Author Topic: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.  (Read 20060 times)  

Offline David VanDyke

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #100 on: April 08, 2018, 05:11:18 PM »
I had no loss of page reads detectable, but all of my stuff is out of Select and wide, except for my German translations.

At what point does the "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice" (or three, or nineteen times), "shame on me" principle apply?

At what point does it behoove those engaging in the apparently risky behavior of putting everything in Select to pull out and protect themselves?

At the very least, everyone needs to frankly acknowledge the risk of putting all the eggs into one basket. I don't blame people for doing so if they're doing well thereby, but it's wise to not only plan for, but to actually expect this type of thing and figure it into their calculations, so to speak.


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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #101 on: April 08, 2018, 05:15:31 PM »
Interesting article coming at things from the other side, i.e. the customer accounts being cut off. A damning swipe at too much automation and not enough human oversight.

https://www.inc.com/erik-sherman/amazon-case-of-mysterious-account-killers.html

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #102 on: April 08, 2018, 09:40:29 PM »
If the email people are receiving is the end of the story, it's a most disheartening outcome. Maybe innocent victims will get their page reads back. I hope so. I hope they fight. I haven't checked my stats in the last five minutes. Maybe I'll have to join them.

Clearly, book stuffing has nothing to do with this. Book stuffers are still sitting pretty at the top their categories.

To those who are itching to do so, it's probably not the best time to weigh-in on the KU versus wide debate. It would also be irrelevant. KU still pays, and for many will continue to be a source of meaningful income.

If you're not in KU and wide or otherwise not affected by recent actions, you should be just as upset as the victims on this thread. It's the same company that pays you that is withholding money from them.

I do agree going wide is a prudent measure once one gets established, but not due to KU. It's just good business practice to spread things around. It's clear now any one of us, no matter how well established, whether customer or vendor, could wake up tomorrow to a closed account.

I still have confidence Amazon will sort this all out, but it's not as high as it was yesterday.


Offline adsmith20181

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Over 25% of My Page Reads for March Removed
« Reply #103 on: April 09, 2018, 01:07:32 AM »
Hi everyone,

I recently received an email from KDP saying "We have detected reading or borrowing activity for your books originating from accounts attempting to manipulate Kindle services. These accounts might be related to a third-party marketing service you may have used"

They haven't told me which book it was, but I have an idea. And i have only promoted this book on a facebook group related to the genre, where I simply posted the blurb and a link to it on Amazon, and to my mailchimp list.

Book Report now shows that over 25% of my earnings from March have gone. The only promotion services I have ever used for other books are 1 Freebooksy promotion, and a Facebook ad for 1 book. I don't believe that the earnings taken away were from this particular book, as it didn't generate much income in the first place.

Has anyone else had this happen to them? I could take the loss of earnings and move on, but it's the threat to my amazon account that worries me. It's frustrating beyond belief because I'm so paranoid about losing my account that I make sure to stick to every single KU term and condition!

Offline 9 Diamonds

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Re: Over 25% of My Page Reads for March Removed
« Reply #104 on: April 09, 2018, 01:14:33 AM »

Offline solo

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #105 on: April 09, 2018, 02:16:54 AM »
I've got my eyes on my March counts  (low enough as it is). A behavior strange and unfamiliar  to me.  :-\ Hope this gets resolved soon. It's affecting the mindset of a lot of writers.

Offline mawnster

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #106 on: April 09, 2018, 04:54:29 AM »
Whelp. People are getting their accounts suspended, and by and large the ones that have are not even romance authors.

Offline Patty Jansen

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #107 on: April 09, 2018, 05:01:57 AM »
Whelp. People are getting their accounts suspended, and by and large the ones that have are not even romance authors.

Proof. Numbers. Genre. Preferably confirmation from the authors themselves. Get *them* to post here. Preferably with their name and books attached.  Otherwise this is just needless fearmongering in the realm of "I have a Facebook friend who said that the mother of a friend of theirs had their account suspended." And yeah maybe they did, but there is no accountability as to what actually happened.

Offline mawnster

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #108 on: April 09, 2018, 05:09:29 AM »
Proof. Numbers. Genre. Preferably confirmation from the authors themselves. Get *them* to post here. Preferably with their name and books attached.  Otherwise this is just needless fearmongering in the realm of "I have a Facebook friend who said that the mother of a friend of theirs had their account suspended." And yeah maybe they did, but there is no accountability as to what actually happened.

Go hang out on the 20books50k group on Facebook. It's all there. Suspensions being laid out, this one specifically to a guy who only ever used AMS ads. He's gotta come up with a statement for Amazon saying he's reviewed his marketing methods and told his 3rd party marketing company to not use clickfarms... that's kinda gonna be hard when his "3rd party marketing company" was Amazon.

Offline Avery342

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #109 on: April 09, 2018, 05:11:25 AM »
Unfortunately, he seems to be right. A LitRPG author on the 20 books Facebook group just posted a screenshot of his email from Amazon. According to him, this is happening to others in the LitRPG genre as well.

However, this does appear to be different from the mess I was caught up in with disappearing reads. They got their warning letters from Amazon about ten days ago, before our 'event' started. Also, I don't recall them mentioning missing reads, though that could have happened too.

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Offline mawnster

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #110 on: April 09, 2018, 05:13:39 AM »
Unfortunately, he seems to be right. A LitRPG author on the 20 books Facebook group just posted a screenshot of his email from Amazon. According to him, this is happening to others in the LitRPG genre as well.

However, this does appear to be different from the mess I was caught up in with disappearing reads. They got their warning letters from Amazon about ten days ago, before our 'event' started. Also, I don't recall them mentioning missing reads, though that could have happened too.

It sucks to be right in this case.

Especially with LitRPG, that's not really book-stuffing territory. They close in on 500+ pages per title on their own due to the nature of how the books are written and the content within it.

Looks like a circle of RH authors were smacked with page reads being slashed. Almost every author I know from that arena got hit, and again, they tend to not be book-stuffers. There might be a few titles that do, but RH tends to be series so there's no point in stuffing cause the reader just goes on to read the next book in the serial.

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #111 on: April 09, 2018, 05:15:49 AM »
Go hang out on the 20books50k group on Facebook.

I have to echo that.

Those getting hurt are over there, not here.

That group is far more vibrant with posts than this forum. It has more than 19,000 members now.

The discussion there is about what people do, having received the dreaded threat-mail, not the endless discussions of us vs them, and who's right or wrong, which happen here.


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Offline Cavan6

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #112 on: April 09, 2018, 05:44:11 AM »
Hi All -- Thanks for all the advice and discussion you're sharing here.  I've had the same experience.  My book came out in October and in December I enrolled it in KDP Select.  I set up an AMS campaign at the same time and saw modest sales.  Since then, I've done a few blog tours to get the word out about the book and starting in February, I started to see growth of E-book sales and higher KU/KROLL page numbers.  I got an email from Amazon last night saying they'd detected use by accounts attempting to manipulate Kindle and when I logged into my account, I found that they'd cut my KENP page reads by over half and cut several hundred dollars from royalty payments for March and April! The thing is, I've ONLY ever used AMS to market the book.  The blog tours are postings on bloggers individual sites, nothing to do with Amazon.  But here's where it gets really interesting:  When I first started my AMS campaign, I was spending A LOT of money per click to get the book in front of people.  Since it's started to take off on its own and the sales are better now, I've reduced the amount of money I was paying per click for the AMS campaign.  So, less than a week after I reduced the amount of money I was spending with AMS, I got this email saying I was being penalized for manipulating Kindle.  Coincidence?  I don't think so.

How can they get away with taking back our earnings without giving us proof of the manipulation they're claiming justifies it?

Offline Mollie

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #113 on: April 09, 2018, 05:53:56 AM »
This is my first post here - so thank you to everyone on this forum who has shared their experiences of having page reads retrospectively stripped. I discovered this had happened to me when I checked my KU dashboard this morning. After emailing Amazon to ask why, I then started searching more generally, in case I wasnt the only one and thats why Im here.

So, heres my experience for anyone whos interested. Im simply putting it out here since writing it down might help me to understand things better.

I have 20 historical romance titles, half of which are in KU. My sales are modest and I try to get a new release out every three months. As I didnt in March, I breathed new life into a 4-month-old book with an EReaderNewsToday free promo which I do every few months with good results combining it with a promo through my newsletter of 5,500 subscribers and various other promo channels through KD ROI. As a result, I got 20 times the usual sales for this book, and 20 times the usual page reads on that one book, meaning I had 150K page reads on that one book. I was thrilled as Id been scaling up my AMS ads and my Bookbub ads in conjunction with my social media and newsletter promo.

Thinking that my advertising efforts were paying off, I tripled my ad spend and was due to make US$850 for March, which would be $300 more than the previous month. It made sense to me, due to the fives times as many reviews on Goodreads for this particular book in addition to the number of sales it had made, though most of my March revenue came from KU. (Id enrolled this particular title into KU the previous month as it had been wide for the four months since it was released.)

Then, this morning, I discovered my page reads for March had been slashed retrospectively by Amazon from 200K to 29K, which meant that my earnings for March only just covered my advertising costs on AMS and BB and ENT. Instead of having my best month after inching towards the $1000 mark, Ive just had my worst in 6 months due to Amazons downgrading with no explanation as to how theyve estimated or come up with the final figure Im to be paid.

When I found this thread this morning, I realised a whole lot of authors had had their page reads removed. A few hours later coming back from my day job I received an email from Amazon that was really upsetting. I thought it was in response to my query of this morning but it was vaguely threatening in tone, saying theyd detected reading or borrowing activity for [my] books originating from accounts attempting to manipulate Kindle services and that I was responsible for ensuring that no tactics used to promote [my] books manipulate the Kindle publishing service and/or Kindle programs otherwise future violations of our policies could result in account-level actions, up to and including termination of your KDP account. Amazons email went on to say they cannot offer details of our investigations or advice on marketing services.

So, Im wondering, how am I supposed to monitor third-parties if Amazon cant offer details on their investigations or show me evidence that the page reads for my book were fraudulent or even IF they were fraudulent? How can I advertise on AMS if I dont know until several weeks later if Amazon deems the revenue was not earned legitimately?

Thats all I have to say. Its simply my experience over the past 16 hours. Im sorry for anyone else who has had their page reads stripped and is wondering why.

Offline TimothyEllis

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #114 on: April 09, 2018, 05:56:54 AM »
How can they get away with taking back our earnings without giving us proof of the manipulation they're claiming justifies it?

2 things.

Giving proof would reveal a lot of information Amazon want to keep secret.

They dont need to. The KU agreement allows them to do anything they want.


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Offline Patty Jansen

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #115 on: April 09, 2018, 06:01:52 AM »
Cavan, Mollie, I think the email is jeff@amazon.com.

Use it. He'll have heard this 100 times already, but add to the giant pile-on.

I was once locked out of my account (completely unrelated reason). Escalating works well. It seems Amazon almost expects you to do this. They wield the sledgehammer. The onus is on the affected to get really angry and kick up a stink.

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #116 on: April 09, 2018, 06:12:05 AM »
Ive long suspected there are jerk circles of KU readers. By that I mean theyre readers who do downloads only or downloads+reads for kick backs of some sort. It wouldnt be hard to set up, especially if you could set up a mail list of friendly readers. Its become pretty clear how some of these secret groups work.

Thats not to say these sorts of jerk circles wouldnt intentionally download+read other innocent books to shield their fraudulent activity, which means non participating authors could look like theyre involved when they arent. The fake reader might even target specific niches/genres so their reading history looks sensible. Also, books advertized on AMS might be hit harder because most books on AMS are in KU and theyre easily found (kinda the point of AMS).

Amazon may have sharpened some of their analysis tools to detect reads that are clearly not valid.

If this follows what happened last year, then I assume the accounts will be reinstated, although youll probably never see the lost page reads. That means anyone who upped their marketing spend will be out of pocket, which isnt fair or reasonable.

Offline mawnster

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #117 on: April 09, 2018, 06:18:13 AM »
Ive long suspected there are jerk circles of KU readers. By that I mean theyre readers who do downloads only or downloads+reads for kick backs of some sort. It wouldnt be hard to set up, especially if you could set up a mail list of friendly readers. Its become pretty clear how some of these secret groups work.

Thats not to say these sorts of jerk circles wouldnt intentionally download+read other innocent books to shield their fraudulent activity, which means non participating authors could look like theyre involved when they arent. The fake reader might even target specific niches/genres so their reading history looks sensible. Also, books advertized on AMS might be hit harder because most books on AMS are in KU and theyre easily found (kinda the point of AMS).

Amazon may have sharpened some of their analysis tools to detect reads that are clearly not valid.

If this follows what happened last year, then I assume the accounts will be reinstated, although youll probably never see the lost page reads. That means anyone who upped their marketing spend will be out of pocket, which isnt fair or reasonable.

I don't disagree that's totally possible. I've seen some pretty heinous behavior, but I can't reallllly believe that it accounts for ALL of these page reads. Like, some people are losing 100's of thousands of page reads. Unless there's some major click farms operating? In which case bad boy authors aren't my prime suspects. To me (and I used to work closely with the team at ebay that handled fraud) that says it's criminal groups operating out of eastern european countries, etc.

When it gets into crazy money, I think like that 1800 phone scam that was funneling money through asia to terrorist groups.

Offline TimothyEllis

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #118 on: April 09, 2018, 06:19:54 AM »
That means anyone who upped their marketing spend will be out of pocket, which isnt fair or reasonable.

Perhaps that is a tactic to use.

Affected authors should demand a refund on their AMS spend, proportional to the lost reads.

Just a thought.


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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #119 on: April 09, 2018, 06:22:27 AM »
I don't disagree that's totally possible. I've seen some pretty heinous behavior, but I can't reallllly believe that it accounts for ALL of these page reads. Like, some people are losing 100's of thousands of page reads. Unless there's some major click farms operating? In which case bad boy authors aren't my prime suspects. To me (and I used to work closely with the team at ebay that handled fraud) that says it's criminal groups operating out of eastern european countries, etc.

When it gets into crazy money, I think like that 1800 phone scam that was funneling money through asia to terrorist groups.

Some of the volume of lost page reads claimed is so high it implies hacking level fraud, but KU2.0 logic has been around for a few years now and Amazon give away a lot of free months. Its just begging to be robbed as it stand, and fraudsters from any part of the world have had years to set up any number of dodgy ops.

« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 06:33:31 AM by TwistedTales »

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #120 on: April 09, 2018, 06:30:05 AM »
Perhaps that is a tactic to use.

Affected authors should demand a refund on their AMS spend, proportional to the lost reads.

Just a thought.

If it happened to me then my teddy would be well out the pram. Id be pulling together evidence of my marketing activity, recreating reports from back ups (I have daily backups that dont overwrite for an extended period because my systems are for a fully operational and secured business), and summarizing into a neat, easy to read and short report that I would send everywhere... Jeff, KDP, bloggers, press, twitter, various writing bodies, etc.

No one can force Amazon to behave like a grownup company, but you sure as hell can be a thorn in their side.


Offline My Dog's Servant

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #121 on: April 09, 2018, 06:40:35 AM »
I never saw one of the letters from October, but it sounds exactly the same. Warning that it is up to the author to ensure everything they partake in is above board and that further incidents could be cause for account deletion.

Everyone who I have heard from maintains that their only ads and promotions were through AMS. That isn't what some said earlier.


A non-fiction author who sells paperbacks and ebooks but almost nothing thru KU got the Amazon notice yesterday. They claimed her jump from 500 to the vast sum of 1500 pages read was suspicious. Seriously?!?! The only advertising she'd had going was AMS.

ETA: The book was on emergency preparedness and response. Not a topic I would think would be on the radar for much of anyone except someone actually interested in the topic. Most others wouldn't even know it existed to scam it.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 06:46:19 AM by My Dog's Servant »

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #122 on: April 09, 2018, 06:52:18 AM »
It seems to me, AMS is a huge part of the problem.

Amazon cant tell if a set of KU reads came from an ams ad actually hitting the mark.

So when an ad works as it should, and the reads spike, they cry foul, and accuse people of 3rd party manipulation.

AMS SHOULD BE RECORDING EXACT READS for each download caused by following an AMS ad.

Without that information, their own ad system is giving them false scammer paranoia.



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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #123 on: April 09, 2018, 07:06:32 AM »
If it happened to me then my teddy would be well out the pram. Id be pulling together evidence of my marketing activity, recreating reports from back ups (I have daily backups that dont overwrite for an extended period because my systems are for a fully operational and secured business), and summarizing into a neat, easy to read and short report that I would send everywhere... Jeff, KDP, bloggers, press, twitter, various writing bodies, etc.

No one can force Amazon to behave like a grownup company, but you sure as hell can be a thorn in their side.

I am pretty sure Jeff looks out each day upon the field in which he grows his [expletive]s.

He lays his eyes upon it, and sees that it is barren.

Offline Patty Jansen

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #124 on: April 09, 2018, 07:14:37 AM »
I am pretty sure Jeff looks out each day upon the field in which he grows his [expletive]s.

He lays his eyes upon it, and sees that it is barren.

Maybe you can offer a more helpful avenue for people to try.

Meanwhile, I spoke to someone last month who used to work for the team behind jeff@amazon and this person suggested that it was hands down the best way to get a human to look at your problem. If there was any help to be had or any ears ready to listen, this was the best method.