Author Topic: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers [MERGED]  (Read 48036 times)  

Online Usedtoposthere

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #150 on: April 05, 2018, 06:33:02 PM »
;D It's pretty obvious from several comments i've read over the last year like "wahhhhh if only these cheaty scammers would stop stuffing, my super obscure totally not written to market book with a bad cover would get so many reads!!!!" are not grounded in anything but plain old green-eyed monsterism. I'm not saying that's all of it, but a lot of it is. The rest is just selectively-cherry-picking of what Amazon's said and done in regards to bonus content.

I don't think it's against the TOS - they've said clearly that bonus content is allowed, as has been outlined mulllltiple times in this thread.

One side says it aint, the other says it is. Amazon is vague and doesn't care to clarify. They don't ban the many authors who book-stuff, so clearly it's not a big deal to them.
I expect many people who've been stuffing books will gamble and keep doing it. If it's no big deal to Amazon, Amazon will let it go on, and anybody with a problem can choose to stay in KU, doing what they believe is more pleasing to readers and more ethically palatable to themselves--or go wide and forget about it. And then Amazon will bring the ban hammer down, or they won't, and it'll be pretty obvious that either (a) it wasn't allowed, or (b) it either was allowed, or Amazon doesn't care to enforce it, take your pick.

I suspect that a certain percentage of stuffing authors is rushing to un-stuff right now, but I could be wrong. It's very hard to predict the future in publishing.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 06:35:31 PM by Usedtoposthere »

Offline mawnster

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #151 on: April 05, 2018, 06:34:58 PM »
I think everybody who's been stuffing books should keep doing it. If it's no big deal to Amazon, they'll let it go on, and anybody with a problem can choose to stay in KU, do what they believe is more pleasing to readers and more ethically palatable to themselves--or go wide and forget about it. And then Amazon will bring the ban hammer down, or they won't, and it'll be pretty obvious that either (a) it wasn't allowed, or (b) it either was allowed, or they don't care to enforce it, take your pick.

I suspect that a certain percentage of authors are rushing to un-stuff right now, but I could be wrong. It's very hard to predict the future in publishing.

See that's sensible. Give people enough rope and let them hang themselves. Eyes on your paper. Anyone bookstuffing who's worried is probably too busy unstuffing to come hang out here on these boards and cross swords, and anyone bookstuffing who's not worried is probably too busy running their mini publishing empires.

Speaking of which, I do have a book to finish...

Offline Jena H

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #152 on: April 05, 2018, 06:36:36 PM »
;D It's pretty obvious from several comments i've read over the last year like "wahhhhh if only these cheaty scammers would stop stuffing, my super obscure totally not written to market book with a bad cover would get so many reads!!!!" are not grounded in anything but plain old green-eyed monsterism. I'm not saying that's all of it, but a lot of it is. The rest is just selectively-cherry-picking of what Amazon's said and done in regards to bonus content.


Wow.  Spoken like a true 10-year-old on the playground.  And NO, everytime someone has a differing viewpoint, the answer is not always jealousy.  Not even half the time, or one-third.


I don't think it's against the TOS - they've said clearly that bonus content is allowed, as has been outlined mulllltiple times in this thread.

One side says it aint, the other says it is. Amazon is vague and doesn't care to clarify. They don't ban the many authors who book-stuff, so clearly it's not a big deal to them.

For the zillionth time, there is a difference between "bonus content" and "stuffing."  One is an allowed, reasonable marketing tool (first chapter of the next book, for example).  The other...  just a tired retread halfheartedly passed off as something new.
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Online Usedtoposthere

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #153 on: April 05, 2018, 06:37:10 PM »
See that's sensible. Give people enough rope and let them hang themselves. Eyes on your paper. Anyone bookstuffing who's worried is probably too busy unstuffing to come hang out here on these boards and cross swords, and anyone bookstuffing who's not worried is probably too busy running their mini publishing empires.

Speaking of which, I do have a book to finish...
I'm not saying "eyes on your paper." This is to some extent a zero-sum game. Stuffing hurts authors in multiple ways--authors who don't/won't do it don't get as many page reads,  readers are turned off by KU books, etc. I just don't think that my opinion is going to change the behavior of people who want to justify what they want to do. (Although I have expressed my opinion to Amazon on more than one occasion.) So I guess I'll wait and see.

I've been surprised that these court documents aren't clear and convincing to everyone, but I suppose I shouldn't be.

When authors like Jan Scott leave KU and tell Amazon and their many tens of thousands of readers that it's because of this behavior (as happened recently) ... I do suspect that has some effect. We'll see.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 06:49:33 PM by Usedtoposthere »

Offline Shelley K

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #154 on: April 05, 2018, 06:41:31 PM »
And then Amazon will bring the ban hammer down, or they won't,

Did they even ban the guy this thread is about? I see no evidence that he's not allowed to have a KDP account. In fact, the wording makes it seem he is as long as doesn't further violate their terms of service by publishing duplicate content or manipulating ranks and reads.

I can't see behind the paywall, so I can only go by what's public. I'd be interested if anybody has actual evidence that he has been banned. They should ban him, but I'm not confident they did.


Offline mawnster

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #155 on: April 05, 2018, 06:47:20 PM »
Wow.  Spoken like a true 10-year-old on the playground.  And NO, everytime someone has a differing viewpoint, the answer is not always jealousy.  Not even half the time, or one-third.


For the zillionth time, there is a difference between "bonus content" and "stuffing."  One is an allowed, reasonable marketing tool (first chapter of the next book, for example).  The other...  just a tired retread halfheartedly passed off as something new.

I made it pretty clear what I was talking about when it came to jealousy: most of the comments come from authors who aren't writing to market, don't have marketable covers or blurbs, and are desperately hoping that getting rid of the scammers will suddenly catapult them into making a full-time income. That aint gonna happen. The paltry number of page reads "stolen" by book-stuffers out there isn't keeping anyone down. Bad books and bad marketing is what is hurting more people than book-stuffers. I know because I've written off-market stuff, and I've written on-market stuff. The difference in earnings is astronomical. One gets you a cup of coffee. The other you can buy a car with.

And Amazon is actually totally okay with a book, or more, being bonus content.

"If you choose to include bonus content (e.g. other stories, or previews of other books), it should be relevant to the customer and should not disrupt the reading experience. To meet these guidelines, we require placing additional content at the end of the book, listing the bonus content in your books table of contents, and including a note in your book description if a significant portion of your book's content is not from the book listed in the title field. "

They are clearly expecting bonus content to be an extra book or books, since they're giving guidelines for how they want authors to make note of said additional content in their blurbs.

Seems pretty clear to me. Bonus content can be a book, or multiple books. I don't stuff, I don't use ghosts, I don't price at .99 for anything, I don't do newsletter swaps, and I don't even run ads. I don't even bother with Bookbub or the big newsletter promo sites. I still make a full-time living, and am on track to clear 6 figures this year. Almost all of my catalogue is wide, and wide is where I make my bread and butter. Book stuffing might be taking a little bit of money out of my pocket, maybe, but it's clearly within the TOS since Amazon goes out of their way to highlight how to do it within their guidelines.

Offline mawnster

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #156 on: April 05, 2018, 06:49:28 PM »
Did they even ban the guy this thread is about? I see no evidence that he's not allowed to have a KDP account. In fact, the wording makes it seem he is as long as doesn't further violate their terms of service by publishing duplicate content or manipulating ranks and reads.

I can't see behind the paywall, so I can only go by what's public. I'd be interested if anybody has actual evidence that he has been banned. They should ban him, but I'm not confident they did.

From what I read in the filed papers, Amazon is asking the judge to order him and all of his employees/directors/company people to never include bonus content, to never use click farms, and something else too that I forgot.

So no, he's not banned. Maybe his companies are banned, and he himself is banned, but he could easily just form a new company (get a friend to form a new company, relative, whatever), and kick back up to his shenanigans.

Offline Jena H

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #157 on: April 05, 2018, 07:02:24 PM »
I made it pretty clear what I was talking about when it came to jealousy: most of the comments come from authors who aren't writing to market, don't have marketable covers or blurbs, and are desperately hoping that getting rid of the scammers will suddenly catapult them into making a full-time income. That aint gonna happen. The paltry number of page reads "stolen" by book-stuffers out there isn't keeping anyone down. Bad books and bad marketing is what is hurting more people than book-stuffers. I know because I've written off-market stuff, and I've written on-market stuff. The difference in earnings is astronomical. One gets you a cup of coffee. The other you can buy a car with.

Re the bolded part:  you can't possibly know how/why people are writing their specific books.  And "marketable covers or blurbs" is a subjective thing.  I've seen books with covers that I think are awful, yet they apparently sell.  Ditto for (imo) awful blurbs that wouldn't induce ME to buy.

And the A/B/C/D stuffed books (paired with B/C/D/A, C/D/A/B, D/A/B/C books, etc.), are NOT what Amazon is referring to in the snippet you quote.  You (general 'you') can contort yourself any way you want to make it seem that way, but if Bezos was standing here in front of me or you, I'd bet my bottom dollar he'd say the same.

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Offline mawnster

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #158 on: April 05, 2018, 07:08:57 PM »
And the A/B/C/D stuffed books (paired with B/C/D/A, C/D/A/B, D/A/B/C books, etc.), are NOT what Amazon is referring to in the snippet you quote.  You (general 'you') can contort yourself any way you want to make it seem that way, but if Bezos was standing here in front of me or you, I'd bet my bottom dollar he'd say the same.

I've literally never seen this argued as being acceptable by anyone who's in the "yeah book stuffing is fine" camp.

What I have seen argued as being acceptable (that I agree with is probably just fine):

A/B/C/D

B/C/D/E

C/A/B/E

D/A/B/E

No one book is an EXACT re-ordering of one of the others, thus they are techncially (by the skin of their teeth) differentiated.

Offline Shelley K

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #159 on: April 05, 2018, 07:19:14 PM »
From what I read in the filed papers, Amazon is asking the judge to order him and all of his employees/directors/company people to never include bonus content, to never use click farms, and something else too that I forgot.

Right? For all the back and forth about what is stuffing, what's legitimate bonus content, what's ethical, there's no question that this particular guy is an outright thief. Yet he's ordered to never use click farms again. I find that part the most infuriating. They should have the judge order him to never attempt to make another KDP account.

If they aren't going to go absolute hardline on this guy, a bad boy author with four bonus novels behind her newest one has [expletive]ing zip to worry about no matter how hard some people here hope for their ruination.



« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 04:30:43 PM by Shelley K »

Offline Just Griff

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #160 on: April 05, 2018, 07:23:17 PM »
Wow.  Spoken like a true 10-year-old on the playground.  And NO, everytime someone has a differing viewpoint, the answer is not always jealousy.  Not even half the time, or one-third.

So people who don't stuff and don't like stuffing are all jealous and people who do stuff or don't see this tactic as evil are greedy and (or) immoral... all the while, Amazon is the only opinion that matters. They set the rules, and yet we're here arguing and assuming the worst of each other over something that's out of our hands.

Amazon wins.

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #161 on: April 05, 2018, 07:29:53 PM »
So people who don't stuff and don't like stuffing are all jealous and people who do stuff or don't see this tactic as evil are greedy and (or) immoral... all the while, Amazon is the only opinion that matters. They set the rules, and yet we're here arguing and assuming the worst of each other over something that's out of our hands.

Amazon wins.

Not jealous, annoyed. Their activities drain the KU pot.


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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #162 on: April 05, 2018, 07:32:34 PM »
Content that is not significantly differentiated from another book available in the Kindle Store
Content that is a non-differentiated version of another book available in the Kindle Store <---does this not mean what I said? Maybe I'm reading it wrong I really don't know

What's striking to me is that Amazon has stuck with this "not significantly differentiated" language, when it could instead say something unquestionably clear, like what sela wrote above. Something like, "Unique bonus content that is not available in any other KU book is permitted." In comparison to sela's "unique" vs. "duplicated" language, which is concrete and inflexible, Amazon's "not significantly differentiated" can be pulled around like taffy to justify all sort of inclusions. What counts as "significant"? What counts as "differentiated"? It's way woo weasely. Amazon should drop the "not significantly differentiated" language and adopt something concrete, like sela's definitions. If they want to allow a small amount of duplication, such as the first chapter of the next in series, they should spell that out -- "a maximum of 20 pp. of duplicate content is permitted," or whatever.


Offline Shelley K

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #163 on: April 05, 2018, 07:42:40 PM »
What's striking to me is that Amazon has stuck with this "not significantly differentiated" language, when it could instead say something unquestionably clear, like what sela wrote above. Something like, "Unique bonus content that is not available in any other KU book is permitted." In comparison to sela's "unique" vs. "duplicated" language, which is concrete and inflexible, Amazon's "not significantly differentiated" can be pulled around like taffy to justify all sort of inclusions. What counts as "significant"? What counts as "differentiated"? It's way woo weasely. Amazon should drop the "not significantly differentiated" language and adopt something concrete, like sela's definitions. If they want to allow a small amount of duplication, such as the first chapter of the next in series, they should spell that out -- "a maximum of 20 pp. of duplicate content is permitted," or whatever.



They don't make a rule that's 100% unquestionably clear because if they did that they'd be expected to uphold it.

Offline David VanDyke

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #164 on: April 05, 2018, 07:49:18 PM »


The way I see it, Amazon reps created confusion with conflicting responses on the matter. Amazon also allowed for this tactic to succeed on their platform for years. So why turn on each other? None of us make the rules.

There is no "each other" when it comes to those who cheat (knowingly violate Amazon TOS and take money from other authors). Those who do so, and those who defend the practice, have forfeited their right to be part of our community, no matter how they try to spin it.

Yes, that's you. You know who you are. It's crystal clear that we know too. Stop doing it, stop defending it. Tea is tea.

If it's unethical, it's unethical. Those who do it knowingly and deliberately put themselves on the other side of the line--doubly so because their practices take money directly out of other authors' pockets, not Amazon's. That's an important distinction: this isn't about ripping off some big corporation with lax enforcement. This is robbing other authors' houses and taking food off their tables because Amazon is a lazy cop.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 07:57:16 PM by David VanDyke »


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Offline Just Griff

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #165 on: April 05, 2018, 08:12:33 PM »
Not jealous, annoyed. Their activities drain the KU pot.

Not sure you understood what I was trying to say. People are making negative assumptions all the way around. That's all.

There is no "each other" when it comes to those who cheat (knowingly violate Amazon TOS and take money from other authors). Those who do so, and those who defend the practice, have forfeited their right to be part of our community, no matter how they try to spin it.

Yes, that's you. You know who you are. Stop doing it, stop defending it. Tea is tea.

If it's unethical, it's unethical. Those who do it knowingly and deliberately put themselves on the other side of the line--doubly so because their practices take money directly out of other authors' pockets, not Amazon's. That's an important distinction: this isn't about ripping off some big corporation with lax enforcement. This is robbing other authors' houses and taking food off their tables because Amazon is a lazy cop.

As someone who's completely on the outside of this issue, doesn't use the tactics, and isn't in KU with any titles, it objectively looks more complicated than that. It seems like a lot of different tactics and motives are being conflated into one big bad thing that no one wants to discuss the gray areas of because they want to kill the big bad as fast as possible. Yes, how some are using it (to deceive readers about page count, to bot their way to the top, to bot gobbledygook pages and whatever other secret shenanigans David knows that I don't) is definitely unethical, but it doesn't seem to me that all the authors are doing those things or bonus stuffing for those reasons. Discouraging discussion by drawing a with-us-or-against us line doesn't make us strong, it divides us, and I think that's a bigger problem. No one has to agree with me.

Offline Just Griff

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #166 on: April 05, 2018, 08:20:22 PM »
They don't make a rule that's 100% unquestionably clear because if they did that they'd be expected to uphold it.

Which is strange because when it comes down to the percent of a KU title that can be available elsewhere while enrolled, they seem ready, willing, and able to enforce it. Why wouldn't they address an issue that's essentially only happening under their own roof. Shouldn't that make it easier to enforce, not harder?

I'm assuming no one bonus stuffs in order to give away a huge chunk of their back-list for a percentage of $.99 wide on all platforms.

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #167 on: April 05, 2018, 08:29:06 PM »
If it's unethical, it's unethical. Those who do it knowingly and deliberately put themselves on the other side of the line--doubly so because their practices take money directly out of other authors' pockets, not Amazon's. That's an important distinction: this isn't about ripping off some big corporation with lax enforcement. This is robbing other authors' houses and taking food off their tables because Amazon is a lazy cop.

Amazon has now asserted in federal court that manipulative practices, which include what we colloquially refer to as stuffing, are harming other authors -- and that assertion seems to me to tilt the whole gameboard. Let's not lose sight of this.

I pointed out in another thread that part of what Facebook is now under the gun for revolves around its TOS and how FB's not borne adequate responsibility in policing that TOS and in protecting its users. Questions it's having to defend and that Zuckerberg is apologizing for on behalf of the company have to do with why there were not adequate policies and policing of those policies in place to defend against harm to its users. EU, UK and US law are all in play here. And with Facebook already admitting they should have done more to protect one set of users abiding by TOS terms from being harmed by another set of users who are violating TOS terms, it seems pretty clear which way FB anticipates public, political and legal opinion to go.

Offline lilywhite

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers [MERGED]
« Reply #168 on: April 05, 2018, 08:29:33 PM »
Why wouldn't they address an issue that's essentially only happening under their own roof.

Because as long as it's happening under their own roof, it's not costing them money.

Though now that it's gotten bad enough that big-name authors are leaving -- and getting their readers to cancel KU accounts -- they seem to have started to take it a bit more seriously. We'll see.

Offline ubu roi

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« Reply #169 on: April 05, 2018, 08:42:05 PM »
I've literally never seen this argued as being acceptable by anyone who's in the "yeah book stuffing is fine" camp.

What I have seen argued as being acceptable (that I agree with is probably just fine):

A/B/C/D

B/C/D/E

C/A/B/E

D/A/B/E

No one book is an EXACT re-ordering of one of the others, thus they are techncially (by the skin of their teeth) differentiated.

It's interesting that there exists something called "compilation copyright", a copyright for the ordering of texts that may be in the public domain. So, a collection of PD short stories, has a copyright for the way the stories are ordered (compiled) in the book.

Offline AWritersLife

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers [MERGED]
« Reply #170 on: April 05, 2018, 08:48:08 PM »
I've read seven pages of this thread now and I still can't decide if some of the people commenting here and arguing with everyone over and over again is just looking to take the p-ss, as the Brits would say, for a good laugh.

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers [MERGED]
« Reply #171 on: April 05, 2018, 09:18:57 PM »
;D It's pretty obvious from several comments i've read over the last year like "wahhhhh if only these cheaty scammers would stop stuffing, my super obscure totally not written to market book with a bad cover would get so many reads!!!!" are not grounded in anything but plain old green-eyed monsterism. I'm not saying that's all of it, but a lot of it is. The rest is just selectively-cherry-picking of what Amazon's said and done in regards to bonus content.

I don't think it's against the TOS - they've said clearly that bonus content is allowed, as has been outlined mulllltiple times in this thread.

One side says it aint, the other says it is. Amazon is vague and doesn't care to clarify. They don't ban the many authors who book-stuff, so clearly it's not a big deal to them.
What counts isn't what you think is against the TOS. Amazon says it is and the court backed them up.

As for the rest, one can only expect book stuffers to defend book stuffing.

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Offline kw3000

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers [MERGED]
« Reply #172 on: April 05, 2018, 11:11:25 PM »
I've read seven pages of this thread now and I still can't decide if some of the people commenting here and arguing with everyone over and over again is just looking to take the p-ss, as the Brits would say, for a good laugh.

Hadn't thought of it that way, but you may be right.

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Offline Vidya

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers [MERGED]
« Reply #173 on: April 06, 2018, 12:21:26 AM »
I've now read all the posts and so far I haven't seen anyone mention what immediately occurred to me. People have said Zon finally did this because big-name authors are leaving KU.

Isn't it more likely Zon did this because of the threat of the upcoming  Walbo? I assume once Walmart and Kobo offer authors a genuine competitor to Zon, a place we can sell books and get more visibility than Zon's current competitors offer, KU will have to vanish. Or at any rate it will be mainly scammers who will still stay in KU.

Sounds to me like Zon is finally cleaning the store only because they know authors will leave in droves once they have a viable alternative. I mean, no one will leave Zon since the bulk of books are sold there, but people can very well leave KU if Walbo does a good job.

I'm dismayed by the number of people, some of them anti-scammers, who have said they don't expect Zon's latest move to make any real difference. Is that really possible?

On the other hand, if Zon is finally doing this because they fear the competition, I have more faith they'll get serious about stopping scammers.

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Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers [MERGED]
« Reply #174 on: April 06, 2018, 12:32:53 AM »
I've now read all the posts and so far I haven't seen anyone mention what immediately occurred to me. People have said Zon finally did this because big-name authors are leaving KU.

Isn't it more likely Zon did this because of the threat of the upcoming  Walbo? I assume once Walmart and Kobo offer authors a genuine competitor to Zon, a place we can sell books and get more visibility than Zon's current competitors offer, KU will have to vanish. Or at any rate it will be mainly scammers who will still stay in KU.

Sounds to me like Zon is finally cleaning the store only because they know authors will leave in droves once they have a viable alternative. I mean, no one will leave Zon since the bulk of books are sold there, but people can very well leave KU if Walbo does a good job.

I'm dismayed by the number of people, some of them anti-scammers, who have said they don't expect Zon's latest move to make any real difference. Is that really possible?

On the other hand, if Zon is finally doing this because they fear the competition, I have more faith they'll get serious about stopping scammers.
It is certainly possible they are thinking of the Walmart situation. They are no doubt planning for any increase in competition.

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