Author Topic: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.  (Read 40192 times)  

Offline cindypk

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #250 on: April 13, 2018, 12:51:58 PM »
So, I see possible oddities in one account that I, admittedly, have a very limited view into. And Lucey was able to discern that there were big discrepancies in her account that she attributes to bot reads.

If you're a low-to-moderately selling author* who's lost a substantial percentage of your page reads for March and are willing to share your ranks, sales and page reads with me, I'll run them through a quick analysis to see if there are any big tells regarding botted reads, such as Lucey ran across. I'll share results but will maintain your anonymity if you prefer.

( *Discriminating only because if you're a big seller with a large catalog who did a lot of promo, it's more difficult to pick through the cross-talk and static.)

And big kudos to Lucey for coming forward and sharing her story! One datapoint only, of course, but a very helpful one.

Could it be that the hundreds to thousands of closed accounts just happened to be the ones that read fully half of all the borrowed books in any one author's account, yet didn't read any books in the majority of authors who didn't lose page reads in March? Think about it. 192,000 out of 197,000 page reads (around 500 full reads and 97% of ALL the pages read) attributed to a few thousand closed accounts? $500 worth of page reads that mysteriously appeared without promo all read by closed accounts? How does that compute in an organic universe? Not saying it's impossible, just seems highly improbable.


Those are my page read numbers. My other March 6-8 coincidences are that (1) the book was was offered up for review and it was reported that something like 24 folks were given the book to review, leaving a handful of reviews in that time period; and (2) I started using BookReport. I thought maybe folks who reviewed the book and liked it were recommending it to other readers. And I was one of those who thought maybe Amazon itself was recommending the book. I don't belong to KU myself and am not really aware how it works. Only that it has worked for me in the past.

At any rate, Amazon now has a description of my promotional efforts and that I am now wondering about the April reads. Zero reads on April 1st and then they started up again, just at a much lower rate with today being the lowest of the month. I'm waiting to hear back from them so I can decide what to do from here.

Offline cindypk

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #251 on: April 13, 2018, 12:56:59 PM »
Around the same time that a dozen or so authors were incorrectly rank stripped by Amazon last September/October (when I first blogged about it), another author contacted me saying she had a huge number of pages reads - hundreds of thousands - retroactively removed by Amazon. They didn't notify her or explain it until she emailed them. Then they accused her of rank manipulation using the same form letter that those authors received.

She never got it resolved. It was the only case of its kind that I'd heard of until last month, when an author told me he had a large number of page reads removed too. Now that there are a few cases, I'll try and raise it with Amazon via the same channels as it appears to be a growing issue.

I did report it to RWA, and then say they've passed my concerns on to their Amazon rep. I don't expect it'll help much, but at least I'm not getting emails threatening to close my account anymore. Now they just say they're looking into it. The next reply will determine where I go from here.

If accounts are being manipulated, I fear mine might still being manipulated. The bots just took off April Fool's Day to eat chocolate Easter bunnies and are now reading my book at lower numbers.

Offline Klendark

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #252 on: April 13, 2018, 01:03:33 PM »
.....
In April, reads have gone up and down, but have never cracked 5000 since the spike in March. Today, there are at 1000. And probably all suspect.

I feel your pain. I worry every time my number goes over a 1000. In fact, if it gets too high, I send "Contact Us" a note telling them I might be having a spike. I absolutely hate this situation. For me, the whole KDP Select experience has become dehumanizing.  I have taken steps to get all my books out of KDP Select. Until then, I can only watch and worry.

Klendark

Offline cindypk

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #253 on: April 13, 2018, 01:10:19 PM »
FWIW, Ive run through the thread and stripped out what people state theyve lost in page reads or money from March. Itll be easier for anyone who wants to add their numbers to the list. If Phoenix gets enough data (even if its flaky), then maybe she can find a pattern, because Ive never seen people reporting this sort of problem before, or at least not to this extent. In 2016 we simply didnt get the page reads and some people lost up to 90% of their usual run rate. Seeing this many page reads removed post reporting is a new problem to me.

TM285 - lost 50%, plus claims FB group reporting same
solo - reported lost page reads (volume?)
Timothy Ellis - reported lost page reads ($200?)
Lovestowrite - reported $1,000 down, plus anecdotal re friend
Eroticatorum - reports possible increase in page reads (volume unknown)
Avery342 - reports loss of $170
Cindypk - reports loss of $870
Lucey Phillips - reports loss of $500
Steffmetal - reports loss of at least 150,000 page reads

It's more accurate for me, CindyPK, to say I lost ~192,000 page reads because the $835-ish was a number from BookReport, and because I never expected it to disappear I wasn't keeping exact track of which books were represented by those numbers (I had a new release as Cindy last week).

I print out my Amazon numbers every 1st of the month. I *usually* print for each country per month. But this month I forgot because we were OOT detailing with an issue that weekend. So I only printed out the totals, I realized to my chagrin when this occurred. So I can report that as of April 1 my printout states I had 179,110 KENPC for March and now it states I have 5078. If my math (ahem, the calculator) is correct, that's a difference of 174,032 (I had been saying around 172,000 but my brain was obviously confused.) The book in question has a KENPC of 459. So I went from having 390 books read in March to 11 read in March, if I divide those amounts by 459.

Again, maybe it seems silly in retrospect that I thought I had 390 books read in March. But when I compared it to having 94,000 downloads (as in books, not pages) of a novel during 5 free days in Select 1, to my little ol' addled self, it made sense.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2018, 02:06:06 PM by cindypk »

Offline cindypk

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #254 on: April 13, 2018, 01:30:43 PM »
No, they didn't.

But the last couple of days in January showed blips where suddenly there was full reads, instead of single digits.

As soon as I came back into KU in march, I was getting full reads again, with only an occasional single digit.

My guess is, there was an actual bug behind page flip. At some point during all the complaining about it, and the continual insistence there was a problem, someone in IT actually took a look at it, found a bug, and quietly fixed it.

I was trying to test if the issue was fixed, but my tester vanished half way through.

I had low page reads in Jan and Feb, but bumps coinciding with promos. I admit I was frustrated thinking about the page flip thing and wondering if it was partly responsible because I was running promos that so far weren't earning out. Then in March, on top of everything else I dared to believe, I dared to think I was now getting full novel reads reported rather than 1-pagers. I thought perhaps full reads from Jan and Feb were coming into play (the book having gone up Dec. 29th). It turns out I thought a whole lot of stuff that made sense at the time...

Offline cindypk

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #255 on: April 13, 2018, 01:43:13 PM »
Regarding Hidden Gems, I used them on my Cindy release from last week (Cindy isn't in KU) and was very happy with them.

For my Kate name, I used eBookDiscovery's R/R service and the jury is still out.

I would use HG again. I can't really compare the two, because Cindy's was a totally new book and Kate's was an updated reissue (it was with Samhain previously).

Offline cindypk

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #256 on: April 13, 2018, 01:59:08 PM »
I feel your pain. I worry every time my number goes over a 1000. In fact, if it gets too high, I send "Contact Us" a note telling them I might be having a spike. I absolutely hate this situation. For me, the whole KDP Select experience has become dehumanizing.  I have taken steps to get all my books out of KDP Select. Until then, I can only watch and worry.

Thanks, and I hope you are successful getting your titles removed.

Offline levolal

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #257 on: April 13, 2018, 02:17:22 PM »
The crazy thing to me is that they suspended my account but DID NOT adjust my page reads. So it's like... they suspended my account and basically found nothing, but if I had ignored the email then I would have been banned. What logic is that? An algorithm that purely detects spikes in page reads makes no sense as there are millions of reasons this can happen. How are we supposed to exist like this? I was really proud of the money I've built to and now I feel like it'll be taken away in a heartbeat. I'm on strike 1 for.... reasons they won't tell me, and it only goes to strike 2.

Offline DanteSakurai

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #258 on: April 13, 2018, 07:15:48 PM »
Hey everyone. Thought I'd chip in. I published my first LitRPG on the 19th of March. Reads and sales grew steadily over a week where it leveled off at about 100-150k reads per day, now currently on the decline. Amazon took around 500k pages read around the 7th of April iirc and sent the standard warning email a couple days later. I emailed back within the day.

content-review emailed back a day later with the standard "We re-reviewed your account and have decided to uphold our decision. You will not receive royalties for illegitimate reading or borrowing activity."

I wrote to Jeff@amazon.com and a representative just go back to me today.

"Hello,

My name is <name> with Kindle Direct Publishing Executive Customer Relations. Jeff Bezos received your email and I am responding on his behalf.

Ive received your request and am connecting with the appropriate team to review the information youve provided. You should expect a response regarding your account status in the next few days.

Best regards,
<name>"

13 minutes later I got another email from KDP.

"As we previously stated, we still detect reading or borrow activity for your books originating from accounts attempting to manipulate Kindle services. You are responsible for ensuring the strategies used to promote your books comply with our Terms and Conditions. We cannot offer advice on marketing services or details of our investigations.

Please be aware we will not be providing additional details.

Regards,

Amazon KDP"

Any advice? Does this mean my book is still being botted because the last email said "still detect"? I'm really concerned I might be banned within the next month right now.





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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #259 on: April 13, 2018, 08:18:11 PM »
"As we previously stated, we still detect reading or borrow activity for your books originating from accounts attempting to manipulate Kindle services. You are responsible for ensuring the strategies used to promote your books comply with our Terms and Conditions. We cannot offer advice on marketing services or details of our investigations.

This is what really gets me.

The ONLY way they can know this, is to be allowing scammer accounts to remain active.

What sort of person lets the bad guys alone, and punishes the innocent instead?

Who in Amazon made the decision to operate this way?

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #260 on: April 14, 2018, 01:49:28 AM »
This is what really gets me.

The ONLY way they can know this, is to be allowing scammer accounts to remain active.

What sort of person lets the bad guys alone, and punishes the innocent instead?

Who in Amazon made the decision to operate this way?

It's a bit much when you have to fear an increase in sales  >:(

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Offline cindypk

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #261 on: April 14, 2018, 04:22:34 PM »
I heard from Amazon yesterday afternoon that they re-reviewed (I didn't ask them to re-review, btw) my March page reads and royalties will not be paid. Something new is that the guy said the illegal activity on my account was not related to my AMS ads.

Okay, as least there's that. I emailed him back right away and asked about April reads. Specifically, do they have an answer on April reads now or will they not know until May? Another rep got back to me today confirming that they will not know about April until May.

I hope they will reword their May email, which I now fully expect to receive, as I have no reason to believe my April reads aren't suspect, as well. If my March reads were suspect, then my April reads are.

So I've asked for all three of my Kate titles to be removed from Select ASAP. They have done this for others, so crossing fingers.

Offline cindypk

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #262 on: April 14, 2018, 04:23:19 PM »
This is what really gets me.

The ONLY way they can know this, is to be allowing scammer accounts to remain active.

What sort of person lets the bad guys alone, and punishes the innocent instead?

Who in Amazon made the decision to operate this way?

My guess would be that they need to allow the scammers to keep operating until such time that they can pounce on them?

Offline D.A. Boulter

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #263 on: April 14, 2018, 04:23:49 PM »
Hey everyone. Thought I'd chip in. I published my first LitRPG on the 19th of March. Reads and sales grew steadily over a week where it leveled off at about 100-150k reads per day, now currently on the decline. Amazon took around 500k pages read around the 7th of April iirc and sent the standard warning email a couple days later. I emailed back within the day.

content-review emailed back a day later with the standard "We re-reviewed your account and have decided to uphold our decision. You will not receive royalties for illegitimate reading or borrowing activity."

I wrote to Jeff@amazon.com and a representative just go back to me today.

"Hello,

My name is <name> with Kindle Direct Publishing Executive Customer Relations. Jeff Bezos received your email and I am responding on his behalf.

Ive received your request and am connecting with the appropriate team to review the information youve provided. You should expect a response regarding your account status in the next few days.

Best regards,
<name>"

13 minutes later I got another email from KDP.

"As we previously stated, we still detect reading or borrow activity for your books originating from accounts attempting to manipulate Kindle services. You are responsible for ensuring the strategies used to promote your books comply with our Terms and Conditions. We cannot offer advice on marketing services or details of our investigations.

Please be aware we will not be providing additional details.

Regards,

Amazon KDP"

Any advice? Does this mean my book is still being botted because the last email said "still detect"? I'm really concerned I might be banned within the next month right now.






Hey everyone. Thought I'd chip in. I published my first LitRPG on the 19th of March. Reads and sales grew steadily over a week where it leveled off at about 100-150k reads per day, now currently on the decline. Amazon took around 500k pages read around the 7th of April iirc and sent the standard warning email a couple days later. I emailed back within the day.

content-review emailed back a day later with the standard "We re-reviewed your account and have decided to uphold our decision. You will not receive royalties for illegitimate reading or borrowing activity."

I wrote to Jeff@amazon.com and a representative just go back to me today.

"Hello,

My name is <name> with Kindle Direct Publishing Executive Customer Relations. Jeff Bezos received your email and I am responding on his behalf.

Ive received your request and am connecting with the appropriate team to review the information youve provided. You should expect a response regarding your account status in the next few days.

Best regards,
<name>"

13 minutes later I got another email from KDP.

"As we previously stated, we still detect reading or borrow activity for your books originating from accounts attempting to manipulate Kindle services. You are responsible for ensuring the strategies used to promote your books comply with our Terms and Conditions. We cannot offer advice on marketing services or details of our investigations.

Please be aware we will not be providing additional details.

Regards,

Amazon KDP"

Any advice? Does this mean my book is still being botted because the last email said "still detect"? I'm really concerned I might be banned within the next month right now.







I went through the exact same process (almost) and received the exact same results. The only difference was that my letter to Uncle Jeff detailed why I felt forced to withdraw my books from KU. I didn't ask for another check on the status of my account. [see: https://daboulter.blogspot.com/  for letter which I decided to make as an open letter to Mr Bezos]

Didn't matter. The rep sent it back to content-review and I received the same reply.

Now, I read that reply as you and others did

This is what really gets me.

The ONLY way they can know this, is to be allowing scammer accounts to remain active.

What sort of person lets the bad guys alone, and punishes the innocent instead?

Who in Amazon made the decision to operate this way?

however there is another way to read it. "we still detect reading or borrow activity for your books originating from accounts attempting to manipulate Kindle services." may mean that they have rechecked their original data and have found it to be correct, NOT that they have checked and the illegal borrowing is ongoing. At the moment that's what I'm hoping for, anyway.  Besides, I have just 3000 pages this month, and only a handful since my main book came out on the 10th.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 04:25:40 PM by D.A. Boulter »


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Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #264 on: April 14, 2018, 04:30:54 PM »
This is what really gets me.

The ONLY way they can know this, is to be allowing scammer accounts to remain active.

What sort of person lets the bad guys alone, and punishes the innocent instead?

Who in Amazon made the decision to operate this way?

Maybe they figure they need to choke off the demand (from authors) before addressing the supply. Otherwise new suppliers will just replace the ones they shut down (that is, the click-farms will just open new accounts).

This assumes, of course, that authors are actually demanding.  ::)

Offline lyndabelle

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #265 on: April 15, 2018, 12:42:17 AM »
Maybe they figure they need to choke off the demand (from authors) before addressing the supply. Otherwise new suppliers will just replace the ones they shut down (that is, the click-farms will just open new accounts).

This assumes, of course, that authors are actually demanding.  ::)

Otherwords it sounds like, if I can use a metaphor, they are going after the "Johns", or authors,  in the Scammers' "prostitution for page reads" rings. SO, accounts being shut down are assumed to be buying page reads or getting them some how from the scammers.
Geez. Glad I am slowly pulling all of my titles out of KU and that I don't get many reads these days. Sign of the times to just "pull out" while I can. ;-)

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Offline cindypk

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #266 on: April 15, 2018, 02:30:07 PM »
I asked to have my pen name's books pulled from KU, and they have been. The person who spoke about worrying about next month, that was my concern. I sent them the titles and ASINs and asked to be removed ASAP. They pretty much did it overnight. Now, onto going wide.

Select was a lot more fun last time I tried it...

Online David VanDyke

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #267 on: April 15, 2018, 02:38:45 PM »
I had an odd thought.

What if Amazon's algo is identifying repeat content in people's KU books? Or repeat content over 10% or something like that. Then removing page reads on that basis. Seems like that could induce a lot of errors and catch dolphin, but would mostly hurt stuffers and scammers?


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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #268 on: April 15, 2018, 03:23:28 PM »
This is what really gets me.

The ONLY way they can know this, is to be allowing scammer accounts to remain active.

What sort of person lets the bad guys alone, and punishes the innocent instead?

Who in Amazon made the decision to operate this way?
Or they shut down the accounts they detect, only to have new ones pop up. Perhaps part of the problem is that it's too easy to set up a new customer account. It's been suggested in an earlier thread that if customers had to provide bank info instead of just a credit card number, it would be a little harder for bots to keep registering. Of course, it would also make real people less likely to sign up.


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Online David VanDyke

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #269 on: April 15, 2018, 04:02:18 PM »
If they could actually identify the total-scam accounts, it should be easy to simply deny them any payment. Let them keep trying and spinning their wheels, and don't shut down the accounts. Just no payment allowed. That's what I would do, were I Jeff.

But hey, that would be too easy, right?


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Offline Desmond X. Torres

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #270 on: April 16, 2018, 07:18:37 AM »
If they could actually identify the total-scam accounts, it should be easy to simply deny them any payment. Let them keep trying and spinning their wheels, and don't shut down the accounts. Just no payment allowed. That's what I would do, were I Jeff.

But hey, that would be too easy, right?
I thought this was going to happen the last time, but nooo...
Which is bewildering.

Offline loraininflorida

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #271 on: April 18, 2018, 07:04:38 AM »
Just out of curiosity, was anyone actually allowed to take their books out of Select early because of this?

Lorain O'Neil

Offline Becca Fanning

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #272 on: April 18, 2018, 07:15:16 AM »
Just a friendly reminder that even if your book is taken out of KU, a "bot" that has borrowed your book but hasn't gotten around to reading it yet can still trigger illegitimate pages even months down the line, which will result in the pages being stripped and your account threatened again. Even when your books are out of KU.

Sigh.

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #273 on: April 18, 2018, 07:41:59 AM »
Just a friendly reminder that even if your book is taken out of KU, a "bot" that has borrowed your book but hasn't gotten around to reading it yet can still trigger illegitimate pages even months down the line, which will result in the pages being stripped and your account threatened again. Even when your books are out of KU.
Sigh.

You mean even bots have a tbr mountain??? Argh!
   

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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Help! My KU page reads from last month have been retroactively halved.
« Reply #274 on: April 18, 2018, 08:06:49 AM »
You mean even bots have a tbr mountain??? Argh!

 :P