Author Topic: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)  (Read 117964 times)  

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #150 on: June 04, 2018, 03:27:40 AM »
This is a good first step. I'd also like to see a limitation on how many times a particular book in Select can be included in a bundle in Select (like only once). Because that will probably be the next step they take to try and get double plus dipping page reads.

Offline RBN

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #151 on: June 04, 2018, 03:55:07 AM »
#GetLoud is the hashtag on social media covering most of the book stuffing issues. It's an outgrowth of the activity around Cockygate and Tiffanygate.

It's a shame Amazon won't listen to the professionals who know exactly what's going on and customers with only a limited understanding have to get involved to get a response. I've already seen someone lumping a box set (3D box image, clearly marked box set, contents clearly stated in the description) in with the stuffers because they all have high page counts, not understanding the difference between that and a "single title" with 3000 pages of recycled "bonus" material. Once again, people following all the rules are going to get the hammer because Amazon can't be bothered to keep their own house clean.

This is a good first step. I'd also like to see a limitation on how many times a particular book in Select can be included in a bundle in Select (like only once). Because that will probably be the next step they take to try and get double plus dipping page reads.

There's already a rule about duplicate content. It's never been enforced.

Offline dgaughran

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #152 on: June 04, 2018, 04:26:45 AM »
Views my differ on this, but my personal opinion is that Amazon is getting serious about this and we'll see some major developments soon. The bonus content rules are getting all the attention but Amazon has also quietly redrawn a lot of metadata guidelines too to make all those much more explicit and less vague. And even in the bonus content rules you can see (what looks like, IMO) Amazon thinking ahead to what the next stuffer scam might be, and trying to close those loopholes in advance.

For example, if a hypothetical bad boy author called Pants Sharter had stuffed 10 books in one, meaning the 10% sample contained an entire book, he could, in theory, have argued that having this KU book up somewhere like BookFunnel was legit because it was part of that 10% sample. So Amazon are now making it abundantly clear that: (a) bonus content can only be 10%, (b) any "sample" displayed outside Amazon can only be 10%, and (c) any bonus content in KU books must also be exclusive.

Heading off future scams at the pass basically.
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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #153 on: June 04, 2018, 04:43:57 AM »
Mods: not sure why that link to news of Chance Carter's book being yanked by Amazon has been removed. Is there a list of mod-approved news sources I can consult?
Not consult, post. I found that link very interesting, and am glad I saw it.
It would be nice to know where the mines are placed. Several issues are a matter of continual links to new posts elsewhere, and knowing which ones can be linked to, and which ones not, would be useful.

Offline C_Writes

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #154 on: June 04, 2018, 04:57:46 AM »
I missed the link. :( I get that Kboards might not want the link posted here but did you post the link to Twitter, David?

Offline dgaughran

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #155 on: June 04, 2018, 05:00:41 AM »
Pinned to the top of my Twitter feed... which I guess I can't link to so you'll have to search for it yourself.
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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #156 on: June 04, 2018, 06:04:32 AM »
Here's the screenshot showing the quality notice, but the book is currently available.(I checked.)

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Offline dgaughran

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #157 on: June 04, 2018, 06:07:31 AM »
I don't want to link to my Twitter again, but if you look at it you will see the screenshot. It was off sale yesterday.

This is why it's important to have actual confirmation of things, rather than just someone stating something. A screenshot, a news article, a social media posting - some written/visual confirmation clears up these kinds of confusions.

So, moving on, what appears to have happened is that Amazon yanked Chance Carter's book for about 18 hours I think? And in that timeframe he has uploaded a fresh version without the problematic competition, click to the end inducement, and stuffed books. It looks clean to me.

Although all his other books are all still stuffed and on sale so I don't know what Amazon is doing here.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2018, 06:13:06 AM by dgaughran »
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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #158 on: June 04, 2018, 06:12:32 AM »
Although all this other books are all still stuffed and on sale so I don't know what Amazon is doing here.
Whack-a-mole? Each book has to get hit with complaints in turn? It shouldn't be like that, but it would make sense, given Amazon's reactive nature.


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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #159 on: June 04, 2018, 06:24:53 AM »
Here's David's screenshot of the book's status from yesterday.



So from yesterday to today, the quality notice is still there but the book is available again.




EDIT:  Just a note to clarify--If germain to the topic on hand, posting a screenshot here of a publicly available page as a direct source for news is OK in most cases and would have been allowed in David's original post.  His tweet is not the news source, the screenshot is. If in doubt, ask us.  (I should have replaced the link with the screenshot in his post, it would have saved some confusion!)
« Last Edit: June 04, 2018, 06:37:18 AM by Betsy the Quilter »
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Offline Ros_Jackson

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #160 on: June 04, 2018, 07:00:10 AM »
In terms of the timescales for enforcing this, Amazon hasn't sent me an email with notification of the changes to Bonus Content and Metadata terms - I only know about it from this board and other writer circles. The first step to enforcement will usually be informing authors through official channels such as their contact emails. Has anyone had an email about this yet? Have Amazon posted a blog?

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #161 on: June 04, 2018, 07:02:44 AM »
In terms of the timescales for enforcing this, Amazon hasn't sent me an email with notification of the changes to Bonus Content and Metadata terms - I only know about it from this board and other writer circles. The first step to enforcement will usually be informing authors through official channels such as their contact emails. Has anyone had an email about this yet? Have Amazon posted a blog?

They posted an announcement to the KDP Community Forum, which is often how they do such things. An email would be better of course: https://www.kdpcommunity.com/s/article/Updates-to-KDP-Bonus-Content-and-eBook-Metadata-Guidelines?language=en

Slightly o/t but you'll notice there that the Metadata Guidelines were also changed. Some really, really welcome changes that could help clean up the store considerably and reduce other annoying things like title keyword stuffing and category squatting and so on.

IF enforced of course, which is the perma-necessary caveat.
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Offline Sam Rivers

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #162 on: June 04, 2018, 08:46:05 AM »
It sounds like scammers and stuffers are bad for the rest of us. One thing confuses me though. Is a stuffer also a scammer?

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #163 on: June 04, 2018, 09:14:30 AM »
It sounds like scammers and stuffers are bad for the rest of us. One thing confuses me though. Is a stuffer also a scammer?

People define the word "scam" differently but for me at least it needs to be more than just cheating or general shadiness and should involve an element of fraud or deception.

I've seen stuffers (speaking generally about the infamous circle, rather than any individual) also engaging in:

*review manipulation
*mass gifting
*incentivized purchasing
*formatting cheats

as well as various other street team shenanigans and the like, all aimed at manipulating rank and reviews and social proof to make books seem much more popular and successful, to encourage borrows and impulse buys. Probably other stuff going on we don't even know about.

Up to you what you call it.
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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #164 on: June 04, 2018, 09:43:22 AM »
It sounds like scammers and stuffers are bad for the rest of us. One thing confuses me though. Is a stuffer also a scammer?
Motivation may make some difference. I can imagine someone who doesn't mean to do anything unethical getting into stuffing, at least to some degree, without realizing the problems with it. I'm not talking about someone stuffing a whole bunch of old stuff repetitively to get to 3,000 pages, even with short works. I'm talking about someone who included a fairly good amount of related additional content. Come to think of that, that could be a box set that wasn't labeled properly rather than stuffing.

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Offline Ros_Jackson

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #165 on: June 04, 2018, 09:44:50 AM »
They posted an announcement to the KDP Community Forum, which is often how they do such things. An email would be better of course: https://www.kdpcommunity.com/s/article/Updates-to-KDP-Bonus-Content-and-eBook-Metadata-Guidelines?language=en

Slightly o/t but you'll notice there that the Metadata Guidelines were also changed. Some really, really welcome changes that could help clean up the store considerably and reduce other annoying things like title keyword stuffing and category squatting and so on.

IF enforced of course, which is the perma-necessary caveat.
Thanks, good to know. They must know however what the open rate is on their KDP emails versus how many people read their blog, and I imagine the two vary a lot.

Mind you, the stuffers are probably a fraction of a percent of authors, so perhaps they don't need to make sure everyone knows how the rules have been clarified before bringing the ban hammer down?

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #166 on: June 04, 2018, 10:11:27 AM »
Thanks, good to know. They must know however what the open rate is on their KDP emails versus how many people read their blog, and I imagine the two vary a lot.

Mind you, the stuffers are probably a fraction of a percent of authors, so perhaps they don't need to make sure everyone knows how the rules have been clarified before bringing the ban hammer down?

They should email TOS updates, but imagine how many clarifications inquires they'd receive in response (it's generated seven pages of speculation in this thread alone). So they went with Plan B, assuming active KDP indies would get the message.

Stuffers are a fraction of active KDP authors, but that probably translates into thousands of stuffed books and they dominate Top Lists in several genres. They're also funking-up other genres as they roam for broader audiences. If they can no longer stuff, they can no longer survive at their cherished $0.99 price-point. Their last hurrah will likely be boxed sets, but I doubt those will serve them very well. They're already retitling the stuffed books, and I'm sure (or hopeful) Amazon is tracking the situation.


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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #167 on: June 04, 2018, 11:18:42 AM »
This is something I'm getting confused about.

I can think of numerous instances of big name authors putting out one large book with several books inside it. Koontz comes to mind. These are all previously released books in both print and ebook format.

What makes that acceptable, but adding previously released books at the back of a new book unacceptable? On the surface, to me, it seems the same. If you've read the older books, you're probably going to skip those. You got what you paid for - the new book - so you read that book, and ignore the rest. If you haven't read them, then as a reader, you get to feel good that you got something for free. The author is actually losing a sale, as now you're reading that book for free, vs buying it at .99 or 5.99 or whatever it's listed as. How are they making more money this way? The page reads are still the same for extra content - a bonus book at the end that's 200 pages is still going to be 200 pages read, regardless if it's read in the "stuffed" book or on it's own.

At least, that's how I, as a reader, would do/see things.

Now, I have nothing but two small novellas out, so I'm nowhere near an expert in self publishing, so maybe there's some nuance here that I'm just not getting.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2018, 11:21:13 AM by notenoughcoffee »

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #168 on: June 04, 2018, 11:58:35 AM »
This is something I'm getting confused about.

I can think of numerous instances of big name authors putting out one large book with several books inside it. Koontz comes to mind. These are all previously released books in both print and ebook format.

What makes that acceptable, but adding previously released books at the back of a new book unacceptable? On the surface, to me, it seems the same. If you've read the older books, you're probably going to skip those. You got what you paid for - the new book - so you read that book, and ignore the rest. If you haven't read them, then as a reader, you get to feel good that you got something for free. The author is actually losing a sale, as now you're reading that book for free, vs buying it at .99 or 5.99 or whatever it's listed as. How are they making more money this way? The page reads are still the same for extra content - a bonus book at the end that's 200 pages is still going to be 200 pages read, regardless if it's read in the "stuffed" book or on it's own.

At least, that's how I, as a reader, would do/see things.

Now, I have nothing but two small novellas out, so I'm nowhere near an expert in self publishing, so maybe there's some nuance here that I'm just not getting.

It no longer matters, really. Amazon has a new ToS that bans the use of bonus content. That renders moral/ethical arguments pointless.

It may be right. It may be wrong. But most people who used bonus books didn't care about that. They only cared what was allowed. They're no longer allowed. If that's enforced (we'll see), people will actually stop using bonus books.

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #169 on: June 04, 2018, 01:01:21 PM »

If that's enforced (we'll see), people will actually stop using bonus books.

In all likelihood, Amazon will depend on a certain amount of vigilantism by the author community to police the new 10% bonus content rule. It's a personal choice. I won't make it a hobby, but if I come across a new release blatantly violating the 10% rule, I will probably report it.


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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #170 on: June 04, 2018, 01:43:53 PM »
I just checked and it seems as if the stuffer in question has unstuffed a couple of his books. No stuffing in the first couple on his author page. No link to the back. Just an offer for a free story at the end and a link off site.

ETA: The next book in the list appears to still be stuffed.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2018, 01:46:50 PM by sela »

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #171 on: June 04, 2018, 02:15:49 PM »
In all likelihood, Amazon will depend on a certain amount of vigilantism by the author community to police the new 10% bonus content rule. It's a personal choice. I won't make it a hobby, but if I come across a new release blatantly violating the 10% rule, I will probably report it.
I've been reporting the stuffed mail-order bride books for some time now so I'm happy to finally see Amazon stepping up. Not sure how much of a banhammer they'll bring down but it's better than nothing. I mean, [crap], not just from an author pov but as a reader I've gotten burned so many times by this crap.

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #172 on: June 04, 2018, 02:35:54 PM »
Could be Amazon is trying to get people to self-change, and July 1, or Aug 1, are when planned enforcement's no-one is going to like will kick in if they dont.
The whole thing could be detected at the time you upload a book. They already look for spelling mistakes. Wouldn't take much programming to check for how much bonus is included.
In fact, I'd like to see this done.
"Your book was not accepted due to excessive bonus material being found. Please remove the offending material and submit again."
And do it 3 times in a row, and the book is locked and banned permanently.
If they're going to do that, especially if there's any kind of punishment, then they need to offer more information than, "offending material." They need to tell you, at minimum, what percentages they're showing as main content vs bonus content (and an appeals process just in case their bot declares everything after chapter 50 bonus content in a 56 chapter book). An author with an extensive glossary or appendices in their fantasy novel, for example, could get dinged over Amazon counting those things as "bonus material" while the author considers them an integral part of their novel.


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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #173 on: June 04, 2018, 02:56:41 PM »
I just browsed through the also-boughts of the book under discussion. Every single also-bought that appears on my computer screen (eight books total) is a stuffed book.  And nearly all of these stuffed books are squatting in the top 100. I'm glad Amazon has changed their policy, but as many have already said, enforcement will be paramount. Just the fact that these books are squatting in the top 100 is making a mockery of Amazon's new rules.

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #174 on: June 04, 2018, 02:57:31 PM »
This is something I'm getting confused about.

I can think of numerous instances of big name authors putting out one large book with several books inside it. Koontz comes to mind. These are all previously released books in both print and ebook format.

What makes that acceptable, but adding previously released books at the back of a new book unacceptable? On the surface, to me, it seems the same. If you've read the older books, you're probably going to skip those. You got what you paid for - the new book - so you read that book, and ignore the rest. If you haven't read them, then as a reader, you get to feel good that you got something for free. The author is actually losing a sale, as now you're reading that book for free, vs buying it at .99 or 5.99 or whatever it's listed as. How are they making more money this way? The page reads are still the same for extra content - a bonus book at the end that's 200 pages is still going to be 200 pages read, regardless if it's read in the "stuffed" book or on it's own.

At least, that's how I, as a reader, would do/see things.

Now, I have nothing but two small novellas out, so I'm nowhere near an expert in self publishing, so maybe there's some nuance here that I'm just not getting.

Since you're newish, I'll recap.

Merely putting in bonus content was never the problem. The problem is stuffing of 1) multiple copies of things into a 2) KU book that 3) would get lots of extra "reads" that were never actually read, merely skipped by legitimate readers, thus creating "free" page reads and 4) creating a file that could easily be botted and 5) the file was multiplied in rearranged format in order to do the same thing repeatedly.

The core of the problem is not a retail sale. The core of the problem is KU page read manipulation via stuffing.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2018, 01:16:25 AM by David VanDyke »


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