Author Topic: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.  (Read 36237 times)  

Offline loraininflorida

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #125 on: April 09, 2018, 07:32:46 AM »
When I changed my credit card, Amazon shut down my AMS account so I used the Jeff email. It took about 3 days, but a man got back to me totally addressing the issue, he completely ferreted the situation out, signed with his own name. 100% solid response.

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Offline grimshawl

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #126 on: April 09, 2018, 07:35:03 AM »
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.

Argh, this is scary for me, I have noticed my numbers fluctuating but haven't pinned it down to one thing or another yet and haven't got any dreaded notices as of yet. but the fact its happening to Litrpg authors is hitting close to home. i'm going to have to head over there and check it out.
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Offline mias

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #127 on: April 09, 2018, 07:42:24 AM »
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.

Indeed https://finance.yahoo.com/news/amazon-employees-receive-one-character-113819295.html

Offline badtothebone

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Re: Over 25% of My Page Reads for March Removed
« Reply #128 on: April 09, 2018, 07:50:07 AM »
I would email executive customer relations and CC Jeff Bezos. Phrase your email very politely, include evidence and a veiled suggestion you might have to exercise your right to take them to arbitration this should escalate your concern more quickly. I would ask to see evidence of which books were the source of these "fake" reads, and what proof they have.

Unfortunately you have probably been caught in the crossfire of a tool Amazon developed to stop scammers. Either: a) Amazon has identified real scam reading activity, in which case sadly you are never really entitled to those reads anyway; or b) The reads were real, but they have become collateral damage.

I doubt very much whether you will get them back, but it's always possible.

Offline Becca Fanning

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #129 on: April 09, 2018, 08:43:58 AM »
Just wait until people realize they can weaponize this rules enforcement against their competition for five dollars. Those are going to be some dark times.

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Offline adsmith20181

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #130 on: April 09, 2018, 08:57:57 AM »
I'm actually really worried about losing my account over this. I received an email warning me about it and like others, I have no idea where the offending page reads are coming from. Since I have no idea where they're coming from, there's nothing I can do to stop them. That means that soon enough, Amazon will flag more suspicious page reads and hey presto, my account is banned.

Offline David VanDyke

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #131 on: April 09, 2018, 09:08:42 AM »
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.


While anecdotal, that does imply that the algo looks at percentage jump rather than a numerical jump. That will tend to catch the smaller-selling authors who will log higher page read volatility in percentage terms than big-selling authors.


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Offline Shelley K

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #132 on: April 09, 2018, 09:11:52 AM »
I'm actually really worried about losing my account over this. I received an email warning me about it and like others, I have no idea where the offending page reads are coming from. Since I have no idea where they're coming from, there's nothing I can do to stop them. That means that soon enough, Amazon will flag more suspicious page reads and hey presto, my account is banned.

People who've been suspended are slowly getting their accounts reinstated. Because obviously Amazon has screwed the pooch here.

People who've only used AMS ads to advertise and get threat-mails and/or suspension from Amazon because fraudulent accounts have "manipulated" their page reads should demand refunds for their ads immediately, often and unrelentingly.

Amazon serves those ads to accounts viewing pages based on their own algorithms. They exposed your book to fraudulent accounts within their own system, accounts they should have detected/suspected. They are at fault. They shouldn't get to turn around and blame their advertising clients for their mistakes.


Offline adsmith20181

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #133 on: April 09, 2018, 09:15:46 AM »
People who've been suspended are slowly getting their accounts reinstated. Because obviously Amazon has screwed the pooch here.


Is this confirmed?

Offline David VanDyke

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #134 on: April 09, 2018, 09:17:11 AM »
I'm actually really worried about losing my account over this. I received an email warning me about it and like others, I have no idea where the offending page reads are coming from. Since I have no idea where they're coming from, there's nothing I can do to stop them. That means that soon enough, Amazon will flag more suspicious page reads and hey presto, my account is banned.

Unfortunately, as they crack down on the scammers, they will catch a lot of innocents, who were targeted for cover by the click farm users. Amazon's method is to declare you guilty with the algo, and then you get to try to prove your innocence. That sucks, and we all think it sucks, but it doesn't appear Amazon will be changing their philosophy any time soon, so it behooves Select users to take steps to protect themselves if possible. Keeping good records, being proactive and strident in complaining, reporting sudden jumps in page reads even though they benefit the author--and considering going wide, because all of this stuff is about Select/KU, not ordinary retail sales--is a good idea.

The retail sales model is not very fragile to manipulation. The Select/KU model is, as we have seen, utterly fragile to manipulation. Working within the latter is, as Gaughran put it, navigating a hall of spinning knives. But at some point, we have to ask ourselves if it's worth braving the spinning knives in order to get the prizes.



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Offline adsmith20181

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #135 on: April 09, 2018, 10:42:18 AM »
Thinking about it, the part that annoys me is that it is presumed that you're guilty of something. There's no investigation, no questions. Just: "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."

Note the "might be related to" and "you may have used."

But then it's followed up with: "note that future violations of our policies could result in account-level actions, including termination of your account."

Future violations? That would imply that I have already violated something. So they're basically deciding that the "might" and "may have" is now "definitely." I hate that we're not given the benefit of the doubt in anyway whatsoever.

Offline Shelley K

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #136 on: April 09, 2018, 10:49:16 AM »
Is this confirmed?

I haven't asked for affidavits or anything, but I personally know of a few so far. Believe it or not, says Ripley.

Offline LovetoWrite

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #137 on: April 09, 2018, 12:39:36 PM »
I am one of the non-fiction authors who lost a bunch of page reads (and I think sales too) in March...to the tune of close to $1k (or roughly 25% of my income from Amazon). Like many others, I recieved the email saying that my account had suspected fradulent activity, and that I would not be paid for those page reads. Which, okay, if they are fradulent, I don't expect to get paid from Amazon--but I do expect them to be able to prove it, or, at a minimum, tell me what I'm possibly doing that is causing the problem. The only ads I've done for my book has been through Amazon and through my (valid) email list. (And, for what it's worth, I don't have any "stuffing" in my back matter.) I spent close to $500 in Amazon ads in March, and my page reads jumped from around 3k a day to 10k a day, and my sales increased by about 5 a day. I emailed them asking if they would consider refunding me some (or all) of the Amazon ad money I spend, and I got a generic email in response reiterating that my account had fradulent activity and that I wouldn't be getting paid for sales resulting from that activity.

What really gets me is that a lot of other authors have done a lot in the way of Amazon ads, and Amazon is fine with collecting our ad money, not letting us pull our books out of KU, and then potentially (or actually) suspending our accounts over this.

I can understand that running a large site like Amazon is a learning curve that just doesn't end. I get that. I really do. However, it seems that they way they are going about this is not only unfair, I don't think it's even legal, as I think there's a very solid chance that KU scammers are finding our books through Amazon and/or Amazon ads.

...My plan going forward is to pull all of my books from KU, and to never go back. If it means lost income, then so be it. It's not worth the stress and lost sleep wondering if they are going to suspend my account over things outside of my control.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 12:45:03 PM by LovetoWrite »

Offline John Twipnook

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #138 on: April 09, 2018, 01:18:04 PM »
Disclaimer: not a political post here, only a reflection on politics affecting business.

Many of the news stories about Amazon locking thousands of customer accounts are mentioning Donald Trump's Twitter attacks on Jeff Bezos this week. Why is Trump mad? In addition to owning Amazon, Bezos also owns The Washington Post. The Post has been in the forefront of investigative journalism re Trump's Russia connections. A few pundits have speculated that the President has been trying to punish Bezos by lambasting Amazon, Bezos' cash cow.

If that's the case, it would explain why Amazon has gone haywire, coincidentally, this same week: kicking customers off, cutting page reads, telling authors point-blank that they will not be getting KU money over SUSPECTED manipulations. It's crazy.

The craziness only makes sense if Bezos wonders, maybe correctly, if the federal government (directed from on high) may start sniffing around his companies, looking for wrongdoing as a pretext to haul them into court and also generate negative publicity. Thus Bezos has ordered Amazon to get squeaky-clean overnight, and not worry about collateral damage for the present. Because a class-action suit from customers, or authors, or both is small potatoes compared to a shakeup from Uncle Sam.

In practical terms this may mean that if Donald keeps up his Twitter rants against Bezos/Amazon/The Post, Amazon's going to remain as crazy if not crazier; but if Donald lays off (or gets distracted), and leaves Jeff alone going forward, things at Zon may return to a semblance of normal.

Just speculation. YMMV.
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Online Dpock

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #139 on: April 09, 2018, 02:01:19 PM »
Disclaimer: not a political post here, only a reflection on politics affecting business.

Many of the news stories about Amazon locking thousands of customer accounts are mentioning Donald Trump's Twitter attacks on Jeff Bezos this week. Why is Trump mad? In addition to owning Amazon, Bezos also owns The Washington Post. The Post has been in the forefront of investigative journalism re Trump's Russia connections. A few pundits have speculated that the President has been trying to punish Bezos by lambasting Amazon, Bezos' cash cow.

I doubt it's related. KDP is being gamed big-time. I think Bezos takes pride in the platform and wants to clean it up. There's also probably something in the pipeline for their subscription models (Prime, KU) and they're preparing for it.


Offline Cavan6

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #140 on: April 09, 2018, 02:09:15 PM »
I wrote back to KDP explaining that the only marketing I've done for my book is through AMS; then I wrote to AMS reporting the KDP issue and asked them to verify that they aren't doing anything that violates KDP rules.  I never heard back from AMS, but I did get this snotty reply from KDP:
Hello,

Thank you for your email regarding the status of your account.

We re-reviewed your account and have decided to uphold our decision. You will not receive royalties for illegitimate reading or borrowing activity.

As we previously stated, we cannot offer details of our investigations or advice on marketing services. If you have additional questions, you can email us at content-review@amazon.com.

Regards,

Amazon KDP

http://kdp.amazon.com

Amazon.com


I'm suspending all my spend on AMS, pulling my book from KU, and requesting a refund from AMS on the basis that their marketing methods violated KDP and lost me money and put me in a risky situation.

I also think a number of the authors impacted by Amazon's conduct should take advantage of the negative press being thrown at Amazon right now by saying that while Amazon may not be cheating the taxpayer or USPS, it's definitely cheating authors.

Offline MKK

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #141 on: April 09, 2018, 02:12:53 PM »
I doubt it's related. KDP is being gamed big-time. I think Bezos takes pride in the platform and wants to clean it up. There's also probably something in the pipeline for their subscription models (Prime, KU) and they're preparing for it.

I would put my money on this being the reason. If Amazon wants KU to be Netflix for books (and I'm not saying they do), but if they do, then then need to run a tighter ship. When your content providers fall into two categories, scammers and people who are being scammed and know it, at some point the 50% of the content providers you want will start calling it quits. And is seems that tipping point has been reached.

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Offline brkingsolver

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #142 on: April 09, 2018, 02:22:41 PM »
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).

I think it's been fairly well documented that the click farms use the 30-day free subscriptions to download and flip through books as fast as their little automated fingers can fly. Choosing a few legit authors for camouflage makes sense. One of the things I keep hearing is the people who have been page stripped often had new releases or were pumping up their advertising efforts. When their page numbers skyrocketed, they were pleased and thought they'd finally hit the jackpot.

While I'm sure that a lot of manipulation was going on, I think there area a lot of things going on. I just don't like the lack of transparency, and I do wish Amazon didn't use a chainsaw to cure a hangnail.

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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #143 on: April 09, 2018, 02:38:39 PM »
I wrote back to KDP explaining that the only marketing I've done for my book is through AMS; then I wrote to AMS reporting the KDP issue and asked them to verify that they aren't doing anything that violates KDP rules.  I never heard back from AMS, but I did get this snotty reply from KDP:
Hello,

Thank you for your email regarding the status of your account.

We re-reviewed your account and have decided to uphold our decision. You will not receive royalties for illegitimate reading or borrowing activity.

As we previously stated, we cannot offer details of our investigations or advice on marketing services. If you have additional questions, you can email us at content-review@amazon.com.

Regards,

Amazon KDP

http://kdp.amazon.com

Amazon.com


I'm suspending all my spend on AMS, pulling my book from KU, and requesting a refund from AMS on the basis that their marketing methods violated KDP and lost me money and put me in a risky situation.

I also think a number of the authors impacted by Amazon's conduct should take advantage of the negative press being thrown at Amazon right now by saying that while Amazon may not be cheating the taxpayer or USPS, it's definitely cheating authors.

For those of us who have been around for years, this is not our first tango. Welcome to the Amazon way. At first youll be stunned by their arrogance, then youll realize the only thing you can do about it is limit your exposure, which will vary depending on your circumstances. In my case, I pulled out of KU and dont use AMS anymore either. Just by reducing the number of ways Amazon can impact me has (a) saved a lot of stress, and (b) given me more time focus on writing and publishing in common sense ways. Although I wasnt sure how to deal with going wide, its been fairly easy and my sales and profitability have continued to grow.

I dont know what you write, but if you are going wide then consider submitting for a BookBub. I never could get one until I went wide and Ive had three now. They really do make a big difference and the team are very helpful and positive toward indies.

Thanks for posting the reply they sent. Its so typical of how they deal with a genuine and logical request. Amazon never admit theyre wrong or apologize, even when theyre caught making mistakes. Best of luck going wide. If your experience is anything like mine then I think youll enjoy it.

Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #144 on: April 09, 2018, 02:46:04 PM »
I think it's been fairly well documented that the click farms use the 30-day free subscriptions to download and flip through books as fast as their little automated fingers can fly. Choosing a few legit authors for camouflage makes sense. One of the things I keep hearing is the people who have been page stripped often had new releases or were pumping up their advertising efforts. When their page numbers skyrocketed, they were pleased and thought they'd finally hit the jackpot.

While I'm sure that a lot of manipulation was going on, I think there area a lot of things going on. I just don't like the lack of transparency, and I do wish Amazon didn't use a chainsaw to cure a hangnail.

The only silver lining to all this nonsense is Amazons follow through has historically been fairly poor. They pull stunts like this almost every six months, freak people out, anger many, convince a bunch to abandon KU, only to then reinstate accounts as if nothing happened.

Its a weird cycle and Ive wondered if its intentional to keep everyone off-center, but it probably isnt. For people who have been tossed under the bus for this round, the upside is most will likely get their accounts back and life will go on, albeit theyll be feeling a bit bruised for the experience.

I think some people can work with the drama and others just throw the hands up in disgust, but everyone resents not being talked to like a grown up.

Offline brkingsolver

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #145 on: April 09, 2018, 02:49:35 PM »
The only silver lining to all this nonsense is Amazons follow through has historically been fairly poor. They pull stunts like this almost every six months, freak people out, anger many, convince a bunch to abandon KU, only to then reinstate accounts as if nothing happened.

Its a weird cycle and Ive wondered if its intentional to keep everyone off-center, but it probably isnt.

Yeah, that would indicate a level of planning and competence that I've never seen demonstrated.

BR Kingsolver | Author website

Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #146 on: April 09, 2018, 03:06:06 PM »
Disclaimer: not a political post here, only a reflection on politics affecting business.

Many of the news stories about Amazon locking thousands of customer accounts are mentioning Donald Trump's Twitter attacks on Jeff Bezos this week. Why is Trump mad? In addition to owning Amazon, Bezos also owns The Washington Post. The Post has been in the forefront of investigative journalism re Trump's Russia connections. A few pundits have speculated that the President has been trying to punish Bezos by lambasting Amazon, Bezos' cash cow.

If that's the case, it would explain why Amazon has gone haywire, coincidentally, this same week: kicking customers off, cutting page reads, telling authors point-blank that they will not be getting KU money over SUSPECTED manipulations. It's crazy.

The craziness only makes sense if Bezos wonders, maybe correctly, if the federal government (directed from on high) may start sniffing around his companies, looking for wrongdoing as a pretext to haul them into court and also generate negative publicity. Thus Bezos has ordered Amazon to get squeaky-clean overnight, and not worry about collateral damage for the present. Because a class-action suit from customers, or authors, or both is small potatoes compared to a shakeup from Uncle Sam.

In practical terms this may mean that if Donald keeps up his Twitter rants against Bezos/Amazon/The Post, Amazon's going to remain as crazy if not crazier; but if Donald lays off (or gets distracted), and leaves Jeff alone going forward, things at Zon may return to a semblance of normal.

Just speculation. YMMV.

Lol. Fun summary and Ive been tracking the various media outlets and the sharemarket. It has a better plot line, characters and surprise twists than anything Amazon Studios have come up with.  :P

Do I think its the reason for the latest drama? I doubt it. Amazon have operated this way for years. Every so often, for reasons well probably never know, some authors earnings come off a cliff one way or another. People get frustrated, they demand answers, they get ignored. It happened in 2015 with the switch from KU1.0 to 2.0, 2016 when page reads nose dived, 2017 when people were deranked, and now 2018. Lets just hope KDP have got it all out of their system for this year and people can get back to writing.

Offline brkingsolver

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #147 on: April 09, 2018, 03:15:01 PM »
Lol. Fun summary and Ive been tracking the various media outlets and the sharemarket. It has a better plot line, characters and surprise twists than anything Amazon Studios have come up with.  :P

Do I think its the reason for the latest drama? I doubt it. Amazon have operated this way for years. Every so often, for reasons well probably never know, some authors earnings come off a cliff one way or another. People get frustrated, they demand answers, they get ignored. It happened in 2015 with the switch from KU1.0 to 2.0, 2016 when page reads nose dived, 2017 when people were deranked, and now 2018. Lets just hope KDP have got it all out of their system for this year and people can get back to writing.

Of course, I think a book following a starving author through all the trials and tribulations of dealing with Amazon drama might get picked up for a screenplay. ;)

BR Kingsolver | Author website

Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #148 on: April 09, 2018, 03:28:41 PM »
Of course, I think a book following a starving author through all the trials and tribulations of dealing with Amazon drama might get picked up for a screenplay. ;)

I read somewhere that Bezos told Amazon Studios that they needed to make a #1 hit series to be successful. It made me wonder what theyd been trying to do instead.

Sorry, Mr Bezos, sir, but we thought you wanted something mediocre.

 :P

Offline Dragovian

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #149 on: April 09, 2018, 03:57:09 PM »
Of course, I think a book following a starving author through all the trials and tribulations of dealing with Amazon drama might get picked up for a screenplay. ;)
I suspect if we tried to present Amazon's hijinks as fiction, we'd get told it was too unrealistic and no company that incompetent could possibly succeed the way Amazon has.


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