture the market before they drop the hammer. If they drop it too soon, they risk an exodus. So as others have said, we're in a boiling frog scenario. Bit by bit the temperature is going to rise until one day the frogs die without ever having jumped out of the pot.

Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #48 on: October 03, 2017, 10:29:09 AM »
Being in KU is like claiming the view from the noose is great - before they yank the lever.
 

Offline jaehaerys

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Re: Almost makes me appreciate the KU Scammers who stuff real books
« Reply #49 on: October 03, 2017, 11:47:45 AM »
It's threads like this that have me considering going wide.  :-\