Author Topic: And! Amazon rank-stripped me  (Read 14428 times)  

Online C. Gockel

  • Status: A A Milne
  • ******
  • Posts: 4367
  • Chicago, IL
    • View Profile
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #100 on: November 22, 2017, 07:52:30 AM »
Patty's rank is back in the U.S..

Alison, I hope your rank is back soon ... a few months back I lost my rank for a few hours. I'm wondering if this really isn't a big computer glitch.


I write books about Change, Chaos, and Loki
C. Gockel | facebook | tumblr | website

Offline TobiasRoote

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 654
  • Gender: Male
  • Greece
    • View Profile
    • Tobias Roote Books
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #101 on: November 22, 2017, 07:55:38 AM »
They turn a click farm on your book so as to divert attention away from scam-authors. Sort of like chaff to a missile.

One assumes then, that if I was targeted I'd get lots of unexpected sales.


Tobias Roote | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Online Allyson J.

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 790
  • Gender: Female
  • South Carolina, USA
  • Writer. Traveler. Adventurer
    • View Profile
    • AllysonJeleyne.com
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #102 on: November 22, 2017, 07:58:36 AM »
Patty's rank is back in the U.S..

Alison, I hope your rank is back soon ... a few months back I lost my rank for a few hours. I'm wondering if this really isn't a big computer glitch.

That is good news!!

And thank you. I'm optimistic.

Victorian, Edwardian, and Jazz Age romance
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Mailing List

Offline StacyC

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3873
  • Gender: Female
  • Seattle-ish
  • Run like you have to get to the library
    • View Profile
    • Stacy Claflin, Author
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #103 on: November 22, 2017, 08:10:24 AM »
Check your own site. I suspect more than 50% of your traffic is mobile. Now look at the mobile site of Amazon. You will see that it provide not even a WAY for readers to get onto the top 100 FREE list. Try it with your phone. Even if you go to the bottom and click "amazon.com full site" go to a book that's ranked top 100 free and try to clik on the link to top 100 free, it takes you to the top 100 paid. Do a drop down and you can only get top 100 paid, top 100 new release. I sat at the bar at NINC and realized this with T S Paul who was like "the Amazon people are right there, you can ask them about this . . ." because we both wondered if it was a glitch. It's 1.5 months later still doing that (and no I didn't bother the Amazon people with this), it's NOT A GLITCH.

Definitely not a glitch. It's been happening since at least April. That's when I noticed it. I had a BB for a free book, and I was away from the house all day. It drove me crazy that I couldn't keep an eye on my book's rank - only from my laptop.
  

USA Today bestselling author of The Gone Trilogy & Dean's List: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Free Books

Offline Elizabeth Barone

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1258
  • Gender: Female
  • Watertown, CT
  • Contemporary Romance & Suspense
    • View Profile
    • Elizabeth Barone: Contemporary Romance & Suspense
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #104 on: November 22, 2017, 08:36:36 AM »
There are a few observations here.

1) Authors are gaming/attempting to 'game' the Amazon system to gain rank, visibility.
2) Technical trading (following a regimen to 'game' the system automatically) will result in anticipation from the algorithm machine and subsequent readjustment to return things to balance.

I've watched (from the sidelines mostly) as author after author has come up with new ways to gain traction and get ahead of the crowd of other authors trying to do exactly the same. Maybe four years ago there were a hundred or so, now there are thousands. All up to the same tricks because everyone loves to publicise how successful their 'system' is. We've (the Indy author sector) become more concerned with manipulation of the market, rather than plain marketing. Free books, special offers, serial promotions, newsletter round-robin, cross-promo's (to name a few) and the market (being the reader) is saturated with it. Amazon and other sales platforms are reeling from the mass promotion of books by thousands of authors EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

And you wonder why the thing breaks !!!

Tobias is right; whether legitimately or not, a great percentage of authors are trying to get that spike. We're playing the game.

If 10 of us on equal footing -- same genre, platform size, quality, etc -- all vie for the #1 spot by booking ads, that's nine authors who can't be #1. In reality, there are thousands of us playing the lotto, whether we want the boost in income or we want the pride of having a bestseller. Amazon has to account for that in its algorithms. It also has to account for the large amount of scammers.

I don't think you are being silly TobiasRoote. I agree with you that there are many perspectives in this industry and we as indies most often look at it from only our own perspective.

Amazon doesn't want sales spikes. They've punished the sudden upward velocity of books for years. Now, more so.

This is a major change and now we all have to adjust for it. My adjustments will be working harder in 2018 to make Amazon a lower percentage of my monthly income.

This has been my focus, too -- especially because I don't have hundreds of dollars to invest in chasing the spike. I've also started my Bachelor's in marketing, because I don't want to keep alternating methods that work "for now." I want to market my books using the science, leveraging various tools with that knowledge.

Connect With Me: BlogFacebook | Instagram

Offline truc

  • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
  • **
  • Posts: 54
    • View Profile
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #105 on: November 22, 2017, 08:57:08 AM »
This is a very wee datapoint, but I put up a new book for preorder and it has no rank or categories. It's been like that for a few days, despite preorder numbers appearing in my KDP account dashboard.

I should add that I have less than 10 preorders right now. I've run no promotions (have not even told my mailing list about it).

My vote is w/C. Gockel--there may be a systemwide glitch.

Online Mylius Fox

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 402
  • Cognitive syntactical wizard.
    • View Profile
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #106 on: November 22, 2017, 08:59:22 AM »
If 10 of us on equal footing -- same genre, platform size, quality, etc -- all vie for the #1 spot by booking ads, that's nine authors who can't be #1.... Amazon has to account for that in its algorithms.

Personally, I think the customers account for that by deciding which of those ten they buy most from. Ten authors might try, but only one of them is going to sell the most at any given time. Amazon's algorithms have their own way of weighing current sales against past sales, sure, but I doubt they try to model some kind of response to similar authors competing against each other at the same time, as if they need to arbitrate some form of fairness. It's a bestsellers list because it's driven by who is selling the best. ;)

Online EB

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2403
  • Gender: Female
  • used to care
    • View Profile
    • EB on Amazon
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #107 on: November 22, 2017, 08:59:52 AM »
This has been my focus, too -- especially because I don't have hundreds of dollars to invest in chasing the spike. I've also started my Bachelor's in marketing, because I don't want to keep alternating methods that work "for now." I want to market my books using the science, leveraging various tools with that knowledge.

Agree. I've changed my marketing strategies as well. I'm staying away from short-term strategies; it doesn't help me to sell a crap ton of books on a $0.99 sale and then completely drop off the radar b/c the next 20 $0.99 bestsellers hit the charts. I'm trying to focus on what keeps my books selling consistently. I'd rather commit my advertising funds to things that keep my books at steady rankings; that is how my bills get paid every month. I've increased my prices, no longer have a permafree, re-vamped all my blurbs, and am working to keep a steady flow of new releases available along with daily FB Ads, BB Ads, and AMS ads. So far, the consistency is working better than my attempts to jump-start sales with massive promo-driven spikes.

I do love the heck outta BB & will run them as often as I can, but I'm seeing that it is no longer a sure-fire way to stand out in the crowd for the long term. There has to be more behind an advertising plan than just pouring tons of cash into a short-term period for a huge rank spike; books in the top 100 rotate through the ranks faster than a new version of anything by Microsoft needs to be patched.

Well, consistency is my goal anymore. I can't make a living by pimping my books out at $0.99 and pouring thousands into a week long promo stack in an uber-saturated market. It's about getting (and keeping) a handful of sales every day on multiple books in my catalog at a reasonable price point. 

Offline Nate Hoffelder

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 195
  • I build websites, and blog about ebooks
    • View Profile
    • The Digital Reader
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #108 on: November 22, 2017, 09:04:04 AM »
I don't think you are being silly TobiasRoote. I agree with you that there are many perspectives in this industry and we as indies most often look at it from only our own perspective.

Amazon doesn't want sales spikes. They've punished the sudden upward velocity of books for years. Now, more so.

This is a major change and now we all have to adjust for it. My adjustments will be working harder in 2018 to make Amazon a lower percentage of my monthly income.
If that were the case then why does Amazon have its own promo email service through GoodReads?
https://the-digital-reader.com/2016/05/17/move-over-bookbub-fussy-librarian-goodreads-is-getting-into-ebook-discounts/

I think you're working to hard to excuse Amazon here.
- Nate, publisher of The Digital Reader blog - www.the-digital-reader.com

Ask me how to speed up your site, the best bookshelf plugins, how to get your site ranked in Google, and why your site keeps crashing. If I don't know I will find out.

I offer free site critiques (tech, content, and design) and I will happily tell you what your tech guy needs to do.

Offline TobiasRoote

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 654
  • Gender: Male
  • Greece
    • View Profile
    • Tobias Roote Books
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #109 on: November 22, 2017, 09:18:56 AM »
Personally, I think the customers account for that by deciding which of those ten they buy most from. Ten authors might try, but only one of them is going to sell the most at any given time. Amazon's algorithms have their own way of weighing current sales against past sales, sure, but I doubt they try to model some kind of response to similar authors competing against each other at the same time, as if they need to arbitrate some form of fairness. It's a bestsellers list because it's driven by who is selling the best. ;)


I think if those customers have ten choices in one week and only sufficient money for one book, then nine authors are going to lose out. If those ten authors spread their promotions over ten weeks, then each one might gain a sale. The trouble is thousands of authors are trying to do the same. So, the odds get longer and longer.

When I first started doing the lottery, it was in its infancy. I won quite often. When it reached the point of never winning the lottery was reaching saturation point.

It's a numbers 'game'


Tobias Roote | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Offline Lorri Moulton

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1511
  • Gender: Female
  • Author of Romances, Mysteries, and Fairytales
    • View Profile
    • Lavender Lass Books
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #110 on: November 22, 2017, 09:21:22 AM »
Agree. I've changed my marketing strategies as well. I'm staying away from short-term strategies; it doesn't help me to sell a crap ton of books on a $0.99 sale and then completely drop off the radar b/c the next 20 $0.99 bestsellers hit the charts. I'm trying to focus on what keeps my books selling consistently. I'd rather commit my advertising funds to things that keep my books at steady rankings; that is how my bills get paid every month. I've increased my prices, no longer have a permafree, re-vamped all my blurbs, and am working to keep a steady flow of new releases available along with daily FB Ads, BB Ads, and AMS ads. So far, the consistency is working better than my attempts to jump-start sales with massive promo-driven spikes.

I do love the heck outta BB & will run them as often as I can, but I'm seeing that it is no longer a sure-fire way to stand out in the crowd for the long term. There has to be more behind an advertising plan than just pouring tons of cash into a short-term period for a huge rank spike; books in the top 100 rotate through the ranks faster than a new version of anything by Microsoft needs to be patched.

Well, consistency is my goal anymore. I can't make a living by pimping my books out at $0.99 and pouring thousands into a week long promo stack in an uber-saturated market. It's about getting (and keeping) a handful of sales every day on multiple books in my catalog at a reasonable price point.

EB, I think you have the right idea.  Consistency in sales rather than one spike after another.  I hope it works out for you.  Still love your cover! :)
Author of Romances, Mysteries, Fairytales and Historical Non-Fiction.
Lorri Moulton | Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Online Mylius Fox

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 402
  • Cognitive syntactical wizard.
    • View Profile
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #111 on: November 22, 2017, 09:31:26 AM »
I think if those customers have ten choices in one week and only sufficient money for one book, then nine authors are going to lose out.

I think it's more dynamic than that, because of those ten authors, only so many are going to share the same genre, for example. So it might not even be a matter of competing for the same customers; it's simply a snapshot of whoever happened to have convinced the most customers overall to purchase their product at that moment. Why would Amazon want or need to contrive a system to try to assist those authors who "lose out" (read: don't sell as much)?

The customers ultimately decide how authors rank in the list, Amazon simply decides how to facilitate how much weight those sales have across the passage of time...

Offline TobiasRoote

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 654
  • Gender: Male
  • Greece
    • View Profile
    • Tobias Roote Books
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #112 on: November 22, 2017, 09:55:25 AM »
I think it's more dynamic than that, because of those ten authors, only so many are going to share the same genre, for example. So it might not even be a matter of competing for the same customers;

Your pushing the discussion out of context. It [this discussion] refers back to this point.

Quote
If 10 of us on equal footing -- same genre, platform size, quality, etc -- all vie for the #1 spot by booking ads, that's nine authors who can't be #1.... Amazon has to account for that in its algorithms.



Tobias Roote | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Offline TobiasRoote

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 654
  • Gender: Male
  • Greece
    • View Profile
    • Tobias Roote Books
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #113 on: November 22, 2017, 09:57:51 AM »

I think you're working to hard to excuse Amazon here.

I don't think anyone's trying to excuse Amazon. On the contrary we're saying Amazon is directly interfering in the efforts of people to gain momentum. It's just that the interference is one the one hand desirable, and on the other, not.


Tobias Roote | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Online Mylius Fox

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 402
  • Cognitive syntactical wizard.
    • View Profile
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #114 on: November 22, 2017, 10:09:05 AM »
Your pushing the discussion out of context. It [this discussion] refers back to this point.
...
Quote
If 10 of us on equal footing -- same genre, platform size, quality, etc -- all vie for the #1 spot by booking ads, that's nine authors who can't be #1.... Amazon has to account for that in its algorithms.

Right, even within the same genre, not all customers have the same interests in sub-genres, but that's merely a side point. The real issue is nothing about that scenario poses a problem Amazon needs to account for in its algorithms, as far as I can see. Each author has their hourly sales total, and all Amazon needs to do is weigh them up over time and rank them from highest on down. ;)


Online Bill Hiatt

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3058
  • Gender: Male
  • California
    • View Profile
    • Bill Hiatt's Author Website
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #115 on: November 22, 2017, 10:37:09 AM »
If that were the case then why does Amazon have its own promo email service through GoodReads?
https://the-digital-reader.com/2016/05/17/move-over-bookbub-fussy-librarian-goodreads-is-getting-into-ebook-discounts/

I think you're working to hard to excuse Amazon here.
That's a mid-2016 article. A lot has changed since then. What's the actual impact of this service?

As far as I can tell, the list is curated and currently not open to indies. That makes it quite different from BookBub. I'm not sure if it really works this way in practice, but it seems to have been originally designed to give readers an indication when items on their "to read" shelf went on sale. Again, the setup is rather different from the other services. Looking at today's recommendations without being logged in, it's a mix of other trad pub and Amazon imprints.


Tickling the imagination one book at a time
Bill Hiatt | fiction website | education website | Facebook author page | Twitter

Online Allyson J.

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 790
  • Gender: Female
  • South Carolina, USA
  • Writer. Traveler. Adventurer
    • View Profile
    • AllysonJeleyne.com
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #116 on: November 22, 2017, 11:01:30 AM »
Checking in to say I got my rank back. It took about 4 hrs, but everything seems fine now.

Victorian, Edwardian, and Jazz Age romance
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Mailing List

Offline Wayne Stinnett

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3805
  • Gender: Male
  • "I'm just a peckerwood who lives in the hills with too many guns."
    • View Profile
    • My Website
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #117 on: November 22, 2017, 11:16:48 AM »
What I do disagree with is the ultimate level of importance a lot of writers ascribe to the "Amazon magic" (i.e. its unseen recommendation engine). The only time it becomes important is when your book goes sticky. And no one really knows how to do that.

What's your definition of "sticky?" My latest release has remained in the top 5000 on Amazon since it debuted at #63, three months ago tomorrow.

Sorry this happened, Patti. I agree Amazon needs to fine tune this bot detector. A ten pound sledge for a flyswatter is overkill. I'm actually worried about my launch next month. With a large number of sales in the first few hours after release, the bot is bound to pick up on it. Someone, I forget who, told me of an incident where an AMS ad triggered a rank stripping.

As others have mentioned, alerting Amazon to an upcoming promotion might not be a bad idea. No, it won't stop the computer from doing it, but if you alert them a few days ahead of time, you'll get an email reply, probably saying they don't understand what you're talking about. Then you can reply to that email when it does happen.

An ounce of prevention?
NINC President-Elect. My Amazon Bestselling, twelve-volume Jesse McDermitt Series and the spinoff,  three-volume Charity Styles Series, also Amazon Bestsellers, are available in ebook, audiobook, and paperback, with many more exciting adventures to come. In my motivational non-fiction, Blue Collar to No Collar, I provide tips, advice, and strategies for new authors, and is also available in the same formats. Don't forget to visit the Ship's Store for Jesse McDermitt swag.
Semper Fi,
Wayne Stinnett | Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Motivational Videos | Down Island Press | Ship's Store Swag

Online C. Gockel

  • Status: A A Milne
  • ******
  • Posts: 4367
  • Chicago, IL
    • View Profile
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #118 on: November 22, 2017, 11:18:47 AM »
Checking in to say I got my rank back. It took about 4 hrs, but everything seems fine now.

This was my experience too. I think it's just a bug in their system sometimes.


I write books about Change, Chaos, and Loki
C. Gockel | facebook | tumblr | website

Online GeneDoucette

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2157
    • View Profile
    • Gene Doucette's Blog
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #119 on: November 22, 2017, 11:23:12 AM »
maybe the new normal for a spike in the free lists is a temporary de-ranking.

Online Becca Mills

  • Moderator
  • Status: Emily Dickinson
  • *****
  • Posts: 8873
  • Gender: Female
  • California
    • View Profile
    • The Active Voice
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #120 on: November 22, 2017, 11:30:46 AM »
maybe the new normal for a spike in the free lists is a temporary de-ranking.

Though it's happening to paid books too, according to David G.

I'm wondering if Amazon is automatically de-ranking books that rise fast, then running them through some sort of escalating series of algorithmic tests for scamming, either restoring their rank or leaving them rankless as they pass or fail the tests.

Is this happening consistently enough to say that *all* books that rise sharply in the ranks are being de-ranked for at least four hours?

Online Rosie A.

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 599
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #121 on: November 22, 2017, 11:38:57 AM »
maybe the new normal for a spike in the free lists is a temporary de-ranking.
I'm not a big seller, but I ran a free promo on one of my books a ciuple weeks ago and the book didn't have a rank for about a day. I figured this was normal now too.

I'm glad Patty and Allyson's ranks have returned.

20th Century & Western Historical Romance
Rose Historicals Website | Pinterest!

Online GeneDoucette

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2157
    • View Profile
    • Gene Doucette's Blog
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #122 on: November 22, 2017, 11:42:43 AM »
Though it's happening to paid books too, according to David G.

I'm wondering if Amazon is automatically de-ranking books that rise fast, then running them through some sort of escalating series of algorithmic tests for scamming, either restoring their rank or leaving them rankless as they pass or fail the tests.

Is this happening consistently enough to say that *all* books that rise sharply in the ranks are being de-ranked for at least four hours?

Maybe a question is 'how sharp'. It's easier to shoot up quickly in the Free ranks than the Paid ranks. Maybe the reason free books are deranked more commonly than paid ones is that it's harder to get the necessary degree-of-movement-over-time ratio in the paid market. Would that fit the pattern we're seeing?

Online Becca Mills

  • Moderator
  • Status: Emily Dickinson
  • *****
  • Posts: 8873
  • Gender: Female
  • California
    • View Profile
    • The Active Voice
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #123 on: November 22, 2017, 12:21:31 PM »
Maybe a question is 'how sharp'. It's easier to shoot up quickly in the Free ranks than the Paid ranks. Maybe the reason free books are deranked more commonly than paid ones is that it's harder to get the necessary degree-of-movement-over-time ratio in the paid market. Would that fit the pattern we're seeing?

Yep. You know how sloping roads have a "grade" percentage, figured by 100 * rise/distance? Something like that.

Offline jaehaerys

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 979
    • View Profile
Re: And! Amazon rank-stripped me
« Reply #124 on: November 22, 2017, 01:21:04 PM »
Yeah, I don't think there's anything nefarious going on. I agree that it's likely a new system Amazon has implemented where a book that's suddenly spiking is temporarily removed from the rankings for further testing and then put back in should it pass those tests.


The confusion and assumptions come from Amazon's usual practice of not being forthcoming with information about changes to their system. So, we're left to guess and squabble and point fingers while some kboards lurking Amazon engineer giggles from behind the curtain. Such is life.