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Authors' Forum => Writers' Cafe => Topic started by: freebookservice on December 02, 2013, 05:39:19 PM

Title: FreeBookService (FBS) Update ,
Post by: freebookservice on December 02, 2013, 05:39:19 PM
Hi everybody. This is William-- from William & Tom's Free Book Service. Some of you may be familiar with the service that I offer, some are not.

Basically we are an alternative to bookbub, a Promotion/Advertisement service that will bring you a huge number of eyeballs on your book during a free KDP promotion service. We currently offer 3 packages, where we offer a minimum guarantee of downloads (2500+ [$147] , 5000+ [$247] , 10000+ [$327] is the normal pricing), or your money back if we don't perform.

One of the main reasons why we offer this guarantee is because we noticed that self published authors often times buy "marketing" to their book, but this "marketing" never really stipulates what they are actually doing for you. We fill this void as we make a guarantee-- a hard target that we must hit. We have worked with over 200 clients since releasing this service to the public, and we also promote our own books, as we are Kindle authors too.

Where do we get our readers?
I have talked with Tom and we decided to give a better response to this question.
The bulk of our reader-base has come from including opt-in forms on our own books. We placed forms in the description area using HTML, and with that, were able to build our list. We kept this extremely close to our chests, because literally everybody would be using the same method to create their own reader-base, in effect diluting our own list that we worked hard on creating. Since then, Amazon has overhauled their description pages, and you can no longer add Opt-ins to your book page.

Some books are still grandfathered in... Note, that is not my book: (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F23Q9CI/) however this can no longer be done. All of our readers are double opt in and completely can-spam compliant, and this method of promotion, as with BookBub, is in accordance to Amazons ToS.


We have been selling this service WarriorForum, another forum that which is mostly comprised of marketers, but has a section for Kindle Authors that are looking to find ways to increase traction of their book. The thread can be found on warrior forum here: hxxp://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-special-offers-forum/850596-kindle-domination-free-kindle-download-promotion-service-hundreds-sales-afterwards.html

We have many reviews in that thread already, if you wish to see what purchasers of the service think about it.

But we don't feel those reviews alone are enough.

Some users of this forum do not put much weight in threads from warrior forum so we decided that we would give out 3 "freebies" to some members of this board. We are actually currently working on their books right now.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0036Z9W00/
http://www.amazon.com/Smell-Leather-Files-Sullivan-SERIES-ebook/dp/B0081WTCQ2
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008X3NCRE/

These are the three books we are promoting today (dec 2), for members of this forum. We are asking them to be a test run for this service, so you guys, as a community have somebody you can trust telling you how it works for them.

We are here for the long run and intend to be a helpful resource for this community. We are here to prove ourselves, and the service.

If you are looking to contact us directly you can send us a message at "freebooksservice@gmail.com" (Please double check your spelling when you email us!).. Please note I am in the Eastern Standard time zone, to get an idea of when you might hear back.

If you are wondering if the service is legitimate, Estelle was kind enough to post her contact with amazon

I have added her email correspondence with amazon below:
(http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u574/Estelle_Ryan/YahooMail2013-12-04_zps1e965f98.jpeg)




eta:  further communication from Amazon by members who tried this service indicate that using the service violates the ToS Authors agree to when uploading their books.  Please see This Thread (http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,179247.0.html) for more current information. -- kboard moderators
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Quiss on December 02, 2013, 05:47:43 PM
Do you have a web site?
How do your readers find your service?

Oops, sorry. Re-read the post above.
And found the other thread dealing with this venture, which addresses some of my concerns.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 02, 2013, 06:42:22 PM
Do you have a web site?
How do your readers find your service?

Our site is here: http://freebookservice.com/

I gave a better response in bold in my original post to that question.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on December 02, 2013, 06:56:10 PM
Hi, William (& Tom):

Welcome to KBoards! 

You're welcome to promote your business and website here in the Writers' Café, but we ask that the same basic rules be followed as we have for authors in the Book Bazaar:  you may have one thread about your service and must post to it rather than start a new thread each time.  New threads about the service will be removed.  Please bookmark this thread so that you can find it again to post to.  And, you may not make back-to-back posts to the thread within seven days.  If someone responds (such as this post), you may reply but otherwise must wait seven days, thanks!

Also, active members (10 or more posts on our forum, active in the last 60 days) may have a listing in the Yellow Pages for Authors (http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,123703.msg1837187.html#msg1837187). 

Betsy
KBoards Moderator
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: VydorScope on December 02, 2013, 06:56:52 PM
So, my experience with various sites that push FREE BOOKS is that you get more downloads of your FREE BOOK, but the conversion rate is MUCH lower to other books in your series. My experience tells me that people that sign up to be notified about free books want... free books. Shocking I know. :) I am not really interested in another 2,500 downloads if the conversion rate on those downloads will be dismal. If the conversion rate is around my normal 5-7%, then I would be interested in talking with you if its more rank boosting for ranks sake, I will look elsewhere to spend my meager advertising budget.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 02, 2013, 07:09:44 PM
So, my experience with various sites that push FREE BOOKS is that you get more downloads of your FREE BOOK, but the conversion rate is MUCH lower to other books in your series. My experience tells me that people that sign up to be notified about free books want... free books. Shocking I know. :) I am not really interested in another 2,500 downloads if the conversion rate on those downloads will be dismal. If the conversion rate is around my normal 5-7%, then I would be interested in talking with you if its more rank boosting for ranks sake, I will look elsewhere to spend my meager advertising budget.

I guess this is a question of if you feel like its worth it or not. I would say more people use this promo for KDP free days rather than a permafree. We have had a book go to 300 in the entire kindle store after doing our biggest promo.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Estelle Ryan on December 02, 2013, 07:17:23 PM
My permafree book is one of the 'test-books'. Here are some screenshots I also have in another thread.

(http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u574/Estelle_Ryan/Amazoncom-TheGauguinConnectionGenevieveLenardeBook-EstelleRyan-KindleStore2013-12-0303-27-03_zps7252b3ca.jpeg)

(http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u574/Estelle_Ryan/AmazonKindleDirectPublishing-GetroyaltyreportsforyourKDPbooks2013-12-0303-25-04_zpsa1e25f26.jpeg)

It's been about 40 minutes since I took these screenshots. I'm now at almost 9,000 downloads.

So, my experience with various sites that push FREE BOOKS is that you get more downloads of your FREE BOOK, but the conversion rate is MUCH lower to other books in your series. My experience tells me that people that sign up to be notified about free books want... free books. Shocking I know. :) I am not really interested in another 2,500 downloads if the conversion rate on those downloads will be dismal. If the conversion rate is around my normal 5-7%, then I would be interested in talking with you if its more rank boosting for ranks sake, I will look elsewhere to spend my meager advertising budget.

We have been discussing this here: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,167502.75.html (http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,167502.75.html). Everyone is sceptical, hence the test runs. I'm particularly interested in the next two/three weeks' sales of my other two books.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: VydorScope on December 02, 2013, 07:22:42 PM
My permafree book is one of the 'test-books'. Here are some screenshots I also have in another thread.

(http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u574/Estelle_Ryan/Amazoncom-TheGauguinConnectionGenevieveLenardeBook-EstelleRyan-KindleStore2013-12-0303-27-03_zps7252b3ca.jpeg)

(http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u574/Estelle_Ryan/AmazonKindleDirectPublishing-GetroyaltyreportsforyourKDPbooks2013-12-0303-25-04_zpsa1e25f26.jpeg)

It's been about 40 minutes since I took these screenshots. I'm now at almost 9,000 downloads.

We have been discussing this here: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,167502.75.html (http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,167502.75.html). Everyone is sceptical, hence the test runs. I'm particularly interested in the next two/three weeks' sales of my other two books.

Thanks for this... because frankly their web site looks very scammy. I would not even give them a second though based on their web presentation. I will watch to see... might take the chance. I have been to #5 in the overall kindle store organically - twice, but its been a long while so need a shot in the arm.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 02, 2013, 07:25:46 PM
As of now, the books listed are Nos. 18, 27, and 43 free in the Kindle store. I'd say those are some good results.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Saul Tanpepper on December 02, 2013, 07:48:36 PM
At $229 for the 10,000 package, I'd have to sell about 110 of the next book, which would be about a 1.1% conversion rate. Eager to see what the conversion rates are for the three "testers."
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Saul Tanpepper on December 02, 2013, 07:55:41 PM
Also, are the three books permafree?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 02, 2013, 08:02:37 PM
Thanks for this... because frankly their web site looks very scammy. I would not even give them a second though based on their web presentation. I will watch to see... might take the chance. I have been to #5 in the overall kindle store organically - twice, but its been a long while so need a shot in the arm.

Ha ha thanks for the feedback, we've been looking at updating it into more of a real site.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 02, 2013, 08:13:59 PM
Also, are the three books permafree?
Mine is, yes. I think the others are as well.

I'm sitting at just under 8800 downloads. Just now I registered sales of two others in the series, which is awesome. Looks like I just broke into the top 20. Sitting at #19. Hoping that, being a permafree, this momentum continues well into the holiday season. Thoughts on that?

Quite pleased with the resuts so far. Will start posting updates in this thread rather than the other.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 02, 2013, 08:32:00 PM
My downloads are...

OVER 9000! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiMHTK15Pik)

#15 in the free store now. Estelle looks to be #13 and Monique is #20! Whoa!
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 02, 2013, 08:33:35 PM
My book is permafree. So far, I've had about 7500 downloads and have a rank of 20. Others are 13 and 15.

eta: OJ beat me to it!

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 02, 2013, 08:55:34 PM
@kdarden-- What I do for mine is I upload the screencaps to a service like photobucket. Accounts are free and they're easy to set up. Once the screencaps have been uploaded there, they supply you with the code necessary to copy/paste onto forums. There may be other ways to do it, I'm not sure.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 02, 2013, 08:58:13 PM
Do you promote paid books, or just free? Since Monique trusts you, I will. I just read your post. Looks like it is just for free.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: hyh on December 02, 2013, 09:02:48 PM
I want to say first and foremost that when I first heard about this, I also thought there was something about this service that was scammy or illegal or ... something. It didn't "feel" right to me, perhaps because it seemed too easy.

However, watching a couple of friends and seeing their results, I looked into it more closely. And I talked to other folks about it, including the providers - who answered my questions to my satisfaction. I finally decided it was no different from BookBub or an other such service.

So I bit. But I was waiting for my prequel to go permafree. So, when it finally did, I scheduled the promo.

Thanks for sharing your results! Can I ask which promo package you went for? (just to know how your no. of downloads relates)

Hsin-Yi

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 02, 2013, 09:06:12 PM
Do you promote paid books, or just free? Since Monique trusts you, I will.

Right now we are only offering the service for free books. We did test paid books but when we promoted one, we would get a lot of unsubscribes. Right now first and foremost goal is to make sure we can continue to provide the service that we do, which includes investing in our readerbase and making sure they are happy with what we are giving them.

In the future if we can figure out a way to do it more effectively, this could be something that we may add.



Thanks for sharing your results! Can I ask which promo package you went for? (just to know how your no. of downloads relates)

Hsin-Yi



Kdarden went for our largest package. We have had clients report that they have gotten over 25,000 downloads total with our biggest package, it really just depends on the book and (sometimes) a little luck.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 02, 2013, 09:14:28 PM
I'm still waiting on conversion rates because ultimately those are the important numbers. That being said based on the previous conversations that were going on here, I'm still hesitant to fully trust this service. The biggest problem I'm having is that your website looks like one of those 'get rich quick' sites and if it turns out that this is actually a decent service, I think it would be in the best interest for everyone involved to improve that.

Dont judge a book by it's cover is a common phrase we're all used to hearing. But we all know the value of a cover and I think the same thing applies to your website. Still, I'm impressed so far.

Good luck to everyone who is running their promos.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: VydorScope on December 02, 2013, 09:18:15 PM
Ha ha thanks for the feedback, we've been looking at updating it into more of a real site.

:) right now it looks just like those "send us money nd we will tell you how to get rich working form home just a hour a week" type sites.  8)

Seriuosly though you are going to very reasonable lengths to prove yourself. I hope that everyone keeps updating this thread. If things go well after the init rush, I will be interested in trying your service out.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 02, 2013, 09:19:30 PM
I'm still waiting on conversion rates because ultimately those are the important numbers. That being said based on the previous conversations that were going on here, I'm still hesitant to fully trust this service. The biggest problem I'm having is that your website looks like one of those 'get rich quick' sites and if it turns out that this is actually a decent service, I think it would be in the best interest for everyone involved to improve that.

Dont judge a book by it's cover is a common phrase we're all used to hearing. But we all know the value of a cover and I think the same thing applies to your website. Still, I'm impressed so far.

Good luck to everyone who is running their promos.

Honestly we are not professional website makers, we are professional marketers, and I hope you wouldn't buy a service based on a glitzy website  ;)

We have done most of our sales directly on the warrior forum and referral, so, the website is really an afterthought. Thanks for your input though, we will probably work on it to make it better in the coming weeks.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: ゴジラ on December 02, 2013, 09:21:41 PM
When I tried to hit the "back" button to navigate off of this thread, I got a popup message that said something like "WAIT! There's a FREE gift if you stay on this page!" (That's not the exact verbiage; I closed it without writing it down.) I assume that's another one of your little additions? Embedded code on KBoards?

Dude, guys. Scuzzy. Makes me wonder what other kind of crap you're willing to pull.

Clean up your act. I'll pay decent money for any good promotion service. Right now, I'm feeling seriously grossed out.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 02, 2013, 09:23:05 PM
When I tried to hit the "back" button to navigate off of this thread, I got a popup message that said something like "WAIT! There's a FREE gift if you stay on this page!" (That's not the exact verbiage; I closed it without writing it down.) I assume that's another one of your little additions? Embedded code on KBoards?

Dude, guys. Scuzzy. Makes me wonder what other kind of crap you're willing to pull.

Clean up your act. I'll pay decent money for any good promotion service. Right now, I'm feeling seriously grossed out.

How would I have added anything to this page? I did no such thing, please check with a moderator.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: ゴジラ on December 02, 2013, 09:24:59 PM
I did no such thing, please check with a moderator.

Happily.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Deanna Chase on December 02, 2013, 09:26:09 PM
When I tried to hit the "back" button to navigate off of this thread, I got a popup message that said something like "WAIT! There's a FREE gift if you stay on this page!" (That's not the exact verbiage; I closed it without writing it down.) I assume that's another one of your little additions? Embedded code on KBoards?

Dude, guys. Scuzzy. Makes me wonder what other kind of crap you're willing to pull.

Clean up your act. I'll pay decent money for any good promotion service. Right now, I'm feeling seriously grossed out.

I get that message only after clicking on the warrior forum link and then trying to navigate from KB. But not just by clicking on this forum thread or the direct link their website. I *think* it's a warrior forum thing.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: ゴジラ on December 02, 2013, 09:29:39 PM
I get that message only after clicking on the warrior forum link and then trying to navigate from KB. But not just by clicking on this forum thread or the direct link their website. I *think* it's a warrior forum thing.

If that's the case, I'm sorry for being accusatory.

Still not feeling good vibes. And also remembering why I usually don't click on Warrior Forum links.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 02, 2013, 09:33:01 PM
If that's the case, I'm sorry for being accusatory.

Still not feeling good vibes. And also remembering why I usually don't click on Warrior Forum links.

Hi, I was not getting it in chrome however I tested in firefox and I did indeed get a funny popup like you were mentioning, when I clicked the warrior forum link, then pressed back, I was able to replicate the popup.

I have disabled the warrior forum link, so if people want to go there, they will have to manually type the link into the address bar. This is the first time ive seen a popup like that from warrior forum.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: hyh on December 02, 2013, 09:36:31 PM
Kdarden went for our largest package. We have had clients report that they have gotten over 25,000 downloads total with our biggest package, it really just depends on the book and (sometimes) a little luck.

Right - I had the 10k - but notice I have nearly twice that in downloads.

Thank you! :) Good to know.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 02, 2013, 09:38:01 PM
Okay. I just bought the most expensive package for the 10,000 downloads. However, you don't ask for which book or dates you will run it. If this works, I would like to interview you for our web show Indie Author Chat.

What do I do now? Wait for you to contact me for info. or date?

UPDATE: Within minutes of asking I received the landing page from them.

Thank you for sending me the landing page. I use IE and it did not come up at the time of the order, or after. Just emailed it to you.

I've done very well with both Book Bub and ENT hitting as high as #13in the free Kindle store, which is why I"m giving the most expensive package a try.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 02, 2013, 09:38:20 PM
(http://i41.tinypic.com/118m9sx.jpg)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 02, 2013, 09:42:59 PM


Thanks for adding that. I have asked a mod to investigate, but I believe it may have been the warrior forum page... nothing to do with me. For now I have disabled the warrior forum link until a mod can chime in on this. Thanks.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 02, 2013, 09:52:30 PM
Oddly, the downloads went from nearly 1000 an hour to only a handful. Just like that. Never seen that before.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 02, 2013, 09:52:35 PM
Update:

My downloads have slowed to practically nothing. I've been sitting within a few downloads of 9800 for nearly an hour now. I know, I know. I probably shouldn't be monitoring the downloads constantly. Strange that they should drop off so rapidly, though. This could be due to a number of factors. I mean, it's pretty late at night, so that's likely to contribute. Perhaps the promo's magic has worn off? KDP's reporting is still bungled or is currently slowing down? Hard to say. As of this post I've sold 3 books in my series. This morning, before starting the promo, that number was 0.

Let's see where this goes from here.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 02, 2013, 09:54:00 PM
Would it be possible for us to see one of these lists that go out to subscribers? I think that could help put some of our minds at ease.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Cherise on December 02, 2013, 10:02:05 PM
To be fair, Amazon updates have been really slow today, cyber Monday. Russell Blake started a thread about it.

http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,169149.0.html (http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,169149.0.html)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 02, 2013, 10:03:19 PM
Oddly, the downloads went from nearly 1000 an hour to only a handful. Just like that. Never seen that before.

It could be some of Amazon's servers are slow. I bet you get a bunch dumping in in the middle of the night.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 02, 2013, 10:05:19 PM
It could be some of Amazon's servers are slow. I bet you get a bunch dumping in in the middle of the night.

Yes, it could well be that. The free downloads appear to be on different servers than the paid and have been updating regularly, but it's possible they're shifting resources and the free servers are being called into action, so to speak.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 02, 2013, 10:08:11 PM
Okay, my run has been scheduled for December 5th. I've always had a good amount of readers go on to buy books 2 and 3 in the series, which is why I'm giving this a shot.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 02, 2013, 10:12:56 PM
I see some members here have paid for promos by these folks. I haven't any reason to believe that Freebookservice has been dishonest about the nature of his service, and (as evidenced by my earlier screencaps), as promised, my freebie's been downloaded a lot. He's been willing to answer our questions and has been very pleasant even in the face of scrutiny. I appreciate this.

Nonetheless, I'd like to remind any fellow authors considering this service to exercise a bit of restraint. We don't know if these freeloads are going to lead to anything. If they do, I'll be the first to give this thing a ringing endorsment. Until then? It might be prudent to sit back and watch.

Just sayin'.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Greg Strandberg on December 02, 2013, 10:18:18 PM
I think this whole thing is rubbish.

They give you guaranteed downloads.  I just can't help but wonder how many innocent internet users are having guns held to their heads while someone with a funny hat is shouting 'download that book now!' into their ear.

Any site I see that asks me if I want to leave the page after I already hit the close button is just silly.  It also smacks of desperation, and I think you'll find most people who run into those sites wish they wouldn't.  It's a cheesy marketing tactic that will go the way of the dinosaurs.

My main concern, however, is just what this does to the self-image of authors.  I guess it's just really a rehashing of the free debate, but now we can have two types: those that brag about how many they gave away to willing customers and those that can brag about how many they gave away to people forced to download it.

Guaranteed 10,000 downloads!  Am I the only one who scoffs and shakes their head at this?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 02, 2013, 10:23:59 PM
Just bought the 10,000 download package for Billionaire Bound, My Billionaire Boss, Part 1 and send through all the details to them.

When you complete your purchase you hit a landing page that tells you to send:
1. The URL to your book on Amazon
2. Your books title, and author name
3. Paypal Transaction number
4. Your preferred date TO START the free promotion (Please give us 3 dates you have in mind as we have to slot you in, and it is first come first serve), and your free promotion should last between 2-3 days.
5. How you found us (optional!)
6.Please double check you typed in the email address correctly! It is freebooksservice@gmail.com

Mine is a permafree so I've requested asap start date. Will update thread on downloads and conversation rate once it's underway.


Thanks for ordering!


Would it be possible for us to see one of these lists that go out to subscribers? I think that could help put some of our minds at ease.

Sorry, its not.

Okay, my run has been scheduled for December 5th. I've always had a good amount of readers go on to buy books 2 and 3 in the series, which is why I'm giving this a shot.

Thank you for your order!!


I see some members here have paid for promos by these folks. I haven't any reason to believe that Freebookservice has been dishonest about the nature of his service, and (as evidenced by my earlier screencaps), as promised, my freebie's been downloaded a lot. He's been willing to answer our questions and has been very pleasant even in the face of scrutiny. I appreciate this.

Nonetheless, I'd like to remind any fellow authors considering this service to exercise a bit of restraint. We don't know if these freeloads are going to lead to anything. If they do, I'll be the first to give this thing a ringing endorsment. Until then? It might be prudent to sit back and watch.

Just sayin'.

Kdarden did post her results in this thread, so people are able to get at least some idea of what kind of sales they might get after the promo, however once the 3 "freebies" there will be much more proof of this.


I think this whole thing is rubbish.

They give you guaranteed downloads.  I just can't help but wonder how many innocent internet users are having guns held to their heads while someone with a funny hat is shouting 'download that book now!' into their ear.

Any site I see that asks me if I want to leave the page after I already hit the close button is just silly.  It also smacks of desperation, and I think you'll find most people who run into those sites wish they wouldn't.  It's a cheesy marketing tactic that will go the way of the dinosaurs.

My main concern, however, is just what this does to the self-image of authors.  I guess it's just really a rehashing of the free debate, but now we can have two types: those that brag about how many they gave away to willing customers and those that can brag about how many they gave away to people forced to download it.

Guaranteed 10,000 downloads!  Am I the only one who scoffs and shakes their head at this?

You're entitled to your opinion, but the results of our promos will speak for themselves. If we were really "forcing" people to download books, then our readerbase probably wouldn't stick around very long.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 02, 2013, 10:25:02 PM
I see some members here have paid for promos by these folks. I haven't any reason to believe that Freebookservice has been dishonest about the nature of his service, and (as evidenced by my earlier screencaps), as promised, my freebie's been downloaded a lot. He's been willing to answer our questions and has been very pleasant even in the face of scrutiny. I appreciate this.

Nonetheless, I'd like to remind any fellow authors considering this service to exercise a bit of restraint. We don't know if these freeloads are going to lead to anything. If they do, I'll be the first to give this thing a ringing endorsment. Until then? It might be prudent to sit back and watch.

Just sayin'.

OJConnell -
I agree, but I haven't spent my promo budget for the year (couldn't find much worth the money two FKBT, one ENT, one Bookbub) I paused my latest FB run, so I have the cash from previous books sales to risk.

My run is on December 5th, I'll report my results in this thread. I do have two other books in the series for sale, and I am hoping with the increased visibility, I'll sell enough on those two to recoup my costs. With 2,000 books a day being released, I figure it can't hurt. I have a 98% sell rate from book 2 to 3, plus I have the 3 in 1 for sale too.  
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 02, 2013, 10:25:45 PM
@Greg-- While hilarious, I think your vision of people being held at gunpoint and forced to download these books is kinda ludicrous. I don't imagine anyone's being forced to do anything. Moreover, I can say that the whole "guarantee" thing, while overdone, is not unique to scams. Like a lot of other reputable businesses, this service offers a refund to authors who aren't satisfied. When one is confident in their product or service, such bold guarantees as "10,000" downloads may be borne of confidence, rather than sheer evil like you suggest

But hey. Maybe you're right. I'm not prepared to say either way until this trial is through. And even then, we might not have any answers. So we'll wait and see.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 02, 2013, 10:28:08 PM
OJConnell -
I agree, but I haven't spent my promo budget for the year (couldn't find much worth the money two FKBT, one ENT, one Bookbub) I paused my latest FB run, so I have the cash from previous books sales to risk.

My run is on December 5th, I'll report my results in this thread. I do have two other books in the series for sale, and I am hoping with the increased visibility, I'll sell enough on those two to recoup my costs. With 2,000 books a day being released, I figure it can't hurt. I have a 98% sell rate from book 2 to 3, plus I have the 3 in 1 for sale too.  

Good luck! I look forward to seeing your results in this thread. Hope that my reporting has proven useful to you-- and anyone else lurking.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Greg Strandberg on December 02, 2013, 10:28:29 PM
Hey, I think it's great authors have all kinds of options.  And I'm just offering my opinion.  I think authors should be able to do all kinds of fun, interesting, and stupid things - just look at my books.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 02, 2013, 10:33:18 PM
I remember when Bookbub first came out. People thought it was "too good to be true."
 People had their doubts about ENT also, and now the guy can't beat authors off with a stick. Marketing is a gamble. They do have a money back guarantee, and Paypal is one of the easiest to stop payments through if you do have a problem.

I'm willing to take the risk, because my books have sold well overall, and if I get my books into the hands of readers, I've made more than every promo I've ever done except for my Facebook ones.

 
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: ゴジラ on December 02, 2013, 10:34:52 PM
I'll be really interested to hear how sell-through goes.

More importantly, I want to see a sign up form and be able to join to receive a regular mailing.

I'm worried about the folks jumping into this without more information - even for free. Call me paranoid (I am), but there's potentially more at risk for authors involved than just losing $300.

That said, I was initially suspicious of D2D and later became a huge advocate when they proved themselves to have a great service. I'd love to see this happen here too.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 02, 2013, 10:42:24 PM
Update:

Slight uptick to #14 overall. Downloads are few and far between, however. We're talkin' like 10-20 an hour at this point, max.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 02, 2013, 10:42:51 PM
Yeah, how do we sign up for the list(s)? We might be authors, but we're voracious readers as well. More downloads is a win-win.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 02, 2013, 11:18:11 PM
Yeah, how do we sign up for the list(s)? We might be authors, but we're voracious readers as well. More downloads is a win-win.

This.

Trust us we read a lot around here. I currently have fifteen books that I picked up for free from both BB's that I still need to read. I only read about five books a month but some of the authors here read much more than that. I don't know If I'll ever be able to believe that this list actually exists without being able to be on it.

There is more to it than 'if we tell you, someone else will steal our idea' but that's not explicitly true. Not even a little bit. Look at bookbub. It's very clear how they do it but why can nobody else compare? Because imitation very often comes up short. Bookblast is the authority on discounted/free e-books. Now based on the results in this thread it's clear that there are downloads to be had using your service but it's off putting if we aren't able to see this list.

You have to understand where concern is coming from.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 02, 2013, 11:28:19 PM
This.

Trust us we read a lot around here. I currently have fifteen books that I picked up for free from both BB's that I still need to read. I only read about five books a month but some of the authors here read much more than that. I don't know If I'll ever be able to believe that this list actually exists without being able to be on it.

There is more to it than 'if we tell you, someone else will steal our idea' but that's not explicitly true. Not even a little bit. Look at bookbub. It's very clear how they do it but why can nobody else compare? Because imitation very often comes up short. Bookblast is the authority on discounted/free e-books. Now based on the results in this thread it's clear that there are downloads to be had using your service but it's off putting if we aren't able to see this list.

You have to understand where concern is coming from.

We are protecting our business, and we have made that decision from the start. We also have authors who do not want their competitors knowing exactly what their promotion methods are, which is another reason for this decision. If we changed our mind now, we could lose those clients which have been loyal customers for quite some time. We have had authors coming to us asking if we are promoting another author in the same genre. For what reason, we do not know, but while those of you on kboards may be happy sharing your earnings, promotion methods and tactics, not all writers are the same.

So thats something we are not going to do, to simply appease the mind of a pre-purchase skeptic.

If you see the results of the test copies we gave away, and the reviews & screenshots that you can read on the warrior forum thread and in this thread, and you are still not convinced, then perhaps this service is not for you.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: KBoards Admin on December 02, 2013, 11:29:09 PM
Hi, I was not getting it in chrome however I tested in firefox and I did indeed get a funny popup like you were mentioning, when I clicked the warrior forum link, then pressed back, I was able to replicate the popup.

I have disabled the warrior forum link, so if people want to go there, they will have to manually type the link into the address bar. This is the first time ive seen a popup like that from warrior forum.

Thank you -- I've received several complaints about this. We no longer post ads that link to warrior forum because of that kind of marketing tactic.

If people are interested in this service, check out the web site in the OP and avoid the warrior forum link.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 03, 2013, 12:06:00 AM
Update:

About 3AM here and the downloads have picked up a bit. I'm 22 away from the 10,000 mark. #12 in the free store. Pretty crazy. Might actually break into the top 10. Hard to say. Haven't had any more sales of other books, but that's going to take some time, I reckon.

Some good discussion in this thread. I'm as much a skeptic as anyone, so I can understand why some think this service shady. By and large, we're used to being able to verify what's going on under the hood for services like these, so when one comes along that refuses to reveal that part of their business, it sets off a few alarms round here. Understandable. Of course, I can see the other angle: They don't have to provide us with any details. If we don't like their secrecy then we don't have to spend any money on their services. And it would seem that some here (myself included, though I didn't actually pay for anything) are willing to give them a chance nonetheless.

We should start a poll, LOL.

How is Freebookservice pulling off these numbers?
1) They're legit, just like Bookbub et al
2) They've got a room full of puppies and are literally punching them in their tiny doggy mouths until dog-lovers the world-over agree to download the books they're promoting
3)Freebookservice employs a staff of ten wizards.

Personally, I hope it's a mix of 1 & 3. I freaking love wizards :3
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 12:16:43 AM
Update:

About 3AM here and the downloads have picked up a bit. I'm 22 away from the 10,000 mark. #12 in the free store. Pretty crazy. Might actually break into the top 10. Hard to say. Haven't had any more sales of other books, but that's going to take some time, I reckon.

Some good discussion in this thread. I'm as much a skeptic as anyone, so I can understand why some think this service shady. By and large, we're used to being able to verify what's going on under the hood for services like these, so when one comes along that refuses to reveal that part of their business, it sets off a few alarms round here. Understandable. Of course, I can see the other angle: They don't have to provide us with any details. If we don't like their secrecy then we don't have to spend any money on their services. And it would seem that some here (myself included, though I didn't actually pay for anything) are willing to give them a chance nonetheless.

We should start a poll, LOL.

How is Freebookservice pulling off these numbers?
1) They're legit, just like Bookbub et al
2) They've got a room full of puppies and are literally punching them in their tiny doggy mouths until dog-lovers the world-over agree to download the books they're promoting
3)Freebookservice employs a staff of ten wizards.

Personally, I hope it's a mix of 1 & 3. I freaking love wizards :3

Thanks for your continued input OJ. Different perspectives are important. I encourage everyone here to speak with their wallets. For now our business sense has been working for us so we are sticking to it. If the landscape changes, we will change with it.

On a side note, I am glad your promo is going pretty strong by the looks of it !  :D
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Estelle Ryan on December 03, 2013, 01:25:54 AM
(http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u574/Estelle_Ryan/Amazoncom-TheGauguinConnectionGenevieveLenardeBook-EstelleRyan-KindleStore2013-12-0310-14-43_zpsf4b0e4c7.jpeg)

And here are the three of us on the top free list: me, OJ and Monique - I keep good company!  ;D

(http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u574/Estelle_Ryan/Topten-413_zps1d03ba08.jpeg)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 03, 2013, 01:35:05 AM
^ Nice, Estelle! Any buy-through activity going on for you that you might attribute to the promo?

I'm at about 11,000 downloads and wondering how I might maximize the visibility gained by this boost in ranking. I have a feeling that the three of us will be even higher on the free list when they update next.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Estelle Ryan on December 03, 2013, 01:48:10 AM
^ Nice, Estelle! Any buy-through activity going on for you that you might attribute to the promo?

I'm at about 11,000 downloads and wondering how I might maximize the visibility gained by this boost in ranking. I have a feeling that the three of us will be even higher on the free list when they update next.

Like everyone in Russell Blake's thread, I'm also feeling cyber Monday's slow/no reports on sales. Monday was the worst in (reported) sales I've had in two weeks - for whatever mysterious reason. About your buy-through question: I had a Bookbub ad in the middle of November. The day after the ad my sales increased by 30% and stayed more or less like that for a week. It was the week after that I really started seeing an increase. That is why Monday's sudden low was quite a shock to my poor spreadsheet!
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 03, 2013, 02:37:04 AM
Small update:

Estelle's at #8, I'm at #11 and Monique's at #13. Still chugging along. Today will be an interesting day. I wonder how long we'll continue to see this kind of growth. I also wonder how long we'll stay high up in the charts.

So close to the top ten. SO. CLOSE. I can taste it. In my mouth.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: VydorScope on December 03, 2013, 03:40:05 AM
As I said in the beginning the real proof will be in the sell through. If 10,000 downloads only generates 38 sales, then I would say the quality of the service is not worth the cost. If 10,000 downloads generates 1,000 sales then their list is worth it and I would likely hope on the yellow submarine with them.



Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Fgfgjh on December 03, 2013, 03:52:06 AM
As I said in the beginning the real proof will be in the sell through. If 10,000 downloads only generates 38 sales, then I would say the quality of the service is not worth the cost. If 10,000 downloads generates 1,000 sales then their list is worth it and I would likely hope on the yellow submarine with them.





I'm sorry, but you're providing a VERY unrealistic idea here. 10% of the freebie loaders buying your next book is not going to happen.

Usually it's between 2-5% of the people that get a free book who'll move on to the second. So don't go expecting that a service like theirs may provide 10%. People should be happy if 2-5% of those 10k people will buy the next. That's 300 buyers. Lets say your book is 2.99. Means you get 2.093 x 3% (300 buyers avarage) = 627,90 dollars. That's more than double what you paid for the ad, and I think it's enough.

If 3% moves on to the next book that is. If it were only 1% then I'd think twice since you earn less than the ad cost. But we're still waiting for the results of the others, so let's wait on that before jumping to conclusions.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: VydorScope on December 03, 2013, 04:01:25 AM
I'm sorry, but you're providing a VERY unrealistic idea here. 10% of the freebie loaders buying your next book is not going to happen.

Usually it's between 2-5% of the people that get a free book who'll move on to the second. So don't go expecting that a service like theirs may provide 10%. People should be happy if 2-5% of those 10k people will buy the next. That's 300 buyers. Lets say your book is 2.99. Means you get 2.093 x 3% (300 buyers avarage) = 627,90 dollars. That's more than double what you paid for the ad, and I think it's enough.

If 3% moves on to the next book that is. If it were only 1% then I'd think twice since you earn less than the ad cost. But we're still waiting for the results of the others, so let's wait on that before jumping to conclusions.

10% is not unrealistic, many people here post that they get that... I personally have posted my numbers (in another thread) and have hit 10%, and I am lower then I could be due to the lack of a cliff hanger, BUT I was just tossing out an example using round numbers. :) If its 5% then I would still consider it. If its 1% then no, probably not.

The point I was making is that the quality of the 10,000 leads is what matters, far more then the quantity. For all we know they are running a bot network and not a single one of those 10,000 is actually a person. The conversion rate will give us a clue to that.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Boyd on December 03, 2013, 04:12:29 AM
I did the math, and most of my titles sell for 2.99 so after amazon's cut.. ~2$ per sale...

I'd only need to have 115 sales or about 1% sell through between the series... I was a skeptic when I saw this on the other thread, but seeing the screenshots, I'm starting to change my mind also.  Maybe my wife will let me pick out my own christmas present this year? ;)

It does seem that  the platinum package would be the way to go though, Freebookservice what is the package most folks have been using since that has gone live?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Philip Gibson on December 03, 2013, 04:37:14 AM
This is a most interesting thread and I'm more than a little curious to see how it ends up regarding conversion rates.

Also, I'm most curious like others here about how it works.  Since there seems to be no 'list' of subscribers, all I can think is that you send out 10 million random spam emails promoting the books and if that doesn't result in 10,000 downloads, you send out another 10 million spam emails and so on until you reach or pass the 10,000 download mark.

Has to be something like that, right?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 04:57:39 AM
I did the math, and most of my titles sell for 2.99 so after amazon's cut.. ~2$ per sale...

I'd only need to have 115 sales or about 1% sell through between the series... I was a skeptic when I saw this on the other thread, but seeing the screenshots, I'm starting to change my mind also.  Maybe my wife will let me pick out my own christmas present this year? ;)

It does seem that  the platinum package would be the way to go though, Freebookservice what is the package most folks have been using since that has gone live?

Most people seem to purchase the largest package, however most people that have bought this service are actually not part of kboards and don't really do the perma-free thing. So far 95% of the books I have completed orders for were for a KDP promotion where the book is free, and then goes back to paid after the promotion ends, so I don't really have much data on how permafree books do.


This is a most interesting thread and I'm more than a little curious to see how it ends up regarding conversion rates.

Also, I'm most curious like others here about how it works.  Since there seems to be no 'list' of subscribers, all I can think is that you send out 10 million random spam emails promoting the books and if that doesn't result in 10,000 downloads, you send out another 10 million spam emails and so on until you reach or pass the 10,000 download mark.

Has to be something like that, right?

Ive answered this question multiple times. Not to be rude, but If that were the case, then I  would probably be advertising something other than free kindle books...
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: VydorScope on December 03, 2013, 05:00:43 AM
I will say this, other then protecting his IP (as in how he gets the numbers) freebookservice has been very open to "here is evidence of our claims" - which for me at least is a indicator they are more legit then they seem.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: O_o on December 03, 2013, 05:03:27 AM
Man, I just got permafree sorted about an hour ago and I'm a hopeless idiot optimist about this type of thing.

Someone please persuade me not to do it  :P

Oh god it was only yesterday I was throwing money at advertisers for a book that hadn't even been pricematched

*tries not to look at thread*
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 05:05:50 AM
Man, I just got permafree sorted about an hour ago and I'm a hopeless idiot optimist about this type of thing.

Someone please persuade me not to do it  :P

Oh god it was only yesterday I was throwing money at advertisers for a book that hadn't even been pricematched

*tries not to look at thread*

Take a breather! This service isn't going anywhere, we will be here for the long haul.  :)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Estelle Ryan on December 03, 2013, 05:08:27 AM
Man, I just got permafree sorted about an hour ago and I'm a hopeless idiot optimist about this type of thing.

Someone please persuade me not to do it  :P

Oh god it was only yesterday I was throwing money at advertisers for a book that hadn't even been pricematched

*tries not to look at thread*

Take a deep breath and step away slowly. :D :D

Now continue doing that for the next seven days while we give feedback on our results. That way you can be an informed, "hopeless idiot optimist". That is what this trail run is for - to see if it will be worth spending money on. If you are happy with our results, you can still get your ad in before Christmas!
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: crashaddict on December 03, 2013, 05:10:00 AM
I have a question for the three testers.

Right now (5:08AM PST) your free books are #10, 11, and 13 in the Top 100 Free Store. Congrats!!

I was looking at the other books in your series and see that they are also in the Top 10 or so of their categories. Has that always been the case or is this a result of the promo?

Cheers and good luck!
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Estelle Ryan on December 03, 2013, 05:16:26 AM
I have a question for the three testers.

Right now (5:08AM PST) your free books are #10, 11, and 13 in the Top 100 Free Store. Congrats!!

I was looking at the other books in your series and see that they are also in the Top 10 or so of their categories. Has that always been the case or is this a result of the promo?

Cheers and good luck!

Thanks! As I said upthread, I haven't seen any spectacular resulting sales in my other books yet - it's normal numbers at the moment. Those great sales will take up to a week to start appearing (and THAT is what we are all curious about!). Gotta give people time to read the book first before they buy the next ones, right? To answer your question properly: My two books were in the top ten categories before this promo.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: O_o on December 03, 2013, 05:19:10 AM
Take a deep breath and step away slowly. :D :D

Now continue doing that for the next seven days while we give feedback on our results. That way you can be an informed, "hopeless idiot optimist". That is what this trail run is for - to see if it will be worth spending money on. If you are happy with our results, you can still get your ad in before Christmas!

 :)

Yep, that'll work  :D

Phew!
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 03, 2013, 06:07:32 AM
As of 9:07 AM:
(http://i282.photobucket.com/albums/kk256/Bunchuu_2008/Picture5_zpsbfd75e46.png) (http://s282.photobucket.com/user/Bunchuu_2008/media/Picture5_zpsbfd75e46.png.html)


Also, +1 to this:
Take a deep breath and step away slowly. :D :D

Now continue doing that for the next seven days while we give feedback on our results. That way you can be an informed, "hopeless idiot optimist". That is what this trail run is for - to see if it will be worth spending money on. If you are happy with our results, you can still get your ad in before Christmas!
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Ann in Arlington on December 03, 2013, 06:07:52 AM
I'm not a writer.  If I want to sign up to find out about free books through your service, how do I do so?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: JeanneM on December 03, 2013, 06:36:26 AM
Freebookservice,

Are you affiliated with Kindle Domination?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 06:39:34 AM
Freebookservice,

Are you affiliated with Kindle Domination?

http://freebookservice.com/

Its the name of the website (as you can see if you go there, yes)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: JeanneM on December 03, 2013, 06:43:47 AM
Thanks..I should have gone there first.  I may get that report.  My sales are blah.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Ardin on December 03, 2013, 06:52:16 AM
I want this!!! But I won't have $229 till January :(
I'm sooo broke.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: VydorScope on December 03, 2013, 08:02:47 AM
What is Kindle Domination?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 08:44:28 AM
What is Kindle Domination?

That person was referring to our sales thread on warrior forum:

hxxp://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-special-offers-forum/850596-kindle-domination-free-kindle-download-promotion-service-hundreds-sales-afterwards.html

Note warrior forum seems to be giving some people on here a popup so I made the link not clickable.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: jimkukral on December 03, 2013, 09:16:10 AM
Haven't used the service, and don't know the people behind it. But best advice is to always let the results speak for themselves. I encourage more people who try it to post their results here.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: PhoenixS on December 03, 2013, 09:23:48 AM
I'm not a writer.  If I want to sign up to find out about free books through your service, how do I do so?

This is the question you still seem to be dodging. You may have "assured" us many times this isn't spam, but, in your words, "not to be rude," you still have not answered the question as to where the ads we're being asked to pay for wind up.

I need new services to promote just like everyone else. I'm willing to pay for effective ones. But honestly, wait 7 days isn't what I've found when it comes to selling series books while one is free. Even with the looooong reporting delay right now, we've sold 234 of the second book in one series over the last two days while the other book has been on free promo via BookBub (it hit #2). We're running another Top 100 Free book with far fewer downloads that's cross-promoting to another book in the same genre - not even the same series - and it's still sold 42 books of the cross-promoted book above it's normal volume.

I've run over 150 freebook promos through every algo change, with 6 books hitting #1 and a dozen more in the Top 6. Freebies aren't downloaded in a vacuum - especially not for folk who are savvy marketers in their cross-promoting (which I know 1 of the testers is, at least). I know what results free runs used to provide and what they provide today.

The long reporting delay is going to muddy the waters some, and I'm watching the results closely like everyone else. But when I purchase an ad, I do want to know where it's going, how it's being used, what the relevant demographics are, etc. I know of no other advertising venue that asks a client to purchase "blind." Give me the data any other advertiser will provide for the asking, and I'll happily become one of your best customers.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Philip Gibson on December 03, 2013, 09:29:05 AM
Can you explain more about this from your FAQ?  What happens if 1. We don't end the promo early? and 2. If we do end the promo early at the suggested times?

Thanks.

"One thing I would like to mention on this topic is, DO NOT under any circumstances let the promotion end on its own. You want to end your promotion manually within your kdp account on your second day of free when buyers are online (4pm-9pm EST).  Ending your promotion during these hours is the only way to get good results. This is extremely important."
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 09:37:20 AM
This is the question you still seem to be dodging. You may have "assured" us many times this isn't spam, but, in your words, "not to be rude," you still have not answered the question as to where the ads we're being asked to pay for wind up.

I need new services to promote just like everyone else. I'm willing to pay for effective ones. But honestly, wait 7 days isn't what I've found when it comes to selling series books while one is free. Even with the looooong reporting delay right now, we've sold 234 of the second book in one series over the last two days while the other book has been on free promo via BookBub (it hit #2). We're running another Top 100 Free book with far fewer downloads that's cross-promoting to another book in the same genre - not even the same series - and it's still sold 42 books of the cross-promoted book above it's normal volume.

I've run over 150 freebook promos through every algo change, with 6 books hitting #1 and a dozen more in the Top 6. Freebies aren't downloaded in a vacuum - especially not for folk who are savvy marketers in their cross-promoting (which I know 1 of the testers is, at least). I know what results free runs used to provide and what they provide today.

The long reporting delay is going to muddy the waters some, and I'm watching the results closely like everyone else. But when I purchase an ad, I do want to know where it's going, how it's being used, what the relevant demographics are, etc. I know of no other advertising venue that asks a client to purchase "blind." Give me the data any other advertiser will provide for the asking, and I'll happily become one of your best customers.


The question is not being dodged, to be clear, the answer is "no". I feel like a broken record when I say we made these business decisions when we started the service, and don't intend on changing it at this point, due to the reasons we already outlined in the previous replies when we answered this type of question.


Can you explain more about this from your FAQ?  What happens if 1. We don't end the promo early? and 2. If we do end the promo early at the suggested times?

Thanks.

"One thing I would like to mention on this topic is, DO NOT under any circumstances let the promotion end on its own. You want to end your promotion manually within your kdp account on your second day of free when buyers are online (4pm-9pm EST).  Ending your promotion during these hours is the only way to get good results. This is extremely important."

Sorry that didnt make sense. Our clients from the warrior forum do KDP promotions and not permafree books like those from Kboards. That statement in the FAQ applies to kdp promos only. I just modified it to make it more understandable. Thanks.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: ゴジラ on December 03, 2013, 09:46:49 AM
The question is not being dodged, to be clear, the answer is "no". I feel like a broken record when I say we made these business decisions when we started the service, and don't intend on changing it at this point, due to the reasons we already outlined in the previous replies when we answered this type of question.

It's just that a lot of people want to pour money over your head (A LOT), and while I'm sure there are many people already makin' it rain in Freebookserviceville, you could get SO MUCH MORE if you present yourself to be a valid BB competitor and can demonstrate a few simple things. Like...the legality of your list. I spend thousands of dollars on BB every year. I book an ad every single month. And I will dump the same amount of love on you if I can sign up for your list and see how it works from the readers' end, and if sell-through from the downloads supports the cost.

I know I'm not the only one gagging for a BookBub competitor.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Philip Gibson on December 03, 2013, 09:49:28 AM
Our clients from the warrior forum do KDP promotions and not permafree books like those from Kboards. That statement in the FAQ applies to kdp promos only.

Some authors here at Kboards will be considering using your service for 2-day promotions as well as those who are permafree.  What is the intention behind that strong advice to not let the promo run its full course?

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 09:55:45 AM
It's just that a lot of people want to pour money over your head (A LOT), and while I'm sure there are many people already makin' it rain in Freebookserviceville, you could get SO MUCH MORE if you present yourself to be a valid BB competitor and can demonstrate a few simple things. Like...the legality of your list. I spend thousands of dollars on BB every year. I book an ad every single month. And I will dump the same amount of love on you if I can sign up for your list and see how it works from the readers' end, and if sell-through from the downloads supports the cost.

I know I'm not the only one gagging for a BookBub competitor.

Thanks for the insight-- Its something we may look into if we have problems with selling the service as it is right now.


Some authors here at Kboards will be considering using your service for 2-day promotions as well as those who are permafree.  What is the intention behind that strong advice to not let the promo run its full course?



We recommend that because we see a huge difference in volume of sales afterwards when the promotion is ended during the evening EST, rather than 3AM EST (which is the default if you let the promo run out on its own) Its just a matter of when "buyers" are online. You need that initial bump of sales to gain rank and ultimately snowball into tons of sales. A book that used this method of promotion we were able to bring to 300 in the entire paid kindle store which as you know is hundreds of sales.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 10:03:43 AM
Freebookservice, because of these two main points:

1. Your service was born on Warrior Forum, the scammiest, scummiest place on the internet.
2. You claim to have a secret, massive mailing list of avid readers of in huge variety of niches. A service for readers that no one has ever heard of or seems to be able to find.

It's going to be pretty tough to convince people that you simply don't have a network of 10,000+ fake amazon accounts (which is probably the case here, based on warrior forums track record), particularly because of #2. If your for-readers list was as robust as the advertising claims it to be, I'd think it would be a challenge NOT to be known - not the other way around. If you haven't noticed, just being associated with warrior forum at all has people scrutinizing your service with a microscope, and hiding your for-reader service only makes that worse.

As for authors following this thread: You have to remember, 10,000+ fake accounts downloading your book will still bring "some" results because it pushes you up the lists, thus giving you actual real readers.

Personally, to me, this seems like nothing more than the old buying of Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers (something also born on warrior forum), in which all the action was done using fake, duplicate, or stolen accounts. The fact that you're claiming you must keep your for-reader service a secret because of authors stealing each others marketing (what?), only helps to bolster that belief.

I do hope this turns out to be a legitimate service with a very nurtured and well cared for mailing list of readers that has been built up over the last couple years (but somehow without anyone knowing about your service), but if it's not, I hope that authors using this service don't get penalized when Amazon starts banning the malicious accounts used to facilitate these downloads and manipulate their store top lists.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Tony Bertauski on December 03, 2013, 10:12:03 AM
As I was typing...what Kat said.

Yes, it's hard to argue results, but it feeeels like there's a booger in the woodpile. If you're gaming the system, Zon will send its drones in to clean up. I'd love for this to be true (there's a need for another Bookbub!) but I think I'll wait on the sidelines to see how this shakes out. Or at least until there's more disclosure on where the readers come from and why new ones can't sign up.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: EmC on December 03, 2013, 10:13:21 AM
ETA: Kat typed up her response at the same time I did mine, but I agree with everything she says! :)

The point I was making is that the quality of the 10,000 leads is what matters, far more then the quantity. For all we know they are running a bot network and not a single one of those 10,000 is actually a person. The conversion rate will give us a clue to that.

^^ This is my concern. That these downloads are from bots or fake accounts.

The refusal to share how we (many of whom, like me, download free books all the time) might sign up for these lists is a MAJOR red flag. You say you're protecting your business secrets--but if you're *guaranteeing* 10K downloads to multiple books a day across various genres, your reach should already be HUGE (I'm assuming not every person who opted in will be interested in downloading EVERY book you promote, so the reach must extend far past the minimum guarantee).  You're concerned about *us* learning your business secrets, but not the tens of thousands of people who are downloading these books through your promotions? How do you know that none of them are authors or entrepreneurs or might steal the idea? Frankly, your lack of openness about this in particular is what makes it sound like these downloads might not be from real people at all.

This is a not-uncommon strategy in the world of apps: using bot downloads to bump an app way up the charts where it gets more visibility so more organic downloads take place. It's not a strategy that I'm particularly interested in paying for myself.

Obviously, I don't know what goes on behind the scenes at your business--all of the downloads these people are seeing may very well be from real people. But I did want to point out the specific part of your explanation that turned me off. I don't need to know all the inner workings of something like this, BUT if I were to give you money, I'd like to know HOW you let real people know that my book is free. If I purchase an ad on a website or mailing list or something, I'm not just concerned with the number of downloads. I'm also concerned with 1) impression that ad gives of my brand and my book, and 2) QUALITY of those downloads. Withholding information about how you're targeting potential readers of mine makes me question the methods you're using.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: David J Normoyle on December 03, 2013, 10:15:47 AM
Freebookservice, because of these two main points:

1. Your service was born on Warrior Forum, the scammiest, scummiest place on the internet.
2. You claim to have a secret, massive mailing list of avid readers of in huge variety of niches. A service for readers that no one has ever heard of or seems to be able to find.

It's going to be pretty tough to convince people that you simply don't have a network of 10,000+ fake amazon accounts (which is probably the case here, based on warrior forums track record), particularly because of #2. If your for-readers list was as robust as the advertising claims it to be, I'd think it would be a challenge NOT to be known - not the other way around. If you haven't noticed, just being associated with warrior forum at all has people scrutinizing your service with a microscope, and hiding your for-reader service only makes that worse.

As for authors following this thread: You have to remember, 10,000+ fake accounts downloading your book will still bring "some" results because it pushes you up the lists, thus giving you actual real readers.

Personally, to me, this seems like nothing more than the old buying of Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers (something also born on warrior forum), in which all the action was done using fake, duplicate, or stolen accounts. The fact that you're claiming you must keep your for-reader service a secret because of authors stealing each others marketing (what?), only helps to bolster that belief.

I do hope this turns out to be a legitimate service with a very nurtured and well cared for mailing list of readers that has been built up over the last couple years (but without anyone knowing about your service), but if it's not, I hope that authors using this service don't get penalized when Amazon starts banning the malicious accounts used to facilitate these downloads and manipulate their store top lists.


Nailed it.

Bookbub have a million members to get all their downloads. And freebookservice has to have something similar if his service is legit (if he's showing books to lots of readers and having them pick the ones they want and deciding to read them). Yet instead of advertising looking for readers (Bookbub spent a lot of money doing this), he somehow collected this million strong reader list by keeping it secret. And he doesn't want any more readers on his list! And, unlike Bookbub, his readers don't care about the quality of books he is recommending.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 10:26:35 AM
Some authors here at Kboards will be considering using your service for 2-day promotions as well as those who are permafree.  What is the intention behind that strong advice to not let the promo run its full course?


We recommend that because we see a huge difference in volume of sales afterwards when the promotion is ended during the evening EST, rather than 3AM EST (which is the default if you let the promo run out on its own) Its just a matter of when "buyers" are online. You need that initial bump of sales to gain rank and ultimately snowball into tons of sales. A book that used this method of promotion we were able to bring to 300 in the entire paid kindle store which as you know is hundreds of sales.


From two of the Kboarders in the test run:
Update:

My downloads have slowed to practically nothing. I've been sitting within a few downloads of 9800 for nearly an hour now. I know, I know. I probably shouldn't be monitoring the downloads constantly. Strange that they should drop off so rapidly, though. This could be due to a number of factors. I mean, it's pretty late at night, so that's likely to contribute. Perhaps the promo's magic has worn off? KDP's reporting is still bungled or is currently slowing down? Hard to say. As of this post I've sold 3 books in my series. This morning, before starting the promo, that number was 0.

Let's see where this goes from here.

Oddly, the downloads went from nearly 1000 an hour to only a handful. Just like that. Never seen that before.

Anyone who has any experience with sending out emails to a mailing list knows that not everyone opens a promotional email at the same time, or even on the same day. Mailing to a list capable of producing these volumes of downloads in such a short amount of time should see a gradual and steep decline in opens as days and weeks continue to pass, not a 90 degree drop the moment the promotion days are over. Naturally, this wouldn't be noticed when advertising books that aren't permafree, because the books go back to paid status.

Not saying I have any proof either way, just playing devil's advocate, but this result here screams malicious account activity to me. Advocating people end promotions early seems like a ploy to hide the immediate drop off.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 10:34:12 AM
Nailed it.

Bookbub have a million members to get all their downloads. And freebookservice has to have something similar if his service is legit (if he's showing books to lots of readers and having them pick the ones they want and deciding to read them). Yet instead of advertising looking for readers (Bookbub spent a lot of money doing this), he somehow collected this million strong reader list by keeping it secret. And he doesn't want any more readers on his list! And, unlike Bookbub, his readers don't care about the quality of books he is recommending.

Please read the first post (the paragraph in bold) as to how the list was originally built.

I realize that no matter what I say there will be skeptics. Please read the reviews of the service and choose whether to purchase or not from those.
Title: Re:
Post by: Ann in Arlington on December 03, 2013, 10:48:48 AM
Here's the thing: I'm a fairly voracious reader. But I am not an author. As a reader, I watch bookbub, ebooklovers, and kboards blog for free books.

But it seems that I can not sign up for notifications from your service. Which makes me really skeptical about its legitimacy.

I also looked at the website you linked to, and I have to say, it just screams "SCAM" to me, sorry. :(

Sent from my Kindle Fire HDX.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: David J Normoyle on December 03, 2013, 10:52:11 AM
Please read the first post (the paragraph in bold) as to how the list was originally built.

I realize that no matter what I say there will be skeptics. Please read the reviews of the service and choose whether to purchase or not from those.

I read that. Your explanation doesn't add up for me. How many readers in your list? How many downloads for a 4.5star rated romance with great cover and great blurb? How many downloads for a 3.2star literary novel with only 5 reviews and no cover? Both get over 10K if they pay you the full amount, right?

I believe you can get the number of downloads you say. I don't believe that there are actual readers at the other end.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: cvwriter on December 03, 2013, 10:52:31 AM
Other freebie sites push books, while you are only pushing an obscure, blind service to authors that new readers can't be added into. Is your reader list continually growing by your secret methods? Can you post a sample ad that you mail out or at least say what goes in it?  Do you send multiple books in one day or one at a time? What are the more popular genres? I write YA? Do you have YA readers or some for all genres/categories? What about smaller, specific markets like Christian or literary?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: MonkeyScribe on December 03, 2013, 11:06:06 AM
Hmm. That dropoff from zillions of DLs to almost nothing is . . . odd.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Estelle Ryan on December 03, 2013, 11:14:46 AM
My downloads as of 14:11 (EST). I'm still at #8 overall. No significant uptick in sales.

(http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u574/Estelle_Ryan/AmazonKindleDirectPublishing-GetroyaltyreportsforyourKDPbooks2013-12-0320-11-27_zpsb1dacd60.jpeg)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 11:17:34 AM
My downloads as of 14:11 (EST). I'm still at #8 overall. No significant uptick in sales.

(http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u574/Estelle_Ryan/AmazonKindleDirectPublishing-GetroyaltyreportsforyourKDPbooks2013-12-0320-11-27_zpsb1dacd60.jpeg)

Looks like you did get three reviews since the promotion, though.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Estelle Ryan on December 03, 2013, 11:20:49 AM
Looks like you did get three reviews since the promotion, though.

True, but those might be from my Bookbub ad two weeks ago - people had time to read. This is the hard part with marketing and advertising. It's hard to assess exactly where all the results come from.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Susanne. on December 03, 2013, 11:27:55 AM
I did a Bookblast promo in August for $50. I got 24000 downloads and sales after that were terrific for about three months. Your prices are pretty steep and your download promises less than what I got for so much less.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 03, 2013, 11:36:00 AM
I did some research into freebookservice and the results are at least worth taking pause if nothing else.

1. I did a domain search for freebookservice.com and came up with this (http://www.ip-adress.com/whois/freebookservice.com)
2. The nameserver the domain is attached to is casualmeetup dot com (http://www.dailychanges.com/search/?q=freebookservice.com) (This won't take you to the pornographic site, just a listing showing ownership of the site)
3. I found the email address that registered the domain and you find that here (http://chlooe.com/seo-review/freebookservice.com)
4. When I did a search for that address I found another site (http://bgp.he.net/dns/encounterads.com) that was registered to this email address with the same nameserver. This site is adencounters dot com.
5. Both sites require an email address to 'register' and nothing else. This leads me to believe the 'registration' form is really just a mailing list in disguise. The terms on the sites seem to indicate that as well.

Both of those sites are for hooking up and it really makes me wonder why they share the same nameserver as this free book service.

I would just caution any of you before you jump on this bandwagon without proper investigation. We're not wrong to question the validity of this service when we are expected to pay 150-300 dollars for it. Some other things to also consider, don't you find it just a tad bit strange that everyone is seeing the same results? We're used to seeing good results with bookbub but the rate of downloads vary widely. Not being able to subscribe to the list is also concerning.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 11:41:16 AM

Both of those sites are for hooking up and it really makes me wonder why they share the same nameserver as this free book service.


It just means that the websites are hosted on the same server at the hosting company. You can have a ton of individual websites/services running off a single server, which would give them all the same nameserver address.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 03, 2013, 11:46:28 AM
Every one of my domains I have hosted have had the domain name as the namserver. For example, if I had www.example.com, my nameserver has always been ns1.example.com and ns2.example.com. If it is the case as you stated I wouldn't want to be running a professional site on that server.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: PhoenixS on December 03, 2013, 11:49:07 AM
Here's a BB comparison for email behavior.

BB claims around 2 million unique subscribers, built with venture-capital backing.
Historical Romance has 390,000 subs, or 19.5% of the total subs.

Day 1, our book got 25,353 clicks from BB (yes, their results are trackable). That's about 6.5% of the Historical Romance list that clicked. We had about 26,000 downloads, so not all the clickers purchased. I work with an 80% purchase rate on a freebie for BB. That means about 20,000 DLs on Day 1, or about 5.1% of the list that downloaded.

Day 2, we saw 4381 clicks from BB. So about another 1000 downloads can be attributable. That's another 1.2% of the list that clicked.

So, Day 1, we had twice 10,000 clicks in a highly popular genre with a pro cover, a hot theme, and a previously trad-pubbed author out of 390,000 subscribers looking specifically for Historical Romance.

BookBub is heavily weighted toward Mystery/Thriller and Romance, as are ENT, POI, etc., so that 5.1% "buy"-through out of interested folk is probably fairly normal. That's 5% of 20% of the entire mail list. Or, 1%.

Which means this book service would need to have 1 million subscribers to get to that 1% download rate (10,000) for popular genres. To guarantee same for science fiction, fantasy, YA, etc, the mail list would need to be substantially larger.

That's a lot of sign-ups off of description pages on Amazon...

There is a reason we are skeptical.

Obviously, we had about 9000 DLs that are from other small site mentions, folk finding the book in the free lists, etc. Anything past 1 day becomes nearly impossible to suss out where the bulk of the sales originate barring a mention on another megasite.  We also had 180 sales above normal daily sales of the second book in the series on Day 1. That's about 50 sales per 10,000 downloads -- on the same day the freebie was downloaded.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 11:53:43 AM
Every one of my domains I have hosted have had the domain name as the namserver. For example, if I had www.example.com, my nameserver has always been ns1.example.com and ns2.example.com. If it is the case as you stated I wouldn't want to be running a professional site on that server.



I think it depends on the hosting company you're using (if any) and how the nameserver is titled. I know my domains would be shown as mysuperawesomesite.com or thisawesomesite.com but the nameserver for both sites would be based on my server, which would resolve to something like: XXXX.hostgator.com and XXXX.hostgator.com - so regardless of domain, all my domains would have that same nameserver.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 03, 2013, 11:59:56 AM
The hookup site isn't a hosting site. In my experience when I had example.com and another site that I was personally running off the hosting service, they both had the same nameserver, which was the name of the first domain.

And again, this could be nothing. But there are serious warning signs besides the domain registration.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 03, 2013, 12:43:13 PM
We are protecting our business, and we have made that decision from the start. We also have authors who do not want their competitors knowing exactly what their promotion methods are, which is another reason for this decision. If we changed our mind now, we could lose those clients which have been loyal customers for quite some time. We have had authors coming to us asking if we are promoting another author in the same genre. For what reason, we do not know, but while those of you on kboards may be happy sharing your earnings, promotion methods and tactics, not all writers are the same.

So ... you're passing up the opportunity to add several thousand avid readers (that's what KB is) to your subscriber list because the occasional (totally irrational) author might throw a hissy-fit if he finds out his is one of two thrillers you promote that day instead of the only one? Or because the occasional (paranoid weirdo) author may not want other authors finding out that she ... gasp! ... advertises her free book?

Since the size and quality of your subscriber list has got to be your No. 1 priority, and since KB is an outstanding source of new subscribers, the choice you're making here seems very strange. Self-sabotaging, really.

You seem very prepared to tell the many worried authors on this thread, "Our service is not for you." Why not save that message for the occasional obnoxious/weirdo person who gives you trouble for an unjustifiable, irrational reason?

Aren't you at all concerned about the accusation of running thousands of fake Amazon accounts? If I were you, I'd do whatever it took to disprove that idea, even at the cost of losing the business of the occasional author who wants to run a super-secret, NSA-proof marketing campaign. Those who value legality and transparency will more than make up for that loss. And the risk of drawing the enraged attention of the 'Zon ... well, that's not to be taken lightly.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 12:51:18 PM
BookBub is heavily weighted toward Mystery/Thriller and Romance, as are ENT, POI, etc., so that 5.1% "buy"-through out of interested folk is probably fairly normal. That's 5% of 20% of the entire mail list. Or, 1%.

Which means this book service would need to have 1 million subscribers to get to that 1% download rate (10,000) for popular genres. To guarantee same for science fiction, fantasy, YA, etc, the mail list would need to be substantially larger.

That's a lot of sign-ups off of description pages on Amazon...

There is a reason we are skeptical.

This. So far, I'm seeing Horror, Romance, and Fantasy represented in this thread, all showing strikingly similar results. Which, once you start to do the math and compare it to the industry leader, Bookbub, doesn't add up.

The problem for people trying to suss out the legitimacy of this service is that even if they are downloads from "fake" accounts, once you're pushed up those lists, you start getting real people/downloads/sales from the Amazon site itself.

The telling thing here, to me, seems to be the secrecy behind the multi-million user subscriber list necessary to sustain an operation that can have literally any genre thrown at it and get similar results. The primary reason being that lists have attrition rates, and in order to maintain a multi-million user reader list, you've got to have a huge, daily influx of new subscribers - never mind the fact that this service seems to support reader lists across multiple genres. Which means of all the voracious readers on this forum, someone would have a good idea who these guys are and what their reader recommendation service is.

Note that the book linked in the OP, the one abusing the Amazon description field, where Freebookservice claims to get his reader list from, was published Nov 13, 2013.

Even if this is how they're getting subscribers, you can bet Amazon is none too happy about someone manipulating their onsite features in this manner (adding popups, facebook links, mail forms and the like). Not even sure how they're getting these modifications through the review process, but you can be sure they're probably losing accounts and republishing books under different titles and what-not to continue siphoning users from the Amazon site itself.

Which means, they're either gaming Amazon to siphon off email addresses from browsers of the store, a practice you can be sure is nothing more than a cat and mouse game until it's nuked. Or, more likely, is that it's a simple ruse to distract from the more likely possibility of an army of "fake" Amazon accounts used to supply these downloads.

In either case, in my opinion, everything points to this being a "service" that will likely be nuked once Amazon catches on. And one is left to wonder if there will be any fallback on unsuspecting authors once the jig is up.

Personally, there's nothing I despise more than seeing the toxicity of Warrior Forum and its ilk seeping into other areas and trying to prey on hard-working people. And if all this stuff is completely off the mark (which I highly doubt) I would offer my apologies, but the cryptic nature in all the responses regarding your service won't permit me to. You've brought the scrutiny, for better or worse, on yourself.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 12:58:57 PM
So ... you're passing up the opportunity to add several thousand avid readers (that's what KB is) to your subscriber list because the occasional (totally irrational) author might throw a hissy-fit if he finds out his is one of two thrillers you promote that day instead of the only one? Or because the occasional (paranoid weirdo) author may not want other authors finding out that she ... gasp! ... advertises her free book?

Since the size and quality of your subscriber list has got to be your No. 1 priority, and since KB is an outstanding source of new subscribers, the choice you're making here seems very strange. Self-sabotaging, really.

You seem very prepared to tell the many worried authors on this thread, "Our service is not for you." Why not save that message for the occasional obnoxious/weirdo person who gives you trouble for an unjustifiable, irrational reason?

Aren't you at all concerned about the accusation of running thousands of fake Amazon accounts? If I were you, I'd do whatever it took to disprove that idea, even at the cost of losing the business of the occasional author who wants to run a super-secret, NSA-proof marketing campaign. Those who value legality and transparency will more than make up for that loss. And the risk of drawing the enraged attention of the 'Zon ... well, that's not to be taken lightly.

Yes I am concerned about the accusations. Im saddened that the pitchforks come out at the first chance, instead of the common courtesy to wait it out and see how the free promos I gave away to long standing members of this community turn out.  :(

You mention that I should lose customers to prove people that haven't even purchased-- why exactly would I do that? I appreciate your input into my business, but I see it differently.





This. So far, I'm seeing Horror, Romance, and Fantasy represented in this thread, all showing strikingly similar results. Which, once you start to do the math and compare it to the industry leader, Bookbub, doesn't add up.

The problem for people trying to suss out the legitimacy of this service is that even if they are downloads from "fake" accounts, once you're pushed up those lists, you start getting real people/downloads/sales from the Amazon site itself.

The telling thing here, to me, seems to be the secrecy behind the multi-million user subscriber list necessary to sustain an operation that can have literally any genre thrown at it and get similar results. The primary reason being that lists have attrition rates, and in order to maintain a multi-million user reader list, you've got to have a huge, daily influx of new subscribers - never mind the fact that this service seems to support reader lists across multiple genres.

Note that the book linked in the OP, the one abusing the Amazon description field, where Freebookservice claims to get his reader list from, was published Nov 13, 2013.

Even if this is how they're getting subscribers, you can bet Amazon is none too happy about someone manipulating their onsite features in this manner (adding popups, facebook links, mail forms and the like). Not even sure how they're getting these modifications through the review process, but you can be sure they're probably losing accounts and republishing books under different titles and what-not to continue siphoning users from the Amazon site itself.

Which means, they're either gaming Amazon to siphon off email addresses from browsers of the store, a practice you can be sure is nothing more than a cat and mouse game until it's nuked. Or, more likely, is that it's a simple ruse to distract from the more likely possibility of an army of "fake" Amazon accounts used to supply these downloads.

In either case, in my opinion, everything points to this being a "service" that will likely be nuked once Amazon catches on. And one is left to wonder if there will be any fallback on unsuspecting authors once the jig is up.

Personally, there's nothing I despise more than seeing the toxicity of Warrior Forum and its ilk seeping into other areas and trying to prey on hard-working people. And if all this stuff is completely off the mark (which I highly doubt) I would offer my apologies, but the cryptic nature in all the responses regarding your service won't permit me to. You've brought the scrutiny, for better or worse, on yourself.



That publication date of the book in question is modified. It has been up for much, much longer than that. They are grandfathered in with all of that HTML in their description pages. We simply had an opti-n on many book descriptions, which you were able to do before the end of this October. You can no longer add HTML in descriptions.

Another grandfathered-in book can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Ashly-Lorenzana-Blog-ebook/dp/B00EAEXHTI
This is an example of one thats doesnt have as many add-ons (click the show-more to see the optin)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Saul Tanpepper on December 03, 2013, 01:06:33 PM
The problem for people trying to suss out the legitimacy of this service is that even if they are downloads from "fake" accounts, once you're pushed up those lists, you start getting real people/downloads/sales from the Amazon site itself.

This is also my concern, that indirect sales as a result of "gaming the rankings" might lend credibility to an otherwise illegitimate service. Not saying that's the case here, but without other data/information, of course we're going to be skeptical.

Note that the book linked in the OP, the one abusing the Amazon description field, where Freebookservice claims to get his reader list from, was published Nov 13, 2013.

I noticed this, too, but there are reviews which predate the publication date, so this appears to be another case of Amazon's screwy programming changing pub date whenever a change is made in the KDP dashboard.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 03, 2013, 01:09:59 PM
Freebookservice was generous enough to offer 3 test runs gratis. I'm one of those testers. Here's my take:

FBS did what they said they were going to do. They did indeed provide a service that produced over 10K downloads. I'm sitting at about 12k right now. I have not noticed many/any collateral sales, however the current glitch in KDP and an unrelated promo I'm running today have made it rather difficult to say with any certainty. Exposure is good, but without a decent push to other titles, the value of the service is diminished. Others may have different experiences and, again, my data isn't at all clear.

That said, I'm uncomfortable. The lack of transparancy is troubling. I fully understand wanting to protect your methods, but as others have pointed out, if it is indeed legitimate mailing lists, the number one priority would to replenish and keep those lists vibrant. It's illogical to put up barriers to keep a few paranoid authors happy. The risk of upsetting a few with unreasonable expectations of double-secret probation-privacy would be well worth the addition of thousands of avid readers. That's what you have here on KB. Thousands of readers. Readers who devour books. Readers who would add incredible value to your service. Turning them away is curious, and concerning.

The secrecy extends so far that I can't find any footprint for the service from a reader perspective. There's no happy subscriber out there who has mentioned the service. Unless you're using another name, which is possible, but why wouldn't you want to tell us? Why wouldn't you want readers shouting from their facebook pages and twitter accounts how many awesome free books they found through your service? That's gold. Why don't you want that gold? To protect a paranoid few? That seems an odd business choice.

All of these odd choices leave me feeling uncomfortable. It leaves me thinking that it isn't just an enormous mailing list, but something else. I don't know what that something else is, but I can't think of any positive possibilities. There may be some, but because I'm left in the dark, all I see are boogiemen.

You have been polite and generous here. For that, I commend you. And I thank you for letting me try your service. However, I'm not comfortable recommending it, in spite of the fullfillment of your promised downloads. There are just too many things that make me uncomfortable. You can remove all of those doubts with better transparency. We don't need to know the mechanisms of how you got your massive list, but if we can't sign up, see emails, see *anything*, we can only draw one conclusion - you're hiding something. It's perhaps unfair. It's probably unjust, but it is how I feel. And it's completely in your power to reverse. Should you decide to do so.

I want you to succeed. I want your service to be legitimate and awesome and help hundreds of my fellow authors find their readership and catapult to stardom. I want this more than you can possibly imagine. If you are legitimate and awesome, show us. We'll lift you on our shoulders and carry you off into the sunset. We'll pay you enough to buy a fleet of yachts.

I know you've said that those who want information you won't provide can simply ignore the service. I hope you'll reconsider that. I hope you'll see that being completely upfront here will win the day and anything else just...won't.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Deanna Chase on December 03, 2013, 01:10:50 PM
Yes I am concerned about the accusations. Im saddened that the pitchforks come out at the first chance, instead of the common courtesy to wait it out and see how the free promos I gave away to long standing members of this community turn out.  :(

You mention that I should lose customers to prove people that haven't even purchased-- why exactly would I do that? I appreciate your input into my business, but I see it differently.



The problem here is that we see the positive download results. We're excited about that. Trust me. We are. But it's tempered with, "Wait, are these real people downloading our books? How can we know?" We have no desire to game Amazon and we certainly don't want to pay for the privilege. So we are working really hard to figure out if the service is on the up and up. That only makes us dig farther and come up with a billion scenarios as to how this is working. With virtually no Internet footprint it makes it hard to trust there are real people on the back end of your service.

I really hope this is legal and ethical with real readers. If it is, I'll be lining up to throw my money at you, too. So far I'm wary at best.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 03, 2013, 01:15:00 PM
Yes I am concerned about the accusations. Im saddened that the pitchforks come out at the first chance, instead of the common courtesy to wait it out and see how the free promos I gave away to long standing members of this community turn out.  :(

But it's not just the results we're interested in. I mean, results are key, obviously. We're not sitting around waiting for ways to waste money. But we also want to feel confident that the services we purchase are legal and ethical. The three free promotions you've given out might prove efficacy, but without more transparency, we're left hanging about the other issue.

You mention that I should lose customers to prove people that haven't even purchased-- why exactly would I do that? I appreciate your input into my business, but I see it differently.

Sacrifice (or, better, attempt to reason with and hang onto) a few existing customers who are apparently making excessive and irrational demands that are limiting the growth of your business and causing it to appear illegitimate? That seems like a no-brainer to me, so yeah, I guess we do see things differently.

Good luck with everything.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 01:15:22 PM
That publication date of the book in question is modified. It has been up for much, much longer than that. They are grandfathered in with all of that HTML in their description pages. We simply had an opti-n on many book descriptions, which you were able to do before the end of this October. You can no longer add HTML in descriptions.

Another grandfathered-in book can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Ashly-Lorenzana-Blog-ebook/dp/B00EAEXHTI
This is an example of one thats doesnt have as many add-ons (click the show-more to see the optin)

Even so, you're claiming you have how ever many grandfather'd books and published books with mailing list links in them that would be necessary to maintain a multi-million user reader list?

Yes I am concerned about the accusations. Im saddened that the pitchforks come out at the first chance, instead of the common courtesy to wait it out and see how the free promos I gave away to long standing members of this community turn out.  :(

You mention that I should lose customers to prove people that haven't even purchased-- why exactly would I do that? I appreciate your input into my business, but I see it differently.

You're getting the pitchfork because people aren't buying the whole "I'm not saying anything about anything, I'll just let the results speak for themselves." The reason being, as far as the numbers being posted in this thread, people aren't seeing anything that's not leading them to believe this isn't an army of fake accounts. Even though all lists aren't created equally, the difference in numbers when compared to bookbub are only serving to raise suspicion, not decreasing it.

Additionally, having a multi-million user list of readers spread across multiple genres to support your service is no easy feat. You do see why it looks strange for such an asset to come out of no where, with not one reader on this forum having heard of you and already getting your emails, right?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: dalya on December 03, 2013, 01:24:40 PM
Just one point: It doesn't matter if the first 10k books are downloaded by dogs using computers. I've been saying for 2 years now that I'm surprised there aren't more services like this.

Once your book is on the top 100, it can be downloaded by other people, who are not on the mailing list or whatever it is. Download farm is what people are implying. I'm sure Amazon has things in place to stop massive bandwidth leaks to hacker servers in Russia ... I'd imagine. Who knows. People like free books. I actually do believe it's mostly humans on a mailing list.

But it doesn't really matter, does it?

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: ゴジラ on December 03, 2013, 01:29:56 PM
I don't see any pitchforks here. Just reasonable skepticism.

For those participating by using this service, whether from free giveaway or by purchasing it, I hope you'll keep an eye on your series sell-through in the next couple of weeks and share the results with the board. Sell-through should be a really obvious indicator of whether or not these are "real" readers downloading the books. It often takes readers about 2-3 weeks to work through my freebies and show a bump, so return in a month-ish?

This is what I'd be looking for: When I run an ad for a freebie, I see about 2.5% of downloads go on to buy the next book in the series. So if I got 12000 downloads after buying the 10000 download package, I'd expect to see about 300 sales of book 2. If those 10000 downloads are not real readers and the extra 2000 are just from list visibility, then I'd expect to see more like 50 sales of book 2 out of it (2.5% of 2000).

Substitute your usual sell-through ratio in the above and we'll have a pretty good idea of how legit the 10k downloads are, whether or not OP becomes more transparent.

But it doesn't really matter, does it?

Setting aside the ethical concerns, it does matter in the "is this worth my money?" sense. You're not going to get enough collateral downloads from list visibility to earn out ad costs if the first 10k sales are really dogs. Unless the dogs plan on buying book 2 as well. In which case, ruff ruff, I hope they enjoy my series. But lists are too volatile for 99% of authors to see any lasting results and a return on investment.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Greg Strandberg on December 03, 2013, 01:37:41 PM
Looks like you did get three reviews since the promotion, though.

It is very difficult for computers to leave reviews.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Patty Jansen on December 03, 2013, 01:39:36 PM
Just one point: It doesn't matter if the first 10k books are downloaded by dogs using computers. I've been saying for 2 years now that I'm surprised there aren't more services like this.

Once your book is on the top 100, it can be downloaded by other people, who are not on the mailing list or whatever it is. Download farm is what people are implying. I'm sure Amazon has things in place to stop massive bandwidth leaks to hacker servers in Russia ... I'd imagine. Who knows. People like free books. I actually do believe it's mostly humans on a mailing list.

But it doesn't really matter, does it?



It does matter, because in monetary terms (not talking about legality), a fake download farm might be worth $50, but definitely not $300. That way, it becomes a venue for desperate authors which can't get a BookBub ad but have enough money to pay for advertising. In that case, I'd put this sort of service on par with vanity publishers who charge through the nose and don't deliver.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: dalya on December 03, 2013, 01:39:43 PM
...
Setting aside the ethical concerns, it does matter in the "is this worth my money?" sense. You're not going to get enough collateral downloads from list visibility to earn out ad costs if the first 10k sales are really dogs. Unless the dogs plan on buying book 2 as well. In which case, ruff ruff, I hope they enjoy my series. But lists are too volatile for 99% of authors to see any lasting results and a return on investment.

I wouldn't pay for it. $229? Not worth it for me, personally. When I do freebies, the books either get way up there on their own, or they don't because they aren't what people want and no amount of advertising is going to change that.

 :D
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: CDForness on December 03, 2013, 01:39:52 PM
At the risk of being banned or at the very least flamed...before I even launched my writing career.

Why I won't be using this service...or How to Not Win Friends but Possibly Influence Some People

I spent a lot of time on Salty Droid the last two years, after being ripped off by a few marketers for a lot more money than I could afford to lose in the late 2000's.  If you want an education on buyer beware and don't mind the Salty part, it's a good place to go.  Shoemoney was a favorite target there....and since he is one of the one's I gave my money to, I'm a bit obsessed with tracking some of these guys.  Call it bitterness...well you're right.

OF COURSE, I would never allege that OP is doing this...just brainstorming here...

One can easily buy thousands of email accounts on fiverr.  Go ahead, stop over at fiverr right now and Search for Hotmail accounts or something similar.  One can also buy software for under a hundred dollars and with some proxies create tens of thousands of email accounts.  One can also use another software that costs a few hundred dollars that will happily run an automated program to use all the email addresses to create Amazon accounts.  Then one can use that same software to login to the emails, click on the buy link and download the book from Amazon.  They even make multi-threaded software so it can go lickety split.

An unethical marketer (allegedly) named Shoemoney did something similar recently to game Amazon (but with a paid book.  I remember this going on in late August) and was bragging about it on Facebook (though i recall him saying he outsourced the account creation).  A month later, OP has his service on WaFo.  I am NOT saying he is Shoemoney...but I am saying that the info on how to game Amazon is out there and certainly your career internet marketer would know about it.

Ok, I just spent about 20 minutes googling to find this story again, and I found it on page 3 for the search "how shoemoney got his book to number one on amazon."  There's a site called Feedurbrain, where the article (thread) is.  In fact if you google "feedurbrain how shoemoney got his book to number one on amazon" you should find it on page one.  I'm not direct linking because it is a marketing forum similar to WaFo and there are a lot of curse words on the page.  Another poster in that thread shows how this can be done cheaper for freebie giveaways, and one could easily create a list in the millions of fake accounts.  How else can one GUARANTEE a certain number of downloads unless they have dominion over all the variables such as this?  This is similar to sites a few years ago that would guarantee traffic to your website...none of which converts and then people get their sites banned from Google Adsense.  I'm not saying this is fishy, but it smells that way to me.  Especially since it looks like all genres are accepted by OP, according to the the WaFo sales thread.  Hey yah, thx for sending me that email about this Cozy little Mystery, AND "101 Ways to Rid Yourself of Pimples on Your Bum."  I DL'd 'em both!

The only benefit this has is that it raises your visibility, which I am suspecting is artificial, and thus hopefully you will catch some buyers who are wondering what all the hullaballoo is about.  But at what cost to your credibility?  Ask John Locke about that.

EVERY scam eventually gets caught by Amazon and I 1000% agree with others here who have said that it is not worth tarnishing their brand, even as an unwitting participant, by getting involved in these GUARANTEES, when OP cannot be upfront about the nature of the list.

As Zig Ziglar was fond of saying, "There ain't no free lunch."

Then again, what do I know?  I'm wrong more than I'm right.

Till then, I'm going to make some more popcorn to watch this one play out.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Arkan9 on December 03, 2013, 01:43:15 PM
Quote
The bulk of our reader-base has come from including opt-in forms on our own books. We placed forms in the description area using HTML, and with that, were able to build our list.

This never happened and is an obvious lie, fabricated in response to our continued insistence on transparency. Nobody is buying into that I hope. When's the last time any of you saw a single opt-in form on a single book description?

Serious authors, take it from a software & internet marketing pro (me) who has been around since myspace spamming was big (and I made a lot of money at that). You need to understand the risks of this service:

• This is obviously done by using 10,000 fake amazon accounts and a script.

• Amazon obviously isn't going to like it when they catch on (and you can bet some of us are telling them about it right this minute).

• They will figure out how to stop it one way or another. Lots of options here, all of them unfortunate. This could be the end of free downloads boosting visibility at all within the kindle bookstore. Or this could be the end of amazon accounts which have never purchased anything being able to download free books. Who knows, could even be the end of free books.

• It is probable that Amazon will be able to identify the fake accounts and see which free books got downloaded by them. Will Amazon then take action against the books/authors who gamed their system by using this service?  Perhaps the risk of this is small - but the potential consequences so severe that I cannot see serious authors messing around with this at all.

The temptation is certainly there because the service works - for now, anyway. Succumb to the temptation and you are gambling your very self-publishing career, in my opinion. Your decision.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: David J Normoyle on December 03, 2013, 01:44:01 PM

But it doesn't really matter, does it?


For a standalone, it mightn't make a huge difference. But for series books, it matters a lot whether the initial surge of downloads are real readers or not.

Not saying that there couldn't still be a return on the investment if it is just downloads with no one on the other end intending to read. But it suddenly seems steeply priced.

Then there's the whole ethical question.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 03, 2013, 01:45:32 PM
It is very difficult for computers to leave reviews.

That book got two reviews today, one yesterday, two on 12/1, one on 11/30, three on 11/29, two on 11/28 ... there's no change in the rate of reviewing.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 01:49:49 PM
This never happened and is an obvious lie, fabricated in response to our continued insistence on transparency. Nobody is buying into that I hope. When's the last time any of you saw a single opt-in form on a single book description?

Serious authors, take it from a software & internet marketing pro (me) who has been around since myspace spamming was big (and I made a lot of money at that). You need to understand the risks of this service:

• This is obviously done by using 10,000 fake amazon accounts and a script.

• Amazon obviously isn't going to like it when they catch on (and you can bet some of us are telling them about it right this minute).

• They will figure out how to stop it one way or another. Lots of options here, all of them unfortunate. This could be the end of free downloads boosting visibility at all within the kindle bookstore. Or this could be the end of amazon accounts which have never purchased anything being able to download free books. Who knows, could even be the end of free books.

• It is probable that Amazon will be able to identify the fake accounts and see which free books got downloaded by them. Will Amazon then take action against the books/authors who gamed their system by using this service?  Perhaps the risk of this is small - but the potential consequences so severe that I cannot see serious authors messing around with this at all.

Was beginning to think I was the only one who could see the writing on the wall.

The temptation is certainly there because the service works - for now, anyway. Succumb to the temptation and you are gambling your very self-publishing career, in my opinion. Your decision.

This is the primary concern. Ethics completely aside, there's no telling how Amazon may or may not decide to handle offending accounts who, after using this service and gaming their system for monetary gain, are linked to thousands of malicious accounts. If they decide the want to make an example of people, authors could lose their publishing rights on Amazon for good. While probably not the route they're most likely to take, it's still pretty damned scary, especially for people making a living publishing at Amazon.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 03, 2013, 01:52:18 PM
At the risk of being banned or at the very least flamed...before I even launched my writing career.

This is exactly what I thought was happening. I believe it even more now. Is there a way to cross check email addresses between those two forums?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: dalya on December 03, 2013, 01:56:33 PM
...
Then there's the whole ethical question.

You are absolutely right. As long as any of us have pride in our work and confidence in our talent, we won't do things that are obviously wrong.

I think it's the WORDING of this entity's offer that is setting off everyone's smoke detector. For example, if they had a placebo signup box where you could enter your email address and be subscribed to select emails, that would placate many of us, wouldn't it? And if they made it seem more like BookBananaChimps or whatever?

But who's to say that the cute little friendly happy BananaBookLibraryMonkeys websites aren't doing the exact same thing?

Just sayin'. There is no transparency. We don't see their list or what they're doing. Not for ANY of these sites.

AND ANOTHER THING.

Amazon regularly sends me emails telling me to buy things from authors I've NEVER EVER EVER bought anything from. Authors who HAPPEN TO BE ON THEIR IMPRINT.

So, who's the real banana-flinger?  :D

(This meltdown is brought to you by 5 days without coffee.)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: ゴジラ on December 03, 2013, 02:03:26 PM
But who's to say that the cute little friendly happy BananaBookLibraryMonkeys websites aren't doing the exact same thing?

You can actually look at the click data for BBLM's shortened URLs and watch the clicks rise and fall through the hours. You can also see all the money they've dumped into advertising on sites like Amazon, FB, and Google. It's obvious they're reaching hard for a user base. They use MailChimp for their mailings, which is a legitimate company whose balls could be nailed to the metaphorical wall if something went wrong before it ever hit authors. Plus, they don't guarantee anything. Books can and do fail on BB all the time.

We can't speak to the initial "seed" of their mailing lists, but there's no reason to doubt their current methods.

I was thinking about the placebo form thing this morning, though. LOL. ;D Come on, freebooksservice, give us plausible deniability! Make a fake mailing list to satisfy authors and randomize your per-hour bot downloads so it looks more organic! Then when there's crappy sell-through to book 2, you can just blame it on our crappy books instead of your sockpuppetry. Is that so hard?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Victoria Champion on December 03, 2013, 02:05:54 PM
You are absolutely right. As long as any of us have pride in our work and confidence in our talent, we won't do things that are obviously wrong.

I think it's the WORDING of this entity's offer that is setting off everyone's smoke detector. For example, if they had a placebo signup box where you could enter your email address and be subscribed to select emails, that would placate many of us, wouldn't it? And if they made it seem more like BookBananaChimps or whatever?

But who's to say that the cute little friendly happy BananaBookLibraryMonkeys websites aren't doing the exact same thing?

Just sayin'. There is no transparency. We don't see their list or what they're doing. Not for ANY of these sites.

AND ANOTHER THING.

Amazon regularly sends me emails telling me to buy things from authors I've NEVER EVER EVER bought anything from. Authors who HAPPEN TO BE ON THEIR IMPRINT.

So, who's the real banana-flinger?  :D

(This meltdown is brought to you by 5 days without coffee.)

Mimi/Dalya, I think it's time for you to bring back CAPS LOCK WEDNESDAY. Today is only Tuesday, but go ahead and start one up, sounds like you could use it.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: KeithAllen on December 03, 2013, 02:06:17 PM
WOW...this has been really, really interesting to read. Made my last conference call about stuff I couldn't care less about fly by. I hope I didn't have any takeaways...

I haven't done an email list promotion yet, so maybe my opinion doesn't matter much, but I am planning to do one to coordinate with my next book launch. The very first thing I did after making a long list of providers I wanted to work with was sign up for their reader lists so I could see the types of books coming through and the professionalism of the email. I'm not going to shell out cash for a crappy looking email with 600 books on it. So with that said I wouldn't use this service even with your wallet and me pushing. There isn't a proper marketer on the planet that would turn down adding subscribers to their list, yet this service is vehemently against it?  If I can't as a reader sign up for the list, then the list is fakity fake with a big pile of fake cake.

The whole "let the results speak" thing is akin to saying look at this shiny thing while I do horrible things to your sister behind this curtain. But like others have said the only real results any of us care about is real sales and for us series writers, sell through. The visibility sounds great, but morals aside, I don't see how this turns an ROI. Maybe we'll all be eating our words in a few weeks when the trial-ers come back and say holy sharks and snakes my sell through and sales are huge because of this service...but I sincerely doubt it.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: dalya on December 03, 2013, 02:06:35 PM
...
I was thinking about the placebo form thing this morning, though. LOL. ;D Come on, freebooksservice, give us plausible deniability! Make a fake mailing list to satisfy authors and randomize your per-hour bot downloads so it looks more organic! Then when there's crappy sell-through to book 2, you can just blame it on our crappy books instead of your sockpuppetry. Is that so hard?

LOL! I love you, Sara! Marry me!

Mimi/Dalya, I think it's time for you to bring back CAPS LOCK WEDNESDAY. Today is only Tuesday, but go ahead and start one up, sounds like you could use it.

I know. I just got an email from Amazon the other day and it sent me into an outrage. I know I shouldn't talk [crap] about them if I ever want white glove treatment and preorders and my own personal Amazon-masseur/therapist, but [crap].
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: ゴジラ on December 03, 2013, 02:07:41 PM
LOL! I love you, Sara! Marry me!

Meet you in Vegas?? ELVIS AWAITS
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: MonkeyScribe on December 03, 2013, 02:07:52 PM
You can actually look at the click data for BBLM's shortened URLs and watch the clicks rise and fall through the hours. You can also see all the money they've dumped into advertising on sites like Amazon, FB, and Google. It's obvious they're reaching hard for a user base. They use MailChimp for their mailings, which is a legitimate company whose balls could be nailed to the metaphorical wall if something went wrong before it ever hit authors. Plus, they don't guarantee anything. Books can and do fail on BB all the time.

We can't speak to the initial "seed" of their mailing lists, but there's no reason to doubt their current methods.

I was thinking about the placebo form thing this morning, though. LOL. ;D Come on, freebooksservice, give us plausible deniability! Make a fake mailing list to satisfy authors and randomize your per-hour bot downloads so it looks more organic! Then when there's crappy sell-through to book 2, you can just blame it on our crappy books instead of your sockpuppetry. Is that so hard?

Also, the BB results vary, as you'd expect if it were legit. Not to mention that I get their emails every day and sometimes (too often) buy one of the books I see advertised.

There's also the fact that you could bot your way to 10,000 clicks, but you couldn't exactly do this with paid books. Also, trad pubs use them all the time. Etc., etc., etc. BookBub is legit.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: dalya on December 03, 2013, 02:10:03 PM
... BookBub is legit.

I agree. I love them with doodles drawn around my name as Mrs. BookBub.

I'm talking about new upstarts that will happen/are happening. Or the OP if they follow Sara's evil moustache-twirling-villain plan as laid out in her post.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 02:17:49 PM
I agree. I love them with doodles drawn around my name as Mrs. BookBub.

I'm talking about new upstarts that will happen/are happening. Or the OP if they follow Sara's evil moustache-twirling-villain plan as laid out in her post.

I'm all for new, legitimate upstarts. Bookbub being the biggest dog on the porch is troublesome. But, I'd like to keep the Warrior Forum scams on Warrior Forum. I don't think they have a place here. If novelists want to risk their publishing account to try and game Amazon, let them go find those services there, not here.

The thing about this service that's dangerous, is until Amazon kills their business by throttling their fake accounts, or Amazon starts punishing unsuspecting authors for using the service and being linked to said accounts, it's going to be impossible to show any hard proof to reveal this for what it is - a bot network that games the free rankings.

If they were advertising on KBoards as "game the free rankings with 10000 fake downloads" and Kboard moderators were ok with that, then people can decide to take the risk for themselves. But since it's being advertised as a legitimate service and no one knows what the blowback will be for authors using such a service, I wonder how many kboards authors they'll fleece before the jig is up.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: MonkeyScribe on December 03, 2013, 02:18:08 PM
I agree. I love them with doodles drawn around my name as Mrs. BookBub.

I'm talking about new upstarts that will happen/are happening. Or the OP if they follow Sara's evil moustache-twirling-villain plan as laid out in her post.

This so-called Sara person is too devious for her own good. That goes for you, too. I wouldn't be surprised if the two of you had concocted this whole scheme to test the gullibility of us poor indie writers. I can only beg you to use your powers for good. And if not, at least let me be your minion. I wash dishes and change toilet paper rolls without complaint.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: C.F. on December 03, 2013, 02:20:25 PM
Is anyone else concerned by the different package options? So what if I want the lowest package? Does that email only go out to some of the list (which would make no sense)? Are those people then inundated with more emails because they're getting the offers of people who bought the highest package and people who bought the lowest package? Is the ad worded badly so fewer people download :P? I mean, seriously, if it's a legitimate email list, how is the number of downloads controlled? This is why it's weird to me that "guaranteed downloads" are being sold. With Bookbub and other email advertising services they can give you a range of downloads and average from their experience, but there's no way they can control the number of downloads.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 03, 2013, 02:21:50 PM
Sitting at ~14,000 DLs. High point was #9 in the free store, I think. I've sold 4 copies of my other books since. Either people still aren't buying them or the sales reporting is still wonky. Time will tell on that front.

There's nothing unethical about this so long as no one is being coerced into participating. I'm sure that Freebookservice isn't forcing anyone to download anything against their will.

Moreover, even if his is an operation fueled by bots, by being so high on the lists REAL readers are actually finding my book now. Like Mimi said upthread, I'm surprised there aren't more services like this. Not accusing Freebookservice of anything, but the secrecy surrounding his methods is going to fuel all sorts of speculation from Kboard members. No way around that. I feel a little bad, seeing as how he's been very nice throughout this discussion and we've just kinda dog-piled him.

I can't necessarily recommend the service, because although my downloads are huge and I've gained some increased visibility, I'm unsure whether this boost will result in anything long-term. See Monique's post. I agree with it. That kind of secrecy just doesn't fly around these parts, and like others have said, Freebookservice stands to make a lot more money if they open up to us.

And for those spouting doom and gloom and "THIS IS THE END OF FREE E-BOOKS"? Grow up. Let's all take a deep breath. I don't doubt that Amazon might dislike services like these if they are in fact run by bots, but a lot of the stuff in this thread is hyperbolic and dumb. It would take more than an army of bots to bring the 'Zon to its knees. And I seriously doubt that they would target the authors who've tried this/stop offering free books/not invite us to their birthday party.

Of course, I could be wrong. Perhaps I'll get shuttled off by an Amazon drone to some shadowy facility where Jeff Bezos will punch me in the face, repeatedly, for daring to try some new marketing service. But I doubt it.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Mandy on December 03, 2013, 02:24:26 PM
As a reader, this screams scam to me, too. I read my BookBub emails and other similar lists faithfully everyday, but this is a list I'm not allowed to know about and subscribe to? There are tens of thousands of loyal readers, yet this so-called list remains a mystery?

My gut feeling is, as others have said, the OP is using spammy/scammy ways to obtain these downloads. The question is whether you, as authors, are okay with this if it still gets you the results you want - a temporary boost in rank that will bring a temporary boost in sales.

OP would put a lot of fears at ease if he were to allow one of the mods, like Ann or Betty, to see and sign up for this mysterious list so they can report back on the validity of the list without giving away any "secrets".
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 02:28:41 PM
Moreover, even if his is an operation fueled by bots, by being so high on the lists REAL readers are actually finding my book now. Like Mimi said upthread, I'm surprised there aren't more services like this.

Because, as a 50Billion+ a year company, you can bet Amazon doesn't take kindly to people manipulating their system and will be quickly terminating offending accounts. Maybe not author accounts, but maybe so. The fact that people would even risk it, or even encourage it, for a little visibility is mind-blowing to me.

If Amazon where to suddenly and permanently terminate your publisher account for ToS violations, would you still say it's no big deal?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: KeithAllen on December 03, 2013, 02:29:21 PM
Okay...I'm just spit balling here, but what if this whole thread, nah, this whole service has been market research and we are unsuspectingly telling these guys what they need to do to get us to buy into their tom + foolery? What if we just handed them the golden ticket to open our velcro wallets and spray them with monies? What if... hold on I just got a book idea ...okay back. What if that website shuts down in a few weeks and another starts called evil mustache books? Books guaranteed to twirl your mustache?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: ゴジラ on December 03, 2013, 02:30:07 PM
What if that website shuts down in a few weeks and another starts called evil mustache books? Books guaranteed to twirl your mustache?

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 03, 2013, 02:32:35 PM
Because, as a 50Billion+ a year company, you can bet they don't take kindly to people manipulating their system and will be quickly terminating offending accounts. Maybe not author accounts, but maybe so. The fact that people would even risk it, or even encourage it, for a little visibility is mind-blowing to me.

And, as a 50 Billion+ company, I expect they've got the resources and manpower to shut down this sort of thing if it's as illegitimate as some here claim. And seriously, if I get an email from Amazon saying "Sorry bro, we're banning your KDP account for giving this a shot," then y'all will be the first to hear about it. But until then? It's baseless fearmongering to suggest that authors are going to get smacked by this somehow.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 03, 2013, 02:34:27 PM
Firstly, the secrecy of the list thing doesn't fly with me. If there are all these subscribers then just how exactly is it a secret? It wouldn't be. Secondly to get a list this size do you know how many books you would have to sell with the mailing list linked in the back? Millions. This whole thing is a secret because it's bots. Bots are not ethical and it's the last thing we need in the ongoing debate over the integrity of self publishing.

I understand the desire to use such a service but I think the potential backfire trumps the potential benefits. Especially when you can pay for various other services that are proven, legitimate and see a better return.

It doesn't appear that they reject anybody. Without some standards, whatever they may be, the list would bleed. And they wouldn't get replaced unless someone picked up one of those magic books.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: MonkeyScribe on December 03, 2013, 02:36:50 PM
And, as a 50 Billion+ company, I expect they've got the resources and manpower to shut down this sort of thing if it's as illegitimate as some here claim. And seriously, if I get an email from Amazon saying "Sorry bro, we're banning your KDP account for giving this a shot," then y'all will be the first to hear about it. But until then? It's baseless fearmongering to suggest that authors are going to get smacked by this somehow.

Forget the smacking. Don't you want to be associated only with ethical marketing practices?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 03, 2013, 02:38:16 PM
Forget the smacking. Don't you want to be associated only with ethical marketing practices?

Certainly. No one's looking to become the next John Locke here. But I'm not so certain that this is unethical in any way.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 03, 2013, 02:39:11 PM
And, as a 50 Billion+ company, I expect they've got the resources and manpower to shut down this sort of thing if it's as illegitimate as some here claim. And seriously, if I get an email from Amazon saying "Sorry bro, we're banning your KDP account for giving this a shot," then y'all will be the first to hear about it. But until then? It's baseless fearmongering to suggest that authors are going to get smacked by this somehow.
I don't think it's baseless and I don't think it's fearmongering. To deny the possibility that these things could happen is to be looking at the situation with rose colored glasses. Will it happen? Who knows but it is important to realize that partaking in a service such as this has the potential to backlash. You may not be convinced that this is an army of robots (and you seem to think it's okay if it is) but until I see anything that says otherwise I'm sticking to my guns. I don't think it's ethical, at all, to use this service if our assumptions are correct. But those decisions are up to the individual and it's not our job to make that decision for you.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 02:39:45 PM
And, as a 50 Billion+ company, I expect they've got the resources and manpower to shut down this sort of thing if it's as illegitimate as some here claim. And seriously, if I get an email from Amazon saying "Sorry bro, we're banning your KDP account for giving this a shot," then y'all will be the first to hear about it. But until then? It's baseless fearmongering to suggest that authors are going to get smacked by this somehow.

If your modus operandi is to game something until you get caught, then by all means. But, just as there is no proof to suggest authors won't feel any pain for using these types of services to game Amazon, there's also no proof to support the opposite either (I guess the closest thing we have is the fake reviews fiasco?). One of those unproven outcomes could cost someone their publishing account, which may not be a big deal to you, but I'm sure other people would find that pretty devastating.

I don't think bringing up legitimate concerns and possibilities for an advertised service on this forum should be dismissed as "fearmongering." Especially when that service is being portrayed as something it's not.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 03, 2013, 02:45:32 PM
You may not be convinced that this is an army of robots (and you seem to think it's okay if it is)

I don't think this operation is morally reprehensible if it is, in fact, an army of bots. But, as a service, if it's really just a ton of bots, then it's crap. So, no. If this turns out to be a bunch of hollow downloads meant solely to inflate ranks, then this sucks because it isn't actually leading to any meaningful connection with the thousands of readers it claims. If the first 10,000 downloads are bots and the rest are from ending high up on the charts, then that's pretty weak from a marketing perspective, IMO.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 03, 2013, 02:46:51 PM
As a reader, this screams scam to me, too. I read my BookBub emails and other similar lists faithfully everyday, but this is a list I'm not allowed to know about and subscribe to? There are tens of thousands of loyal readers, yet this so-called list remains a mystery?

My gut feeling is, as others have said, the OP is using spammy/scammy ways to obtain these downloads. The question is whether you, as authors, are okay with this if it still gets you the results you want - a temporary boost in rank that will bring a temporary boost in sales.

OP would put a lot of fears at ease if he were to allow one of the mods, like Ann or Betty, to see and sign up for this mysterious list so they can report back on the validity of the list without giving away any "secrets".

But Mandy, as SMR pointed out above, if they're not on the up and up, it'd be easy to post a sign-up form and start sending out book-ad emails to real people as a cover for the bot action. Just because you're on a list doesn't mean anyone else is, after all. The only reason I know I'm not the only one on BookBub's list is that other people (like you) talk about getting the emails, too.

At this point, I don't think I can be convinced.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 03, 2013, 02:49:01 PM
If your modus operandi is to game something until you get caught, then by all means. But, just as there is no proof to suggest authors won't feel any pain for using these types of services to game Amazon, there's also no proof to support the opposite either (I guess the closest thing we have is the fake reviews fiasco?). One of those unproven outcomes could cost someone their publishing account, which may not be a big deal to you, but I'm sure other people would find that pretty devastating.

I don't think bringing up legitimate concerns and possibilities for an advertised service on this forum should be dismissed as "fearmongering." Especially when that service is being portrayed as something it's not.

Of course the possibility of getting banned is a big deal. But, like you said, there's no proof that Amazon will move to do anything. Heck, the fake review fiasco raised quite the ruckus, and last I checked, John Locke is still kickin'. I should sincerely hope that no author would get smacked with the ban-stick for trying this out. And I should hope that no author's reputation would be marred for giving it a chance.

But, you know, since we're discussing nebulous concerns and vague dread, I think I'll stay home today. The possibility exists that I might get hit by a bus. Or an Amazon drone.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Blerch on December 03, 2013, 02:52:28 PM
I'm honestly surprised, from a business standpoint, that the business side of this didn't create a sign-up form for "real" people to sign up and get free book notices from.

Since we're working under the assumption that it's 10k bots doing these downloads, it'd be simple enough to operate with that to provide value to writers and marketers while creating a real list of email users, and create a Bookbub/BookGorilla competitor.

Seeing that huge of an opportunity being passed up makes me question the validity of this service as well. Especially since if they were doing this, there would be a lot less pitchforks and torches.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: CDForness on December 03, 2013, 02:52:42 PM
I don't think this operation is morally reprehensible if it is, in fact, an army of bots. But, as a service, if it's really just a ton of bots, then it's crap. So, no. If this turns out to be a bunch of hollow downloads meant solely to inflate ranks, then this sucks because it isn't actually leading to any meaningful connection with the thousands of readers it claims. If the first 10,000 downloads are bots and the rest are from ending high up on the charts, then that's pretty weak from a marketing perspective, IMO.

Why wouldn't an army of bots be morally reprehensible?  It's faking social proof, a la, fake reviews, in order to get your book to look more popular than it is.  It is not the same as asking your friends and family to spread the word...unless you somehow have 10,000 friends and family that you can coerce to DL your book.  Nobody has to make a decision via your blurb or the Look Inside feature, or to check your reviews because bots don't care.  Bots do what bots are told to do.  This service is not discerning, like Bookbub, which does not accept nearly everyone who applies and is willing to pay.  
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 03, 2013, 02:57:51 PM
Why wouldn't an army of bots be morally reprehensible?  It's faking social proof, a la, fake reviews, in order to get your book to look more popular than it is.  It is not the same as asking your friends and family to spread the word...unless you somehow have 10,000 friends and family that you can coerce to DL your book.  Nobody has to make a decision via your blurb or the Look Inside feature, or to check your reviews because bots don't care.  Bots do what bots are told to do.  This service is not discerning, like Bookbub, which does not accept nearly everyone who applies and is willing to pay.  

The ethicality of the fake review thing has been discussed ad nauseum. Needless to say, while practically everyone (myself included) considered it absolutely scummy, it ain't a moral issue. Moreover, I might remind you that publishers have bought spots on top lists for many, many years. Are top publishers unethical for taking part in such business practices? Successful businesses manipulate markets all the time. I'm sure Amazon's pulled off a few doozies in their day, no?

At the end of the day, my personal opinions on the ethics of this whole thing don't really matter. If anyone would like to hear about my continued experiences with this promotion, I'll be glad to continue posting. If I get some nasty letter from Amazon, I'll most certainly post it. Otherwise, I'm bowing out of this thread. Dead horses and all that.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 02:58:21 PM
Is anyone else concerned by the different package options? So what if I want the lowest package? Does that email only go out to some of the list (which would make no sense)? Are those people then inundated with more emails because they're getting the offers of people who bought the highest package and people who bought the lowest package? Is the ad worded badly so fewer people download :P? I mean, seriously, if it's a legitimate email list, how is the number of downloads controlled? This is why it's weird to me that "guaranteed downloads" are being sold. With Bookbub and other email advertising services they can give you a range of downloads and average from their experience, but there's no way they can control the number of downloads.

We don't email the entire list for every single package. 2500+ package would conceivably get a much much higher final download number when all is said and done, especially for a permafree. Hope that helps.


Freebookservice stands to make a lot more money if they open up to us.

Considering what SRM said, it appears that even if i showed off every backend detail of my business, some of you would simply claim is some sort of "placebo"  ........
Quote
give us plausible deniability! Make a fake mailing list to satisfy authors and randomize your per-hour bot downloads
so really theres no point, unless I am mistaken.

I feel a little bad, seeing as how he's been very nice throughout this discussion and we've just kinda dog-piled him.

I think sometimes people forget theres a person behind the other computer and I feel more than a little attacked at the moment. :(

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 03:00:56 PM
Of course the possibility of getting banned is a big deal. But, like you said, there's no proof that Amazon will move to do anything. Heck, the fake review fiasco raised quite the ruckus, and last I checked, John Locke is still kickin'. I should sincerely hope that no author would get smacked with the ban-stick for trying this out. And I should hope that no author's reputation would be marred for giving it a chance.

But, you know, since we're discussing nebulous concerns and vague dread, I think I'll stay home today. The possibility exists that I might get hit by a bus. Or an Amazon drone.

Wow. Really?  ::)

So because some people don't share your cavalier attitude in regards to tarnishing and risking their brand over doing something that is pretty much 100% guaranteed to be against Amazon's ToS, it's time for dismissal and condescension? Yikes.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 03, 2013, 03:01:34 PM
Of course the possibility of getting banned is a big deal. But, like you said, there's no proof that Amazon will move to do anything. Heck, the fake review fiasco raised quite the ruckus, and last I checked, John Locke is still kickin'. I should sincerely hope that no author would get smacked with the ban-stick for trying this out. And I should hope that no author's reputation would be marred for giving it a chance.

But, you know, since we're discussing nebulous concerns and vague dread, I think I'll stay home today. The possibility exists that I might get hit by a bus. Or an Amazon drone.

I agree that drastic action by Amazon against authors associated with a rank-manipulation scheme (if that's what this is) seems unlikely. But then again, we know from past experience that Amazon is unpredictable and quite sensitive to perceptions that its system is being gamed. If you lose your publisher's account, you're not getting it back (because there's no changing your social security number). If there's even a tiny risk of that happening, I think it's worth considering. No, I wouldn't not go outside for fear of being hit by a bus. But I also wouldn't lie down and sunbathe on the tarmac of a Greyhound depot.

ETA:
If anyone would like to hear about my continued experiences with this promotion, I'll be glad to continue posting. If I get some nasty letter from Amazon, I'll most certainly post it. Otherwise, I'm bowing out of this thread. Dead horses and all that.

Please do keep us posted on how the promo plays out, OJ. You too, Monique and Estelle. You guys are the only ones who can provide anything other than guesses, at this point.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: dalya on December 03, 2013, 03:03:12 PM
...
I think sometimes people forget theres a person behind the other computer and I feel more than a little attacked at the moment. :(

Hey, that's how we authors feel most days!  ;)  Welcome to the jungle. If you're not being trod on, you're ignored. At least if you're getting trod on, they'll notice a bump underfoot!
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Mandy on December 03, 2013, 03:03:19 PM
But Mandy, as SMR pointed out above, if they're not on the up and up, it'd be easy to post a sign-up form and start sending out book-ad emails to real people as a cover for the bot action. Just because you're on a list doesn't mean anyone else is, after all. The only reason I know I'm not the only one on BookBub's list is that other people (like you) talk about getting the emails, too.

At this point, I don't think I can be convinced.

It still screams shady. I'm a reader and I like bargains. So does hundreds of other KB members, and an untold number of lurkers. What business wouldn't want to expand their list of clients? I don't know of any other business that will go to such lengths to remain so secretive, especially to their paying customers.

And on ethics - so many authors speak out on fake reviews. Is knowingly buying fake downloads to push your rank up really any different? I know this isn't the case here yet, but most everyone is beginning to suspect that this mystery list of downloaders are really bots. As a reader, I'd be a little put off to learn that John is only in the top 20 because he bought thousands of fake downloads. At that point, he loses credibility with me, and I'll probably warn my reader friends. How can I know if his rank on any of his other books is legit now? I would be a little suspicious of his reviews at this point. It just seems too risky to knowingly participate in this kinda thing.
Title: Re:
Post by: Ann in Arlington on December 03, 2013, 03:09:19 PM
I feel a bit scammed. And ignored. You haven't answered my question: Is there a way for me, a reader interested in good books at good prices, to get on tour list? As you don't answer, I suppose not, and conclude the service is not completely legitimate.

Sent from my Kindle Fire HDX.
Title: Re:
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 03:17:05 PM
I feel a bit scammed. And ignored. You haven't answered my question: Is there a way for me, a reader interested in good books at good prices, to get on tour list? As you don't answer, I suppose not, and conclude the service is not completely legitimate.

Sent from my Kindle Fire HDX.

This is an obviously loaded question which was answered in previous questions multiple times.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 03, 2013, 03:18:57 PM
I think sometimes people forget theres a person behind the other computer and I feel more than a little attacked at the moment. :(

Look I'm a sensitive guy and this just whipped a sad face across my head. I still stand beside my point. I think that you are using bots, everything in this thread points to that being the most likely situation. I can't (and won't) say you are being malicious with what you are doing but it appears that you are being dishonest.

There are many authors out there who would have no problem using bots, just as there are authors who will buy reviews. I think they're both shady and I disapprove of both. Still, there is a market out there. I don't know what you could do at this point to prove you have a list because I truly do not believe it exists. Bookbub and company are open with their methods. They have a sign up list for subscribers and an upfront pricing schedule for authors. We know that system works and it works legitimately.

Without a signup site how can you expect us to believe? You couldn't possibly sell enough books with mailing list links to justify such a massive list with consistent results across the genre board. You have a presence on multiple networking boards that have questionable behavior. That lends credence to the idea that this is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

We can't be on the list because it's secret but your claims say otherwise. Your list is not secret, not one bit, if it has actual subscribers. And I've never heard of your service until you came to this board. Not even a whisper. You have to understand how odd that is for a forum full of Authors who leave their ears wide open for the next best idea in book marketing.

I want to believe you but the nature of the internet makes that inherently difficult. You said it yourself, there is a guy on the other side of that computer. But I can't see through your computer and I can't see if your sincere or not. That is to say that your words on the internet own you and you're not making the case for your business model at all. So we will judge you on what you say and do because we can't possibly know the man at the computer.





Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 03, 2013, 03:19:21 PM
I'm sorry, but you're providing a VERY unrealistic idea here. 10% of the freebie loaders buying your next book is not going to happen.

Usually it's between 2-5% of the people that get a free book who'll move on to the second. So don't go expecting that a service like theirs may provide 10%. People should be happy if 2-5% of those 10k people will buy the next. That's 300 buyers. Lets say your book is 2.99. Means you get 2.093 x 3% (300 buyers avarage) = 627,90 dollars. That's more than double what you paid for the ad, and I think it's enough.

If 3% moves on to the next book that is. If it were only 1% then I'd think twice since you earn less than the ad cost. But we're still waiting for the results of the others, so let's wait on that before jumping to conclusions.

I'm glad you pointed this out. I'll be very happy with results like that, and frankly happy if it is half that quantity. I have three books in the series, one at $2.99, one at $3.99, and one at $5.50. If I sell 50 of each I'll be happy, more than break even, and frankly with 10,000 downloads it's doable as I've done it before, several times.
Title: Re:
Post by: Mandy on December 03, 2013, 03:23:07 PM
This is an obviously loaded question which was answered in previous questions multiple times.

Do you realize how many sales you could make right now if you'd simply show someone like Ann this mailing list or some other form of credibility? So many authors want to sign up; they're just nervous over your lack of information, and rightfully so.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: olefish on December 03, 2013, 03:25:05 PM
If you can guarantee 10000 free downloads, I'd say you can guarantee 1% of that, 100 sales at 99c. Selling 99c sponsorships would be a nice step on the road to besting bookbub.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 03:29:56 PM
I'm glad you pointed this out. I'll be very happy with results like that, and frankly happy if it is half that quantity. I have three books in the series, one at $2.99, one at $3.99, and one at $5.50. If I sell 50 of each I'll be happy, more than break even, and frankly with 10,000 downloads it's doable as I've done it before, several times.

That's the point people are arguing and trying to bring to up for other people to be aware of (among other valid concerns). If it is, in fact, 10,000 bot downloads, you're not getting 10,000++ downloads... you're getting however many downloads you get off the improved visibility from gaming the system, which seems to be a few thousand based on the results people have been posting in this thread.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 03, 2013, 03:30:22 PM
Amazon doesn't give out their methods either, and people still scream "not fair!" The op did state they'd built up a list of readers. This is entirely possible. I could see a group of aynonomous authors sharing their genre lists, but because they don't produce enough work, selling services to provide access to that list.
Isn't this why everyone wants to get re-tweeted by someone with a 100,000 followers or more? People pay those people to have access to the fans.

Or maybe they took the time to go through Goodreads, or various book bloggers, and a mass emails through that, or through a marketing survey. There are a several different ways people can put together a list of readers interested in Free ebooks. Maybe they ran a service like snickslist and got them that way. Releasing the information isn't necessary to prove it's legitimate.
I do not think it's bots for the simple reason Amazon would filter them out through their ip addresses, and lack of credit cards on the accounts. You have to open an account with Amazon to download a book. Amazon is very good at filtering out everything that isn't them or a legitimate buyer.  
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Jnassise on December 03, 2013, 03:32:31 PM
I'm not weighing in one way or another on the legitimacy of the service, but I remembered getting email about it back in Oct when William and Thomas first began offering it to kindle publishers in the internet marketing arena and dug it up to add another data point to the discussion. It offers a little more information than the original post did.  (I've decided against doing any Select deals for my works so I won't be using the service anyway.)  My interest is purely for discussion's sake...

From the desk's of Thomas Glenn & William Eloines

Dear Kindle Publisher,

If you're reading this right now then you're one of the FIRST people from the public to ever have this opportunity:
Right now we're giving a select few of you the chance to let us handle your book promotion frustrations.

Watch as we quickly pull your book from the bottom of the amazon ranks and boost it to the top of the best seller charts!

By integrating our private kindle networks and promoting your books on Amazon KDP Select we can send you THOUSANDS of free downloads and create a viral spark that will turn into a hungry flame of rapid sales-- all within HOURS!

We offer one of the ONLY services in the industry that will:

Create sales for weeks and even months after the promotion.
Create a loyal reader base who will buy your full priced books after reading your book while on free promotion--
..all while remaining 100% compliant with Amazon and KDP's regulations by utilizing their free promotion service.

We have been using our closely guarded network of book clubs, kindle reader sites, kindle mailing lists and private communities on our own empire of kindle books...
...now we're ready to offer a few select people the same service we've been using to produce best seller after best seller.

Our networks are comprised of almost 700,000 ACTIVE kindle readers.

We GUARANTEE up to 10,000 free downloads to your next promotion-- starting as soon as tomorrow.

You know as well as I do that the biggest hurdle preventing you from striking gold with kindle is lack of eyeballs to your book (or your book just sucks, which is also possible).


You know that if you could just get your book into the bestseller charts and people were seeing it, downloading it and BUYING it, it would be more than enough to set your sales on fire and make you a long time best seller.

You know this because you've seen it over and over again... from small "no names" in forums to overnight successes like Amanda Hocking, John Locke, Rachel Abbott, E.L. James, Mark Edwards and J.A. Konrath-- just to name a few.

There's also been a ton of "one hit wonders".

Folks who "get lucky" and manage to hit the bestselling chart and then stay there for a month, resulting in hundreds of thousands of sales-- more money than the average person will make in years.

But you already know this, and you're tired of hearing theory. You want to know..
HOW YOU CAN DO IT!
I don't want to burst your bubble, but I also don't want to lie to you.
If your book, or books are crap and nobody would want to read them, you're simply not going to have this kind of success. Sure, you can make thousands on a mediocre book-- I've done it.


In fact, some of our past personal successes have included:

    A weight loss related book in the top 1000 ranking on kindle for over 6 months - 1500-2000 sales per month at 4.99 each (you do the math!).

    Jump starting 2 erotica writers from unknown to top 5000 rankings for their SHORT erotica stories (yes, bestselling short stories).

    A large network of our own books published to the tune of over $20,000 net monthly


Cool, right?

But if it works so well for us, why are we sharing?

Great question, and there's a simple answer.
Quite simply, our network has reached such a massive scale that we now have the ability to promote multiple books a week while still being able to promote our own.
Not selling this service is us throwing money away when we could be using it to have more books outsourced, further expanding our already lucrative empire.

Listen, we have the audience.
Just ONE (of our MANY) free download sites has over 8000 unique visitors DAILY.
Cool, but what can are service ACTUALLY do for you (in practical, non-hype terms)?

Here's a few...
1. Jump start a new kindle book and have it start showing in search results as well as gaining massive exposure.
2. Create a devoted reader base who will download your first book free, and be waiting for your next books ready to buy as soon as they hit the market.
3. Viral Traffic: Buyers who download your book on free and loved it and will then post it around the internet as well as telling their friends-- further snowballing your exposure, downloads and purchases.
4.Targeted reviews to your books from readers interested in your genre. Yes, REAL, organic reviews.That sounds nice, doesn't it? :)
5. Increase sales of your other books by the same author or pen name from people that loved your free book.
6. Jump start your series by promoting the first and then allowing fans of the first to buy the second, third, fourth, etc.
7. And most importantly, your book will push past all the competitors and rank in top of the free bestsellers on amazon, and then high into the paid bestsellers. If people like your book, you could even wind up staying in the top bestsellers for days, weeks, even MONTHS.


This really is just the tip of the iceberg.
It shouldn't take too much effort on your part to figure out why getting your book into the Best Seller charts could change your future as a kindle publisher or author.
But we'll be honest... we're publishers, not marketers and we're VERY new to this whole kindle marketing scene.

This is also the first time we've EVER released this service to the public, so we're taking it slow. We don't want to bite off more than we can chew, and we're also looking for feedback and testimonials.
We have set our prices below what they're worth and we're only taking 40 applicants for our first test run.


IMPORTANT:
Depending on results, we'll more than likely be raising prices, and our previous customers will probably remain with us after they see results, so we CAN NOT guarantee this offer is going to be available tomorrow, next week, next month or even six months from now.

Because of this, we have a few restrictions set in place to keep us from wasting our time or yours.

Rules for promotion:
At the moment we have decided to not allow books with overly spammy landing pages/contents. This includes opt in forms, overuse of links, and other things that can compromise our reader base. This decision was made based on a test that showed that many of our own reader base can unsubscribe and/or leave negative feedback when presented with these types of books. After your order, expect an email within 4-8 hours to discuss date of promotion and help with your strategy. We reserve the right to deny books that don't meet our terms, the buyer will be refunded immediately if we do not approve.

Right now we have 3 packages available, and when they're gone we're going to have to pause this offer, and for how long we're simply not sure.
Your choices include:
SILVER                GOLD            PLATINUM

SILVER: 2500 download guarantee. Real kindle readers.
GOLD: 5000 download guarantee. Real kindle readers.
PLATINUM: 10000 download guarantee. Real kindle readers.

OUR GUARANTEE:
If you purchase and we decide not to promote your book, you will be refunded immediately. If we fail to deliver our guaranteed downloads, you'll be refunded immediately.
This is first come first serve. We apologize if everyone isn't able to get in, and we will try our best to offer more slots as soon as possible.


PLEASE, if you want to try this, don't hesitate.
We look forward to increasing your success on kindle.


Sincerely,
-Tom & Will
Title: Re:
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on December 03, 2013, 03:38:38 PM
Do you realize how many sales you could make right now if you'd simply show someone like Ann this mailing list or some other form of credibility? So many authors want to sign up; they're just nervous over your lack of information, and rightfully so.

Someone like Ann?  What about me? :(

Bear in mind that neither Ann nor I have any way of verifying that a list of emails are legitimate emails or that they are in fact the emails that are used in the service.

Betsy
Title: Re:
Post by: Mandy on December 03, 2013, 03:47:22 PM
Someone like Ann?  What about me? :(

Bear in mind that neither Ann nor I have any way of verifying that a list of emails are legitimate emails or that they are in fact the emails that are used in the service.

Betsy

Hey, I mentioned you earlier in the thread! I was thinking more like allowing one of you mods to sign up for said list and see the offerings given. Then you could at least report back and say, "While I can't disclose any information about said business, I can at least vouch that I'm subscribed and I am receiving emails." KB members know you well enough to trust your judgment.

At any rate, this thread has been very intriguing. :passes the popcorn:
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 03, 2013, 03:49:49 PM
Freebooksservice - When I first got my movie option and had to hire an ip lawyer (Elaine P. English), I was basically called a liar.

I was under confidentiality (like I am with my agents right now). For those who doubted what I was saying I invited them to contact my lawyer and confirm that I do indeed have a contract. Movie producers are like authors, or book promoting services. Some want the publicity, others don't. Most movie producers open separate LLC s for each project, to keep each separate legally and money wise. Some don't, and are more interested in building a public brand.

As your service works, you'll get more fans, and the doubters will be quieted or even possibly jump on the bandwagon. Don't take it personally, this is just people who are legitimately worried because there are scammers out there.  :)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 03, 2013, 03:53:29 PM
Amazon doesn't give out their methods either, and people still scream "not fair!" The op did state they'd built up a list of readers. This is entirely possible. I could see a group of anynomous authors sharing their genre lists, but because they don't produce enough work, selling services to provide access to that list.
Isn't this why everyone wants to get re-tweeted by someone with a 100,000 foloowers or more? People pay those people to have access to the fans.

Or maybe they took the time to go through Goodreads, or various book bloggers, and a mass emails through that,or through amarketing survey. There are a several different ways people can puttogether a list of readers interested in Free ebooks. Maybe they ran a service like snickslist and got them that way. Releasing the information isn't necessary to prove it's legitimate.  

I don't know if you've had a chance the read the whole thread, Lisa, but based on what BookBub can do with its mailing list (the size and complexion of which BookBub makes public), people are figuring that the Kindle Domination list would have to be vast to guarantee up to 10K downloads, no matter what genre. Maybe with no quality control, either? Do they have a vetting process?

For instance, Bookbub has more than 10x as many subscribers for mystery as for YA (http://www.bookbub.com/advertise/pricing). Because YA is underrepresented among subscribers, average downloads of free YA books are only 3,400, and maximum download are only 5,100. For a service to be able to guarantee equal downloads for any genre, there could be no such disparities.

BB says its average downloads of free books in historical fiction and biography and memoir are both around 10K. It has 440K subscribers in historical fiction and 390K in memoir. Thus Kindle Domination also probably needs to have roughly 400K subscribers for every genre. I don't think this is the kind of thing some authors could cobble together by melding their personal lists. Besides, they've already given an explanation for how they built their list, and that's not it.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Jnassise on December 03, 2013, 03:57:44 PM
Thus Kindle Domination also probably needs to have roughly 400K subscribers for every genre. I don't think this is the kind of thing some authors could cobble together by melding their personal lists. Besides, they've already given an explanation for how they built their list, and that's not it.

From their own email quoted in my post at the bottom of page 7 of this thread:

"We have been using our closely guarded network of book clubs, kindle reader sites, kindle mailing lists and private communities on our own empire of kindle books...
...now we're ready to offer a few select people the same service we've been using to produce best seller after best seller.

Our networks are comprised of almost 700,000 ACTIVE kindle readers.

We GUARANTEE up to 10,000 free downloads to your next promotion-- starting as soon as tomorrow."
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 03, 2013, 03:58:13 PM
I don't know if you've had a chance the read the whole thread, Lisa, but based on what BookBub can do with its mailing list (the size and complexion of which BookBub makes public), people are figuring that the Kindle Domination list would have to be vast to guarantee up to 10K downloads, no matter what genre. Maybe with no quality control, either? Do they have a vetting process?

For instance, Bookbub has more than 10x as many subscribers for mystery as for YA (http://www.bookbub.com/advertise/pricing). Because YA is underrepresented among subscribers, average downloads of free YA books are only 3,400, and maximum download are only 5,100. For a service to be able to guarantee equal downloads for any genre, there could be no such disparities.

BB says its average downloads of free books in historical fiction and biography and memoir are both around 10K. It has 440K subscribers in historical fiction and 390K in memoir. Thu Kindle Domination also probably needs to have roughly 400K subscribers for every genre. I don't think this is the kind of thing some authors could cobble together by melding their personal lists. Besides, they've already given an explanation for how they built their list, and that's not it.

I've run ads with Bookbub, ENT, FKBT, and I'm running one with Free Books Service. Like I said earlier in the thread, people thought Bookbub was a scam in the beginning. I remember, and I avoided them for awhile because of it.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on December 03, 2013, 03:58:54 PM
Skepticism is part of the vetting system here, and I think it's healthy.  As someone said, D2D walked through the fires (as you did, Lisa) and survived to become a valued part of the community.  I think valid and important questions are being asked; members can read the responses and make up their own minds as to whether to use the service.

I would like to sign up to be on the mailing list.  Love me some free books....

Betsy
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 04:03:11 PM
I don't know if you've had a chance the read the whole thread, Lisa, but based on what BookBub can do with its mailing list (the size and complexion of which BookBub makes public), people are figuring that the Kindle Domination list would have to be vast to guarantee up to 10K downloads, no matter what genre. Maybe with no quality control, either? Do they have a vetting process?

For instance, Bookbub has more than 10x as many subscribers for mystery as for YA (http://www.bookbub.com/advertise/pricing). Because YA is underrepresented among subscribers, average downloads of free YA books are only 3,400, and maximum download are only 5,100. For a service to be able to guarantee equal downloads for any genre, there could be no such disparities.

BB says its average downloads of free books in historical fiction and biography and memoir are both around 10K. It has 440K subscribers in historical fiction and 390K in memoir. Thu Kindle Domination also probably needs to have roughly 400K subscribers for every genre. I don't think this is the kind of thing some authors could cobble together by melding their personal lists. Besides, they've already given an explanation for how they built their list, and that's not it.

While I appreciate your math, you are basing your numbers on (what you can see) on bookbub... which is a different business than this one. We do have quality control. If we don't feel like we can get the downloads of the package you ordered, we'd simply refund it. If you read our first email that was ever sent out about this service, (in october), which was posted on the bottom of the 7th page of this thread, you would see we actually do stipulate that. Also in our FAQ we urge people to see if they can get an increased number of honest reviews on their book, because we both know a book with 5 reviews will get less downloads than a book with 50.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 03, 2013, 04:05:08 PM
I've run ads with Bookbub, ENT, FKBT, and I'm running one with Free Books Service. Like I said earlier in the thread, people thought Bookbub was a scam in the beginning. I remember, and I avoided them for awhile because of it.

Yeah, I know -- I saw earlier today that you'd decided to give them a try. But a lot of the questions about Free Books Service/Kindle Domination were raised after you made that decision. I thought perhaps you hadn't had a chance to see all the concerns voiced since you last participated in the thread. The concerns about this service strike me as a lot more significant than those voiced about BookBub back in the day ... in part because we now have BookBub, which is so transparent, as a means of comparison.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 03, 2013, 04:08:37 PM
Skepticism is part of the vetting system here, and I think it's healthy.  As someone said, D2D walked through the fires (as you did, Lisa) and survived to become a valued part of the community.  I think valid and important questions are being asked; members can read the responses and make up their own minds as to whether to use the service.

I would like to sign up to be on the mailing list.  Love me some free books....

Betsy

Exactly. I love this place and all who contribute to the discussions, because it has saved me time and money. Everyone here is interested in writing quality books, getting better at their craft, and finding an audience for their books along with the money. :)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 04:09:50 PM
Skepticism is part of the vetting system here, and I think it's healthy.  As someone said, D2D walked through the fires (as you did, Lisa) and survived to become a valued part of the community.  I think valid and important questions are being asked; members can read the responses and make up their own minds as to whether to use the service.

I would like to sign up to be on the mailing list.  Love me some free books....

Betsy

I would like to point out that its already clear even if this is something that I did, this community would simply say I created it as a "placebo" while my so called "bots" worked away in the background.

Even If I showed off my database of emails, someone would just point out that I could have gotten them from some nefarious means.

No matter what I do or say, it appears my only chance to gain any kind of trust, even though it would still likely be very little, would be seeing success from the 3 test-runs that I gave out.

Barring that, I am extremely demoralized at this point about the whole situation and I feel like the general consensus is "lets jump on the new guy until he leaves us alone" instead of "lets sit back and watch with an impartial view until we see more results"
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Jnassise on December 03, 2013, 04:10:23 PM
In the vein of playing the devil's advocate -  if I had a system that guaranteed a certain number of downloads for any book I sent through it (and hopefully corresponding sales afterwards), I probably wouldn't be sharing the exact methods here either.  There is something to be said for market intelligence and exclusive systems when offering a service to paying customers...

That said, I do understand the concerns being raised and appreciate the heartiness of the discussion about them.

-J
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: dalya on December 03, 2013, 04:11:57 PM
...
Even If I showed off my database of emails, someone would just point out that I could have gotten them from some nefarious means.
...

I'd just like to confess that I get all my emails through the nefarious means of promising people smutty books, some free!
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Danni on December 03, 2013, 04:16:46 PM
I would like to point out that its already clear even if this is something that I did, this community would simply say I created it as a "placebo" while my so called "bots" worked away in the background.

Even If I showed off my database of emails, someone would just point out that I could have gotten them from some nefarious means.

No matter what I do or say, it appears my only chance to gain any kind of trust, even though it would still likely be very little, would be seeing success from the 3 test-runs that I gave out.

Barring that, I am extremely demoralized at this point about the whole situation and I feel like the general consensus is "lets jump on the new guy until he leaves us alone" instead of "lets sit back and watch with an impartial view until we see more results"

I don't know that people are asking to sign up as proof so much as there are people who want to sign up for some free books.
So, why can't they? I'm not kidding, I have a ton of friends who sign up for mailing lists for free books and would be all over it.

Also, your comment above pessimistic. Why not provide evidence as it might actually dispel the negative speculation? I used to attend business meetings quite often where ITG had their backs against the wall, but nobody's feelings were hurt. That's not what it was about. We were all there for a common reason: us in need of a service and them with a new solution to provide it to us. They bent over backwards to show the detailed information requested so the customer's would have peace of mind and feel more confidence in their proposal.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Edward W. Robertson on December 03, 2013, 04:20:36 PM
I would like to point out that its already clear even if this is something that I did, this community would simply say I created it as a "placebo" while my so called "bots" worked away in the background.

Even If I showed off my database of emails, someone would just point out that I could have gotten them from some nefarious means.

No matter what I do or say, it appears my only chance to gain any kind of trust, even though it would still likely be very little, would be seeing success from the 3 test-runs that I gave out.

Barring that, I am extremely demoralized at this point about the whole situation and I feel like the general consensus is "lets jump on the new guy until he leaves us alone" instead of "lets sit back and watch with an impartial view until we see more results"

People have been taking advantage of authors since the dawn of time. And KB authors are very protective of each other. So, by being less than completely transparent, you're going to run into some resistance. We've got each other's backs.

But if you're legit, and can offer value, you really will have people jumping all over you--in the good way.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: ゴジラ on December 03, 2013, 04:24:43 PM
But if you're legit, and can offer value, you really will have people jumping all over you--in the good way.

Like a sexy sorority pillow fight, except writers instead of hot young babes and money instead of pillows.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 04:26:40 PM
From their own email quoted in my post at the bottom of page 7 of this thread:

"We have been using our closely guarded network of book clubs, kindle reader sites, kindle mailing lists and private communities on our own empire of kindle books...
...now we're ready to offer a few select people the same service we've been using to produce best seller after best seller.

Our networks are comprised of almost 700,000 ACTIVE kindle readers.

We GUARANTEE up to 10,000 free downloads to your next promotion-- starting as soon as tomorrow."

Even if that is true, given that we've already seen Horror, Fantasy and Romance represented in this thread, the numbers still don't add up. Not even Bookbub is getting people 10k downloads in Fantasy and Horror.

I'm going to make this my last post in this thread as I've been pretty thorough in voicing my opinion on the matter. The reason I've done so is that I was a member at Warrior Forum for a loooong time, and the amount of insane scams and shadiness that goes on there is mind boggling. I've seen tons of services offered there that were fueled by bot networks for similar things: Facebook likes, Twitter followers, Retweets, YouTube likes/follows, whatever is "hot" at the moment, and I'd hate to see hard-working KB authors duped by such a scheme because someone didn't chime up and play the bad guy (I guess that's me).

If this service is legitimate and these fellas have put together a list that contains over a million+ active readers, then I'm sure I'll be eating my words in the future.

Let's look at some of the red flags here: (in no particular order)

1. Of all the voracious readers on this forum, not one person is already receiving emails from this insanely popular free book service.

2. Despite Bookbub being the biggest, baddest dog on the e-book promotion porch, they can't even guarantee half the amount of downloads for genres like Horror and Fantasy, when this service claims 10k across the board.

As stated by their own copy, from weight loss books to erotica, 10k downloads guaranteed. Genre is not a factor upon the results you will receive. Um... what?

3. This super popular free book recommendation service needs to remain top secret because building an active reader list of 1mil+ is so easy to do.

Anyone running this type of book recommendation service and boasting such a responsive, large list would laugh at such a notion. Building a list of responsive, active, engaged users (to the point that you're able to deliver 10k downloads across the board of genres) cannot be replicated over night. Sorry, it just cant. Saying you're hiding your recommendation service for that reason is just absurd.

Because this is no easy task, and takes time and reader awareness, it makes it even stranger that no one on this forum is already receiving your emails or knows what your service is.

4. Immediate drop offs in downloads once "service" has expired.

Already reported by people who have participated in this test. Legitimate email open rates, especially for a list that needs to be as large as yours, don't cliff-off like that. There's the initial blast which gets the highest activity, then a sharp but consistent slowdown as the rest of your subscribers get around to reading the email, if at all. The point is, while the drop off for an email blast is sharp and happens within days/a week, it's not like turning off a water valve. Which seems to be the case here, even with the improved visibility and downloads from Amazon.

5. Service born on Warrior Forum.

Sorry, but this is the biggest red flag of all. Anyone with any experience in the internet marketing world knows all about that place and how it operates. Sorry for the legitimate users there who don't know any better, but guilt by association applies for repeat WSO (warrior special offer) posters.

6. Download packages

Email lists don't generally work this way, unless you're segregating yours somehow... but then, that seems counterproductive to the idea that you're guaranteeing 10k downloads across any genre. As stated earlier, the math doesn't add up.

When you take all these things and compare it to any other service that is similar to yours (read: Bookbub, ENT, PoI, Freebooksy, and on and on and on), way, way too many things just aren't matching up. The most concerning of which is the industry leaders' transparency and your lack of. They're transparent because they know it takes considerable effort/$$$ to replicate what they've created, so they don't worry about Jon Doe stealing all of their business, and they don't mind showcasing the quality/demographics/etc of their lists (and they certainly don't refuse targeted customers) - In fact, it's probably their biggest selling point.

Anyway, good luck to all who choose to try this service, and I look forward to eating my words soon so that I can purchase 100k guaranteed downloads spread across 10+ genres in the near future.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Edward W. Robertson on December 03, 2013, 04:30:00 PM
Like a sexy sorority pillow fight, except writers instead of hot young babes and money instead of pillows.

The number of pants worn is the same in both cases, though.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on December 03, 2013, 04:30:38 PM
I would like to point out that its already clear even if this is something that I did, this community would simply say I created it as a "placebo" while my so called "bots" worked away in the background.

Even If I showed off my database of emails, someone would just point out that I could have gotten them from some nefarious means.

No matter what I do or say, it appears my only chance to gain any kind of trust, even though it would still likely be very little, would be seeing success from the 3 test-runs that I gave out.

Barring that, I am extremely demoralized at this point about the whole situation and I feel like the general consensus is "lets jump on the new guy until he leaves us alone" instead of "lets sit back and watch with an impartial view until we see more results"

You have to understand--this is a discussion forum.  People will discuss.  ;) Also, I don't think there is a general consensus.  There are some people who are very very skeptical (has anyone seen Julie?) of new services, and there are others who are willing to dip a toe in to test the waters. I think we have a range here, but the jury is still out.  I understand that being the one who runs the guantlet is not as much fun as being part of the gauntlet.

By KBoards standards (even though we are the "nice" Internet forum), this has been an extremely civil discussion and you've done your part to keep it that way.  That's to  your credit.  It doesn't always go that way.

But I would be happy to be part of your mailing list.

Betsy
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Paul Kohler on December 03, 2013, 04:30:56 PM
Being relatively new to this business, I have been trying to wrap my head around how they are guaranteeing a specific number of downloads.  Will they see my sales figures through KDP and then 'turn off' the email messages when the downloads reach a specific threshold?  Say I bought the 2,500 guarantee, and they sent out the first 2,500 emails, but only 500 downloaded right away.  How would they know to only send out an additional 2,000 emails?  I certainly am not going to provide my KDP info for them to see.

The way I see this happening is they do not actually have 10,000ish fake Amazon accounts, but maybe a 1,000 at most.  Then, when they get a "buyer" to the service, they turn on the bots on the appropriate number of computers to go download the book.  After a bit of time, the book is removed from the amazon account and then bought again.  With 1,000 computers running the same "program", it wouldn't take terribly long to cycle up to the 10,000ish threshold.  I think I'm right, right?  If you buy a book for your kindle and select it to be removed from your account, it tells you that you would have to buy it again.  I think that would mean another sale.  

Ok, what I suggest there may in fact be fiction, but until it is proved otherwise how to get on their supposed email lists, peoples minds are going to wander.  And with a group of fiction authors on these boards, all sorts of bizzare thoughts will be brought to the table.

As a relatively new author here, I have to make sure I spend every dollar with the best return possible.  Until the questions put forth by so many people above me are addressed and not dodged, I cannot see buying into the scam er, I mean "deal".
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 03, 2013, 04:38:11 PM
While I appreciate your math, you are basing your numbers on (what you can see) on bookbub... which is a different business than this one. We do have quality control. If we don't feel like we can get the downloads of the package you ordered, we'd simply refund it. If you read our first email that was ever sent out about this service, (in october), which was posted on the bottom of the 7th page of this thread, you would see we actually do stipulate that. Also in our FAQ we urge people to see if they can get an increased number of honest reviews on their book, because we both know a book with 5 reviews will get less downloads than a book with 50.

Okay, so you do turn down some books. But not for genre, right? Your site says "Any niche or genre." So assuming they're all quality books, can you guarantee 10K downloads for cookbooks, horror, children's middle-grade, Christian inspiration, poetry, military history, dark fantasy, literary criticism, tentacle erotica, political essay, how-to, satire ... all from a base of 700K subscribers.

That means your emails are much more effective than BookBub's: not every one of the 700K subscribers can be equally a fan of every genre, so you must get a way higher rate of return from those who are fans of each niche. That's hard to believe, since your website (as you admitted up thread), is not well designed. (And it's true that I can only see the numbers BookBub chooses to make public, but I can't imagine why they'd want to make their service look weaker than it is.)

As long as BookBub is out there, people are going to compare what they do and what you claim to do, and that comparison is going to raise concerns about the legitimacy of Free Books Service / Kindle Domination because you claim to be doing so much more with a lot less, and not offering a convincing explanation of how that's happening. Certainly hoping to be proven wrong, especially if KBers are going to be using your service.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 04:39:12 PM
Being relatively new to this business, I have been trying to wrap my head around how they are guaranteeing a specific number of downloads.  Will they see my sales figures through KDP and then 'turn off' the email messages when the downloads reach a specific threshold?  Say I bought the 2,500 guarantee, and they sent out the first 2,500 emails, but only 500 downloaded right away.  How would they know to only send out an additional 2,000 emails?  I certainly am not going to provide my KDP info for them to see.

The point you are missing is that you cant just send out 2500 emails and see 2500 downloads. Obviously much more are sent out than that. Would you prefer if the guarantee was lifted and you had no idea how many downloads you get... ?

The guarantee is simply a money-back promise. It protects you, the customer, if we cannot deliver. If no such promise was made, then I could easily just say "something is wrong with your book" and fly away into the night with your hard earned money...  
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 03, 2013, 04:40:32 PM
You have to understand--this is a discussion forum.  People will discuss.  ;) Also, I don't think there is a general consensus.  There are some people who are very very skeptical (has anyone seen Julie?) of new services, and there are others who are willing to dip a toe in to test the waters. I think we have a range here, but the jury is still out.  I understand that being the one who runs the guantlet is not as much fun as being part of the gauntlet.

By KBoards standards (even though we are the "nice" Internet forum), this has been an extremely civil discussion and you've done your part to keep it that way.  That's to  your credit.  It doesn't always go that way.

But I would be happy to be part of your mailing list.

Betsy

I'm a toe dipper.  8)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Ann in Arlington on December 03, 2013, 04:42:52 PM
You have to understand--this is a discussion forum.  People will discuss.  ;) Also, I don't think there is a general consensus.  There are some people who are very very skeptical (has anyone seen Julie?) of new services, and there are others who are willing to dip a toe in to test the waters. I think we have a range here, but the jury is still out.  I understand that being the one who runs the guantlet is not as much fun as being part of the gauntlet.

By KBoards standards (even though we are the "nice" Internet forum), this has been an extremely civil discussion and you've done your part to keep it that way.  That's too your credit.  It doesn't always go that way.

But I would be happy to be part of your mailing list.

Betsy

Exactly.  

I completely understand why you don't want to share your list.  I don't think anyone has suggested that.  It would be ludicrous to think that's even appropriate.

But you also haven't -- and I have read the whole thread -- given any good reason why you are unwilling to take sign ups from folks who are willing to do so.  Legitimate readers who are known to members here who could then report about the notifications and offers they get.  What are we to think but that there's something funny going on?

Again, I have no real dog in this fight: I don't write or edit or publish.  I just want to read.  You claim to be able to guarantee thousands of readers -- no, actually you are careful to say you guarantee downloads -- but if there's no way for real honest to gosh people to sign up, it's not surprising people wonder how you can do that?

eta: a lot of people are comparing to BookBub.  Part of the reason that came to be seen as legit is that actual readers would post in other areas of the board saying they'd signed up and got these great emails with links to the books they wanted to read and they were GOOD.  So authors learned that they were really doing what they said they would, and were reaching actual readers.  I first heard of BookBub from other readers . . . not here as a service promoted to authors only.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: jimkukral on December 03, 2013, 04:46:36 PM
Welcome to Kboards. :) Everyone with something new goes through this process. I did years ago. Now we're established and proven and our customers speak for us. If your service is legit it'll stick around and will last and you'll have even the most vocal people here now admitting they were wrong. Just gotta have thick skin and stay true to your business model and the truth.

I welcome you here. New ideas are good. We need more effective stuff. Hopefully your service proves to be just that.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on December 03, 2013, 04:53:16 PM
Let me say one more thing--I think there are a lot of very good questions being raised and legitimate concerns.  How those questions and concerns are answered will determine your success here.  We have serious members who do a lot of research and who are protective of other writers.  That's to their credit.

Betsy
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: telracs on December 03, 2013, 05:03:23 PM
To the OP:

Something you may not have really realized about kb.  It is a site for owners of kindles.  So while you're going to find authors interested in paying you to get other people to download their books, you're also going to be getting readers (who may not be authors) here who want to know how to get downloads.  And readers who ARE authors who want to get downloads to read, not just downloads from other readers.

I see the appeal of your site to a reader, but as a reader, I've never really understood the appeal to an author of "increasing" their rank.  Actually, I think I'm going to start a thread about that so maybe some authors can educate me.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 05:22:08 PM
Exactly.  

I completely understand why you don't want to share your list.  I don't think anyone has suggested that.  It would be ludicrous to think that's even appropriate.

But you also haven't -- and I have read the whole thread -- given any good reason why you are unwilling to take sign ups from folks who are willing to do so.  Legitimate readers who are known to members here who could then report about the notifications and offers they get.  What are we to think but that there's something funny going on?

Again, I have no real dog in this fight: I don't write or edit or publish.  I just want to read.  You claim to be able to guarantee thousands of readers -- no, actually you are careful to say you guarantee downloads -- but if there's no way for real honest to gosh people to sign up, it's not surprising people wonder how you can do that?

eta: a lot of people are comparing to BookBub.  Part of the reason that came to be seen as legit is that actual readers would post in other areas of the board saying they'd signed up and got these great emails with links to the books they wanted to read and they were GOOD.  So authors learned that they were really doing what they said they would, and were reaching actual readers.  I first heard of BookBub from other readers . . . not here as a service promoted to authors only.

I have found the reply you were searching the thread for, here it is:

We are protecting our business, and we have made that decision from the start. We also have authors who do not want their competitors knowing exactly what their promotion methods are, which is another reason for this decision. If we changed our mind now, we could lose those clients which have been loyal customers for quite some time. We have had authors coming to us asking if we are promoting another author in the same genre. For what reason, we do not know, but while those of you on kboards may be happy sharing your earnings, promotion methods and tactics, not all writers are the same.

So thats something we are not going to do, to simply appease the mind of a pre-purchase skeptic.

If you see the results of the test copies we gave away, and the reviews & screenshots that you can read on the warrior forum thread and in this thread, and you are still not convinced, then perhaps this service is not for you.

So you know, right now, a huge portion of our clients are from the Warrior Forum. While some of you have super negative reactions to the warrior forum, I don't discriminate what forums my clients frequent. Since they are my bread and butter, they are the clients that get the most say in how my business is run...In this case, money talks.

One major difference that I see between the forums (this one and WF), is that many of the people over there are much more close-chested when it comes to sales, profits, promotional methods and such. They would not appreciate, and will not re-order, if I change my business model and simply show off to the world (give the connection) to where their promoting efforts are spent, what genres they are writing in, etc. I don't know if you realize but, people actually try to sell lists of hot genres. While this may seem absolutely crazy to you, you have to be able to see that what you are suggesting, actually seems crazy to me.... While you may try to compare me to bookbub and say "Bookbub does X, why don't you do X?"

...The answer is, I am not bookbub. Just because bookbub may do well, doesnt mean I have to copy exactly what they do to be successful. The fact is that there are bookbub clones that dont do well at all. I am successful in this venture already and have clients, so I am less inclined to change whats not broken.

I also believe there are still some good ways of cheaply putting together good lists of kindle readers, and I believe there will be some more services similar to mine and bookbub's in the future. If every little thing about the backend is revealed in a community setting like this, I will have no competitive edge in the future.

Seriously, if people knew how many opts you could get from having a form right in the description of your book when it was still possible before the end of october, many more people would have been doing it. Good thing most people had no idea, and I was really sad when that change came into effect.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 03, 2013, 05:32:04 PM
Nobody is secretive about promotion. That's just ridiculous. Promotion by its very nature isn't secretive and you can't possibly have a formula that changes that.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Ann in Arlington on December 03, 2013, 05:34:01 PM
I have found the reply you were searching the thread for, here it is:



Sorry, I read that.  Read it again just now.  Several times.  Slowly.

I still don't see that it explains why you are not willing to let interested READERS sign up for communication from you. All you keep saying is that some of your clients don't want you sharing tactics.  No problem.  I don't give two hoots for tactics.  But maybe I want to sign up.  And I don't know any authors here who aren't THRILLED to hear there are readers who WANT to learn about their books.

I also don't know a thing about Warrior Forum.  Don't care either.  

But here's my problem:

I'm in a service business. Say I wanted to hire someone to promote me to potential clients because I want to grow my business.  The promoter says to me: We have a mailing list and will send your advert to everyone on it, but no one new is allowed to get on the mailing list, not even you to see what your ad will look like.  Guess what? I'm not hiring you. :(
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 05:38:52 PM
d*mn, I just can't stay away! I'm sorry!

I have found the reply you were searching the thread for, here it is:

So you know, right now, a huge portion of our clients are from the Warrior Forum. While some of you have super negative reactions to the warrior forum, I don't discriminate what forums my clients frequent. Since they are my bread and butter, they are the clients that get the most say in how my business is run...In this case, money talks.

One major difference that I see between the forums (this one and WF), is that many of the people over there are much more close-chested when it comes to sales, profits, promotional methods and such. They would not appreciate, and will not re-order, if I change my business model and simply show off to the world (give the connection) to where their promoting efforts are spent, what genres they are writing in, etc.

You realize that people aren't asking to see your entire back end, right? They're asking to subscribe to your book recommendation service, to... you know, receive book recommendations. The fact that you refuse them in some holy-grail of secrecy while gobbling up emails everywhere else is just lol-worthy. You do see how absolutely rediculous that sounds, right?



I don't know if you realize but, people actually try to sell lists of hot genres. While this may seem absolutely crazy to you, you have to be able to see that what you are suggesting, actually seems crazy to me....

People get these lists already, it's called the Amazon best seller lists.


While you may try to compare me to bookbub and say "Bookbub does X, why don't you do X?"

Probably because you're claiming to do the exact same thing that they do? (and out preforming them!) There's only so many ways to send an email.


I also believe there are still some good ways of cheaply putting together good lists of kindle readers, and I believe there will be some more services similar to mine and bookbub's in the future. If every little thing about the backend is revealed in a community setting like this, I will have no competitive edge in the future.

See, this is what gets me. If you've got a legitimate book recommendation service, having readers signup for your wonderful recommendations wouldn't put your business in extreme jeopardy, in fact, it should be the opposite.


Seriously, if people knew how many opts you could get from having a form right in the description of your book when it was still possible before the end of october, many more people would have been doing it. Good thing most people had no idea, and I was really sad when that change came into effect.

I find it highly suspect that you built a highly responsive free book recommendation service (of over a million active readers, no less) off of abusing the book description field or whatever.


Honestly, the questions people are asking aren't hard to meet if you have a legitimate book recommendation service. They're not asking for your first born child. Sorry man, but you're just not helping yourself here. The more you post, the more it looks like a fake accounts network. Buyer beware.


The fact that we're already 9 pages deep and you're still ignoring and refuting so many legitimate questions, makes me wonder how this thread isn't locked yet and your username banned.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: FictionalWriter on December 03, 2013, 05:44:52 PM
Ahhh. Got it now.

This.


I'm in a service business. Say I wanted to hire someone to promote me to potential clients because I want to grow my business.  The promoter says to me: We have a mailing list and will send your advert to everyone on it, but no one new is allowed to get on the mailing list, not even you to see what your ad will look like.  Guess what? I'm not hiring you. :(
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: VydorScope on December 03, 2013, 05:51:38 PM
I have been on the 'net since '92 and am amazed at how civil this has stayed.  8)

I am still holding to my assumption that he is not a scammer, and is just really bad with web page design.  :P I rather assume that and be wrong, then assume evil and be wrong.

I know nothing about the Warrior Forums and do not care to find out. IMO just becuase he comes from a bad forum does not make him a bad person. I would hate for you all to find out I am from New Jersey.... ops!  :P I never heard of this "freebookservice" before this this thread. I have advertising money to give him, but my budget is tight. What SMR, myself and others have asked for is evidence of results. It is the only way many of us will be convinced.

freebookservice, stick it out. Post the follow on sales these downloads generate. If numbers like myself, SMR, and others posted are ball park hit - then many of us will be sending you money. I believe that to be fair request. We are not asking you to let the magic dust our of your box, just show us the dust works. I think it would be fair to say most authors are not interested in FREE downloads, they are interested in readers. If you really deliver readers, this forum will defend you tooth and nail till the end of time. If you merely deliver free downloads, then the value of your service is pretty low.

Send me readers, and like SMR so nicely put it I will be like, "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY" :)

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 03, 2013, 05:56:23 PM
Nearing 15K downloads. I'm at 6 sales, where I had 0 before the promo began. Dunno if sales reporting is stuck, but that's still 6 more sales than I had yesterday haha. The days to come will be interesting so far as buy-through is concerned. Wonder how much stickiness this run will give us. Rank has slipped a bit for all three of us, which is to be expected. I'm at #20 atm, I believe.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: erikhanberg on December 03, 2013, 06:27:43 PM
Here is a thought experiment.

1 ) freebookservice says they have "qualified" email accounts who want free books in a variety of genres.
2 ) "Qualified" suggests many things, but I would suggest a definition: "a customer who reliably downloads free books in their favorite genre(s)."
3 ) That reliability is key for freebookservice to make their guarantee.
4 ) This suggests that freebookservice, in order to make the case they do, has *past performance* before their sales began.
5 ) Past performance isn't just verified by freebookservice. Sales metrics would show it as well.

This leads to a concluding question: had any author here ever had a surge of 2,500 to 10,000 sales in a day or two that was out of nowhere and entirely inexplicable. (Since no one knows where the list came from, it would by nature be inexplicable sales)

I think, from being on the forums for a few years, that this doesn't happen. I can't imagine how the service could be as advertised.

I'm sorry, freebookservice, that you feel unwelcome but you're not just a new guy, you're selling an expensive service with a lot of questions. That's a whole different thing.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 06:30:07 PM
I have been on the 'net since '92 and am amazed at how civil this has stayed.  8)

I am still holding to my assumption that he is not a scammer, and is just really bad with web page design.  :P I rather assume that and be wrong, then assume evil and be wrong.

I know nothing about the Warrior Forums and do not care to find out. IMO just becuase he comes from a bad forum does not make him a bad person. I would hate for you all to find out I am from New Jersey.... ops!  :P I never heard of this "freebookservice" before this this thread. I have advertising money to give him, but my budget is tight. What SMR, myself and others have asked for is evidence of results. It is the only way many of us will be convinced.

freebookservice, stick it out. Post the follow on sales these downloads generate. If numbers like myself, SMR, and others posted are ball park hit - then many of us will be sending you money. I believe that to be fair request. We are not asking you to let the magic dust our of your box, just show us the dust works. I think it would be fair to say most authors are not interested in FREE downloads, they are interested in readers. If you really deliver readers, this forum will defend you tooth and nail till the end of time. If you merely deliver free downloads, then the value of your service is pretty low.

Send me readers, and like SMR so nicely put it I will be like, "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY" :)



Well, If I can handle this mental battery for 2-3 more weeks we can see peoples results on their Book2.

There really isnt any more new questions until those numbers show up anyway.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Danni on December 03, 2013, 06:34:27 PM
If you have an empire of books, did you test out the trickle-down effect toward those purchases after the free run?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 03, 2013, 06:36:57 PM
If you have an empire of books, did you test out the trickle-down effect toward those purchases after the free run?

I do have quite the number of books, however my testing has been on solo books using a KDP promo rather than doing books with permafree that lead up to paid sequels. I did not feel that I was competent enough to be able to get a series that would work well for that kind of promo. Its amazing to see that the larger portion of people on here do the permafree route.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: dalya on December 03, 2013, 06:46:11 PM
Nobody is secretive about promotion. That's just ridiculous. Promotion by its very nature isn't secretive and you can't possibly have a formula that changes that.

Nope. Some people are pretty quiet about what they do. For every indie who posts their numbers and tips for other authors in a blog, there are far more reading those posts and not contributing. I post tips in here, and I try to help, because I'm an artist and contributing to the community makes me happy. But I'm not going to give away everything with a bow, to people who don't.

Also, I think we're getting away from the point here. Regardless of how the sausage is made, is the service worth $229?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: jimkukral on December 03, 2013, 07:20:08 PM
It's pretty obvious that revealing more details on how this works would be letting you know how the "secret sauce" is created. I get why he needs to protect it, and I get why we feel the need to know it. But in the end, he's gotta make that decision to reveal it or not, and we have to decide whether to trust them and buy it or not.

If the emails are being sent from something like Mailchimp, then it's double opted in, and that means they are real people. Which means they chose to receive information, which is really the only reason it probably works anyway. I highly, highly doubt these are fake Amazon accounts. You'd have to have tens of thousands of them and Amazon would catch on too fast.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 03, 2013, 07:20:56 PM
Nope. Some people are pretty quiet about what they do. For every indie who posts their numbers and tips for other authors in a blog, there are far more reading those posts and not contributing. I post tips in here, and I try to help, because I'm an artist and contributing to the community makes me happy. But I'm not going to give away everything with a bow, to people who don't.

Also, I think we're getting away from the point here. Regardless of how the sausage is made, is the service worth $229?

What I meant is that if your book is in a promo (whether that be Bookbub or freebookservice) people are going to know about it. You can't do anything, at that point, to hide that you are promoting. The implication was that his clients don't want others to know that they are promoting.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: dalya on December 03, 2013, 07:23:27 PM
What I meant is that if your book is in a promo (whether that be Bookbub or freebookservice) people are going to know about it. You can't do anything, at that point, to hide that you are promoting. The implication was that his clients don't want others to know that they are promoting.

But "freebookservice" isn't the consumer-side brand, so your competitors wouldn't know, if the emails are going out as BananaMonkeyPajamas emails.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: FictionalWriter on December 03, 2013, 07:33:13 PM
Proceed at your own risk.

This reminds me of those horror movies when the audience is screaming at the screen telling the girl not to go into the room where she just heard a blood-curdling scream.

Before I even signed up for my first Bookbub ad, I signed up. I needed to check it out first for myself. See how well the books in the ads did. I did it for 2 weeks, checking all the sites to see how well the books did. I bought an ad when I was satisfied I'd get result worth the money I was paying. I see absolutely NO WAY to do that here. Not a one.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 03, 2013, 07:34:37 PM
Reporting back. Bought the Platinum pack for $229.

Downloads as of right now: 12627.

This took Billionaire Bound from #4984 in free list to #17. It also moved it to #1 in Erotica and #1 in Genre Fiction.

However, I have books 2&3 in this series as permafree also. They have an almost 100% conversion rate because when people buy book one they straight away grab the other two. I have had a grand total of *4* downloads of book 2 and *1* of book #3.

I have a compilation of the entire series. It has had one extra sale.

It's quite puzzling to me that books two and three would also not see higher downloads given my conversion rate between them in the past has been near 100%.

Thus far I have not earned $229 from this experiment. Will see if the conversion rates start to go up soon on books two and three.

Do you usually see conversions right away?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Danni on December 03, 2013, 07:38:43 PM
A service that offers FREE books to Kindle readers!
But won't let any Kindle readers sign up for the mailing list so they can get free books.

I'm done.

 :-\
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Deanna Chase on December 03, 2013, 07:42:33 PM
Reporting back. Bought the Platinum pack for $229.

Downloads as of right now: 12627.

This took Billionaire Bound from #4984 in free list to #17. It also moved it to #1 in Erotica and #1 in Genre Fiction.

However, I have books 2&3 in this series as permafree also. They have an almost 100% conversion rate because when people buy book one they straight away grab the other two. I have had a grand total of *4* downloads of book 2 and *1* of book #3.

I have a compilation of the entire series. It has had one extra sale.

It's quite puzzling to me that books two and three would also not see higher downloads given my conversion rate between them in the past has been near 100%.

Thus far I have not earned $229 from this experiment. Will see if the conversion rates start to go up soon on books two and three.

In contrast I have a friend who had a BookBub ad run today on a freebie and her other book not even in the same series that is free is seeing a very decent and clear conversion rate.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: ゴジラ on December 03, 2013, 07:49:52 PM
On the other hand, this could be a super interesting way to tell how many downloads come from list visibility alone.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Deanna Chase on December 03, 2013, 07:51:26 PM
On the other hand, this could be a super interesting way to tell how many downloads come from list visibility alone.

Stats!
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 03, 2013, 07:52:11 PM
The maw, it hungers.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 03, 2013, 07:55:39 PM
Also, I think we're getting away from the point here. Regardless of how the sausage is made, is the service worth $229?

Or more. According to the website, these are promotional prices. They go up on Thursday, but it doesn't say by how much.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: ゴジラ on December 03, 2013, 07:56:14 PM
Or more. According to the website, these are promotional prices. They go up on Friday, but it doesn't say by how much.

Original price quoted on Warrior Forum is over $300, iirc, but I'm not going back to check.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 07:57:11 PM
If the emails are being sent from something like Mailchimp, then it's double opted in, and that means they are real people. Which means they chose to receive information, which is really the only reason it probably works anyway. I highly, highly doubt these are fake Amazon accounts. You'd have to have tens of thousands of them and Amazon would catch on too fast.

Which is more likely here?

1. That this guy has access to or purchasing access to several batches of thousands of fake accounts running on a timed script?

Or

2. That he's built a million+ user free book recommendation service that not a single reader on this forum has heard of or can track getting an email from, ever? AND he doesn't want more readers signing up, AND that out performs bookbub on free downloads? (Just typing that makes me feel rediculous.)

Google:

Kindle Domination

which brings up a link to the kindle domination pdf by Thomas Utt (Not Thomas Glenn as his purchase emails state, but then again, we all use pen names). Going up one level on the server directory shows: imadvise.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/ (imadvise.com also registered to Thomas Utt). There lies plenty of book about CPA networking and all that internet marketing jazz. Cost Per Action marketing is all about getting a user to do something for exchange of cash.

Botting CPA offers is old news, but in Amazon's case, not so much... as this is probably new ground for them to deal with.

It also leads to the email uttsmarketing@gmail.com - following that through Google shows his threads on warrior forum where he's selling Solo Email blasts under the username Thomas1984.

Googling that username and warrior forum reveals an interesting conversation about using freelance sites to purchase traffic for your CPA offers, or in this case, in 2013, probably amazon book downloads.

(http://i.imgur.com/NbU2g83.png)


Now granted, none of this is a smoking gun, but based on the reports of people here and the shadiness surrounding it all, how much more compelling evidence do you actually need? It's got Warrior Forum scam crap 101 written all over it in big, bold, flashing letters. :(

If emily's results don't prove that these are fake accounts or whatever (going from near 100% conversion rates to .04%), then nothing will.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 03, 2013, 07:59:26 PM
On the other hand, this could be a super interesting way to tell how many downloads come from list visibility alone.

Very interesting.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 03, 2013, 08:02:05 PM
Kat, you and I are on the same page. I don't buy it for a second.

I actually think this:

Yup. The numbers climb up at almost the exact same rate. It's not buy, read, buy, read. When readers see that the first three are free they download all at once before reading.

When they first went permafree they had about 400 downloads in a day or so. All three titles were on par.

... is the smoking gun.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 03, 2013, 08:07:59 PM
Nice detective work there, Kat. And thanks for sharing your numbers, Emily. Might've just proven it is a sham after all.

Most interesting. I wonder if the OP will chime in on any of these findings.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 08:20:09 PM
Nice detective work there, Kat. And thanks for sharing your numbers, Emily. Might've just proven it is a sham after all.

Most interesting. I wonder if the OP will chime in on any of these findings.

Not all my own work. KB'ers are voracious.

Interesting to note that none of the searches in all this produce anything that even resembles anything close to optins for free book recommendations though. Emily's results alone are staggering. Way beyond any statistical probabilities or "reader delays."
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: SBJones on December 03, 2013, 08:41:34 PM
Okay, that totally makes sense now and fits all of the observations.  Yes, there are real people out there clicking the buy it now button on your book.  It appears to be an incentive type of marketing.  Similar to all of the ads and marketing you see about filling out surveys for points.  Points that are later exchanged for gift cards and other items.  So say 10 people pay $300 each to have their book promoted, they go in and set up a task; click these ten links and download these free books, earn 100 farmville bucks or whatever.  

These take our survey for rewards can all be limited on the number of completions, thus the easy 2500, 5000, 10k quick downloads then it cuts off suddenly because it doesn't take very long for the stay at home people to burn through them thinking they can make thousands of dollars a month by filling out surveys.  

Are these people actually interested in your book or just interested in their 100 game points?  Some may go on to read your book when the candy crush server is down, but almost all of them won't.  This is why you do not see any corresponding downloads to your other free books because they were never there to click anything other than that specific by now button that had a trigger link.  All of this can be filtered with an initial questionnaire as well so people who don't like romance are not getting romance links in their tasks.  This can produce better results than just mass farming the task.

Or I could TOTALLY be wrong.  If this is how they are doing it, then the ethics are completely different than a bot farm.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Patty Jansen on December 03, 2013, 08:48:14 PM
I dunno about you, but this is totally the most educative thread on the KB right now

*passes popcorn*
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Deanna Chase on December 03, 2013, 08:49:44 PM


Or I could TOTALLY be wrong.  If this is how they are doing it, then the ethics are completely different than a bot farm.


Maybe not quite the same level as a bot farm, but I'd still say it's shady. It's essentially paying people to download your book who probably have zero interest in it. Not that different than paying for reviews in my eyes. Or buying your way onto a bestseller list.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 03, 2013, 08:57:18 PM

Or I could TOTALLY be wrong.  If this is how they are doing it, then the ethics are completely different than a bot farm.


The only problem I'm seeing her is profit. For the silver package they could only spend 3 cent's a book (and that's stopping at 2500 books. Some of the test runs on here were far outpacing the guaranteed levels. Some of that is probably attributed to the higher rank that was achieved through the mass downloads). That number is also not accounting for profit. I worked for about an hour on clickworker once (I was broke) and I don't think anything paid under four cents when I was there.

Additionally, these sort of jobs didn't really fly off the shelf. So I think it would be difficult to hit 10,000 that way in a short period of time (18,000 in some of the members cases). You could be right and I wouldn't be surprised if you were, but I'm still going with bots. Either way the dishonesty is far worse than the "crime". I think it's very apparent at this point that there is no list.

I think both a bot farm or paying for downloads are both reprehensible. It now makes sense to me when he said he didn't want his competitors to know about his methods, because his competitor is the system he is trying to game. The system that will hopefully shut him down.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 03, 2013, 09:04:58 PM
The only problem I'm seeing her is profit. For the silver package they could only spend 3 cent's a book (and that's stopping at 2500 books. Some of the test runs on here were far outpacing the guaranteed levels. Some of that is probably attributed to the higher rank that was achieved through the mass downloads). That number is also not accounting for profit. I worked for about an hour on clickworker once (I was broke) and I don't think anything paid under four cents when I was there.

Additionally, these sort of jobs didn't really fly off the shelf. So I think it would be difficult to hit 10,000 that way in a short period of time (18,000 in some of the members cases). You could be right and I wouldn't be surprised if you were, but I'm still going with bots. Either way the dishonesty is far worse than the "crime". I think it's very apparent at this point that there is no list.

I think both a bot farm or paying for downloads are both reprehensible. It now makes sense to me when he said he didn't want his competitors to know about his methods, because his competitor is the system he is trying to game. The system that will hopefully shut him down.

Take buying Facebook Likes for example, back when this was a new thing, it wasn't uncommon to find hundreds of people who could sell you 1000 likes on fiverr.com for $5 or cheaper on other sites. If you wanted them, you could find them. All of them selling likes from fake, duplicate or hacked accounts to reach that 1000.

What the Warrior Forum Special Offer guys would do, is find 20+ of these offers that delivered through trial and error. Then, resell the package as a one time deal of say 20,000 likes for $199. None of the little guys on their own could produce this number, but combined... Just being the middle man in this equation gets you $99ish in profit per transaction. CPA botting probably works in a similar way. Whether that's the method he's using or not, who knows.

But it seems clear that something shady (not legitimate downloads, something Amazon would probably be p'd off about) is more likely to be happening than this guy having a hugely popular free book recommendation service that no one can sign up for, and that no one's heard of.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Estelle Ryan on December 03, 2013, 09:08:46 PM
It's just taken me 40 minutes to catch up on the 4 pages I missed while away from my computer. Here is the latest screenshot:

(http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u574/Estelle_Ryan/Amazoncom-TheGauguinConnectionGenevieveLenardeBook-EstelleRyan-KindleStore2013-12-0405-52-00_zps111e070b.jpeg)

I had a Bookbub ad two weeks ago with fabulous results (as usual). I will be comparing the sell-through rates of this promo with those. If the almost 17,000 downloads were from real people and not bots or fake accounts or download-elves, I should see similar results percentage-wise. If the first 10,000 downloads weren't 'real', the percentages will show that my sales came from 7,000 readers, not 17,000. Or I will have 17,000 downloads' results. That is the info I'm interested in and that's what I'll report back.

How do I feel about this? Terrified! My integrity is the most important thing I have in this business and in life. I can only hope this won't come back and bite me in the whoopsie. Reading through the 4 pages now made me realise a few things. One of those is the impossible situation Freebookservice is in, especially if they have a business model they decided to not share. If they are ligit, they are walking through fire at the moment to prove it. If they are not ligit, the fire will burn their bots and download-elves. I'm still sceptical and will not recommend this service - not yet, not while I'm only convinced of the wonderful downloads. But I am willing to wait it out, analyse the results and then make up my mind. As all of you, I have my doubts, but I'm so very, very careful to make a firm decision about something or someone when it is based on speculation and I lack credible evidence. Time will tell...
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Romi on December 03, 2013, 09:10:27 PM
I dunno about you, but this is totally the most educative thread on the KB right now

*passes popcorn*

I myself went through half a Dairy Milk bar (family size) while reading this entire thread.  :o

I'm so glad Kindleboards exists to help us all make informed decisions.

As for me, I don't want bots or "humans trying to earn survey rewards by downloading my book" to download my permafree book, I want humans on the lookout for books to download it, with the hope that one day--I know TBR piles can be big--the words I wrote will get read and connect with these human readers (why I write), which will hopefully lead to other not-free words being read, so I can make enough money to find the time to make more words, which will also hopefully get read one day. Climbing the charts WITHOUT all of that connecting with humans," or with only a small halo effect of "connecting with humans" after all the non-connecting drone-like ""buy now" button pushes for an incentive" means nothing to me.

Now if you'll excuse me, there are many squares of recently-consumed Dairy Milk that need to settle into my body as I sleep (conversion rate of calories to fat: 100%; now that's a number you can trust!!)


Title: Re:
Post by: Boyd on December 03, 2013, 09:17:20 PM
Someone like Ann?  What about me? :(

Bear in mind that neither Ann nor I have any way of verifying that a list of emails are legitimate emails or that they are in fact the emails that are used in the service.

Betsy

we'd never forget you Betsy!
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: dalya on December 03, 2013, 09:18:22 PM
If someone wanted to see the free books come off of Amazon, these services that eat up their bandwidth and create small niche businesses ... um ... seem to be a decent-sized straw on the camel's back ...

The only thing that shocks me is that these services haven't been more prevalent.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: cinisajoy on December 03, 2013, 09:20:05 PM
A  quickie search turned up nothing on Thomas Glenn and William Eloines or Thomas & William.   Absolutely nothing about books or promotions or anything.  
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Michael J. Scott on December 03, 2013, 09:22:44 PM
Gasp. Ten pages in and I still don't know what to think!  :o I'm hoping this is legit, if only because it creates an alternative to BB, but all that skepticism makes me dizzy. I'm waiting to see how things turn out for those that have tried it.

Then again, I'm not doing any KDP promoting until January, so I've got time to assess.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 03, 2013, 09:23:30 PM
So, taking Emily's results and my own, it seems pretty clear to me that interested people (if they're people at all) ain't downloading these things until they get high up in the charts. The sell-through (especially on other permafree titles) would've been higher. I mean, they'd have to be at least a bit higher than they are. But only now that my titles have reached the top 100 free list have I seen even the slightest trickle of attention to my other books. Damn strange for a list of allegedly interested readers. Certainly doesn't act like any other list that's ever featured my book, that's for sure.

Coupled with all of the lovely dirt that's been dug up in this thread, I'm pretty confident this is a scam. A fairly elaborate one that kept a lot of us guessing and capitalized on my optimism. I was really, really hoping that this was the real deal. A legit competitor to Bookbub would be a godsend, but then, Bookbub only works because they have droves of real, interested readers. Any successes we've had so far, or will have in the days to come, will likely be minimal and will be attributed almost 100% to the real readers who stumbled on the books after they climbed into the top 100. As promised, this service gave us a crap ton of downloads and sent the books pretty high in the list. But from a marketing perspective, that's pretty worthless and totally misses the point. Shame that selling books isn't just a numbers game.

If I were you, I'd consider looking into a refund, Emily.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 03, 2013, 09:30:30 PM
How do I feel about this? Terrified! My integrity is the most important thing I have in this business and in life. I can only hope this won't come back and bite me in the whoopsie. Reading through the 4 pages now made me realise a few things. One of those is the impossible situation Freebookservice is in, especially if they have a business model they decided to not share. If they are ligit, they are walking through fire at the moment to prove it. If they are not ligit, the fire will burn their bots and download-elves. I'm still sceptical and will not recommend this service - not yet, not while I'm only convinced of the wonderful downloads. But I am willing to wait it out, analyse the results and then make up my mind. As all of you, I have my doubts, but I'm so very, very careful to make a firm decision about something or someone when it is based on speculation and I lack credible evidence. Time will tell...

Thanks for keeping up posted, Estelle. How serendipitous that you have a recent BB promo, for comparison purposes.

I don't think you should worry about your integrity. You and Monique and OJ had none of this info when you signed up, and now you're the ones helping KB figure out what's going on here. If you guys hadn't taken this offer and posted your results, we'd all know a lot less going forward.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: cinisajoy on December 03, 2013, 09:34:09 PM
I am going to give freebooks the benefit of the doubt and say he may have misunderstood some of us.
No one is wanting to see your mailing list but there are several here that would love to be on your mailing list for the free books.   Do you see the difference?  
Sorry I am late to the party but I actually read the thread before posting.

Hi!  I am cin, queen of the free download and on every free book e-mail list I can find.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Estelle Ryan on December 03, 2013, 09:39:45 PM
Thanks for keeping up posted, Estelle. How serendipitous that you have a recent BB promo, for comparison purposes.

I don't think you should worry about your integrity. You and Monique and OJ had none of this info when you signed up, and now you're the ones helping KB figure out what's going on here. If you guys hadn't taken this offer and posted your results, we'd all know a lot less going forward.

 :-*
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Al Stevens on December 03, 2013, 09:45:28 PM
To: freebookservice:

First a question: We specify a "preferred" start date for the promotion of our submission. How do we know what date you actually start promotions?

Now some comments: Batting some numbers around, assuming Free Book Service does no real email promotion at all but uses recruited downloaders as has been suggested several times:

Author pays $229 for 10,000 downloads. That's $.023 per download.
If freebookservice pays 10,000 surrogate readers to download, they can't pay much more than a penny per book.

For the downloaders to make any money, say, ten bucks, they'd need about a thousand books to download. Not to mention an amazon account set up to deliver to a registered kindle device or app. With a name, email and  shipping addresses, and phone number. (You can't setup an amazon account without them.)

The effort itself would be minimal. From a list of URL links provided by freebookservice, it's only two clicks: URL->Buyit Now with One Click. So maybe they can do more than 1,000 downloads in a shift, but freebookservice would need that many books signed up every shift to make it work. Right now as they try to grow, they probably have a lot fewer than that. So the bot thing sounds more likely.

Why not let readers subscribe? Because, by using a bot and a database of sock puppet accounts and book URLs, they don't have to send out promo emails. That's the only reasonable explanation I can think of. Might not be the only one, but freebookservice is not being forthcoming with anything like a reasonable explanation. I'm not sure why he didn't see that one coming. I'd love to be a fly on the wall if he proposed this service on AW. Maybe he did; I haven't been there in a while.

This is all speculation, of course. But to believe that there is a 700,000 entry mailing list available to a service we only just heard about and that no one is allowed to join the list beggars the imagination.

Now, consider this.

These kinds of strategies and others tend to work at first when they are new and when not a lot of authors are trying them. Then, when the pioneers report good things, others climb aboard. Eventually it stops working because everybody's on the wagon, and there aren't that many buyers to go around.

There are exceptions. BookBub still works because they vet submissions and reject many of them. (And I don't think they make their mailing list available either.)

But the tagline to this story is: If authors are adventurous and want to wade into the first wave, do it soon. Because there's a chance that it will fizzle after it's run its course.

I decided to give it a try eyes wide open, the point being to bump the ratings and maybe even get some reviews. I'll let the board know.

To freebookservice I would add: If you are serious about this being a going concern, you need to do the following:

You need to do all those things because right now it looks like you live in Nigeria and are telling me I've inherited 10,000 downloads from the exiled shah, and which you are holding in escrow.


Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 03, 2013, 10:00:29 PM
. I'm not sure why he didn't see that one coming. I'd love to be a fly on the wall if he proposed this service on AW. Maybe he did; I haven't been there in a while.


I.
Can't.
Imagine.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 03, 2013, 10:03:56 PM
I'd love to be a fly on the wall if he proposed this service on AW. Maybe he did; I haven't been there in a while.

I laughed so hard at the thought of this that I choked on my coffee. That'd be a sight to see.

Quote
I decided to give it a try eyes wide open, the point being to bump the ratings and maybe even get some reviews. I'll let the board know.
So, wait. You're paying to give this service a go, Al?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 03, 2013, 10:05:36 PM
So, wait. You're paying to give this service a go, Al?

Now I'm spitting out my coffee! I didn't catch that on the first read through.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Al Stevens on December 03, 2013, 10:12:27 PM
So, wait. You're paying to give this service a go, Al?
I did. It's a gamble that the leading edge will pay off not necessarily in dollars but in exposure. And call it a bit of research that I paid a relatively small amount for. (I've started and shut down two different books about self-publishing.)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 03, 2013, 10:31:30 PM
Well, I wish you all the best with it, Al. Will be curious to hear about how it goes for you.

I'm nearly to 15,500 downloads at the moment. Seems the reporting is more regular now for my paid books. I've sold 10 in the last 24 hours. A respectable sum for a small fry like me. Especially when you consider that the first 10,000+ downloads might have been worthless. Whether more will trickle in is hard to say. Dunno what to make of this, either, but after being ousted pretty hard from the top 20 on the free list, I seem to have entered a more stable ranking. I was at #29 a while ago and slipped to #30 just now. A much more gradual decline than I experienced earlier. Monique's not far behind me, and Estelle seems to be holding up around the mid-20's.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: David Adams on December 03, 2013, 10:40:15 PM

There are exceptions. BookBub still works because they vet submissions and reject many of them. (And I don't think they make their mailing list available either.)

If you go to Bookbub.com, signing up is the very first massive thing you see.

My main concern about this is that it will almost certainly destroy your also-boughts. I wouldn't be surprised that anyone who got 10,000 downloads on non-targeted buys ends up with some very strange also-boughts. That might be a case of short term gain, long term loss.

Not everything is ranking.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on December 03, 2013, 11:23:02 PM
If you go to Bookbub.com, signing up is the very first massive thing you see.

My main concern about this is that it will almost certainly destroy your also-boughts. I wouldn't be surprised that anyone who got 10,000 downloads on non-targeted buys ends up with some very strange also-boughts. That might be a case of short term gain, long term loss.

Not everything is ranking.

I don't think free books appear on the normal paid also boughts any more. The great zon made a change recently.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 03, 2013, 11:25:45 PM
I thought that was just permafree?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Philip Gibson on December 04, 2013, 12:41:15 AM
Well, this is all so interesting.

What a drama!

Makes me feel justified, as I have, in writing a series of historical books composed entirely of imaginary feeds from Social Media. This feed/thread itself could make a good book if it ends in some kind of dramatic conclusion.

Which it well may.

Personally, I think that aggressive, cunning marketing is tantamount to cheating.

But that's probably a British thing and likely daft and unworldly to consider.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on December 04, 2013, 12:48:39 AM
I thought that was just permafree?


Hmm, you may be right. Maybe they appear again when the book goes back to paid. It's possible.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Greg Strandberg on December 04, 2013, 02:22:33 AM
Boy, what a slog getting through those 11 pages.

So why are sites like this operating, bot sites or forced sites or whatever?  What is driving this huge demand to them? 

We can point our fingers at BookBub, the undisputed king of the hill for eBook advertising, and I think their success is partly to blame.  Yeah, sounds bad, but their selectivity ensures that people will go other, shadier routes.  Now there's dozens if not hundreds of others sites out there like BookBub, and about a dozen or so have quite a significant reach.  But is that good enough?

Yeah, authors want downloads, paid or otherwise.  When you take money out of it your goal is really to get as many clicks on that button in a set amount of time as possible.  Heck, rats in a lab can do that.  I guess anyone with a perma-free knows how useless many of those downloads are, and that really the sales on books 2 and 3, and possibly some reviews on book 1, are really the only thing free is good for.

Sites like this might get you up on the charts and some visibility, but like someone else said, you can't make someone buy (even free) something they don't want.  With these sites authors are in a way making people do something they don't want to do, however indirectly.  And there is an effect on other authors, perhaps those that are doing more 'traditional' advertising for good bucks who's efforts are being thwarted.  Maybe they almost got to #20 but only made it to #21.  Doesn't sound like much but how many times do you click over on that other page?

I don't know, this is a difficult one, that's for sure.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: David J Normoyle on December 04, 2013, 03:01:26 AM
Reporting back. Bought the Platinum pack for $229.

Downloads as of right now: 12627.

This took Billionaire Bound from #4984 in free list to #17. It also moved it to #1 in Erotica and #1 in Genre Fiction.

However, I have books 2&3 in this series as permafree also. They have an almost 100% conversion rate because when people buy book one they straight away grab the other two. I have had a grand total of *4* downloads of book 2 and *1* of book #3.

I have a compilation of the entire series. It has had one extra sale.

It's quite puzzling to me that books two and three would also not see higher downloads given my conversion rate between them in the past has been near 100%.

Thus far I have not earned $229 from this experiment. Will see if the conversion rates start to go up soon on books two and three.

Yup. The numbers climb up at almost the exact same rate. It's not buy, read, buy, read. When readers see that the first three are free they download all at once before reading.

Just wanted to quote this in case anyone missed it. It clearly shows that these are not real readers as such. (Seems from another post they are download elves rather than bots, but more or less same thing)

Emily has the first three books free. She advertised the first one.

Expected behavior for real readers deciding they wanted to read based on finding out about the book from an ad.
Bk1 downloads 12626
Bk2 downloads 10000+
Bk3 downloads 10000+

Actual behavior
Bk1 downloads 12626
Bk2 downloads 4
Bk3 downloads 1

Not much room for doubt.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: micki on December 04, 2013, 03:06:50 AM
This maybe a stupid question: Doesn't Amazon lose money on free e-books when you take into consideration their delivery costs? If Free Book Service suddenly boosts the free e-book downloads with the impressive numbers they guarantee, surely soon than later Amazon will cotton onto this and maybe close down all free e-books. If we all paid for what Thomas is offering, and Amazon realises this and does decide to chop free e-books, are we not shooting ourselves in the foot so as to speak. 
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Usedtopostheretoo! on December 04, 2013, 03:17:49 AM
Has anyone clicked on the link in his very first message (sample book that was not his own) and found that it makes your browser go ape[crap] crazy? Tabs automatically opened, and continued to open...repeatedly. I had to force quit Safari. When I restarted Safari, the "x" button on the  browser tabs had vanished. I had to reset Safari.

I'm just curious...because the instant that happened, I told myself..."something isn't right here—at all."
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on December 04, 2013, 03:47:48 AM
It didn't affect my browser on my iPad; of course, that's a whole 'nother thing.  Doesn't surprise me, though, even if they're legit, there's a whole lot of stuff going on in the book description on that page....

Betsy
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Mandy on December 04, 2013, 04:10:31 AM
Just trying a different tactic:

freebookservice, are you saying that these 10,000+ book downloads are 100% coming from real people who willingly signed up for your mailing list that promotes free ebooks?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 04, 2013, 04:55:59 AM
Which is more likely here?

1. That this guy has access to or purchasing access to several batches of thousands of fake accounts running on a timed script?

Or

2. That he's built a million+ user free book recommendation service that not a single reader on this forum has heard of or can track getting an email from, ever? AND he doesn't want more readers signing up, AND that out performs bookbub on free downloads? (Just typing that makes me feel rediculous.)

Google:

Kindle Domination

which brings up a link to the kindle domination pdf by Thomas Utt (Not Thomas Glenn as his purchase emails state, but then again, we all use pen names). Going up one level on the server directory shows: imadvise.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/ (imadvise.com also registered to Thomas Utt). There lies plenty of book about CPA networking and all that internet marketing jazz. Cost Per Action marketing is all about getting a user to do something for exchange of cash.

Botting CPA offers is old news, but in Amazon's case, not so much... as this is probably new ground for them to deal with.

It also leads to the email uttsmarketing@gmail.com - following that through Google shows his threads on warrior forum where he's selling Solo Email blasts under the username Thomas1984.

Googling that username and warrior forum reveals an interesting conversation about using freelance sites to purchase traffic for your CPA offers, or in this case, in 2013, probably amazon book downloads.



Now granted, none of this is a smoking gun, but based on the reports of people here and the shadiness surrounding it all, how much more compelling evidence do you actually need? It's got Warrior Forum scam crap 101 written all over it in big, bold, flashing letters. :(

If emily's results don't prove that these are fake accounts or whatever (going from near 100% conversion rates to .04%), then nothing will.



Whoever thomas utt is, is selling something in 2013 to do with kindle, Yes it happens to use the same word "domination" as a tagline: hxxp://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-special-offers-forum/737090-kindle-domination-if-your-not-publishing-kindle-your-throwing-money-away.html

In any case, what is wrong with purchasing traffic to a cpa offer? Aren't you just talking about pay per click?



It didn't affect my browser on my iPad; of course, that's a whole 'nother thing.  Doesn't surprise me, though, even if they're legit, there's a whole lot of stuff going on in the book description on that page....

Betsy

Yes that book has all sorts of HTML in the description. Its a representation of what was possible before the changes made at the end of october, none of which HTML you can use anymore in a kindle book description. That persons book is simply grandfathered in.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 04, 2013, 05:34:41 AM


Expected behavior for real readers deciding they wanted to read based on finding out about the book from an ad.
Bk1 downloads 12626
Bk2 downloads 10000+
Bk3 downloads 10000+

Actual behavior
Bk1 downloads 12626
Bk2 downloads 4
Bk3 downloads 1

Not much room for doubt.

So, if i may ask, if the first 10,000 are fake, and the 2626 downloads after that are real from being in the top list, then why is her bk2 only 4 downloads if she has a 100% buy through rate?

You guys give boobkbub 2-3 weeks to "see the buythrough" and giving my service under 24H. So sweet.


Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Ann in Arlington on December 04, 2013, 05:54:21 AM
David was summarizing emily's results from earlier in the thread:  she was clear that her usual sales pattern is that people find the first book and, as all three are free, they just pick them all up at the same time.  So, for her, the numbers are all nearly the same all the time.  

Her point was that she got a lot of downloads of book one, but she's skeptical they're actual readers because, in her experience, actual readers also go and get the 2nd and 3rd right away.  And that didn't happen.  

In fact, someone here asked her about that and she explained it:

Yup. The numbers climb up at almost the exact same rate. It's not buy, read, buy, read. When readers see that the first three are free they download all at once before reading.

When they first went permafree they had about 400 downloads in a day or so. All three titles were on par.


And she didn't actually mention BookBub at all in her original report. (see reply #216 on page 9)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Paul Kohler on December 04, 2013, 05:56:35 AM
So, if i may ask, if the first 10,000 are fake, and the 2626 downloads after that are real from being in the top list, then why is her bk2 only 4 downloads if she has a 100% buy through rate?

You give boobkbub 2-3 weeks to "see the buythrough" and giving my service under 24H. So sweet.



You missed the point here completely.  The example posted is for other free books by the author.  If I click on a free book and download it, I will certainly grab all the other books from the author that are currently free at the time.  Why?  Because I am not a bot.  I can see the other titles listed for free on the same page.  Only a real person can see that.  The bots cannot.  The Bookbub comparison you state is for buythrough for other books the author has FOR MONEY.  I would nearly guarantee that any Bookbub feature that had additional free books would also be downloaded at the same time.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Ann in Arlington on December 04, 2013, 06:02:12 AM
You missed the point here completely.  The example posted is for other free books by the author.  If I click on a free book and download it, I will certainly grab all the other books from the author that are currently free at the time.  Why?  Because I am not a bot.  I can see the other titles listed for free on the same page.  Only a real person can see that.  The bots cannot.  The Bookbub comparison you state is for buythrough for other books the author has FOR MONEY.  I would nearly guarantee that any Bookbub feature that had additional free books would also be downloaded at the same time.

Well. . . I don't know that I would be willing to be so certain.  I might pick up the first in a series that's free but not get the others until I've read at least part of the first one.  Even if the others are free.  So while it's true that a 'bot or a person clicking for coins for CrazyPirateGame are not likely to do any more than the ONE they're shown, it's not certain that an actual real person definitely will.  Though, arguably, they're more likely to.

The real point it seems to me, is that emily has data showing that, for her, at least, the numbers on all 3 books are about the same normally.  And there was a great discrepancy after using this service.

But, again, freebookservice has made it clear that he's not necessarily guaranteeing readers, only 'downloads' of the book promoted.  And that's supposed to raise ranking, thus increasing visibility so now some real people who are actual readers will find the book and buy it. After that, it's down to whether it's a good book or not. ;)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 04, 2013, 06:17:23 AM
You missed the point here completely.  The example posted is for other free books by the author.  If I click on a free book and download it, I will certainly grab all the other books from the author that are currently free at the time.  Why?  Because I am not a bot.  I can see the other titles listed for free on the same page.  Only a real person can see that.  The bots cannot.  The Bookbub comparison you state is for buythrough for other books the author has FOR MONEY.  I would nearly guarantee that any Bookbub feature that had additional free books would also be downloaded at the same time.

No i think you missed the point completely. Her book is on the top rank right now on amazon, and shes not getting downloads to her 2nd book yet...basically giving it no time to happen. Why? I dont know, but you guys are making that part up to me for some reason, when its not.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Quiss on December 04, 2013, 06:20:48 AM
But, again, freebookservice has made it clear that he's not necessarily guaranteeing readers, only 'downloads' of the book promoted.  And that's supposed to raise ranking, thus increasing visibility so now some real people who are actual readers will find the book and buy it. After that, it's down to whether it's a good book or not. ;)

So you're buying ranks. Likely because of downloads by people who have no interest in your book.
Like someone above said, it's only a matter of time before Amazon stomps all over that, hurting productive companies like BookBub in the process.

I haven't read the entire thread. Is it imploding yet? Someone let me know what the final outcome is.  :P
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Ann in Arlington on December 04, 2013, 06:33:41 AM
So you're buying ranks. Likely because of downloads by people who have no interest in your book.
Like someone above said, it's only a matter of time before Amazon stomps all over that, hurting productive companies like BookBub in the process.

I haven't read the entire thread. Is it imploding yet? Someone let me know what the final outcome is.  :P

Well, to be fair. . . . all that the OP has said is that he's selling guaranteed downloads.  The rest of my comment is my reasoning as to why buying downloads might be a good thing to do.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Estelle Ryan on December 04, 2013, 06:45:55 AM
I emailed Amazon. This was my email:

Hi!

I have a strange question. A new service (Freebookservice - http://freebookservice.com/) is offering good results for authors. For $xx, they guarantee 2,500 or 5,000 or 10,000 downloads for books that are free on Amazon. This could be very useful for authors who have permafree books (like me) or authors with Select days.

On a forum I visit there is a huge discussion about this, and Freebookservice offered their product to a few authors to prove that they are legit. I was curious and accepted this offer. Through some magic means they promoted The Gauguin Connection (B008X3NCRE) and I'm rather pleased with the results.

My question: Is there any way that Amazon can authenticate the 14,000 downloads I've had in the last 24-something hours? Did it come from download-elves? Fake accounts? Real people who buy real books?

If you could look into this for me, I would be most grateful!

A million thank you's.

Estelle Ryan


Their reply:
(http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u574/Estelle_Ryan/YahooMail2013-12-04_zps1e965f98.jpeg)

Make of it what you will. I'm am leaning towards believing these guys are not super-computer Black Hat geniuses giggling into their sweaty sleeves (while sitting in their mom's basement). Also: I'm now at 18,127 downloads, #20 on the Free list and my sales are on the good side of normal.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: VydorScope on December 04, 2013, 06:48:53 AM
But, again, freebookservice has made it clear that he's not necessarily guaranteeing readers, only 'downloads' of the book promoted.  And that's supposed to raise ranking, thus increasing visibility so now some real people who are actual readers will find the book and buy it. After that, it's down to whether it's a good book or not. ;)

I think this is the key that is being missed / forgotten every few pages here. We authors assume adverts will get us READERS but freebookservice is selling DOWNLOADS. When you pay freebookservice money he is delivering the exposure of the top 100 list, not readers. The HOPE is that the exposure in the list will draw readers.

I made the same bad assumption. I thought his 10,000 was READERS, but he never said that. He said he would get you DOWNLOADS. His service does exactly what he said it would.

Bookbub delivers potential READERS - there service is DIFFERENT. He has said that too.

Now, whether or not the service is ethical, or smart is up to each person's opinion. Whether or not it works we will see over the next couple weeks.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 04, 2013, 07:04:26 AM
I think this is the key that is being missed / forgotten every few pages here. We authors assume adverts will get us READERS but freebookservice is selling DOWNLOADS. When you pay freebookservice money he is delivering the exposure of the top 100 list, not readers. The HOPE is that the exposure in the list will draw readers.

I made the same bad assumption. I thought his 10,000 was READERS, but he never said that. He said he would get you DOWNLOADS. His service does exactly what he said it would.

Bookbub delivers potential READERS - there service is DIFFERENT. He has said that too.

Now, whether or not the service is ethical, or smart is up to each person's opinion. Whether or not it works we will see over the next couple weeks.

Correct, I only offer a money back guarantee on a number of downloads, as nobody can guarantee cover-to-cover reads.



I emailed Amazon. This was my email:

Hi!

I have a strange question. A new service (Freebookservice - http://freebookservice.com/) is offering good results for authors. For $xx, they guarantee 2,500 or 5,000 or 10,000 downloads for books that are free on Amazon. This could be very useful for authors who have permafree books (like me) or authors with Select days.

On a forum I visit there is a huge discussion about this, and Freebookservice offered their product to a few authors to prove that they are legit. I was curious and accepted this offer. Through some magic means they promoted The Gauguin Connection (B008X3NCRE) and I'm rather pleased with the results.

My question: Is there any way that Amazon can authenticate the 14,000 downloads I've had in the last 24-something hours? Did it come from download-elves? Fake accounts? Real people who buy real books?

If you could look into this for me, I would be most grateful!

A million thank you's.

Estelle Ryan


Their reply:
(http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u574/Estelle_Ryan/YahooMail2013-12-04_zps1e965f98.jpeg)

Make of it what you will. I'm am leaning towards believing these guys are not super-computer Black Hat geniuses giggling into their sweaty sleeves (while sitting in their mom's basement). Also: I'm now at 18,127 downloads, #20 on the Free list and my sales are on the good side of normal.

Thanks for the update and showing what we are doing is entirely above board.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: David J Normoyle on December 04, 2013, 07:06:28 AM
I think this is the key that is being missed / forgotten every few pages here. We authors assume adverts will get us READERS but freebookservice is selling DOWNLOADS. When you pay freebookservice money he is delivering the exposure of the top 100 list, not readers. The HOPE is that the exposure in the list will draw readers.

I made the same bad assumption. I thought his 10,000 was READERS, but he never said that. He said he would get you DOWNLOADS. His service does exactly what he said it would.

Bookbub delivers potential READERS - there service is DIFFERENT. He has said that too.

Now, whether or not the service is ethical, or smart is up to each person's opinion. Whether or not it works we will see over the next couple weeks.

If freebookservice would confirm this, then it would save a lot of back and forth. As far as I know, freebookservice says that his 10K+ downloads come from his large pool of readers choosing free books they want to download.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: FictionalWriter on December 04, 2013, 07:06:55 AM
But for the cost, what are you getting? Downloads from non-readers. All you can hope is that the raised visibility WILL deliver at least SOME readers who may or may not read your book and like it enough to buy your paid books. If that ends up being 15% of--let's say--12,500 downloads, that conversion rate is not worth the price you just paid. And the drop-off will occur faster than it would than a Bookbub blast simply because once the 10k mark has been reached, the 1k/hr downloads cease completely. Now you have to pray that the increased visibility of your book will snag the interest of 'real' readers to the extent that you can recover whatever you just paid out.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: FictionalWriter on December 04, 2013, 07:12:58 AM
Oh I believe they are legitimate accounts. Amazon won't let you buy or download ANYTHING from them without one. I just don't believe they are real poetential "readers" of the authors books.

I emailed Amazon. This was my email:

Hi!

I have a strange question. A new service (Freebookservice - http://freebookservice.com/) is offering good results for authors. For $xx, they guarantee 2,500 or 5,000 or 10,000 downloads for books that are free on Amazon. This could be very useful for authors who have permafree books (like me) or authors with Select days.

On a forum I visit there is a huge discussion about this, and Freebookservice offered their product to a few authors to prove that they are legit. I was curious and accepted this offer. Through some magic means they promoted The Gauguin Connection (B008X3NCRE) and I'm rather pleased with the results.

My question: Is there any way that Amazon can authenticate the 14,000 downloads I've had in the last 24-something hours? Did it come from download-elves? Fake accounts? Real people who buy real books?

If you could look into this for me, I would be most grateful!

A million thank you's.

Estelle Ryan


Their reply:
(http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u574/Estelle_Ryan/YahooMail2013-12-04_zps1e965f98.jpeg)

Make of it what you will. I'm am leaning towards believing these guys are not super-computer Black Hat geniuses giggling into their sweaty sleeves (while sitting in their mom's basement). Also: I'm now at 18,127 downloads, #20 on the Free list and my sales are on the good side of normal.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 04, 2013, 07:14:58 AM
If freebookservice would confirm this, then it would save a lot of back and forth. As far as I know, freebookservice says that his 10K+ downloads come from his large pool of readers choosing free books they want to download.

What exactly to do need confirmation of? Theres no way to track which readers will read cover-to-cover, any guess would be just that, a guess.

However, thats the same with bookbub, you are only getting potential readers, nothing more. All you know is that you can give it a try, and see if its worth the money. Same here, you can give it a try and see if its worth the money.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 04, 2013, 07:17:44 AM
I emailed Amazon. This was my email:

So, whatever freebooksservice is doing, it's okay with Amazon. That's a very good thing to know.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Quiss on December 04, 2013, 07:25:32 AM
Also: I'm now at 18,127 downloads, #20 on the Free list and my sales are on the good side of normal.

Comparatively, I did one day with BookBub on Sunday, got 13k downloads, got up to #6 and my sales since have been on the SUPA AWESOME side of my personal normal.
I sold more copies overnight than I did ALL of last week. Sales of the other titles are excellent.
Two days later, the BookBubbed title is at #5649 overall.
Add to that the fact that Estelle's titles usually sell far better than mine and BookBub is still coming out on top (but for the price and quality control)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Andrew Butcher on December 04, 2013, 07:42:59 AM
I'm refreshing this thread more than my KDP reports ... =P

Interesting stuff!
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 04, 2013, 07:45:00 AM
Well, I wish you all the best with it, Al. Will be curious to hear about how it goes for you.

I'm nearly to 15,500 downloads at the moment. Seems the reporting is more regular now for my paid books. I've sold 10 in the last 24 hours. A respectable sum for a small fry like me. Especially when you consider that the first 10,000+ downloads might have been worthless. Whether more will trickle in is hard to say. Dunno what to make of this, either, but after being ousted pretty hard from the top 20 on the free list, I seem to have entered a more stable ranking. I was at #29 a while ago and slipped to #30 just now. A much more gradual decline than I experienced earlier. Monique's not far behind me, and Estelle seems to be holding up around the mid-20's.



For those who might have missed this, I paid for the 10k run, and mine runs tomorrow. I'm sticking with it. Why? Because everytime my book has made it to the top twenty, I've seen good sales on the three in my series. book 2 is $3.99, book 3, is $2.99, and the combo of all three is $5.50.
Mine is YA. It only takes, what? less than 40 of each to make back my money and I usually do way more than that in a normal month.

I'll be driving tomorrow to Miami from Tampa (I'm going to the Red Dot Art Fair to help at the http://www.KevinGrass.com (http://www.KevinGrass.com) booth #106A), so if any of you live there, stop in and say hi. Or maybe we can do dinner or coffee. But I won't be able to check in here much, if at all, (not sure of reception on alligator alley) while driving.

I still do not think it is bots, paid clicks from surveys? I doubt it. You can find higher priced items to do that for and charge way more money.

Anyway, to have a true data set, you need more than four books reporting, so I'll add mine to the mix. I do budget x amount of advertising for the year, and have not spent my wad yet.

Edited to add: Now you can see that Amazon has answered the question: real readers are downloading Estelle's book.

We know paid books have been slow to report sales, it's Christmas.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Danni on December 04, 2013, 07:45:47 AM
Everyone can talk until they're blue in the face on whether or not these are organic purchases from people who plan to read the book. But I don't think there is any value in paying someone that much money for a service that does not generate subsequent sales on other books. It throws an author in the spotlight for a little while in a game of leapfrog. I'd suggest the authors who participate revisit this thread in a couple of weeks and provide us with your findings. I'm also very interested on what books are going to appear on their alsobots.

Regardless, I'm still not interested in any service that promotes books to readers, but won't let me be part of that list. (my comment on this was never addressed) At the very least, makes me suspect that their mailing list recipients don't receive advertising material on the books, but probably concealed click-through links (or incentives to complete tasks, as someone mentioned). That to me would make as much sense as handing out flyers to a strip club at a nunnery. Why was this not tested before starting up your business to charge that much money? Authors need to see the value for advertising a free book, and for me, that's not in a ranking number. Aside from that, there are also authors who might not want to play leap frog, and I can see based on some of the posts a lot of authors are concerned about their integrity, and that's more valuable than a rank for some people.

In any case, each post here is promoting the original post. So bravo, mission accomplished.  ::)

I feel inclined to spend all day on CAPS LOCK WEDNESDAY as seeing this thread continually pop up hurts my eyes.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 04, 2013, 07:46:40 AM
I think this is the key that is being missed / forgotten every few pages here. We authors assume adverts will get us READERS but freebookservice is selling DOWNLOADS. When you pay freebookservice money he is delivering the exposure of the top 100 list, not readers. The HOPE is that the exposure in the list will draw readers.

I made the same bad assumption. I thought his 10,000 was READERS, but he never said that. He said he would get you DOWNLOADS. His service does exactly what he said it would.

Bookbub delivers potential READERS - there service is DIFFERENT. He has said that too.

Now, whether or not the service is ethical, or smart is up to each person's opinion. Whether or not it works we will see over the next couple weeks.

Wrong. He specified in his original letter it was 700,000 active Kindle readers who belong to book clubs and other sources.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 04, 2013, 07:54:26 AM
I just ran a Google search for Out of time Monique Martin December 2, 2013

I saw it pop up for Toplist Best Fiction and another book club Inga, so it is possible he has a list of book clubs that are promoting the books. I'm lousy at running Google searches, so maybe someone else here can do it better.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 04, 2013, 08:01:32 AM
Wrong. He specified in his original letter it was 700,000 active Kindle readers who belong to book clubs and other sources.

Honestly saying downloads and saying readers is playing a game of semantics, because that cant really be tracked. I use the words interchangeably when it comes to kindle, but its probably more correct to say "possible readers" instead.

The bulk of the readers are from the list, I have been working on some other stuff but as you know, communities are extremely hard to grow (at least quickly).


Everyone can talk until they're blue in the face on whether or not these are organic purchases from people who plan to read the book. But I don't think there is any value in paying someone that much money for a service that does not generate subsequent sales on other books. It throws an author in the spotlight for a little while in a game of leapfrog. I'd suggest the authors who participate revisit this thread in a couple of weeks and provide us with your findings. I'm also very interested on what books are going to appear on their alsobots.

Regardless, I'm still not interested in any service that promotes books to readers, but won't let me be part of that list. (my comment on this was never addressed) At the very least, makes me suspect that their mailing list recipients don't receive advertising material on the books, but probably concealed click-through links (or incentives to complete tasks, as someone mentioned). That to me would make as much sense as handing out flyers to a strip club at a nunnery. Why was this not tested before starting up your business to charge that much money? Authors need to see the value for advertising a free book, and for me, that's not in a ranking number. Aside from that, there are also authors who might not want to play leap frog, and I can see based on some of the posts a lot of authors are concerned about their integrity, and that's more valuable than a rank for some people.

In any case, each post here is promoting the original post. So bravo, mission accomplished.  ::)

I feel inclined to spend all day on CAPS LOCK WEDNESDAY as seeing this thread continually pop up hurts my eyes.

I agree. The value comes from making sales not much else....Rank is just a precursor to sales, not a guarantee of sales.  I guess potential buyers have to weigh the options and see if there is indeed "value for the money" here. Maybe for some people they see the value, maybe for some they don't.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Ann in Arlington on December 04, 2013, 08:03:51 AM
What exactly to do need confirmation of? Theres no way to track which readers will read cover-to-cover, any guess would be just that, a guess.

However, thats the same with bookbub, you are only getting potential readers, nothing more. All you know is that you can give it a try, and see if its worth the money. Same here, you can give it a try and see if its worth the money.

Actually, you did confirm that all you're guaranteeing is downloads. Fair enough.

So, whatever freebooksservice is doing, it's okay with Amazon. That's a very good thing to know.


Actually, all the response said was that they were legitimate downloads.  FWIW, I never doubted that.

What I doubt is whether many of them will end up being readers.

So, this service promises downloads. That can push up rank.  Which can mean visibility. Which might result in further downloads by readers browsing specifically for your sort of book.  There's likely a trickle down effect there that will mean additional purchases and reviews posted, etc. as time passes.

BookBub promises your book will get in front of the eyes of readers. It doesn't, as far as I know, promise downloads, just that your book will be featured on it's email list and FB page. And it does that. And you DO get downloads because, BookBub's subscribers are readers who Want To Read Your Book. I know it does that, because I AM A READER and I can sign up at BookBub to get notified of the great deals on great reads.  But -- yes, I know I'm belaboring this point -- I can not sign up at freebookservice.  
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Michael J. Scott on December 04, 2013, 08:11:26 AM
Well, I feel a lot better about it with the response from Amazon. And thanks to Estelle for going to the source and confirming that.

As for actual readers versus potential readers, it seems to me that this is the problem we run into any time we do a free promo. People download the book like crazy, and may or may not read it. I've seen my books go into a lot of kindles with various KDP promotions, and never heard a thing from these people again. Some do, but most don't, or none of us would be looking for ways to draw eyes to our books. We'd just do a couple kindle promos, drive us up in the rankings via downloads, and then see all our other books sell like mad. Yes, I'm oversimplifying here.

So the downloads drive up rankings, and some of the people (not bots, according to Amazon) may read. Others see the book because of the push and click on it as well. Like with anything, the only real question is affordability. I want to do more than just make back whatever I've paid into an advertorial campaign, but that sorta rides on my shoulders to be sure I'm offering a quality product, doesn't it?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: WPotocki on December 04, 2013, 08:20:05 AM

BookBub promises your book will get in front of the eyes of readers. ... And you DO get downloads because, BookBub's subscribers are readers who Want To Read Your Book. I know it does that, because I AM A READER and I can sign up at BookBub to get notified of the great deals on great reads.  But -- yes, I know I'm belaboring this point -- I can not sign up at freebookservice.  

I think perhaps there is another way of looking at this. You're signed up to Bookbub and receive the promotions so you can see how the promos for that day are advertised. But if you're unable to sign up for freebookservice, you're also unable to see the email and the way the free book download is presented to the downloaders. How the email is framed/phrased would tell a lot about whether the book is being promoted to readers. It could be a reason to not let anyone into this pool of downloaders in the shark tank and to keep it closed.

Having said that, I do see a merit in using this service. I do see that for some, it would be very beneficial to get up in the rankings. I do think it's pricey, but if you use it as a marketing tool I think it could be useful.

No one thing works for everybody so these types of options are appreciated.



Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: FictionalWriter on December 04, 2013, 08:21:13 AM
And yet with an opportunity to grow this list, you won't allow "real life readers and/or authors" to sign up for this service. If anything, that is the most puzzling thing and the one thing that has me thinking there is seriously some unsavory business afoot. As an author who wants to get ever more readers, that would be like me saying to a reader who says to me,

Hey, can you give me your website address so I can check out your books, and I reply, Nope, sorry, no can-do. But I guarantee you, they're really good. Buy one for yourself and you'll see how right I am. Or check out the reviews from some of my readers and you'll see how much they enjoy my books.



The bulk of the readers are from the list, I have been working on some other stuff but as you know, communities are extremely hard to grow (at least quickly).

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: VydorScope on December 04, 2013, 08:25:20 AM
Wrong. He specified in his original letter it was 700,000 active Kindle readers who belong to book clubs and other sources.

First, he replied and confirmed my post, so it is not wrong. :)

So here is the difference... a DOWNLOAD is a person/account/bot/etc that grabs the file, puts it on their kindle even, and never reads it. These are big helps for rank but do not help future sales much. These are often untargeted, unvetted, and fast. Well that download result in a say in a day? a week? a year? Maybe, there is no way to know - but the value is not coming from that downloader, its coming from the exposure you get in the top 100 - which could very well draw lots of readers.  

A service, like BookBub, that sells (potential) READERS, is taking the time to vet each book, and send it to a targeted list of people they think will actually want to read your book. The idea here is to send you customers - rank becomes a side effect. Readers grab the book with a higher potential to read, like, and buy the next book.

As I said, I think he is doing exactly what he says he is doing, that is selling downloads. It is a question of focus. He focusing on a different metric then some others do. The question outstanding is - will it work? We will see over the next couple weeks.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: KeithAllen on December 04, 2013, 08:25:30 AM
I can't get over how interesting this thread is. So much thoughtful debate, which hasn't turned into just flaming. I've also never seen our super awesome moderators get so involved in a thread. I have to give the OP some credit for continuing to respond. I don't see myself using the service, but the guy's got moxie--that's something. I'm glad to see Lisa G is giving it a run as well. We'll have more results to look at now. I'm curious to see the return on the monetary investment in a few weeks...wonder how many pages this thread will be by then. :P
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: EmC on December 04, 2013, 08:37:28 AM
And yet with an opportunity to grow this list, you won't allow "real life readers and/or authors" to sign up for this service. If anything, that is the most puzzling thing and the one thing that has me thinking there is seriously some unsavory business afoot. As an author who wants to get ever more readers, that would be like me saying to a reader who says to me,

Hey, can you give me your website address so I can check out your books, and I reply, Nope, sorry, no can-do. But I guarantee you, they're really good. Buy one for yourself and you'll see how right I am. Or check out the reviews from some of my readers and you'll see how much they enjoy my books.

^^This. I don't understand why no one here is allowed to sign up. The claims are that it's to protect the interests and privacy of other clients, but whatever's sent out to that list can't be THAT secret if it's being sent to 700,000+ people. And unless there's a very rigid vetting process (which is doesn't sound like is true, since it seems like anyone could have opted in if they stumbled across the Amazon pages with the sign-in form on the page), there's no guarantee that any of those 700,000+ people already getting the list aren't authors or won't become authors. If this entire business model will crumble if the wrong people (other authors?) see the emails... well, then why build a business that REQUIRES a massive email list? It doesn't add up, and it makes me uncomfortable.

They are, of course, welcome to keep this thing a secret. It's their choice. But as long as it's a secret, I personally won't even consider signing up. I like to know exactly what I'm paying for.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 04, 2013, 08:39:57 AM
Actually, you did confirm that all you're guaranteeing is downloads. Fair enough.

Actually, all the response said was that they were legitimate downloads.  FWIW, I never doubted that.

What I doubt is whether many of them will end up being readers.

So, this service promises downloads. That can push up rank.  Which can mean visibility. Which might result in further downloads by readers browsing specifically for your sort of book.  There's likely a trickle down effect there that will mean additional purchases and reviews posted, etc. as time passes.

BookBub promises your book will get in front of the eyes of readers. It doesn't, as far as I know, promise downloads, just that your book will be featured on it's email list and FB page. And it does that. And you DO get downloads because, BookBub's subscribers are readers who Want To Read Your Book. I know it does that, because I AM A READER and I can sign up at BookBub to get notified of the great deals on great reads.  But -- yes, I know I'm belaboring this point -- I can not sign up at freebookservice.  

But if his list is targeting book groups, clubs, and other venues (maybe it's people who've ordered skins for their Kindles), etc. they are still potential readers. Maybe it's people who've downloaded the free ereader app, so there is no way to add you to the lists, and/or he's not interested in adding readers one at a time.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: jimkukral on December 04, 2013, 08:43:26 AM
And yet with an opportunity to grow this list, you won't allow "real life readers and/or authors" to sign up for this service. If anything, that is the most puzzling thing and the one thing that has me thinking there is seriously some unsavory business afoot. As an author who wants to get ever more readers, that would be like me saying to a reader who says to me,

Hey, can you give me your website address so I can check out your books, and I reply, Nope, sorry, no can-do. But I guarantee you, they're really good. Buy one for yourself and you'll see how right I am. Or check out the reviews from some of my readers and you'll see how much they enjoy my books.


I totally get this. It's the secret sauce. If we knew how he built the list and how how markets to it, he loses competitive market advantage as competitors do the same thing. It's business 101. He doesn't need your readership. He's got other people who aren't as curious who will sign up without all the questions.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Ann in Arlington on December 04, 2013, 08:47:39 AM
But if his list is targeting book groups, clubs, and other venues (maybe it's people who've ordered skins for their Kindles), etc. they are still potential readers. Maybe it's people who've downloaded the free ereader app, so there is no way to add you to the lists, and/or he's not interested in adding readers one at a time.

I totally get this. It's the secret sauce. If we knew how he built the list and how how markets to it, he loses competitive market advantage as competitors do the same thing. It's business 101. He doesn't need your readership. He's got other people who aren't as curious who will sign up without all the questions.

Fair enough.  To be clear: I don't really want to sign up -- I get enough free/bargain book notifications now with the places I am already registered.  But, if I was a prospective client of the service, I'd want to be able to sign up to see how they're marketing others.  Hence how they'd market me.  Since I can't, I'd be wary of paying any money.  YMMV of course.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: FictionalWriter on December 04, 2013, 08:48:03 AM
Really? I don't know many people who turn DOWN potential business. How on earth is limiting the LIST going to help this business??

I totally get this. It's the secret sauce. If we knew how he built the list and how how markets to it, he loses competitive market advantage as competitors do the same thing. It's business 101. He doesn't need your readership. He's got other people who aren't as curious who will sign up without all the questions.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: EmC on December 04, 2013, 08:49:14 AM
I totally get this. It's the secret sauce. If we knew how he built the list and how how markets to it, he loses competitive market advantage as competitors do the same thing. It's business 101. He doesn't need your readership. He's got other people who aren't as curious who will sign up without all the questions.

But he's willing to share the secret sauce with the 700,000+ people who are already on the list? THAT'S what makes me question it.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Ann in Arlington on December 04, 2013, 08:50:32 AM
Really? I don't know many people who turn DOWN potential business. How on earth is limiting the LIST going to help this business??

But he's willing to share the secret sauce with the 700,000+ people who are already on the list? THAT'S what makes me question it.



Well, no . . . .he's just saying there are 700,000 already on his list.  Which really isn't very limited.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: jimkukral on December 04, 2013, 08:52:42 AM
But he's willing to share the secret sauce with the 700,000+ people who are already on the list? THAT'S what makes me question it.



I'm assuming... those are all just regular people who like to read books who don't have any idea about how or why, or don't even care frankly, about how they get their free books delivered to them. These are the same people who don't look at this and go, "Wow, what a great business model, I could easily copy this."

Us here... not so much. If legit, who wouldn't want to know this secret sauce? It's a money maker. Makes perfect sense to me to keep it hidden. Business 101.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Danni on December 04, 2013, 08:55:54 AM
Simply getting on a mailing list to receive alerts on free books is not giving away a secret sauce. The only thing you'd be able to see is...email alerts on free books.

Unless there is no mailing list.
Or no book adverts on that list.


Then the the secret in the sauce is snake oil.

Clients want assurance. Authors want readers, not downloads. So if this is the biggest concern on this board, why are we not being given an opportunity to see our advertisement at work? Instilling trust with a client: Business 101.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: FictionalWriter on December 04, 2013, 08:56:54 AM
All I can say is that, as an author, I wouldn't pay for a service that limited the exposure of the book I'm paying them to promote, to potential readers. It makes no sense.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 04, 2013, 08:58:27 AM
Just as an update on Moniques "freebie test", as she hasn't had the chance to chime in yet, before her promotion, her book2 was 15,000 in the paid store.

Currently it is 6849 in the store: http://www.amazon.com/When-Walls-Fell-Out-Time-ebook/dp/B005PII27U
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: David J Normoyle on December 04, 2013, 09:06:22 AM
Simply getting on a mailing list to receive alerts on free books is not giving away a secret sauce. The only thing you'd be able to see is...email alerts on free books.

Unless there is no mailing list.
Or no book adverts on that list.


Then the the secret in the sauce is snake oil.

Clients want assurance. Authors want readers, not downloads. So if this is the biggest concern on this board, why are we not being given an opportunity to see our advertisement at work? Instilling trust with a client: Business 101.

Because the secret sauce might be something like: download 100 free books and you get something in return.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: telracs on December 04, 2013, 09:10:08 AM
I'm not sure why the OP is using monique as an example (I don't mean that in a bad way, I truly don't know if Monique bought FBS's service) but if she did, there is something to bear in mind.
Monique had a bookbub yesterday for one of her box sets (I know this because I get bookbub e-mails).  I didn't buy the set because I've not yet read the other books, but I did click on the first book in the series.  Didn't buy it, because I already own it.

So, if she did an FBS on the same day she did a bookbub, I think the data might be a bit skewed.


As I've said before, I don't understand the importance of rank to an author, but if FBS is increasing your rank and that's what you want, hey, have at it.

However, as has been stated a number of times and still not directly addressed by FBS, is how us READERS can be part of this.  We'd like to support our authors.  And support a business that is supporting our authors.  
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on December 04, 2013, 09:16:34 AM
s I've said before, I don't understand the importance of rank to an author, but if FBS is increasing your rank and that's what you want, hey, have at it.


Its quite simple really. Rank and visibility are inextricably linked. As rank increases toward number 1 more readers see your stuff on the various lists on Amazon and more click to buy, which of course leads to a better ranking and around we go again
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: EmC on December 04, 2013, 09:22:42 AM
I'm assuming... those are all just regular people who like to read books who don't have any idea about how or why, or don't even care frankly, about how they get their free books delivered to them. These are the same people who don't look at this and go, "Wow, what a great business model, I could easily copy this."

Us here... not so much. If legit, who wouldn't want to know this secret sauce? It's a money maker. Makes perfect sense to me to keep it hidden. Business 101.

Before I was an author, I was an avid reader. Many authors I know were at some point or are currently part of book clubs. "Readers" and "authors" are not mutually exclusive, so if someone decides to compile a list of 700,000 readers looking for books, how do they know none of them are authors? Or will *become* authors? Or for that matter, that none of them are budding entrepreneurs? Or work in internet marketing? Or anything, really?  My point is that if they are actively trying to keep what they're doing a secret, compiling a ginormous list of readers doesn't seem like the smartest move. But I agree with DDark--allowing people on a mailing list shouldn't be giving away the secret sauce if it's just email alerts on free books. Something's just not adding up here.

I agree that instilling trust in a client is Business 101. Saying, "Give me $X.XX and I'll give you [insert some amazing thing]!" isn't enough for me. Even if we see the results that were promised. I don't have to know the entire inner workings of their business. I don't need to see their actual list of emails. But asking to see what potential readers of my book might see doesn't seem out of line. If I hire an advertising firm to make a commercial or campaign for me, you can be darned sure I'm going to want to see it before they send it out to potential customers.

Random aside: My inner teenager is coming out, but does this remind anyone else of that South Park episode with the Underpants Gnomes?

PHASE ONE: Collect Underpants ---->  PHASE TWO: ? ? ? ?  ----> PHASE THREE: Profit
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Danni on December 04, 2013, 09:23:57 AM
Its quite simple really. Rank and visibility are inextricably linked. As rank increases toward number 1 more readers see your stuff on the various lists on Amazon and more click to buy, which of course leads to a better ranking and around we go again

But how you get there makes a difference as far as your credibility. There are authors who bought mass copies of their own book to rank on NYT. Not everyone wants to be that guy.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Deanna Chase on December 04, 2013, 09:24:47 AM
Just as an update on Moniques "freebie test", as she hasn't had the chance to chime in yet, before her promotion, her book2 was 15,000 in the paid store.

Currently it is 6849 in the store: http://www.amazon.com/When-Walls-Fell-Out-Time-ebook/dp/B005PII27U


Monique had a very successful BookBub ad yesterday. Her results are muddled and can not be attributed (solely) to the promotion with Free Book Service.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on December 04, 2013, 09:33:51 AM
But how you get there makes a difference as far as your credibility. There are authors who bought mass copies of their own book to rank on NYT. Not everyone wants to be that guy.

I was answering Telracs question. I'm not defending or denigrating strategies to make ranks happen. I use permafree for ranking and visibility, and have used Bookbub to boost that. That's about as far as my experience goes regarding rankings.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Deanna Chase on December 04, 2013, 09:37:22 AM
...So people are paying 99c for the boxset from bookbub, then buying Book2, which they already have, from the boxset, for full price right after for 3.99? So you are really attributing sales on book2 to something other than my service? How could any book2 sales be from bookbub? What you are saying is impossible.

No it isn't. Not at all. Like Telracs said above, she didn't buy the three book bundle because she hasn't read the rest of the books. She then looked and saw she already had book 1, which is free by the way. It is entirely possible that people downloaded book 1 and book 2, or already had book one and said hey, I should buy book two. Or bought bought whatever combination made sense to the them at the time. All I'm saying is Monique's results are muddled and at this point we are not sure where the sales are coming from. That's all.

edited to add: The three book bundle was for books 4, 5, & 6.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 04, 2013, 09:45:50 AM
No it isn't. Not at all. Like Telracs said above, she didn't buy the three book bundle because she hasn't read the rest of the books. She then looked and saw she already had book 1, which is free by the way. It is entirely possible that people downloaded book 1 and book 2, or already had book one and said hey, I should buy book two. Or bought bought whatever combination made sense to the them at the time. All I'm saying is Monique's results are muddled and at this point we are not sure where the sales are coming from. That's all.

edited to add: The three book bundle was for books 4, 5, & 6.
Due your post I do see that its book 4,5,6. I guess it will be hard to get a accurate idea on this case.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: ColinFBarnes on December 04, 2013, 09:58:47 AM
The key question which has never been answered over on Warrior or here is:

There is a super-secret, amazing network of secret reading clubs full of secret readers that the list is built from, and all those super-secret readers receive emails from this ultra-secret email list. There's approximately 700k thousand secret squirrels on this list. Why is it that no one anywhere, ever, on the entire searchable Internet for as far as back as anyone can go has ever mentioned or actually seen one of these clubs/emails for this 'service' apart from the seller? I mean, I see real human readers all the time on various social networks talk about the various free sites/services. In fact, I found many of the lists by the chatter amongst readers on goodreads and twitter etc...

I do not buy this as a legitimate list for one single second. A marketing company that refuses to allow you to sign up to the very thing that they use to 'market' you... I mean, come on. That's crazy times. If you went to any ad agency in the world and they 'guaranteed' you a certain result but refused to show you what your audience will see, you'd run a mile. Even dodgy guys down the pub will show you the fake rolex before selling it to you.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, smells like duck, it's a damned duck. But the key thing with certain 'marketing opportunities' (and I've been around the block of Internet Marketing since '98) is that the sellers know most people will know it's shady and stay away, but that doesn't matter, because they prey on people's desire to succeed and there are enough people out there who will pay for this service because they desire to achieve success. (Not saying this is one such opportunity! Just that being so obscure and associated with Warrior form leaves a bad taste).

The simple fact of this is, until we're shown the emails that our so-called real readers/downloaders are getting, or see one of these book clubs or signup places, then there is zero trust factor. That its on the Warrior forum tells me everything I need to know, and even some of the people over there are skeptic; that says it all IMHO.

I'd love for this to be legit, but the OP has done nothing to prove that. "Secret sauce" is the biggest BS reason I've ever heard to obscure plain basic information the buyer of a such service has a right to see.  
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 04, 2013, 10:03:21 AM
Yes, I'm sorry, my data on sell-through to the other books in the series will be thoroughly muddled by the other promotion.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Zelah Meyer on December 04, 2013, 10:09:22 AM
I'm not sure why the OP is using monique as an example (I don't mean that in a bad way, I truly don't know if Monique bought FBS's service) but if she did, there is something to bear in mind.
Monique had a bookbub yesterday for one of her box sets (I know this because I get bookbub e-mails).  I didn't buy the set because I've not yet read the other books, but I did click on the first book in the series.  Didn't buy it, because I already own it.

So, if she did an FBS on the same day she did a bookbub, I think the data might be a bit skewed.


As I've said before, I don't understand the importance of rank to an author, but if FBS is increasing your rank and that's what you want, hey, have at it.

However, as has been stated a number of times and still not directly addressed by FBS, is how us READERS can be part of this.  We'd like to support our authors.  And support a business that is supporting our authors.  

Monique didn't buy the service.  She is one of three authors in this thread who agreed to be guinea pigs for this so that they could see what the results were.

I don't do things like Bookbub, or like this, so I'm not in the market.  From the evidence so far in this thread, I'm inclined to think that the downloads come from bots or, at best, from people paid to click.  It just doesn't make sense that someone with a list that size of genuine members would be pitching their service to authors instead of beating them off with a stick.

Authors (in general) are so hungry for new ways to promote their books, that if this 700,000 list was a real mailing list made up of people genuinely looking to potentially read these books, - then people would already know about it.  As you've already noticed from this thread - authors are experts at unearthing secrets through research.  Word of mouth would already have generated more clients than the business could accommodate.  

There are a large number of authors who would pay for the rank boost alone.  I'm not one of them, nor are most Kboards members.  However, there is a market for that, just as there is a market for paid reviews, etc.  Personally, I think the OP would be better off selling apples to people who want apples, rather than pretending that they are organic oranges and trying to flog them to wholefoods shops*.  Especially when there's a big market (elsewhere) for apples.

P.S.  If the OP does start a thread over at AW, will someone please PM me the link?  I have plenty of popcorn!  :)

*I do love my tortuous analogies.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: telracs on December 04, 2013, 10:39:46 AM
...So people are paying 99c for the boxset from bookbub, then buying Book2, which they already have, from the boxset, for full price right after for 3.99? So you are really attributing sales on book2 to something other than my service? How could any book2 sales be from bookbub? What you are saying is impossible.

Monique's bookbub was for a box set of books 4-6, not books 1-3.  please re-read my post to see what I did based on the bookbub.

we don't know what anyone did based on your service because none of us are READER/SUBSCRIBERS to your service. 


And Zelah, thank for the clarification on how Monique got involved in using FBS, this thread is so long that I missed that.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 04, 2013, 10:41:43 AM
Monique's bookbub was for a box set of books 4-6, not books 1-3.  please re-read my post to see what I did based on the bookbub.

we don't know what anyone did based on your service because none of us are READER/SUBSCRIBERS to your service. 


And Zelah, thank for the clarification on how Monique got involved in using FBS, this thread is so long that I missed that.

Yes Deanna chase pointed that out.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: KeithAllen on December 04, 2013, 10:48:13 AM


P.S.  If the OP does start a thread over at AW, will someone please PM me the link?  I have plenty of popcorn!  :)

*I do love my tortuous analogies.

Other than a great place to get rootbeer and cheese curds, what is AW?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 04, 2013, 10:49:42 AM
A small data point, granted it's not the same as str from a freebie, but... I had a BB on Box Set II for $0.99. Of the 1500 or so that bought that set, 200+ forked over $7.99 for the first box set. Those numbers are just for the day of the ad. The conversion rates from the advertised book were even higher on BN and Apple.

I know FBS is a different beast than BB, but maybe someone who had a BB freebie can give some dls and str numbers just as a point of comparison?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: cinisajoy on December 04, 2013, 10:50:09 AM
See red flags they are now waving all over the place.
I notice that he is trying to say we want to SEE his mailing list, when that is NOT the case at all.  Some of us are voracious readers and would love to have more free books offered.
He is IGNORING the real readers and saying that we can't get on his list.

Now as per OJ's, Estelle's and Monique's books.   I find it rather odd that you had that many downloads but did not get a free mention on a couple of sites.   I have seen both Monique and Estelle on both sites before.   These are two sites that do not allow authors to advertise.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: telracs on December 04, 2013, 10:55:54 AM
See red flags they are now waving all over the place.
I notice that he is trying to say we want to SEE his mailing list, when that is NOT the case at all.  Some of us are voracious readers and would love to have more free books offered.
He is IGNORING the real readers and saying that we can't get on his list.

Now as per OJ's, Estelle's and Monique's books.   I find it rather odd that you had that many downloads but did not get a free mention on a couple of sites.   I have seen both Monique and Estelle on both sites before.   These are two sites that do not allow authors to advertise.


I agree.

I'm stepping away from this thread now until the OP stops ignoring readers....
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: PhoenixS on December 04, 2013, 11:54:32 AM
A small data point, granted it's not the same as str from a freebie, but... I had a BB on Box Set II for $0.99. Of the 1500 or so that bought that set, 200+ forked over $7.99 for the first box set. Those numbers are just for the day of the ad. The conversion rates from the advertised book were even higher on BN and Apple.

I know FBS is a different beast than BB, but maybe someone who had a BB freebie can give some dls and str numbers just as a point of comparison?

Monique, I provided numbers but not percentages earlier from a BB-backed free run. http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,169160.msg2420847.html#msg2420847

Quick recap:

BB-backed free run (DAY 1 results only so we can get a fair comparison):
26,000 downloads of free book
180 sales of Book 2
0.7% conversion

That works out to 84 sales for 12,000 downloads. 10,000 DLs would generate 50 sales at the very least. Granted, price and presentation will figure into results, but we always see a fair number of sales on the day of the free run.

We're in the middle of Day 4 on the free run now, with 36,000 DLs and 285 sales on Book 2. The conversion percentage has increased to 0.8%.

Remember: These are IMMEDIATE conversions at point of sale. STR will, of course, be higher once folk have a chance to read.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: chrisanthropic on December 04, 2013, 11:54:48 AM
I've been following the thread since the first page and I could be wrong but I think besides secrecy on his part (justified or not) there is a little communication problem (on the internet? NO.)

What it sounds like to me is that he won't share his email list or let people sign up to it because it's not a single list - it's an aggregate of various reading clubs, groups, etc.  Some or most of them may in fact be download-for-rewards (download elves) or not, we don't know.  But, if I'm understanding correctly, he can't let us sign up to the list because it's composed of reading group X, book club Y, and forum Z.  He can't sign you up for any of those places himself and he doesn't want to direct us to those places simply because larger clients/advertisers for XYZ don't want the word getting out.  

Not justifying anything, just trying to understand what both sides are saying.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 04, 2013, 12:03:52 PM
Monique, I provided numbers but not percentages earlier from a BB-backed free run. http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,169160.msg2420847.html#msg2420847

Quick recap:

BB-backed free run (DAY 1 results only so we can get a fair comparison):
26,000 downloads of free book
180 sales of Book 2
0.7% conversion

That works out to 84 sales for 12,000 downloads. 10,000 DLs would generate 50 sales at the very least. Granted, price and presentation will figure into results, but we always see a fair number of sales on the day of the free run.

We're in the middle of Day 4 on the free run now, with 36,000 DLs and 285 sales on Book 2. The conversion percentage has increased to 0.8%.

Remember: These are IMMEDIATE conversions at point of sale. STR will, of course, be higher once folk have a chance to read.

Ah, si. Sorry, I missed that. 26k!
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Philip Gibson on December 04, 2013, 12:20:37 PM
http://www.KevinGrass.com (http://www.KevinGrass.com) booth #106A),
Edited to add: Now you can see that Amazon has answered the question: real readers are downloading Estelle's book.

The Amazon reply didn't say the books were downloaded by real readers.  It said they were downloaded by real Amazon customers.

The number of Amazon customers must be 100s of times larger than the number of Amazon readers.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Saul Tanpepper on December 04, 2013, 12:24:24 PM
Other than a great place to get rootbeer and cheese curds, what is AW?

Absolute Write, aka, The Water Cooler. Things can get downright feisty over there. Been months since I've visited them.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Al Stevens on December 04, 2013, 12:40:35 PM
Absolute Write, aka, The Water Cooler. Things can get downright feisty over there. Been months since I've visited them.
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice...

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: David Adams on December 04, 2013, 03:02:37 PM
I don't know what this is. I like the results its given me so far. Last night I was ready to call it a scam. Now, with KDP having chimed in that they're real downloads? I don't know what to think.

STOP PLAYING GAMES WITH MY HEART, KBOARDS.

All we know for sure is that the books are being downloaded by people with an Amazon account. Amazon sells a lot more than books; for example, let's say Google (which owns eBay) linked people's eBay and Google Play accounts, combining them under one service (which is basically what Amazon is really, Play+eBay).

Then the OP said that he was offering 10,000+ downloads on books on Google Play. No worries.

Then people emailed Google Play and asked if they're legit; they are, because OP is marketing to eBay users. So people are downloading them with their eBay accounts. People who have no desire to read the books and never will, because as far as they're concerned, it's "click button, get rewards". They don't care about what they're clicking.

It's kind of like that. Amazon is much, much bigger than Kindle.

My main concern is what a promotion of this nature would do for also-bots.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: VydorScope on December 04, 2013, 03:20:40 PM
My main concern is what a promotion of this nature would do for also-bots.

Well, at least for Monique they look reasonable: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0036Z9W00
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: cinisajoy on December 04, 2013, 03:41:15 PM
Well, at least for Monique they look reasonable: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0036Z9W00
Monique also has a BB promo going on another book.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Mandy on December 04, 2013, 04:02:03 PM
Wouldn't a supposed list like this eventually lose quite a lot of (real) loyal subscribers if there is no selective process to help weed out the lower quality books? As a reader, I'm not familiar with the behind-the-scenes works of BookBub, but, judging by the way you guys talk about it, it seems they are pretty strict about the books they will accept and feature, and it's a pretty big deal if you get accepted. If I were subscribed to a mailing list that featured bargain books, and I ended up downloading a few "duds" that clearly had little to no editing, I'd probably unsubscribe.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Philip Gibson on December 04, 2013, 07:16:55 PM
Wouldn't a supposed list like this eventually lose quite a lot of (real) loyal subscribers if there is no selective process to help weed out the lower quality books?

I think it's clear by now that the initial downloads are not from readers. They are from Amazon customers but not readers per se. They are clicking for reasons other than the desire to get a free book.

As the OP obliquely stated, if the first 10,000 downloads are from his guaranteed (non reader) downloads and that generates a further 2,000 (or 5,000) downloads from actual potential readers due to the increased rankings/visibility, then if the conversion/transfer rate to other actual potential readers is high, the service has been proven effective.

We should get an idea of the actual conversion/transfer rate (real free downloads:sales) in the next few days.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 04, 2013, 07:27:34 PM
But he's willing to share the secret sauce with the 700,000+ people who are already on the list? THAT'S what makes me question it.



Like I said, I googled Monique Martin's Book name & author, and the date and book clubs did pop up. He might not be sharing, and they may not be sharing.

I myself privately pm'd a bunch of book blogs I was interested in when I first released my angel book, and offered to provide an article, an interview, if they wanted it. Several jumped. Now I provided all the Q & A, and literally all  they had to do was cut and paste the thing in.
if he has a form or has arranged to provied some content, they might jump at it. Providing content is a PIA, and takes a lot of time.

Maybe he bought email lists off people who sell skins to Kindle readers. Or may be he bought lists from these book bloggers. If you think outside the box, it's not so hard to compile lists of interested active readers, it just takes time, and know how.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Deanna Chase on December 04, 2013, 07:42:32 PM
A lot of places pick up free books that are in the top 100. I also did a search on Monique's free book while it was on promotion with Free Book Service. It did not show up on any blogs or websites. The next day it did along with all the other top 100 books. I think using where Monique's book shows up now is flawed research.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Saul Tanpepper on December 04, 2013, 08:03:46 PM
At this point, I'm convinced that the service gets you empty downloads and, as a consequence, ranking and exposure. It's the downloads from actual readers that you get as a consequence of that ranking/exposure that you're really paying for. If you buy the 10K package and you get 18,000 downloads, then the conversion-to-paid rate should really be calculated off the last 8,000.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 04, 2013, 08:16:35 PM
At this point, I'm convinced that the service gets you empty downloads and, as a consequence, ranking and exposure. It's the downloads from actual readers that you get as a consequence of that ranking/exposure that you're really paying for. If you buy the 10K package and you get 18,000 downloads, then the conversion-to-paid rate should really be calculated off the last 8,000.

Only if you are looking for a conversion rate from list visibility alone. Those 10,000 downloads are costly and you could see better results (depending on your category) from other services. You may not get 10K downloads but outside of becoming visible, they are worthless.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Saul Tanpepper on December 04, 2013, 08:44:03 PM
Only if you are looking for a conversion rate from list visibility alone. Those 10,000 downloads are costly and you could see better results (depending on your category) from other services. You may not get 10K downloads but outside of becoming visible, they are worthless.

We're in agreement. My point (perhaps not well made) was that the value lies only in the organic downloads coming as a result of the increased visibility. If you pay for 10,000 and get 10,000, then you've essentially paid for a whole lot of rarefied air and nothing else. If you get 11,000 (1,000 from people not associated with the service) then you're essentially paying for the equivalent of 1,000 downloads. This increases the cost of those readers. I'd rather spend the same money for a better conversion rate.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 04, 2013, 08:56:20 PM
I get what you were saying now. I think I was the one confused, looking back, I understand the first post now.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 04, 2013, 09:21:24 PM
Maybe he bought email lists off people who sell skins to Kindle readers. Or may be he bought lists from these book bloggers. If you think outside the box, it's not so hard to compile lists of interested active readers, it just takes time, and know how.

But how would adding my email address to the mailing list clue me into the addresses/identities/origins of anyone else on the list? However he generated the list he has now, adding new people to it 1) won't reveal anything about existing members, 2) would increase download numbers, and 3) is necessary to make up for unsubscribes and dead addresses, over time.

I'm still really not getting the reticence. The only thing that makes sense is that it's the email message itself he doesn't want us to see, and the only explanations I can think of for that are troubling.

I'm relieved to know, based on Estelle's reassuring communication with KDP, that no one's going to lose their publisher account with Amazon for advertising with these folks, but that risk was only part of my concern about it.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Philip Gibson on December 04, 2013, 10:03:39 PM
stelle's reassuring communication with KDP, that no one's going to lose their publisher account with Amazon for advertising with these folks, but that risk was only part of my concern about it.

That reply from an Amazon representative was indeed reassuring and could be used in any future defense if punitive actions were indeed taken by Amazon down the line. However, the reply was from ONE staff member who may, or may not, have looked deeply into what is going on with these downloads.

It's doin' me 'ead in trying to figure out exactly how this works and, since it seems to have got by Amazon, I can only give kudos to the OP and his company for doing something really clever.

Whatever it is.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 04, 2013, 10:43:06 PM
We listen to our paying clients, not non-buyers and skeptics.

Many of our largest customers ask for discretion when it comes to what they are doing promotion wise, so as I have stated before, our aim is to keep our current customers happy.

(http://oi40.tinypic.com/2nixnq0.jpg)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: telracs on December 04, 2013, 10:48:35 PM
We listen to our paying clients, not non-buyers and skeptics.


and not readers who want to become part of your list, either, apparently.....

oh, the best way to convince people to believe you about things is to answer them.  not insult them.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: dalya on December 04, 2013, 11:03:28 PM
Given enough time, this service will have a monopoly on the top 100 freebie spots. It's actually kind of exciting.

The next level is a 99-cent book and top 100 on the paid list. That would start around $1,000 minimum, I'd guess. The buyer would get back $350, or $700 if they're in a countdown deal. So, net expense of $300 to get visibility on that list? Not bad.

BRING THE POPCORN.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Deanna Chase on December 04, 2013, 11:34:00 PM
Well, the whole back and forth with the community has been interesting. The initial suspicion was infectious and perhaps justified, but despite repeated assurances and even a response to Estelle's inquiries from KDP, a lot of doubt persists. And that's fine, I guess. I had my doubts and did my share of flip-flopping in this thread, but especially after Amazon chimed in and I began to receive new reviews/purchases on my other books, they've pretty much been absolved. I really don't think anything illicit is going on here; quite the opposite, I think we're looking at a new tool here that actually works... and it isn't Bookbub. Feels almost dirty to type that.

This thing works far better than any other promotional tool I've hitherto used and I think I'll probably use it again in the near future for something else. I don't know precisely how Freebookservice has done it, but it works. Period. He's stuck around here and weathered more scrutiny and abuse than I would have, so major kudos for that. Hope he sees a lot of business!

In the meantime, I guess I might as well have my paychecks written out to him.

I'm glad you're happy with your results.

The one question I ask is this: If it turns out this service is actually a pay for downloads service, meaning the people who FBS market to are paid to download your free book, are you comfortable with that? Are you comfortable with being associated with such a service? What do regular readers think of this? Is it on par with paying for reviews? Or buying your way onto a best seller list?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: David Adams on December 04, 2013, 11:38:53 PM
I debated posting this, but yeah. I think I should.

Although I was originally genuinely interested, I would stay away from the OP's offer. I'll present my reasoning for it, but first I want to make a few things clear:

- What the OP is providing is a legal service.
- I was genuinely interested in the OP's product. I am no longer, obviously.
- This is not fraudulent and it delivers exactly what it promises (and no more).
- I won't judge anyone who chooses to use the OP's service. I just want them to be clear about what they're getting into.
- I can't guarantee that the information in this post is correct, but I'm confident enough to put my real name to it.

The OP is not getting your book into the hands of readers. The exact nature of their operation is not perfectly clear, but it appears to be essentially a "pay foreign citizens pennies to download free books". Those books will never be read, so all it's doing is boosting your sales rank. Your books go to accounts that will never genuinely be used.

The problems with this are:

- It costs a lot. You're paying people to download books, so that's why the OP's prices are so much higher than Bookbub.
- There is 0 follow-through. People are not going to read book #1 and then read #2 and #3. You are simply boosting a simple book that will never be read by those downloaders.
- This will destroy your also-bots. Expect a bunch of random stuff to show up. Short term gain, long term loss.
- There is no accountability. Every major promotion site has people's real names and contact information on it, there's nothing here. Just gmail accounts (anyone can make one), usernames, fake names, and façades. If I'm going to hand over hundreds of bucks to someone, I'm going to know their real name at least.
- The operation may be against the Amazon's terms of service. Specifically:

Quote from: Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions (emphasis mine)
Do not misuse the Amazon selling platform: As a community, all sellers are able to access and use the Amazon selling platform. If a seller uploads excessive amounts of data repeatedly, or otherwise uses the platform in an excessive or unreasonable way, it can create a disproportional load on the platform and impair the ability of other sellers to easily access and use the platform.  If a seller is misusing or making excessive or unreasonable use of the Amazon selling platform, Amazon may in its sole discretion restrict or block access to product feeds or any other platform functions that are being misused until the seller stops its misuse.
(Source: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200414320)

Additionally:

Quote from: Amazon Terms of Service
Amazon reserves the right to refuse service, terminate accounts, remove or edit content, or cancel orders in its sole discretion.
(Source: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=508088)

It's not clear, but Amazon is making no profit on these free books. 10,000 books a day is a heavy load even for a distributed system like Amazon; those servers aren't free, that electricity costs money, and that ISP will bill them. As it currently stands, Amazon is eating the cost of perma-free books (and even puts in a "free" column on our KDP reports to help us out), but it's clear that free is costing them money and they don't like it. Amazon's margins aren't that good and they tend to operate in a binary fashion. Everything's totally fine, and then your account gets banned without warning.

To use a metaphor, the OP is going to a big supermarket and stuffing his pockets with "free samples". Sure, they're free, but someone ultimately pays for them, and I don't know about everyone else but if I lost my Amazon sales I would be out of a job.

That's all fine. But here's the thing. I looked around, and the more I looked the more I became convinced that this was a bad plan.

I won't disclose my methods (sound familiar?), but here's what I found out. Anyone who is interested can PM me and I'll provide direct links, but in the interest of OP's safely and privacy, I'm not going to post them here. But if anyone wants direct links, I can provide them.

The OP's service is run by a guy. Let's call him "Leviathan".

"Leviathan" is a (banned) member of BlackHatWorld, a dodgy as hell Search Engine Optimization forum (http://www.blackhatworld.com/). This place is quite dodgy; buying email lists, spam accounts, pay-per-action, etc.

On SEOClerks, the same OP was offering to pay $3 per fake Amazon review.

I dug further and found a few other email addresses, including one that points to deleted (but cached; Google does not forget) efforts to spam blogs with links back to Amazon products. These were pretty old. There's a bunch of other stuff: disputing 1 star reviews on their books, etc.

An account on makemoney.net, with the same user name as "Leviathan", was soliciting to pay for unpublished erotica short stories. Legal, ethical, but...

Then I dug around a bit more. The books bought from those authors were getting one stars (presumably because they were abysmally written) and accounts with the same name as the above accounts were contesting those reviews. It's one step above books that just scrape Wikipedia; "Leviathan" wrote on the Warrior Forum that he has published hundreds of books on Amazon. There's only a few ways you can do that. It's pretty dodgy, and while not a smoking gun itself, when you add it to the rest it starts to look bad.

"Leviathan" is very inconsistent with what his service actually is. Compare and contrast to services like Bookbub, WeLoveVampireNovels, KFD, etc who are all very open about how their business works. On the Warrior Forums, "Leviathan" explained some of his methods:

Quote from: Leviathan
- Mailing to our lists
- Banners on our free kindle promotion sites
- Promotion on our facebook fan pages
- Promotion on our twitter pages.

We are not doing press releases or submission to publicly accessible sites so if you want to do that during your promotion that's completely fine.

I can find no evidence of any of these things existing, nor are they cached in Google's servers anywhere. I could find no Facebook group, or twitter pages, Kindle Promotion Sites under his name, or a list that anyone can join. As others have pointed out, refusing to allow anyone to join the list is highly suspicious.

"Leviathan" would have us believe that there is a list of 700,000 readers on Facebook pages, on mailing lists, twitter pages, etc, but keeps them secret. Well, if that's the case, there's only a couple of ways to get them. The main way is email scraping. The same way that people send out those "sex enhancement pills" and whatnot. Spam, basically.

And you're going to put your book on that list?

Fortunately, it's much more likely that these lists don't exist at all and the OP is, as I said before, just using CPA to get the downloads. Nobody will get spammed, most likely, just Amazon will lose a bunch of money.

Screwing your boss is a pretty bad long term strategy.

"Leviathan" is clearly comfortable stretching the truth, because he's telling one website one thing about his service, and us another story. There's no accountability, no real-world identity, nothing except easily registered email accounts and a bunch of shady deals on the side. That's a poor choice of person to send your money to.

So I dug a bit more. I found a bunch of dodgy stuff, that I won't go into huge amounts of details. Multiple accounts all patting each other on the back, books stuffed with fake 5 star reviews, but a whole bunch of "legal but shady" activities, most of which are explicitly or implicitly against the Amazon Terms of Service.

So where does that leave us?

Writers trade on their reputation. I use my real name on my books, and my real reputation is on the line here. I choose to do that because I'm confident that my real-world reputation is protected by my behaviour. I don't conduct myself dishonestly, or employ black hat techniques, or engage in rank manipulation, etc. I help people without expecting a reward. I tell the truth. That's my armour.

This service might be technically within the purvey of the rules, but it fails the smell test. This isn't an ethical action. His service will get you your 10,000 downloads and your transaction will be honestly processed. Right up until it gets you banned by Amazon, or whatever. Sure, it might not happen, but it's like they say.

Wallow in mud and you'll get dirty. But it's up to you.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 04, 2013, 11:41:58 PM
I'm glad you're happy with your results.

The one question I ask is this: If it turns out this service is actually a pay for downloads service, meaning the people who FBS market to are paid to download your free book, are you comfortable with that? Are you comfortable with being associated with such a service? What do regular readers think of this? Is it on par with paying for reviews? Or buying your way onto a best seller list?

Pretty sure that it's been unequivocally confirmed by the stats in this thread that the initial 10,000 downloads aren't "readers" of any sort, regardless of how they claim they're generated. The ethics of that are, of course, up for debate. But, you can be sure, if Amazon allows this type of manipulation on their lists, those ethics aren't really going to matter because the Amazon free lists of every single genre will be controlled by services just like these. And until Amazon squashes it, if you want on those lists, you'll be paying for it.

And well said David. Regardless of the email received by an hourly associate from KDP in this thread (I've also sent my own, being much more specific, and am awaiting reply), you can be pretty darn sure rank manipulation is heavily against Amazons ToS.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Deanna Chase on December 04, 2013, 11:52:13 PM
Pretty sure this it's been unequivocally confirmed by the stats in this thread that the initial 10,000 downloads aren't "readers" of any sort, regardless of how they claim they're generated. The ethics of that are, of course, up for debate. But, you can be sure, if Amazon allows this type of manipulation on their lists, those ethics aren't really going to matter because the Amazon free lists of every single genre will be controlled by services just like these. And until Amazon squashes it, if you want on those lists, you'll be paying for it.

And well said David. Regardless of the email received by an hourly associate from KDP in this thread (I've also sent my own, being much more specific, and am awaiting reply), you can be pretty darn sure rank manipulation is heavily against Amazons ToS.

I'm not sure if you're addressing me specifically because of your quote or are just addressing what I asked of this poster. But to be clear, I do think it is a pay per download situation and I wouldn't risk my reputation or my standing with Amazon for it. I only spend money on advertising I can vet first.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Deanna Chase on December 04, 2013, 11:56:13 PM
That's what pen-names are for  :P

But more seriously, if this service is that kind of operation, then I see little difference between it and what traditional publishers have done for decades; that is, buying spots on the bestseller lists/ buying great reviews in top periodicals/ etc.

Even if it is a pay-for-downloads service, there's nothing immoral about using it. The people who see my book on the top of the lists aren't magically going to like it and throw money at me simply because it's up there. They'll simply know it exists and be more likely to download it. I'm not bamboozling anyone into doing anything. I'm simply using a service that has the ability to thrust it high up in the store, where they might actually see it for once. Anything that happens after that is up to the customer.

Like I said earlier, I don't think anything illicit is going on here. There's been a lot of speculation in this thread, and for the most part, it's been baseless. Rooted in understandable doubt, perhaps, but ultimately baseless.

And this leads me to: If that's the case, would you also pay for a service that guarantees 1000 people will purchase your book assuming it isn't free? And assuming you can afford whatever the cost of such a service would be?

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 04, 2013, 11:56:29 PM
I'm not sure if you're addressing me specifically because of your quote or are just addressing what I asked of this poster. But to be clear, I do think it is a pay per download situation and I wouldn't risk my reputation or my standing with Amazon for it. I only spend money on advertising I can vet first.

No, I was just adding to what you had said. Not talking at you. :)

And I carry your sentiments as well. I have pretty much zero doubt that Amazon will be nuking this service in a matter of weeks, if that. Not a snowballs chance in you know where that they'd let someone control what displays on their store's most popular browse lists when the accounts used to do so aren't potential revenue sources.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 04, 2013, 11:56:35 PM
I honestly don't give a hoot anymore. It's like we're playing a card game of B.S, except when we call you out we don't get to see your cards. Oh well.  I think this is a scam and I don't for one d*mn second believe you have a list. And if you do, it's a list of avid candy crush users looking for extra lives. So just one more recap before I (hopefully spend my time on more productive activities).

1. The same download numbers across different genres.
2. Bookbub can't even even get these numbers across genres and they have a userbase that is multiple the size of yours.
3. Yeah, I get it, freebookservice isn't bookbub. But what is?  ;)
4. Your email and your post state two different methods that grew your user list. You went from links in books (that haven't sold enough copies to justify a 700K mailing list), to a series of blogs and websites that can't be found with a google search. (And I'm talking about doing searches on the authors and their books. You know, the ones where there were posts after your service was used).
5. I still think your whois registration is troubling, despite what another poster said.
6. The traditional scam starts out with "I've been using this service and it's worked so well, I want to share".
7. You, at one point, were involved in a CPM scam.
8. Yeah, you said it wasn't you. But the emails and names match.
9. Not one person here knows of another large mailing list. Somebody here would have heard about it by now.
10. Unless your mailing list is nothing more than blogs with visitors (which again, are nowhere to be found except for this one (http://money4yourblog.com/2013/12/03/out-of-time-a-time-travel-mystery-out-of-time-1-monique-martin/). Judging by the name of the blog and the fact that it was created about the time you opened your doors for business, it makes me question if this isn't your massive list.
11. Which, if it is your blog, has little to no activity (http://www.upname.com/domain/Money4YourBlog.com)
12. Despite the surge in OJ's sales above me, why is it that the other poster saw a conversion ration FAR below normal?
13. It still makes no sense whatsoever that we, readers, cannot gain access to this list. Or see a screenshot of the list. Because it's private. How. the. hell. is it private if it is sent to 700K bots/elves subscribers?
14. I know one way authors wouldn't want this publicized... Because it's an unethical rank grab.
15. You said on one page and I'm not looking for the post, that we should basically pay with our wallets, after the intial surge in equal downloads (across genre).
16. There is a plus to your service. Visibility. That's about it. There are much more ethical, thrifty ways to achieve this. And your book actually stands a chance to be read instead of thrown into the trash for another 30 second round of a crazily addictive, candy crushing game.
17. If you can't understand why we are so nosey and adamant to see a list then I don't know what to tell you. I think this has been a civil thread but when you say that you don't need to worry about us? Excuse me? What? We are your target base and any real businesmann wouldn't be so quick to cast off the skeptics. Scammers would though.
18. I'm not going to hold it against any authors who choose to use your service. That is between them and you. But you have lost many potential customers with your secrecy.
19. I would love to be wrong but you have so many strikes against you and are as tight lipped as a mime in a horror film.
20. You started your business on warrior forums of all places. I'm sure there are people over there who make a dollar. A few more who make thousands. I think that place is just about the bottom barrel of the internet. Where users sit around screwing each other out of money in hopes of becoming the next big Empower Network.
21. Your website (which is for returning customers only according to the top of the page), looks just like a thousand other premade themes used by craigslist spammers. Make a thousand dollars in two seconds! Yee-haw.
22. Which brings me to another point, and this one is actually a comment. Your a mastermind. You have restructured a get rich scheme and formatted it perfectly for authors. It has all the glitz and glam of one of those except it costs more, potentially has real (but the value is in question) results, and you didn't have to post on craigslist. You have went straight to your target market. Kudos.
23. But your target market wasn't Warrior Forum, which was unexpected.
24. It's the internet. It's so easy to get ripped off. A little transparency is required (though not always, there are many authors who will pay for your services).
25. I think you're going to make a fortune. Congratulations on that.
26. I know I'm forgetting at least ten things but It's late and I really do have full lives on candy crush. (Level 155, Jeaaahhhh!!!)

Finally, I sincerely hope that what you're offering is legit if for no other reason then I would hate to see users here get scammed. Maybe someday I'll see the light and convert. And if that day comes I'll eat my words, put on a loincloth and dance around in my living room in a live tinychat broadcast while singing a woefully awful tune;

I was wrong,
I'm a fool,
everybody head toooo
free book service dot cooooooom.

EDIT: There are quite a few grammatical errors up there. I know it's a writing forum but it's late and I can't be bothered to fix them. Please don't crucify me  8)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 05, 2013, 12:24:54 AM
Despite my misgivings, a few pages back I said I don't think this guy is being malicious.

Well I take that back.

(http://i1140.photobucket.com/albums/n575/mattfastiggi/TamraDone_zps4a721fa6.gif)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: David J Normoyle on December 05, 2013, 02:27:48 AM
I don't see why not. I would never solicit fake reviews, but stuff like this? Just buyin' a spot on the list? If Amazon's not cool with it, then no. But if this kind of thing is cool by them, then absolutely. Though such services would likely be too rich for my blood.

Buying a spot on a bestseller list, even though you are not a bestseller is fine? It's like hacking into the NYTimes Bestseller lists and putting your name in at number 6 on the list, even though you haven't sold any copies. Nothing wrong with paying for a service like that at all. Hackers have to eat too.

Also, you said you are happy with the service. But you got it for free. You mightn't be so happy if you paid full wack for it, since you wouldn't yet be close to getting a return on your money.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: David J Normoyle on December 05, 2013, 03:10:52 AM
Providing that Amazon doesn't care about a service that might function in such a way, there is nothing morally reprehensible about utilizing it. Not. One. Thing. Now, if Amazon says "Nay", then I wouldn't use it. I'm not looking to break the rules and p*ss 'em off. But if it gets the green light, there's no reason not to use it. It'd be similar to what publishers with massive budgets do: Buy up spots on the lists.
How can you possibly think that Amazon will be okay with authors paying a third party to manipulate Amazon's bestseller lists? If they wanted to allow people to buy their way into lists, shouldn't they just charge, so they make money on the deal, rather than losing money on the fake downloads. Might take a while for Amazon to get on top of it, though, so the providers of the service and the authors using it could profit in the meantime.

Also, I think publishers generally pay for spots in bookstores, not bestseller lists. Since visibility==ranking on Amazon, there is some correspondence to the two cases, and as Dalya noted, Amazon may give extra visibility to their own imprints, but they are not the same thing. Even if Amazon give extra visibility to their own imprints I doubt they artificially push them up the bestseller lists.

Also, great post and great research, David Adams.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 05, 2013, 03:57:12 AM
This thread has been an incredible time-sink and I don't feel like my rambling on about stuff is worthwhile for any of us, so I'm hoppin' out of this thread. I'll keep lurking out of curiosity though, haha. If anyone wants to know about my results further on down the line, feel free to PM me.

Thanks to the OP for letting me try it for free. Thanks for the interesting (and civil!) discussion, everyone.

Until Amazon says "Yeah, it's OK," I wouldn't recommend authors use it. I also don't feel like there's any danger in doing so, or that it's in any way illegitimate however. I just think it's prudent to hear what Amazon has to say. As with everything else, weigh the risks and decide whether this is a service you'd like to pursue. If you do decide to use it, good luck.

I let my personal opinions color my posts a bit too much, so I'm sorry for the de-rails and such, y'all.

Peace ~<3
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: David Adams on December 05, 2013, 04:31:20 AM
How can you possibly think that Amazon will be okay with authors paying a third party to manipulate Amazon's bestseller lists?

This is, if you distil it down to the absolute core, why this is a bad plan.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: CDForness on December 05, 2013, 05:14:48 AM
I heart you K.B. Parker...in a non-creepy, platonic, bromancely kinda way.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Danni on December 05, 2013, 05:20:30 AM
We listen to our paying clients, not non-buyers and skeptics.

Many of our largest customers ask for discretion when it comes to what they are doing promotion wise, so as I have stated before, our aim is to keep our current customers happy.


I have no idea what this means. We are not asking to SEE YOUR LIST. We want to receive your promotional emails. They don't exist, and that's clearly evident.

And if those authors show up on alsobots for the other authors who paid for the service and are not in hiding, the cats out of the bag. One email from Amazon will not absolve authors since we don't even know what this IS. All the red flags are going up for a reason. If this is all about getting on a list and no readers, how (again) does this separate authors from other authors who bought up their own books to end up on the NYT list and got called out?


My suggestion is everyone walk away from this thread and just let it die.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Al Stevens on December 05, 2013, 09:09:46 AM
Results:
Click "On the Street Where You Die" in my signature if you care to follow the progress. I'll post later if this promotion has any notable consequences.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Al Stevens on December 05, 2013, 09:19:54 AM
It might be interesting for subscribers to this service to track their "Also Bought" list to see if there are other kboards members there who have confessed to having subscribed to this service.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 05, 2013, 09:23:35 AM
The first four books in my ABs have changed. Assuming they all used this service because a) I recongnize two as the other testers and b) the other two have zero relationship to my book/genre. This is a definite downside to using an unfocused service.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Al Stevens on December 05, 2013, 09:40:35 AM
I think I see a flaw in this scheme. How does the service provider know how many downloads a book gets? That information is available to the KDP account in the Reports section, but others shouldn't be able to see my reports. What prevents an unscrupulous author from claiming he or she didn't hit the guaranteed number of downloads. If this service uses a list of real amazon customers, how do they know how many of them downloaded which books?

Is this an aha moment?

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: cinisajoy on December 05, 2013, 09:44:09 AM
I think I see a flaw in this scheme. How does the service provider know how many downloads a book gets? That information is available to the KDP account in the Reports section, but others shouldn't be able to see my reports. What prevents an unscrupulous author from claiming he or she didn't hit the guaranteed number of downloads. If this service uses a list of real amazon customers, how do they know how many of them downloaded which books?

Is this an aha moment?



Yes you are having an aha moment.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: valeriec80 on December 05, 2013, 10:21:56 AM
Well, I'm still watching these promos.

OJ Connell's second short story is currently ranked at #26,000.

I watched J.L. Bryan's Jenny Pox Bookbub ad several weeks ago, and Tommy Nightmare was hitting about that the second day, which I thought was kind of crap for Bookbub. (YA category)

Lisa Grace, you've got a paranormal YA. I'm watching that.

While Amazon may not like services like this (I don't think they're fond of Bookbub), I'm not sure what they can do to do stop them. Some of you have mentioned that Amazon would ban authors who used them. But this doesn't seem to me like an effective way to stop the service. Possibly word would spread that Amazon banned people who used a certain service and that might deter people from using it. But there are so, so many authors using KDP. This seems unlikely to actually make a dent. So, it would be punishment, but it wouldn't be productive. Also, I rather think Amazon would issue a warning first. They do issue warnings for everything else, including possibly copyright infringement and other such things. It seems to me that Amazon's hands are tied. Can they disable the accounts of the 10,000 people downloading these freebies? Can they stop the guy from running his service?

Is Amazon too busy selling toasters and groceries to even care about books?

Finally, I think that ethics in regards to selling entertainment is a very slippery slope. We all want our products to rise on merit alone, but we all know that merit is a-subjective and b-impossible to measure. In truth, we are not competing to see which books are "better," but rather which books people want. We also know that people cannot want what they cannot see. Therefore, we are all engaged in activities to try to make people see our books. But when we apply ethics to this equation, what we are saying is that we don't want things "undeserving" of popularity to become popular because they were given "unfair" visibility. If this is a possibility, then we all realize that we are basically just marketing to a fickle mass of easily led drones. If we don't think readers are that idiotic, then we must believe that they do have some capability to pick out the "deserving" from the "undeserving." But then we have to believe that "good" rises to the top. Which isn't necessarily true. And anyway, there's no way to define "good."

Man, I just confused myself.

Here's my question, I suppose. I can pay money to Bookbub to get people who will download my book and say to themselves, "Hmm... that's free. I might read that." But then never do read it. Or I can pay money for a bunch of people to download my book and say, "I'm never going to read that. I'm doing this for some totally different reason." And they never read it. So, are these two things so qualitatively different, really? Does the intention of the downloader really change the ethics?

Like I said. Musing.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 05, 2013, 10:35:18 AM

Here's my question, I suppose. I can pay money to Bookbub to get people who will download my book and say to themselves, "Hmm... that's free. I might read that." But then never do read it. Or I can pay money for a bunch of people to download my book and say, "I'm never going to read that. I'm doing this for some totally different reason." And they never read it. So, are these two things so qualitatively different, really? Does the intention of the downloader really change the ethics?

Like I said. Musing.

Yes, it certainly changes the ethics. Through a bookbub ad you are rising through the ranks with people who are actually interested. Everyone on that list has had to do it the hard way and it isn't fair for those who got there on their own to be pushed down the list by non-readers. You didn't say it but someone else did, that publishers have been buying lists forever. That might be true but two wrongs don't make a right.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 05, 2013, 10:37:02 AM
I heart you K.B. Parker...in a non-creepy, platonic, bromancely kinda way.

I'm taking life partner applications on my site, free love service dot com.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: telracs on December 05, 2013, 10:55:13 AM

<snip>
Here's my question, I suppose. I can pay money to Bookbub to get people who will download my book and say to themselves, "Hmm... that's free. I might read that." But then never do read it. Or I can pay money for a bunch of people to download my book and say, "I'm never going to read that. I'm doing this for some totally different reason." And they never read it. So, are these two things so qualitatively different, really? Does the intention of the downloader really change the ethics?

Like I said. Musing.

Personally, if I download a book, I intend to read it.  That's what readers do, we buy/download things we're interested in reading. 
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: valeriec80 on December 05, 2013, 10:57:25 AM
Yes, it certainly changes the ethics. Through a bookbub ad you are rising through the ranks with people who are actually interested. Everyone on that list has had to do it the hard way and it isn't fair for those who got there on their own to be pushed down the list by non-readers. You didn't say it but someone else did, that publishers have been buying lists forever. That might be true but two wrongs don't make a right.

Well, yeah. But as I was saying earlier, there's no way for this business to be fair.

Like, if you and I were both selling vacuum cleaners, and mine was faulty, and I paid a bunch of people to buy mine so that it appeared higher on an Amazon list, people would be upset, because they had purchased a faulty vacuum cleaner.

But a faulty ebook? We can make some attempts at trying find standards with books. Formatting. Typographical and grammatical errors. But once you get into the content, it's all just a huge morass, you know? There's no way to qualitatively say that one book is better than another.

So, if that's true, then it's not as if some books are more deserving of visibility than others.

Look, we don't really know why people buy some books and not other books. But we do know that people buy books that are visible more often than books that aren't. Now, what bookbub does is give books that have had some visibility more visibility. The reason I say this is because a bookbub ad is generally only given to books that have had a certain level of success--basically you can tell this by reviews. The more a book has been read, more reviews it has. So, a book has to have done well to even get on bookbub. But I don't think that necessarily means that book is "better" or more deserving. I've written a lot of books. Some of my books are pretty good. Some are less good. By my own opinion. But the books that I think are good are not necessarily the books that sell well. I've run bookbub ads for some of my books, but they've also denied other ones. Was that because one book was better than the other? I don't know. Probably not.

Since we can't apply a merit scale to ebooks, it is impossible to say that it's more "fair" for one book to get a bookbub ad than another. And it's also not necessarily "fair" that one book get more visibility than another.

This is not to say that I'm saying the service offered here is ethical, per se.

If I were going to argue its unethicality, however, I'd probably look more at the way the guy is making a profit. Is he getting a lot of money for doing very little work? (Which may not be unethical in and of itself. I mean, look at baseball players. Look at Thomas freaking Harris. He's written less than ten books. Wildly successful. Every book he writes gets made into a successful movie. Grr.) Is he making a lot of money and not providing a worthwhile service? (Scamming people, essentially) Those kinds of things.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 05, 2013, 11:05:04 AM
Everything else aside...The alsobots are a big downside to this service. And, I suppose, if someone were so inclined, they could follow the breadcrumbs and see who has used the service.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Ann in Arlington on December 05, 2013, 11:16:41 AM
Personally, if I download a book, I intend to read it.  That's what readers do, we buy/download things we're interested in reading. 

Agreed.  I don't automatically pick up everything BookBub promos each day. . . . in fact only about once a week, or less often, does something catch my eye.  So if I choose to download, I intend to read it at some point.  Not saying it's going to be NOW. . . but I will get to it.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 05, 2013, 11:16:53 AM
I debated posting this, but yeah. I think I should.

<snip>

Thank you, David. I appreciate your research and find your reasoning about permafree very convincing. Would you consider sending your info to Jeff Bezos? Someone on KB will have his email address or that of an Amazon higher-up.

To all: Losing the ability to go permafree, should this kind of service proliferate, would be devastating. Maybe if we appear to be working with Amazon responsibly, rather than gaming their system until it actually starts compromising its function and costing them noticeably, they won't begin enforcing the TOS to the letter of the law.

According to the TOS we've all agreed to, permafree should not be possible because you're not allowed to set your price lower on another site than it is on Amazon, and when I set my book to $0.00 on B&N and elsewhere while it was still $3.99 on Amazon, that's just what I was doing. So far, Amazon has decided that permafree is an exception they'll allow, probably because they think it increases sales overall by creating "gateway books" that get readers "addicted" to a series or an author. But David's post is a good reminder that Amazon's margins are small, and it wouldn't take much abuse of the free-book system to make it a financial minus. Select enables Amazon to dangle plenty of free books in front of customers. They don't need permafree.

Plus, as I've mentioned before, Amazon is clearly sensitive to suggestions that its system is gamed/compromised. Cf. their sudden and draconian reaction to the fake-review scandal. If they figure out their very visible best-seller lists are being manipulated far more directly ... well, that's some seriously bad PR for them. To the many non-authors who won't bother trying to understand the mechanism fully, it's going to sound like Amazon got hacked by greedy self-publishers. Amazon is going to feel they have to Do Something, and whatever they do, we're not going to like it.

In the meantime, I hope KBers do not use this service. I think it's foolish to risk your own reputation; your also-boughts; and, communitywide, a powerful tool like permafree just to make the small profit you're likely to end up with after paying freebooksservice's exorbitant rates. If you even break even. Those first 10K downloaders are not going to be downloading anything else -- that's been pretty well established by this thread. So, if you pay $300+ (prices went up today, right?) for 10,000 downloads and end up with 14,000, what you've actually done is pay $300+ to introduce your book to 4,000 potential readers. Just. Not. Worth it.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: PhoenixS on December 05, 2013, 11:42:25 AM
Just noting that once all 3 guinea pig books hit their 10,000 DLs, they leap-frogged our BB-backed freebie in the ranks, which was around #9 at the time. Getting ousted by bots/whatever and watching it happen in real time? Not fun, I'll assure you.

I'll leave this tidbit regarding how Amazon combats even legit models such as BookBub when it comes to influencing ranks long-term. It seems downloads and sales that originate with BookBub are flagged and are not counted in the algos that determine later poplist placement. The throttling happens, not on the front end, but the back end. (This is partly why folk say Select doesn't work any longer - but it isn't that reader behavior is changing or that BookBub is any less effective in delivering results; it's Amazon attempting to squelch long-term influences on its ranks.)

If Amazon is aware of this FBS service (which, yeah, if they weren't before, they will be now), they may also throttle via excluding those 10,000 downloads from their visibility algos (which influence their recommendation algos).

So you wind up buying only short-term visibility without benefit of long-term results. You may get 10,000 downloads, but you still may not be getting what you think you paid for.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 05, 2013, 12:01:48 PM
Here's the response from KDP that I just received. While not as in depth as the questions I asked, it seems pretty obvious they do not support it and are already looking into it.

Quote
Hello,

Thank you for reaching out to KDP Support.

We recommend that the rankings represent genuine interest and downloads from customers and manipulating the free sales or ranking is not advisable and urge our publisher's to desist from such practices. I appreciate that you contacted us instead of opting for such means to increase the ranking.

I've also passed this information to the appropriate team to look into this.

I understand that you'd like your book(s) to gain more visibility and have a wider reach. You can find some helpful tips for marketing and promoting your books:

https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A37SMD4NYVZDI7

https://www.createspace.com/en/community/docs/DOC-2011

Also, social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter are easy, free ways to advertise your book and connect with readers.

Sad that they couldn't give more details, I guess I could email them back and try again, but I imagine the response will be similar.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Al Stevens on December 05, 2013, 12:11:16 PM
Amazon doesn't like Bookbubs? Bookbubs is one of the Sponsored Links at the bottom of Amazon's search page when you search for free books. And the sponsored link takes you to Bookbub.



Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: dalya on December 05, 2013, 12:13:27 PM
EDIT : sorry, I overreacted!!

Goes back to popcorn and caffeine withdrawal.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Adam Poe on December 05, 2013, 12:16:04 PM
Amazon doesn't like Bookbubs? Bookbubs is one of the Sponsored Links at the bottom of Amazon's search page when you search for free books. And the sponsored link takes you to Bookbub.

I think it is because, in at least some part due to these type of promotional sites, that Amazon has changed how free downloads impact rank. A huge burst of 10k downloads in a single 24 hour period will get you had in the ranks...but for a very small amount of time. The algos are hidden, but a lot of us believe they have been tweaked to reward steady downloads/growth. Consistency will get you a lot more visibility on Amazon itself than just a couple days of mass downloads that dwindle back into nothing.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 05, 2013, 12:29:47 PM
Holy [crap]! You're inciting a witch hunt? What about the people who just had freebie days scheduled for that day? It's one thing to take the high road, or to eat popcorn and enjoy the show, but going after people is not the high road.

I think you misread the post. He said see if other members who have confessed to using this service to see if they all have the same also-bots. If that's the case then that would mean each downloader was downloading multiple books and again, because it's worth pointing out, across genres.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 05, 2013, 12:31:00 PM
I think it is because, in at least some part due to these type of promotional sites, that Amazon has changed how free downloads impact rank. A huge burst of 10k downloads in a single 24 hour period will get you had in the ranks...but for a very small amount of time. The algos are hidden, but a lot of us believe they have been tweaked to reward steady downloads/growth. Consistency will get you a lot more visibility on Amazon itself than just a couple days of mass downloads that dwindle back into nothing.

Your comment never pointed out that Estelles book is still #30 in the store, interesting thoughts on algos though.


Holy [crap]! You're inciting a witch hunt? What about the people who just had freebie days scheduled for that day? It's one thing to take the high road, or to eat popcorn and enjoy the show, but going after people is not the high road.

Yes its apparent the pitchforks will stay out no matter what. I think I wore out my welcome by the third page, and we are going on 16 pages by now.

I suppose I should say thanks for the continued bumps though, it allows many people to read the thread and decide for themselves what they want to do. 8760 thread views!


Putting aside how the lists were acquired, the lack of segmentation has led to some not-so-helpful alsobots.

There is some segmentation but, on the largest packages I need to promote as much as possible to hit the numbers and not have to process refunds (not hitting the guarantee)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 05, 2013, 12:32:10 PM
Putting aside how the lists were acquired, the lack of segmentation has led to some not-so-helpful alsobots.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: PhoenixS on December 05, 2013, 12:35:46 PM
Amazon doesn't like Bookbubs? Bookbubs is one of the Sponsored Links at the bottom of Amazon's search page when you search for free books. And the sponsored link takes you to Bookbub.

Sponsored doesn't mean they are endorsed. Just that the company has paid to have the links there. Like the banners at the bottom of the KB pages.

Still, never said Amazon doesn't like BB. I'm betting they LOVE BB. I just said it appears Amazon has taken steps to mitigate the long-term influence that BB was having on its poplists. And I have a hunch they're working closely together to come up with compromise policies to ensure no undue influence on other Amazon lists as well.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 05, 2013, 12:39:11 PM
Yes its apparent the pitchforks will stay out no matter what. I think I wore out my welcome by the third page, and we are going on 16 pages by now.

I don't know what to tell you except maybe you should expect 'pitchforks' when you are asking people to fork over $300. You've already sold over 300 of these packages (according to you). That is up to 3,000,000 non-reader downloads. If you think what you're experiencing here is hostile you wait until Amazon catches up to you.

I don't expect you to answer my questions because of my perceived hostility but there have been numerous realistic questions asked in this thread and you have skirted around each and every one. The wonderful folks over at Warrior Forum may take you on your word but you stumbled upon one of the most serious forums for self published authors. We take what we do seriously and you shouldn't expect it to be as simple as sharing your service and cashing in.

Besides if you're not paying candy crush users to download these books (which would cost), you've already ran away with what, $60,000. In less than a month?

And despite your claims, I don't believe your an author.So you wouldn't care if the integrity of authors careers become jeapordized. When the cards fall (and they will) you can just take your money and run with no regard for the potential fallout.

I'm going to leave this post with something you said; do you forget that there are other people on the other side of the screen? I would wager that you do know and I would also wager that you don't care. You're another hundred customers away from buying that porsche you've always dreamed about.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 05, 2013, 12:51:01 PM
I don't know what to tell you except maybe you should expect 'pitchforks' when you are asking people to fork over $300. You've already sold over 300 of these packages (according to you). That is up to 3,000,000 non-reader downloads. If you think what you're experiencing here is hostile you wait until Amazon catches up to you.

I don't expect you to answer my questions because of my perceived hostility but there have been numerous realistic questions asked in this thread and you have skirted around each and every one. The wonderful folks over at Warrior Forum may take you on your word but you stumbled upon one of the most serious forums for self published authors. We take what we do seriously and you shouldn't expect it to be as simple as sharing your service and cashing in.

Besides if you're not paying candy crush users to download these books (which would cost), you've already ran away with what, $60,000. In less than a month?

And despite your claims, I don't believe your an author.So you wouldn't care if the integrity of authors careers become jeapordized. When the cards fall (and they will) you can just take your money and run with no regard for the potential fallout.

I'm going to leave this post with something you said; do you forget that there are other people on the other side of the screen? I would wager that you do know and I would also wager that you don't care. You're another hundred customers away from buying that porsche you've always dreamed about.

I said I have over 200 clients, and I never claimed to have sold solely the largest package. Are you trying to infer you want bank statements from me now...? This thread is really getting out of hand.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: cinisajoy on December 05, 2013, 12:54:09 PM
I said I have over 200 clients, and I never claimed to have sold solely the largest package. Are you trying to infer you want bank statements from me now...? This thread is really getting out of hand.
I am going to assume some of those are repeat clients. 
200 times 300 is 60,000.   That is for a 1 time purchase.   Yep that is pretty good money even after costs. 
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Adam Poe on December 05, 2013, 12:56:38 PM
Your comment never pointed out that Estelles book is still #30 in the store, interesting thoughts on algos though.

Right...this is still short term. When I look at the books from your testimonials, none of them are anywhere near lists anymore. Most are in the 200k+ range or higher. And that is just a few weeks after the promo. Steady growth/consistency does cause for much more long-term visibility. Not just a theory. This has been shown with Bookbub many, many times also. There is a bump, then a cliff.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 05, 2013, 12:59:20 PM
I'll leave this tidbit regarding how Amazon combats even legit models such as BookBub when it comes to influencing ranks long-term. It seems downloads and sales that originate with BookBub are flagged and are not counted in the algos that determine later poplist placement. The throttling happens, not on the front end, but the back end.

 :o

Phoenix, you're a wealth of information.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: telracs on December 05, 2013, 12:59:43 PM
I said I have over 200 clients, and I never claimed to have sold solely the largest package. Are you trying to infer you want bank statements from me now...? This thread is really getting out of hand.

um, he would be implying, you would be inferring.  

and what people want is to know why, after numerous requests, you still haven't told us why we readers can't sign out to be some of your downloaders, and the corollary of that, a hint of who these downloaders are....
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on December 05, 2013, 01:00:45 PM
Agreed.  I don't automatically pick up everything BookBub promos each day. . . . in fact only about once a week, or less often, does something catch my eye.  So if I choose to download, I intend to read it at some point.  Not saying it's going to be NOW. . . but I will get to it.

This for me as well.

One reason is I have very little time to read anyway, the other is that I am subbed to ALL of the places I have used in the past for my promos and I get something like 4 emails every day. I couldn't read all that even if I wanted to. I guess on their analytics I'm a no show or none email opener, because I use a bit of software that previews my mails without opening them to stop dodgy stuff getting on my work comp.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on December 05, 2013, 01:03:29 PM
I think it is because, in at least some part due to these type of promotional sites, that Amazon has changed how free downloads impact rank. A huge burst of 10k downloads in a single 24 hour period will get you had in the ranks...but for a very small amount of time. The algos are hidden, but a lot of us believe they have been tweaked to reward steady downloads/growth. Consistency will get you a lot more visibility on Amazon itself than just a couple days of mass downloads that dwindle back into nothing.

You could be right, but I have a feeling it's more about money. You know how the zon charges for the download in the price? How do they recoup all those thousands of FREE downloads? They don't. I bet they don't like that, especially if they're downloaded by customers who never buy anything.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 05, 2013, 01:06:10 PM
I said I have over 200 clients, and I never claimed to have sold solely the largest package. Are you trying to infer you want bank statements from me now...? This thread is really getting out of hand.

False. Over at scammer central, you said that you had 300 orders from that thread alone. Which means that you actually have more. And no, I don't need to see your bank statements because I already know you are making a fortune with this service. This thread is 'only out of hand' because your lies are smearing together like a van gogh painting.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 05, 2013, 01:14:19 PM
Yes its apparent the pitchforks will stay out no matter what. I think I wore out my welcome by the third page, and we are going on 16 pages by now.

I suppose I should say thanks for the continued bumps though, it allows many people to read the thread and decide for themselves what they want to do. 8760 thread views!


Statement here is pretty telling.

Two things have been pretty much confirmed in this thread:

1. You've lied about your service and what you're providing. Everyone knows there's no 700k-1m reader email list like every other service out there uses.
2. Anyone with a brain can see that the 10k downloads aren't from real, interested readers/customers and is therefor against Amazon's ToS on rank manipulation.

In the 16 pages of this thread, you've basically been ousted as a fraud. The statistical data in this thread already confirms that you've misrepresented your service pretty heavily (aka lied), and now that it's become clear that however you're facilitating these downloads, they aren't from real, interested customers, it's pretty obvious to most that this is nothing more than a snatch-and-grab until Amazon busts you.

And because no one knows how Amazon will react to authors using a service that violates their ToS (your service), you've indirectly put peoples' publishing futures with Amazon in jeopardy. Regardless of how miniscule the chances are that Amazon will punish authors for using your service, that chance being there at all is something you could give two craps about. That much is apparent. This is typical Warrior Forum "use it and abuse 'em until you get caught and move on to the next scam" modus operandi.

You'd be doing yourself and us a favor by just leaving Kboards and never coming back, and I'd urge the mods to remove any contact information to you or your service from this thread.

Take your scammy WSO garbage back to the Warrior Forum. It's not so easy to sell your crap when the Warrior Forum mods aren't here to delete any negative press and help facilitate the scam, is it?

How's that for pitchfork hostility?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 05, 2013, 01:16:08 PM
False. Over at scammer central, you said that you had 300 orders from that thread alone. Which means that you actually have more. And no, I don't need to see your bank statements because I already know you are making a fortune with this service. This thread is 'only out of hand' because your lies are smearing together like a van gogh painting.

Your comments are getting pedantic.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Adam Poe on December 05, 2013, 01:21:57 PM
Your comments are getting pedantic.



Do you need a TLDR version? You said that the 300 was wrong, here. On the other forum you stated 300+.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 05, 2013, 01:24:35 PM
Do you need a TLDR version? You said that the 300 was wrong, here. On the other forum you stated 300+.

Number of clients are the same thing as number of sales?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 05, 2013, 01:26:33 PM
Your comments are getting pedantic.



How is pointing out your inconsistencies pedantic?

I said you had 300 orders. You said they were 200 clients. But that's not what you said on warrior forums.

I may be pedantic (I doubt it) but you're still lying.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Adam Poe on December 05, 2013, 01:27:25 PM
Number of clients are the same thing as number of sales?

Well...if you have 300 clients, does that not mean you have sold at least 300 various packages? Or do you have non-purchasing clients.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 05, 2013, 01:28:39 PM
Well...if you have 300 clients, does that not mean you have sold at least 300 various packages? Or do you have non-purchasing clients.

200+ clients 300+ sales

What are you trying to get at anyway?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Adam Poe on December 05, 2013, 01:34:22 PM
Inconsistencies on answers/information given at this thread opposed to the other forum. As K.B. already stated.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 05, 2013, 01:35:17 PM
Quote
We use ranking/time metrics to estimate number of downloads. We do not recommend people purchase the 10000 package if they plan on heavily promoting with other services the same day. We have also completed nearly 300 orders from this thread alone so we are EXTREMELY accurate in estimation.

Those are your words. That's what we're getting out. I repeated that claim and you tried to tell me (and others) that I was mistaken and that is not what you said. Well, yes it is.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 05, 2013, 01:46:03 PM
Okay, just got to my hotel, and here are my results so far...
for 6421 downloads.
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Religious & Inspirational Fiction > Science Fiction & Fantasy
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Horror
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Arkan9 on December 05, 2013, 02:10:52 PM
I have a new release 2-day free promo starting today. Novella of 44,000 words. Less than a dozen reviews.

I did it the old fashioned way, manually submitting to the sites on the ebook booster list, plus buying a couple of the cheaper free book day listing services. Not a book I have a lot of confidence in, truth be told, so I didn't want to spend too much.

Just cracked the top 100 in the free store and have 2500+ downloads already. Go figure.

Now, as far as this thread is concerned, it's awesome because this community is awesome. We're like the shark tank. We get to the truth eventually. I knew it would come out.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: David Adams on December 05, 2013, 02:52:03 PM
<snip>

Thank you, David. I appreciate your research and find your reasoning about permafree very convincing. Would you consider sending your info to Jeff Bezos? Someone on KB will have his email address or that of an Amazon higher-up.

I think that's beyond the purvey of what I consider fair. I don't think he would do anything, and the OP is still a human being and entitled to privacy and rights. I don't want to make this personal; I just want to make KB clear about what's going on.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Boyd on December 05, 2013, 03:00:16 PM
I said I have over 200 clients, and I never claimed to have sold solely the largest package. Are you trying to infer you want bank statements from me now...? This thread is really getting out of hand.


Actually I asked you about this somewhere near page 3 I thought?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Boyd on December 05, 2013, 03:01:42 PM
Most people seem to purchase the largest package, however most people that have bought this service are actually not part of kboards and don't really do the perma-free thing. So far 95% of the books I have completed orders for were for a KDP promotion where the book is free, and then goes back to paid after the promotion ends, so I don't really have much data on how permafree books do.


Ive answered this question multiple times. Not to be rude, but If that were the case, then I  would probably be advertising something other than free kindle books...

Here it is. 
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 05, 2013, 03:09:38 PM
I think that's beyond the purvey of what I consider fair. I don't think he would do anything, and the OP is still a human being and entitled to privacy and rights. I don't want to make this personal; I just want to make KB clear about what's going on.

Fair enough. Choosing to protect another person's freedom and privacy is not just defensible, but laudable.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 05, 2013, 07:17:11 PM
I do the perma free thing, and I've been at #18 in the Free Kindle store now at 10,955 downloads. This means first page visibility.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Horror
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Religious & Inspirational Fiction > Science Fiction & Fantasy


Update 11:02 Eastern time: It's now #17 in the whole Free store with 11,352 downloads.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 05, 2013, 07:23:49 PM
I think it is because, in at least some part due to these type of promotional sites, that Amazon has changed how free downloads impact rank. A huge burst of 10k downloads in a single 24 hour period will get you had in the ranks...but for a very small amount of time. The algos are hidden, but a lot of us believe they have been tweaked to reward steady downloads/growth. Consistency will get you a lot more visibility on Amazon itself than just a couple days of mass downloads that dwindle back into nothing.

Amazon definitely rewards steady downloads, which I have enough of on a daily basis to rank between 2k and 6k consistently. You do fall rapidly after just one day of a great run. I have two books that sell about the same but one is ranked way better because it has a longer track record of steady sales.

Tomorrow I'm a bargain book with Ereader News Today, and expect that book to do well on the paid side, sine it's $5.00 off it's normal price.

You also have to remember, that publishers pay Amazon to be on the front page of the Kindle, and on their pages. They are not adverse to paid advertising.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 05, 2013, 08:08:23 PM
200+ clients 300+ sales

What are you trying to get at anyway?

Adam Poe: Clients can buy more than one ad. ;)
For instance if Amazon says they are real downloads by real Kindle - Kindle ap users, shoot, I'll gladly buy a second ad for other books I'm willing to set free, or repeat it on a current perma free, if they let me.
I would do the same with ENT, BookBub, but they limit how often and when you can run books.

I just hit #17 in the free store (I can't figure out how to take a sceen shot, or I would) with 11,352 downloads.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 05, 2013, 08:16:18 PM
Adam Poe: Clients can buy more than one ad. ;)


I'm guessing you didn't read the last page. This has nothing to do with 200 and 300 adding up and has more to do with the posters inconsistency. He said one thing in another forum and acted like I was full of [crap] when I brought it up.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Romi on December 05, 2013, 08:36:22 PM
You also have to remember, that publishers pay Amazon to be on the front page of the Kindle, and on their pages. They are not adverse to paid advertising.

But ad placement on the front page of Kindle or on the Amazon home page is not the same as buying a guaranteed free rank in the top 20 that pushes other books down the list (which the 10,000 guaranteed downloads regardless of genre will do).
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 05, 2013, 08:40:47 PM
But ad placement on the front page of Kindle or on the Amazon home page is not the same as buying a guaranteed free rank in the top 20 that pushes other books down the list (which the 10,000 guaranteed downloads regardless of genre will do).

And again, free downloads cost amazon bandwidth which costs money. A single free book download is no big deal but 3,000,000 costs a lot.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Romi on December 05, 2013, 08:53:57 PM
And again, free downloads cost amazon bandwidth which costs money. A single free book download is no big deal but 3,000,000 costs a lot.

Yes thanks, there's that too!  :) And actually I just remembered, given that Amazon puts a limit on the number of free book listings sites like ENT and Bookbub can run per day, how are they making sure this Free Book service that guarantees 10,000 downloads is adhering to this limit, when there is no mailing list one can verify or no blog where the promotions per day are visible? Those other sites now HAVE to run paid promos alongside their free ones EVERY DAY. But this? All free, all the time baby, woo, spring break! 

 ???
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Patty Jansen on December 05, 2013, 08:56:54 PM
The limit of freebies is only if your site makes money from Amazon Associates (which is the main income for many of these sites). If it doesn't do that, you can list however many freebies you want.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: JeanneM on December 05, 2013, 08:57:16 PM
This is an interesting thread, but....

(http://i756.photobucket.com/albums/xx206/jeannemiller/P45-new_003.jpg) (http://s756.photobucket.com/user/jeannemiller/media/P45-new_003.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Saja on December 05, 2013, 09:01:08 PM
Finally made it to the end of the thread!
Welp, my takeaway is this: I guess if anyone ever wants to be seen anywhere on Amazon, they'd better start paying up. Whether it's Bookbub or FBS, ranks and positions go to the highest bidder each day. LOL!!  :D It's so funny-- now when I see the Top 100, especially the Top 100 free, I'm like oh, they must have run some kind of ad today. Word of mouth just won't cut it anymore- (unless a mega-mailing list counts as word of mouth). . . . Now add in the possibility of bots getting in on the action? That's a new twist. :P

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Romi on December 05, 2013, 09:01:48 PM
The limit of freebies is only if your site makes money from Amazon Associates (which is the main income for many of these sites). If it doesn't do that, you can list however many freebies you want.


Oh thanks for clarifying  :);; I thought it also had to do with the cost per download, since the downloads don't make Amazon any money but include a cost to send the file.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 05, 2013, 09:03:15 PM
I don't have anything up on Amazon but how much does it normally cost to send files? Does it show in your dashboard?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Romi on December 05, 2013, 09:15:20 PM
I don't have anything up on Amazon but how much does it normally cost to send files? Does it show in your dashboard?

It varies based on file size, but it's 15 cents per megabyte. My books are around 500kb so it's 7 cents per copy (sorry if that was already mentioned earlier).
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 05, 2013, 09:19:04 PM
So a potential 3,000,000 downloads from this service could potentially cost amazon $210,000 dollars. I'm sure Amazon won't mind that. At all.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lefty on December 05, 2013, 09:45:44 PM
So a potential 3,000,000 downloads from this service could potentially cost amazon $210,000 dollars. I'm sure Amazon won't mind that. At all.

The transmission fee is what they charge, not necessarily what it costs them. Sunk costs and all that, it's probably negligible.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Al Stevens on December 06, 2013, 09:11:10 AM
Status:

This thing seems to be working. However they do it, the results are more than promised. Over 12000 downloads so far (2nd day), and ranked #1 in my genre and in the top 20 of free books for two days now. But the most important metric: Sales of other books in the series have picked up. Now, one might attribute that to the Christmas season, but none of the other books (not in the series) have similarly shown an increase.

So far, only one new review (5*), but I don't expect much yet. The "readers" (he said hopefully) haven't had time to read the book. The reviewer is familiar with my computer programming books, so this might be a coincidence.

Is it worth the $229? Hard to say. I never expected it to result in royalties to offset the cost. Time will tell (or will suggest) whether the resulting visibility has value. I'll scan and share my Pulitzer.  ;)

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 06, 2013, 09:36:37 AM
I'm at #7 in the whole free Kindle store and downloads are still going. I've been retweeted dozens of times by book bloggers I never knew existed, and I have people emailing me that they downloaded the book and are now reading it.

Now #7 in the whole #free #Kindle ebook store out of over 2 million ebooks. Thank you readers who are sharing with your friends. :)
ASIN: B0052AI5W8
Text-to-Speech: Enabled 
X-Ray: Enabled  Lending: Enabled
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Religious & Inspirational Fiction > Science Fiction & Fantasy


As far as paid sales, I'm the bargain book of the day $5 off only 99 cents for The 15th Star over at ENT, so if I'm not showing any sales from that, it's because the servers are behind in reporting.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 06, 2013, 11:24:05 AM
For those reporting sales to other non-featured books, can you provide the books and the actual sales numbers?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Al Stevens on December 06, 2013, 12:34:20 PM
For those reporting sales to other non-featured books, can you provide the books and the actual sales numbers?
Small numbers, but more than I would have seen without the promotional, I think.

A Dead Ringer (#2 in the series): 12 sales in the last day and a half
Clueless (#3 in the series): 9 sales in the last day and a half

And this one is a puzzle.

On the Street Where You Die (#1 in the series, the featured book, and perma-free): 6 sales in that period. Where did they buy it, and how much did they pay? Do KDP Reports include Createspace paperback sales? I might send KDP customer support an inquiry on this one.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: OJ Connell on December 06, 2013, 12:41:17 PM

And this one is a puzzle.

On the Street Where You Die (#1 in the series, the featured book, and perma-free): 6 sales in that period. Where did they buy it, and how much did they pay? Do KDP Reports include Createspace paperback sales? I might send KDP customer support an inquiry on this one.


Such sales are probably from outside territories where the book isn't free. Or so I've heard. This has happened to me in the past, and during this promotion I've had a few "sales" of my free title as well. Creatspace and KDP are not linked.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 06, 2013, 12:41:35 PM
I already posted screen shots through Dec 2 or 4 on about page 4. Sorry, I've got other things to do besides continuing to update (like get into town & get my passport photos taken so we can travel in a couple months LOL).

I only posted again today because I think the convo has been pretty one-sided. You can see the ASIN on the previous screenshots and it isn't hard to figure out the other books from that.

The book I promoted was The Promise of Redwood Cove - pen Alesha Cary.

It's one sided because his service violates Amazon's ToS by artificially manipulating the marketplace. But many authors, like yourself, don't seem to have a problem with that, which I find odd.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 06, 2013, 12:42:21 PM
Small numbers, but more than I would have seen without the promotional, I think.

A Dead Ringer (#2 in the series): 12 sales in the last day and a half
Clueless (#3 in the series): 9 sales in the last day and a half

And this one is a puzzle.

On the Street Where You Die (#1 in the series, the featured book, and perma-free): 6 sales in that period. Where did they buy it, and how much did they pay? Do KDP Reports include Createspace paperback sales? I might send KDP customer support an inquiry on this one.


Thanks. Any sale is better than a poke in the eye. But the question is are they worth $150-300?

You can get sales on free books when a foreign buyer uses .com
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: jimkukral on December 06, 2013, 12:47:21 PM
My client is doing it. She's #13 overall in the Kindle store for free. So far, so good. Time will tell on sales of other books.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Al Stevens on December 06, 2013, 12:51:17 PM
Thanks. Any sale is better than a poke in the eye. But the question is are they worth $150-300?
No. Absolutely not. Not if that's all being measured. It's always been clear to me that I wasn't buying potential sales. The most valuable return to me is that when readers search amazon for free hard-boiled cop books, mine is the first one they see (today). If that visibility exposes my work to numerous readers, the service is worth the cost. At least for now. After that it's up to the quality of the work.

It's a long-term investment and a definite gamble. Time will tell.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Al Stevens on December 06, 2013, 12:58:04 PM
It's one sided because his service violates Amazon's ToS by artificially manipulating the marketplace. But many authors, like yourself, don't seem to have a problem with that, which I find odd.
It hasn't been proven that the manipulation is artificial. Only subject to critical speculation. Some of the results and the response by amazon to someone's query tend to indicate otherwise.

But because we can't figure out how the magician pulls a rabbit out of an empty hat, that doesn't make it magic. Once you know how the trick is done, it becomes obvious.

And it p***es all us smart people off that we can't figure the trick out.  >:(

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Al Stevens on December 06, 2013, 01:05:08 PM
Just on the edge of 14,000. Does that mean I can put "Best Selling Author..." on my covers now?  :D

ETA: Maybe I can anyway. One of my computer books sold way over 100,000 copies.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: valeriec80 on December 06, 2013, 01:10:37 PM
It's one sided because his service violates Amazon's ToS by artificially manipulating the marketplace. But many authors, like yourself, don't seem to have a problem with that, which I find odd.

Permafrees are also against Amazon's ToS.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: cdvsmx5 on December 06, 2013, 01:47:16 PM
Permafrees are also against Amazon's ToS.
Not if you split hairs as Amazon seems willing to do. Zero is not a sales price.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: RM Prioleau on December 06, 2013, 01:53:43 PM
I've browsed this thread.

So for everyone who has been using this service, how many sales have you seen with your paid books with so many thousands of your free book downloads? Have you made back your $300+ from this?

I'm still wary about the website (everything, including the text are in images. That's a common trend seen in scam sites).
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Hudson Owen on December 06, 2013, 02:00:53 PM
I'm rather partial to this lesser know work of the master.

(http://crackberry.com/sites/crackberry.com/files/styles/w325/public/images/wallpaper_20110416115643_16087768952.jpg?itok=8qkh2jzN)

Starry Night

Then, by Gogh, the swirly stars were begat,
Appointed by the Dutchman's sturdy strokes.
Set large like that, they'd scorch the village flat,
Had night not room for fireworks, rough jokes.

Rooms where artists lose all hope and work on,
Mental wards where a man moves with a brush.
The stars cry out, the stricken self is drawn.
Dealers with gold now notice, smart and flush.

Real gold, not the daubs he did leave there,
Swirling at auction like a calm cracked head.
The cypress will ever burn, ever scare.
"Ah, there's nothing against it," Vincent said.

(Apropos of a rainy afternoon in NYC.)





Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: SBJones on December 06, 2013, 02:00:59 PM
So a potential 3,000,000 downloads from this service could potentially cost amazon $210,000 dollars. I'm sure Amazon won't mind that. At all.

Do you really think it costs 15c to send a meg of data?  We as authors are totally getting ripped off on data fees.  Your $10 a month Netflix streaming subscription would get you a whopping 67 megs at 15c a meg.  That's maybe 3 or 4 minutes of streaming.

If you think they need 15c a meg per book sold to float the data storage, energy costs and all that jazz, your still mistaken.  It's total bs to take 30% to 65% of the list price and tack this on as well.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 06, 2013, 02:16:42 PM
Do you really think it costs 15c to send a meg of data?  We as authors are totally getting ripped off on data fees.  Your $10 a month Netflix streaming subscription would get you a whopping 67 megs at 15c a meg.  That's maybe 3 or 4 minutes of streaming.

If you think they need 15c a meg per book sold to float the data storage, energy costs and all that jazz, your still mistaken.  It's total bs to take 30% to 65% of the list price and tack this on as well.

Okay then. My math was off but a loss of revenue is a loss of revenue. They're not getting that 7 cents when somebody downloads a free book. Whether or not they are justified in charging those costs is a different conversation. I'm sure they let the permafrees continue on because they bring in sales. There is no evidence that this 'service' brings those readers in.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Hudson Owen on December 06, 2013, 02:38:20 PM
Maybe I'll try FBS.  Freebooksy is supposed to be legit, right?  OK, so I did a $50 promo with them a month ago. The stats say that ad generated 688 downloads, not thousands, mind you, but still you would think something would happen.  The odometer would roll over one mile.  Someone might hate the book enough to give it a 1-star dismissal.  Nope.  Not a sale, not a review.  Not a footprint; not a wisp of gun smoke.  Makes me wonder if the stats are real.  Is there any record of someone hacking your account and wiping off stats?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 06, 2013, 02:42:08 PM
It hasn't been proven that the manipulation is artificial. Only subject to critical speculation. Some of the results and the response by amazon to someone's query tend to indicate otherwise.

But because we can't figure out how the magician pulls a rabbit out of an empty hat, that doesn't make it magic. Once you know how the trick is done, it becomes obvious.

And it p***es all us smart people off that we can't figure the trick out.  >:(



It has been proven. Just look at the data from download to conversions on the 10,000 that have been posted in this thread (particularly Emily's drop from near 100% conversion to .04%). No one's data seems to indicate anything other than real readers only being acquired through the improved visibility, not the 10k itself. Math doesn't lie. Whether it's 10,000 hamsters downloading books they can't read or 10k people being paid to download, they aren't readers and it's artificial manipulation that games the marketplace rankings, which the email I posted from KDP says they do not approve of.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: JRHenderson on December 06, 2013, 02:53:36 PM
On the Street Where You Die (#1 in the series, the featured book, and perma-free): 6 sales in that period. Where did they buy it, and how much did they pay? Do KDP Reports include Createspace paperback sales? I might send KDP customer support an inquiry on this one.

Al, when I click the thumbnail of OTSWYD in your sig, my browser goes through to the sales page on Amazon.com and offers me the book for $1.25. I'm in the UK. Don't know if that's any help...
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Al Stevens on December 06, 2013, 06:17:34 PM
It has been proven. Just look at the data from download to conversions on the 10,000 that have been posted in this thread (particularly Emily's drop from near 100% conversion to .04%). No one's data seems to indicate anything other than real readers only being acquired through the improved visibility, not the 10k itself. Math doesn't lie. Whether it's 10,000 hamsters downloading books they can't read or 10k people being paid to download, they aren't readers and it's artificial manipulation that games the marketplace rankings, which the email I posted from KDP says they do not approve of.
That's not proof. But it would lead one to surmise...
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Al Stevens on December 06, 2013, 06:22:46 PM
Al, when I click the thumbnail of OTSWYD in your sig, my browser goes through to the sales page on Amazon.com and offers me the book for $1.25. I'm in the UK. Don't know if that's any help...
That would explain it. So you have to pay a buck twenty five for a ninety-nine cent book now discounted to zero? Hardly seems right.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on December 06, 2013, 09:47:28 PM
Folks, this thread is locked while we review and discuss....

EDIT:  OK, I've removed a post and am going to reopen the thread.  However, at some point today, I'm going to review the entire thread.

Let me be clear:  if you have specific, personal experience with this service, by all means post about your experience.  However, third party information or posts that consists of attacks, innuendo or fall under WHOA (what happens on another site) will not be allowed.  As I say, I'm going to be reviewing the entire thread.

Thanks,

Betsy
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 07, 2013, 08:14:26 AM
It hasn't been proven that the manipulation is artificial. Only subject to critical speculation. Some of the results and the response by amazon to someone's query tend to indicate otherwise.

But because we can't figure out how the magician pulls a rabbit out of an empty hat, that doesn't make it magic. Once you know how the trick is done, it becomes obvious.

And it p***es all us smart people off that we can't figure the trick out.  >:(



You're not reading the thread or ignoring responses, because I know of several authors, including Shelley Hitz, who have emailed Amazon with their concerns, and in every case, Amazon has said these are legitimate Kindle owners and Kindle ap owners doing the dls. This means that yes, they are potential readers.

There are several ways you can hit groups without resorting to mailing lists of individuals, and many marketers prefer to buy list of these people and market to them.

This is no different than Bookbub or any other service out there. They're targeting potential readers, and some target better than others.

I'm still at #32 and having higher dls on the rest in my series.

 
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Al Stevens on December 07, 2013, 09:33:37 AM
You're not reading the thread or ignoring responses, because I know of several authors, including Shelley Hitz, who have emailed Amazon with their concerns, and in every case, Amazon has said these are legitimate Kindle owners and Kindle ap owners doing the dls. This means that yes, they are potential readers.

There are several ways you can hit groups without resorting to mailing lists of individuals, and many marketers prefer to buy list of these people and market to them.

This is no different than Bookbub or any other service out there. They're targeting potential readers, and some target better than others.

I'm still at #32 and having higher dls on the rest in my series.

 
Are you sure you're responding to the right message? You seem to be agreeing with me.  :D
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: djv1120 on December 07, 2013, 09:45:34 AM
Ok, I am new to K Boards and publishing.  My first book was published on Wednesday.  I am doing a free promo through Kindle Select and 36 hours in, I have barely cleared 100 downloads.  My wife has been published for over a year and she used to routinely pull 1000+ downloads on a 2 day promo, but it sounds like those days are gone.

I am looking at this thread analytically.  I don't care about sales of related books during the period.  I simply care about rankings.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what the real purpose of this service is?  Drive your book rankings higher so they get in front of more regular readers.  Any sales that happen during the promotion is icing on the cake.  The way I look at it is that I am paying $300 to put my book at the top of the rankings for a particular genre or niche.  If that doesn't translate into $300 in sales, I think I need to get out of this business.

The only downside would be if Amazon yanked my book.  Has anybody had that happen?  Has anybody heard that could happen?  

As I mentioned above, I am a newbie and could be looking at things the wrong way.  I definitely want to learn how to be successful so somebody please tell me where I am off base here.

Thanks,
Dave
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Quiss on December 07, 2013, 09:54:47 AM
Ok, I am new to K Boards and publishing.  My first book was published on Wednesday.  I am doing a free promo through Kindle Select and 36 hours in, I have barely cleared 100 downloads.  My wife has been published for over a year and she used to routinely pull 1000+ downloads on a 2 day promo, but it sounds like those days are gone.

Neither of these figures will help you with rankings if you have only one book out.
Having free downloads helps to push a book up on the FREE list, which often means that those who download the book will also grab titles of your others, especially if they appear on the book page's "also bought" list.  After that, those who downloaded the free book may also go on to then purchase the other books after they finished reading it, which is what is meant by conversion. So the more people who read your free book and like it, the more chances you have to sell other books.

If you have just the one title, offering a free promotion, these days against thousands of other titles, is not very effective any more.  It may get you some sign-ups for your mail list (you do have one, right?) which is valuable. Or a review or two, which is also good.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: SBJones on December 07, 2013, 10:16:19 AM
Ok, I am new to K Boards and publishing.  My first book was published on Wednesday.  I am doing a free promo through Kindle Select and 36 hours in, I have barely cleared 100 downloads.  My wife has been published for over a year and she used to routinely pull 1000+ downloads on a 2 day promo, but it sounds like those days are gone.

I am looking at this thread analytically.  I don't care about sales of related books during the period.  I simply care about rankings.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what the real purpose of this service is?  Drive your book rankings higher so they get in front of more regular readers.  Any sales that happen during the promotion is icing on the cake.  The way I look at it is that I am paying $300 to put my book at the top of the rankings for a particular genre or niche.  If that doesn't translate into $300 in sales, I think I need to get out of this business.

The only downside would be if Amazon yanked my book.  Has anybody had that happen?  Has anybody heard that could happen?  

As I mentioned above, I am a newbie and could be looking at things the wrong way.  I definitely want to learn how to be successful so somebody please tell me where I am off base here.

Thanks,
Dave

It's an interesting debate.  If you remove the ethic debate and just look at money spent vs money earned; a filtered and targeted email ad like bookbub uses should be superior to a rank booster.  Bookbub will get you rank and the people downloading the book are more interested in reading it.  This will lead to sales of additional works and reviews.  This service, which appears to offer nothing more than a number of downloads, misses that.  This service does guarantee a number of downloads that BB cannot.  BB does address this with a sliding scale of prices based upon genera.

The sales earned from visibility should be a constant.  In other words if you land in the top 10, the same number of people are going to then see your book regardless of what method you used to get there.  Now it becomes a math game.  How much does a front page book earn?  Is this enough to cover the money spent on the Free Book Service, because that's all you get with it?

I think you can look at BB's prices and get the answer to that.  Popular genera are going to do better regardless.  Non popular will still suffer because even if you rank boost to the top 10, there just wont be enough interest in the genera to keep you there long enough to generate sales.  Thus the flat rate the rank boost is charging makes it worthless for the Leprechaun Prepper book, but probably a steal for Romance/Thriller.

Several other variables have to be factored in as well like: number of other works available, value of a review, value of a newsletter signup, number of other promotions going on at the same time etc. etc.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: kdarden on December 07, 2013, 10:33:07 AM
I agree with Quiss - if you only have one book out, the most important thing you can do is get a second book written.

Friends who have used this service have seen sales of the promoted book afterwards, but I have only used it for a permafree book, so can only speak to that. It has definitely pushed up sales of all of the books in my series. The 4-book bundle continues to be my bestseller.

Also, as I posted earlier, even though I had over 7400 downloads for my very first fiction, people had no where to go, so it didn't do me much good after the next few days of sales. I did have a mailing list, but did not get a lot of signups for that either.

So, get that second book written and think about holding off on the heavy promotion for book one until about the time book two is ready.

And remember, your writing will (most likely) get better with each book, so don't give up if you don't sell $300 of the first book - especially right away. Most successful authors have a desk full of unpublished and/or less-than-wildly-successful manuscripts before they hit their stride.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 07, 2013, 10:50:06 AM
Ok, I am new to K Boards and publishing.  My first book was published on Wednesday.  I am doing a free promo through Kindle Select and 36 hours in, I have barely cleared 100 downloads.  My wife has been published for over a year and she used to routinely pull 1000+ downloads on a 2 day promo, but it sounds like those days are gone.

I am looking at this thread analytically.  I don't care about sales of related books during the period.  I simply care about rankings.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what the real purpose of this service is?  Drive your book rankings higher so they get in front of more regular readers.  Any sales that happen during the promotion is icing on the cake.  The way I look at it is that I am paying $300 to put my book at the top of the rankings for a particular genre or niche.  If that doesn't translate into $300 in sales, I think I need to get out of this business.

The only downside would be if Amazon yanked my book.  Has anybody had that happen?  Has anybody heard that could happen?  

As I mentioned above, I am a newbie and could be looking at things the wrong way.  I definitely want to learn how to be successful so somebody please tell me where I am off base here.

Thanks,
Dave

Congrats on your book and welcome to KB, Dave!

You'll need to get a lot of free downloads during a Select run in order to spread the word about your book. A thousand downloads may sound good, but you need to be thinking more in terms of 10K to 20K to really get the word out about your book. You want to get the word out there as much as possible ahead of time, so the maximum number of readers know your book will be available; that means spending several weeks laying the groundwork ahead of time. It's not as easy to do as it used to be, since Amazon has made it financially difficult for sites to promote free books and still make income as Amazon Affiliates (which is a sort of commission-on-sales program).

I haven't bee in Select for almost a year, now, so I'm not up on what works best at this point. But KB authors have been collecting data on running effective Select promos for several years, and if you go back some pages on the forum, you'll probably find the mega-thread on Select, which contains lots of info. Don't start too far back, though, as a lot of the info will be dated.

We haven't seen any sign that Amazon is about to pull people's books or delete their publisher accounts if they use Free Book Service / Kindle Domination. That said, the service is brand new. Amazon hasn't had a chance to catch up with exactly what's going on, here, and we know that the company is given to sudden and extreme reaction with they get bad PR (in the last year or so, authors have had numerous legit reviews deleted from their books because Amazon got stung by a fake-review scandal and started purging reviews left and right in reaction).

Personally, I don't think it's worth taking a chance. For one thing, a reputation for integrity matters a lot in this business. It won't look good, in the long term, if you knowingly use a service other authors have pretty convincingly established is shady. If FBS is eventually vindicated, great -- use them then. But I think this thread shows there's a very small chance of that. Note especially the posts by David, Phoenix, and others who did research/provide hard data.

For another thing, the service is extremely expensive. Since those first 10K downloaders are not going to be reading your book, you're actually paying $299 for whoever else happens to download the book, due to the heightened exposure it gets on the Top 100 Free list. So if you get 16K downloads, you've paid $299 for 6K downloads. That's really a lot of money.

Now, you're just starting out, and those 6K "real reader" downloads might net you 6-12 reviews. That's significant when you're a brand new author. Personally, I still wouldn't take the risk. There are so many small free-book blogs who'll promote you book for free. Getting to 6K downloads on your own is quite doable, depending on your book's genre and presentation.

And setting aside ethics and speaking from pure self-interest, if there's even a .01% chance of getting caught in the thrashing, foaming fit of an enraged 500-pound gorilla (a.k.a. angry Amazon backlash), I'm not going there.

ETA: Here's the mega-thread on Select: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,98775.0.html
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: David J Normoyle on December 07, 2013, 11:11:49 AM
You're not reading the thread or ignoring responses, because I know of several authors, including Shelley Hitz, who have emailed Amazon with their concerns, and in every case, Amazon has said these are legitimate Kindle owners and Kindle ap owners doing the dls. This means that yes, they are potential readers.

There are several ways you can hit groups without resorting to mailing lists of individuals, and many marketers prefer to buy list of these people and market to them.

This is no different than Bookbub or any other service out there. They're targeting potential readers, and some target better than others.

I'm still at #32 and having higher dls on the rest in my series.


You must have been reading a different thread to most of the rest of us.

Pretty much everyone else has concluded that this service supplies empty downloads that gets you high up the lists and from there readers can find you.

As for being okay with Amazon, I'd say that this service has only recently been brought to their attention. Be interesting to see how they handle it.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 07, 2013, 11:38:58 AM
You're not reading the thread or ignoring responses, because I know of several authors, including Shelley Hitz, who have emailed Amazon with their concerns, and in every case, Amazon has said these are legitimate Kindle owners and Kindle ap owners doing the dls. This means that yes, they are potential readers.
 

Well no, they never said that. They said they were being downloaded by real people. Basically, that is anyone with an Amazon account. The majority of which do not have Kindles or kindle apps.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Saul Tanpepper on December 07, 2013, 12:31:17 PM
Well no, they never said that. They said they were being downloaded by real people. Basically, that is anyone with an Amazon account. The majority of which do not have Kindles or kindle apps.

Not sure you can buy an ebook without owning a Kindle or directing it to an app.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: djv1120 on December 07, 2013, 12:51:47 PM
Neither of these figures will help you with rankings if you have only one book out.
Having free downloads helps to push a book up on the FREE list, which often means that those who download the book will also grab titles of your others, especially if they appear on the book page's "also bought" list.  After that, those who downloaded the free book may also go on to then purchase the other books after they finished reading it, which is what is meant by conversion. So the more people who read your free book and like it, the more chances you have to sell other books.

If you have just the one title, offering a free promotion, these days against thousands of other titles, is not very effective any more.  It may get you some sign-ups for your mail list (you do have one, right?) which is valuable. Or a review or two, which is also good.

I agree that this service probably wouldn't be very effective right now because I only have one book out.  I am thinking more for when I have another book done.  I guess that means I have time to follow this thread further before making a decision.  Right now, I still think this sounds like a good deal though.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: cinisajoy on December 07, 2013, 12:53:11 PM
Not sure you can buy an ebook without owning a Kindle or directing it to an app.
download to your computer.  is an option.   So yes you easily can.
Oops they may have changed that.  Since it asked me which one I planned to put it on but anyone can get a k4pc app free.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Michael J. Scott on December 07, 2013, 02:11:41 PM
I dunno, guys. So far all I'm seeing are people who do use the service getting fair to pretty good results, and people who don't use the service insisting that it's bad.

And all I've got is some popcorn stuck in my teeth from watching it all.

Frankly, I really don't quite know what to make of it.  :-\
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: BillSmithBooksDotCom on December 07, 2013, 04:11:31 PM
This has been quite the entertaining thread.

I have a basic question (if this is a legitimate offer) --

How can this service "guarantee" a specific number of downloads...unless they have some means of directly controlling/directing those downloads (i.e., they have some means of telling people/bots exactly what to download)?

To get, say, 10,000 downloads -- if it is anything other than a method that the service directly controls (a "clickfarm") -- they would have to send out hundreds of thousands, millions of emails or other notifications to get that many clickthroughs -- and again, not only has no one ever heard of them, the site owner is actively refusing dedicated, qualified leads that would undoubtedly lead to higher numbers of downloads, something that would make his service even more valuable to his customers.

So, yeah, I strongly suspect this is a clickfarm, not unlike Goldminers on World of Warcraft.

If this is a service that legitimately has millions of members, even if through some elaborate" network of blogs, book clubs, affiliate programs, etc., anyone with any SEO/Google-foo should be able to track who his affiliate/promoters are -- just do targeted searches for the titles, authors, AISNs (since those will be in the links) and date ranges that have enrolled in the system and see where those titles have been appearing -- which blogs, facebook lists, clubs, twitter feeds, etc. where these books are showing up.

And if they are not showing up, we have confirmation that the "service" is undoubtedly a clickfarm...aside from all of the other anecdotal info* that suggests that this is a bot/payperclick or some other form of download manipulation.

* 1) Immediate off a cliff drop-off after the "promotion" ends compared to traditional tapering drop-off with other sites, 2) lack of increase in downloads in the same authors' other permafree books as seen on other promo programs and sites, 3) site owner's claims to have nearly a million members and be able to guarantee a set # of downloads, regardless of genre or niche, 4) owner touting having a network of nearly a million members but being apparently uninterested in adding actual *readers* that visit sites like Kboards.

(Sites like Bookbub don't guarantee downloads, only distribution to a set # of subscribers -- they send out hundreds of thousands of emails and only a certain percentage actually follow through to click and download. This is just like traditional advertising -- in the same way that traditional, legitimate advertising can only guarantee IMPRESSIONS but can never guarantee CONVERSIONS. Any service that promises conversions, as this one does, raises incredible red flags.)

Personally, I think this is just about getting downloads, not readers, and the only benefit from that is the short-term boost in rankings...which, depending upon who you ask, may or may not actually lead to sales. It seems that, in general, authors are spending more for the service than they are getting back in sales and ranking benefit.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: KMatthew on December 07, 2013, 05:25:16 PM
I actually used this service on Friday, and while I wanted to wait a full week to give a review, I figured I would lay out what I have discovered so far.

First off, I used the 10,000 download package on a perma-freebie that already had a decently high free rankings. Before the promo, it was sitting at around 3,000 in the overall Amazon store.

Yesterday, the downloads started rolling in. Though the service says you'll get your downloads over the course of two to three days, I'm pretty sure I got them all yesterday, as there hasn't been much movement today.

The book in questions shot all the way up to #9 in the overall Amazon store at its best ranking. It also hit #1 in several popular categories.

This book has already had its moment in the sun in the past. When it was first released, it got a very high free ranking organically and pushed the novel that it was serialized as a part of into the top 100 paid of several popular categories. Having said that, I also have two books right now that are in the top 100 free in the UK organically, and the sales that I have been getting on that particular series have been phenomenal. When actual readers download your freebie in mass quantities, you can usually expect to generate a lot of sales for the other books in your series.

That has not been the case with this download service.

Do you get the downloads you paid for? Yes.
Are they from Amazon verified readers? Yes.
Are they from people who are actually potential buyers? I don't believe so.

I'm still going to keep track of my sales on the series between now and Friday before I come to any definite conclusion. As is right now though, what I'm seeing from these free downloads is NOT normal reader activity. You have to take into consideration that out of 10,000 people downloading a free book, some of them will buy other books in the same series. I'm not seeing that with this promotion.

The bright side is that having the book ranked so high does expose it to actual readers. Since the promotion, I've had close to 3,000 downloads from what I am going to consider actual readers, and it has lead to some sales. I bolded some, because the amount is a bit underwhelming.

At this point, the question becomes, what is the ROI? I won't be able to tell until the end of the week. Since this is the first part of a serialized novel, I feel safe to assume that people who do pick it up with the intention of reading it will probably make a purchase of the other parts within 7 days. As of right now though, I'm about 99% sure I'm going to end up losing money on this campaign.

And did I mention that my ranking slipped once the campaign ended, from spot 9 to spot 26 in one day? Tomorrow, I imagine it will be even higher.

Also, I did a search on my book to see where it showed up for the day that my promotion ran. I did find one free book website that was promoting it, but that was all.

Again, this promotion was only run yesterday, so there is still time for things to change and kick up. I'm not going to hold my breath though. I will report back on Friday with my final analysis.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Al Stevens on December 07, 2013, 05:32:37 PM
FWIW, the featured book, which has reposed without much attention for almost two years, has, since being featured by FBS for two days, received 4 new reviews (two 4* and two 5*). This is after 15,500+ downloads. It's still #1 in its genre and now in the top 100 free. The other two books in the series, also sleepers, have sold 30 copies between them since the promotion began.

Probably those who disapprove of or don't believe in this PR strategy, won't find much in those numbers to validate the service. But that's how PR works. You spend money and effort putting your work (and your name) in front of your potential readership. Then, if it works, one day you get "discovered," you become an overnight sensation. :) That's when the money invested begins to flow in the other direction. One would hope...



Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 07, 2013, 06:04:54 PM
I actually used this service on Friday, and while I wanted to wait a full week to give a review, I figured I would lay out what I have discovered so far.

First off, I used the 10,000 download package on a perma-freebie that already had a decently high free rankings. Before the promo, it was sitting at around 3,000 in the overall Amazon store.

Yesterday, the downloads started rolling in. Though the service says you'll get your downloads over the course of two to three days, I'm pretty sure I got them all yesterday, as there hasn't been much movement today.

The book in questions shot all the way up to #9 in the overall Amazon store at its best ranking. It also hit #1 in several popular categories.

This book has already had its moment in the sun in the past. When it was first released, it got a very high free ranking organically and pushed the novel that it was serialized as a part of into the top 100 paid of several popular categories. Having said that, I also have two books right now that are in the top 100 free in the UK organically, and the sales that I have been getting on that particular series have been phenomenal. When actual readers download your freebie in mass quantities, you can usually expect to generate a lot of sales for the other books in your series.

That has not been the case with this download service.

Do you get the downloads you paid for? Yes.
Are they from Amazon verified readers? Yes.
Are they from people who are actually potential buyers? I don't believe so.

I'm still going to keep track of my sales on the series between now and Friday before I come to any definite conclusion. As is right now though, what I'm seeing from these free downloads is NOT normal reader activity. You have to take into consideration that out of 10,000 people downloading a free book, some of them will buy other books in the same series. I'm not seeing that with this promotion.

The bright side is that having the book ranked so high does expose it to actual readers. Since the promotion, I've had close to 3,000 downloads from what I am going to consider actual readers, and it has lead to some sales. I bolded some, because the amount is a bit underwhelming.

At this point, the question becomes, what is the ROI? I won't be able to tell until the end of the week. Since this is the first part of a serialized novel, I feel safe to assume that people who do pick it up with the intention of reading it will probably make a purchase of the other parts within 7 days. As of right now though, I'm about 99% sure I'm going to end up losing money on this campaign.

And did I mention that my ranking slipped once the campaign ended, from spot 9 to spot 26 in one day? Tomorrow, I imagine it will be even higher.

Also, I did a search on my book to see where it showed up for the day that my promotion ran. I did find one free book website that was promoting it, but that was all.

Again, this promotion was only run yesterday, so there is still time for things to change and kick up. I'm not going to hold my breath though. I will report back on Friday with my final analysis.



Great report. Seems to echo a lot of the negative suspicions about this service. Sorry to hear that you probably won't break even on this campaign, though. One reason being...

Quote
And did I mention that my ranking slipped once the campaign ended, from spot 9 to spot 26 in one day? Tomorrow, I imagine it will be even higher.

I would hazard to guess this service is jam packed with orders right now and wouldn't be surprised if the current top 20 or 40 spots all belonged to users of this service. As more and more people use it, the less time you'll have on the front page, thus making it an even worse deal.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: KMatthew on December 07, 2013, 08:15:29 PM
I would hazard to guess this service is jam packed with orders right now and wouldn't be surprised if the current top 20 or 40 spots all belonged to users of this service. As more and more people use it, the less time you'll have on the front page, thus making it an even worse deal.
This was actually something else I was going to point out, but didn't want to seem like I was brow bashing the service. If you look at Amazon's top 100 freebies right now, there are quite a few books that look like they wouldn't naturally belong (my book included).
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: cinisajoy on December 07, 2013, 08:30:04 PM
This was actually something else I was going to point out, but didn't want to seem like I was brow bashing the service. If you look at Amazon's top 100 freebies right now, there are quite a few books that look like they wouldn't naturally belong (my book included).
Not that I keep up or anything but there are at least 4 in that list that should be higher than they are.  I know where they advertised.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 07, 2013, 10:29:16 PM
This has been quite the entertaining thread.

* 1) Immediate off a cliff drop-off after the "promotion" ends compared to traditional tapering drop-off with other sites, 2) lack of increase in downloads in the same authors' other permafree books as seen on other promo programs and sites, 3) site owner's claims to have nearly a million members and be able to guarantee a set # of downloads, regardless of genre or niche, 4) owner touting having a network of nearly a million members but being apparently uninterested in adding actual *readers* that visit sites like Kboards.


1) I ran on the 5th, went to #6 in the whole free store, and here it is three days later (almost 4), and I'm still #55. THis has been higher and longer staying power than my Bookbub, or ENT ads.

2) I ran an ENT ad on my 99 cent paid book ($5 off) and paid sales didn't show up for 24 hours, and  magically 121 dropped into my account, which means it's the worst ENT paid ad I've ever had, so I have to say sales are slow right now over all. Another twenty or so just dropped in.

3) If you don't want to be visible in the top 100, don't buy his service. As far as I can see, it works. I'm happy and I'm sure I'll use it again in the future, just like I will ENT, Bookbub, and FKBT.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Estelle Ryan on December 07, 2013, 10:43:50 PM
An update on my test-run. These are the combined sales (only on Amazon.com) for the other two books in my series:

(http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u574/Estelle_Ryan/NovDec_zps83ed32e6.jpeg)

It was quite fortunate that I'd had a Bookbub ad (I heart Bookbub!!!) two weeks before the FBS promo - nice to compare. Since the FBS promo I've had 24,465 downloads and am still in the top 100 Free. As you can see on the graph:


There are so many ways we can speculate about these results, and I'm not keen on speculating - at least not in such a large public forum. What I will say is that (1.) There has been no or little change in the ranking of my other two books from before the FSB promo and (2. and most importantly) I still feel uncomfortable with how using this service affected/might affect/will affect my integrity. It wouldn't make sense for me to use this service in the near future, since it most likely would be showing the same book to the same eyes. That makes it better for me personally, because I can wait a few months and see how this whole thing develops and make a more informed decision then. I think we are all still gathering data and hope to see more reports so we are able to make decisions based on facts (or at least, our intepretation of those facts ;D).

I would like to thank William from Freebookservice for giving me this promo for free to prove to us their service's results.  
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 07, 2013, 11:06:43 PM
1) I ran on the 5th, went to #6 in the whole free store, and here it is three days later (almost 4), and I'm still #55. THis has been higher and longer staying power than my Bookbub, or ENT ads.

2) I ran an ENT ad on my 99 cent paid book ($5 off) and paid sales didn't show up for 24 hours, and  magically 121 dropped into my account, which means it's the worst ENT paid ad I've ever had, so I have to say sales are slow right now over all. Another twenty or so just dropped in.

3) If you don't want to be visible in the top 100, don't buy his service. As far as I can see, it works. I'm happy and I'm sure I'll use it again in the future, just like I will ENT, Bookbub, and FKBT.

Thanks for your review.



An update on my test-run. These are the combined sales (only on Amazon.com) for the other two books in my series:

(http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u574/Estelle_Ryan/NovDec_zps83ed32e6.jpeg)

It was quite fortunate that I'd had a Bookbub ad (I heart Bookbub!!!) two weeks before the FBS promo - nice to compare. Since the FBS promo I've had 24,465 downloads and am still in the top 100 Free. As you can see on the graph:

  • On the day of the Bookbub ad (18 November), there was an immediate increase in sales.
  • On the day of the FBS ad (2 December), there was a huuuuuuge decrease - very likely due to cyber Monday.
  • The increase on the day after the FBS ad could be because of the ad or (most likely) catching up on sales after cyber Monday.
  • Three days after the Bookbub ad, sales increased even more and went up and down from there.
  • Three days after the FBS ad, sales were in the midrange of those after the Bookbub ad (and have been interestingly stable!)

There are so many ways we can speculate about these results, and I'm not keen on speculating - at least not in such a large public forum. What I will say is that (1.) There has been no or little change in the ranking of my other two books from before the FSB promo and (2. and most importantly) I still feel uncomfortable with how using this service affected/might affect/will affect my integrity. It wouldn't make sense for me to use this service in the near future, since it most likely would be showing the same book to the same eyes. That makes it better for me personally, because I can wait a few months and see how this whole thing develops and make a more informed decision then. I think we are all still gathering data and hope to see more reports so we are able to make decisions based on facts (or at least, our intepretation of those facts ;D).

I would like to thank William from Freebookservice for giving me this promo for free to prove to us their service's results.  

I noticed book2 went from 6600 to 4300 paid ranking after the promo. Thanks for the review.






You're not reading the thread or ignoring responses, because I know of several authors, including Shelley Hitz, who have emailed Amazon with their concerns, and in every case, Amazon has said these are legitimate Kindle owners and Kindle ap owners doing the dls. This means that yes, they are potential readers.

There are several ways you can hit groups without resorting to mailing lists of individuals, and many marketers prefer to buy list of these people and market to them.

This is no different than Bookbub or any other service out there. They're targeting potential readers, and some target better than others.

I'm still at #32 and having higher dls on the rest in my series.

 


Thanks for further proving that for us through Shelly Hitz & Amazon.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: djv1120 on December 07, 2013, 11:10:12 PM
1) I ran on the 5th, went to #6 in the whole free store, and here it is three days later (almost 4), and I'm still #55. THis has been higher and longer staying power than my Bookbub, or ENT ads.

2) I ran an ENT ad on my 99 cent paid book ($5 off) and paid sales didn't show up for 24 hours, and  magically 121 dropped into my account, which means it's the worst ENT paid ad I've ever had, so I have to say sales are slow right now over all. Another twenty or so just dropped in.

3) If you don't want to be visible in the top 100, don't buy his service. As far as I can see, it works. I'm happy and I'm sure I'll use it again in the future, just like I will ENT, Bookbub, and FKBT.

Can you elaborate on what ENT & FKBT are?  I know about Bookbub already, but don't know what the other 2 are.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: PhoenixS on December 08, 2013, 01:37:41 AM
1) I ran on the 5th, went to #6 in the whole free store, and here it is three days later (almost 4), and I'm still #55. THis has been higher and longer staying power than my Bookbub, or ENT ads.

2) I ran an ENT ad on my 99 cent paid book ($5 off) and paid sales didn't show up for 24 hours, and  magically 121 dropped into my account, which means it's the worst ENT paid ad I've ever had, so I have to say sales are slow right now over all. Another twenty or so just dropped in.

3) If you don't want to be visible in the top 100, don't buy his service. As far as I can see, it works. I'm happy and I'm sure I'll use it again in the future, just like I will ENT, Bookbub, and FKBT.

It's been 4 days, Lisa, and you're not getting sell-through. Look, while it might have taken 24 hours for your Dec 6 ENT sales on an unrelated title to magically show up, Tracker says the ranks didn't take that long to reflect those sales. Rank for the 15th Star peaked on Dec 7 at 7:24 a.m.

Here's the curious thing. Even though you ran an ENT ad - which, granted, was on an unrelated book - a few readers will generally pick up other books in the author's inventory. That means you had TWO drivers to the Angel books. Yet what have your sales been over the past few days? You're being coy in not disclosing. But the rank history is public info. By ENT Tracker stats, your freeloads peaked on Dec 5. So I'll guess you've sold 2-3 of each of the following since the FBS/ENT kick. Even being generous, that's only about $25 in sales. Yes, there's future sell-through to consider. But I seriously doubt you're going to see any appreciable ROI from this run, nor will you make back your investment.

Book 2:
7 Dec, 2013 Highest: 55,040 $3.99
 Lowest: 103,555   
6 Dec, 2013 Highest: 50,200 $3.99
 Lowest: 198,635   
5 Dec, 2013 Highest: 158,640 $3.99
 Lowest: 188,316   

4 Dec, 2013 Highest: 99,421 $3.99
 Lowest: 153,975   
3 Dec, 2013 Highest: 66,716 $3.99
 Lowest: 154,917   
2 Dec, 2013 Highest: 94,227 $3.99
 Lowest: 212,003   
1 Dec, 2013 Highest: 135,275 $3.99
 Lowest: 183,253 

Book 3:
7 Dec, 2013 Highest: 64,533 $2.99
 Lowest: 122,710   
6 Dec, 2013 Highest: 58,749 $2.99
 Lowest: 203,540   
5 Dec, 2013 Highest: 100,701 $2.99
 Lowest: 168,379   

4 Dec, 2013 Highest: 86,239 $2.99
 Lowest: 189,098   
3 Dec, 2013 Highest: 83,151 $2.99
 Lowest: 161,412   
2 Dec, 2013 Highest: 97,533 $2.99
 Lowest: 225,646   
1 Dec, 2013 Highest: 139,961 $2.99
 Lowest: 197,079

Bundle of 1,2,3:
7 Dec, 2013 Highest: 50,956 $5.50
 Lowest: 163,978   
6 Dec, 2013 Highest: 268,988 $5.50
 Lowest: 268,988   
5 Dec, 2013 Highest: 268,988 $5.50
 Lowest: 268,988   

4 Dec, 2013 Highest: 268,988 $5.50
 Lowest: 268,988   
3 Dec, 2013 Highest: 268,988 $5.50
 Lowest: 268,988   
2 Dec, 2013 Highest: 86,225 $5.50
 Lowest: 86,225   
1 Dec, 2013 Highest: 86,225 $5.50
 Lowest: 86,225 

You were adamant Freebooksy was worth the cost, too, though you had virtually no sell-through from that ad either. What you do with your money is your affair. But when you advocate services and are disingenuous about the actual results you're getting, that's not cool. By fairly disclosing, at least if others decide to use the services you advocate, they'll have a clearer picture of what they're likely to get for their money, ethics aside.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Ann in Arlington on December 08, 2013, 05:13:32 AM
Gentle reminder about tone folks. . . .and about disputing people's reporting.

Here's the thing:  if a person used the service and is happy with the results, let it alone.

Similarly, if a person is NOT happy with their results, that's their right, even if those results look just fine to you.

It's great that people are reporting actual data -- though, of course, no one is obligated to do so.  Draw your own conclusions from that data and decide to use the service or not.

Telling people who are satisfied that they should not be is NOT APPROPRIATE.


Consider this a Yellow Card and carry on with play. :D
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: cdtooch on December 08, 2013, 05:53:09 AM
Has anyone found that they had a decent follow through rate on the initial 10,000 downloads?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: KMatthew on December 08, 2013, 06:58:01 AM
An update on my test-run. These are the combined sales (only on Amazon.com) for the other two books in my series:

(http://i1322.photobucket.com/albums/u574/Estelle_Ryan/NovDec_zps83ed32e6.jpeg)

It was quite fortunate that I'd had a Bookbub ad (I heart Bookbub!!!) two weeks before the FBS promo - nice to compare. Since the FBS promo I've had 24,465 downloads and am still in the top 100 Free. As you can see on the graph:

  • On the day of the Bookbub ad (18 November), there was an immediate increase in sales.
  • On the day of the FBS ad (2 December), there was a huuuuuuge decrease - very likely due to cyber Monday.
  • The increase on the day after the FBS ad could be because of the ad or (most likely) catching up on sales after cyber Monday.
  • Three days after the Bookbub ad, sales increased even more and went up and down from there.
  • Three days after the FBS ad, sales were in the midrange of those after the Bookbub ad (and have been interestingly stable!)

There are so many ways we can speculate about these results, and I'm not keen on speculating - at least not in such a large public forum. What I will say is that (1.) There has been no or little change in the ranking of my other two books from before the FSB promo and (2. and most importantly) I still feel uncomfortable with how using this service affected/might affect/will affect my integrity. It wouldn't make sense for me to use this service in the near future, since it most likely would be showing the same book to the same eyes. That makes it better for me personally, because I can wait a few months and see how this whole thing develops and make a more informed decision then. I think we are all still gathering data and hope to see more reports so we are able to make decisions based on facts (or at least, our intepretation of those facts ;D).

I would like to thank William from Freebookservice for giving me this promo for free to prove to us their service's results.  
Thanks for this data. It's interesting to see how one of these runs compares to a Bookbub ad.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: gorvnice on December 08, 2013, 08:06:58 AM
Gentle reminder about tone folks. . . .and about disputing people's reporting.

Here's the thing:  if a person used the service and is happy with the results, let it alone.

Similarly, if a person is NOT happy with their results, that's their right, even if those results look just fine to you.

If someone is making factual claims about a service and then either not disclosing results or being somewhat misleading, I think it's fair to point it out.  In fact, I think it's a help to this board for people to be held to such a standard.

Writers are watching this thread and trying to determine whether or not to spend hundreds of dollars on a service that might be anything from a scam to a wonderful new marketing tool.  If someone is skewing that appearance by making claims about sales or sales rank and then being disingenuous, I'm glad there are people on these boards who will hold them to account.

And I don't appreciate your cautions in this regard, Ann.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 08, 2013, 08:42:33 AM
Here's the curious thing. Even though you ran an ENT ad - which, granted, was on an unrelated book - a few readers will generally pick up other books in the author's inventory. That means you had TWO drivers to the Angel books.

Phoenix - The 15th star has never driven people to the Angel series in any of my promos. The 15th Star is an historical adult History Mystery, the angel series is written for age 12+ on up girls. I've only sold a 150 at 99 cents over 2 days (so far) which is way below what a normally sell through an ENT ad. Yet this was enough to raise me to:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,883 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#5 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Romance > Mystery & Suspense
#12 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Romance > Historical
#20 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Historical

This means paid ads in general, are not as effective as they were a year ago. I haven't made back my money only what, half?, on my ENT ad, which is not great for what everyone considers the
"gold" or at least "silver" standard of advertising.

It's ridiculous how you keep going after me in every thread about marketing when you know I'm not an NYT bestseller or established author like the ones you represent (who have huge backlists).

I'm much more representative of the average indie author who has modest daily sales. I'm printing my results for them. Once again, I'm not comparing myself to (and not sure why you keep insisting I should) to Much bigger authors represented by publishers like you, ot those selling romance or erotica. If anything, those super popular genres are skewing the norm. If you throw out the romance and erotica, and the poor performers, genres like mine are solidly in the middle of the pack, and fortunately, or unfortunately, this is our norm.

I'm in the top ten if not #1, #2, or #3 in my sub genres, so get off your skewed to the outlier romance NYT authors, and get real.



Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 08, 2013, 08:46:44 AM
If someone is making factual claims about a service and then either not disclosing results or being somewhat misleading, I think it's fair to point it out.  In fact, I think it's a help to this board for people to be held to such a standard.

Writers are watching this thread and trying to determine whether or not to spend hundreds of dollars on a service that might be anything from a scam to a wonderful new marketing tool.  If someone is skewing that appearance by making claims about sales or sales rank and then being disingenuous, I'm glad there are people on these boards who will hold them to account.

And I don't appreciate your cautions in this regard, Ann.

Ann left Phoenix's post intact, so she agrees that the info provided there okay. She's pointing out that we're treading close to the line. None of us want to step over that line, so the warning is valuable.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: David 'Half-Orc' Dalglish on December 08, 2013, 08:49:56 AM
This thread in a nutshell.

Peddler: Buy my cigarettes. They're awesome and great!

Kboard Members: Cigarettes are bad. You really shouldn't waste your money on them.

Kboard User: I've used Cigarettes for ten years, and I don't have cancer. They're fine.

Kboard Members: *data showing otherwise*

Kboard User: Whatever, I'm still happy with it. You all should smoke, too.

Kboard Mod: If someone is happy smoking Cigarettes, do not argue with them about it.

Me, reading all this: Seriously, wtf?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 08, 2013, 08:56:28 AM
Phoenix - The 15th star has never driven people to the Angel series in any of my promos. The 15th Star is an historical adult History Mystery, the angel series is written for age 12+ on up girls.

It's ridiculous how you keep going after me in every thread about marketing when you know I'm not an NYT bestseller or established author like the ones you represent (who have huge backlists).

I'm much more representative of the average indie author who has modest daily sales. I'm printing my results for them. Once again, I'm not comparing myself to (and not sure why you keep insisting I should) to Much bigger authors represented by publishers like you, ot those selling romance or erotica. If anything, those super popular genres are skewing the norm. If you throw out the romance and erotica, and the poor performers, genres like mine are solidly in the middle of the pack, and fortunately, or unfortunately, this is our norm.

I'm in the top ten if not #1, #2, or #3 in my sub genres, so get off your skewed to the outlier romance NYT authors, and get real.

Maybe I'm the kind of lower-on-the-totem-pole indie author you're posting for, Lisa. If so, I find Phoenix's breakdown of your sell-through illuminating. I've recent set my first book permafree in preparation for publishing the second in the series, so sell-through results are of great interest to me.

David Dalglish, cearly you are not procrastinating hard enough at the moment. Threads like this are golden. :P
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Romi on December 08, 2013, 08:58:30 AM
Phoenix - The 15th star has never driven people to the Angel series in any of my promos. The 15th Star is an historical adult History Mystery, the angel series is written for age 12+ on up girls. I've only sold a 150 at 99 cents over 2 days (so far) which is way below what a normally sell through an ENT ad. Yet this was enough to raise me to:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,883 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#5 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Romance > Mystery & Suspense
#12 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Romance > Historical
#20 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Historical

This means paid ads in general, are not as effective as they were a year ago. I haven't made back my money only what, half?, on my ENT ad, which is not great for what everyone considers the
"gold" or at least "silver" standard of advertising.

It's ridiculous how you keep going after me in every thread about marketing when you know I'm not an NYT bestseller or established author like the ones you represent (who have huge backlists).

I'm much more representative of the average indie author who has modest daily sales. I'm printing my results for them. Once again, I'm not comparing myself to (and not sure why you keep insisting I should) to Much bigger authors represented by publishers like you, ot those selling romance or erotica. If anything, those super popular genres are skewing the norm. If you throw out the romance and erotica, and the poor performers, genres like mine are solidly in the middle of the pack, and fortunately, or unfortunately, this is our norm.

I'm in the top ten if not #1, #2, or #3 in my sub genres, so get off your skewed to the outlier romance NYT authors, and get real.





I think what Phoenix was getting at was the ROI, because if you're telling other authors you liked the service and would pay for it again, the number one thing prospective customers would be curious about is how much of your money you made back. If there are other positive factors for you outside of ROI that's fine, but leaving out the money part entirely is a big missing link for prospective customers, who are weighing whether or not they should invest $325 in it. As an example of how important it is, in the "Has anyone here used Bookbub?" thread, almost all the users who report back on results comment on if they made their money back, which is a huge factor in other authors submitting to Bookbub.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 08, 2013, 08:59:37 AM
Ann left Phoenix's post intact, so she agrees that the info provided there okay. She's pointing out that we're treading close to the line. None of us want to step over that line, so the warning is valuable.

Becca Mills - You missed my point. What works for erotica nad romance NYT best sellers, and those with huge backlists in romance, is not necessarily going to  work for less popular genres. It's not even realistic.

I receive private emails all the time from authors here who are frustrated, because a few "outliers" here tend to dominate and expect everyone to have the same results. I'll happily pay for the visibility, because yes, it does lead to modest trickle down, and if nothing else, builds brand recognition for  my future work.

If someone offers you a chance at visibility, right before Christmas, and thus a chance to be at the top of sub genre lists that are filled with your readers, you seriously don't see a benefit?

Fine, don't go with FBS. As I pointed out my last two ads with sites everyone respects, is not delivering the results it did a year or two ago either.

Romance skews results for all other genres. That's just a fact.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: David 'Half-Orc' Dalglish on December 08, 2013, 09:00:11 AM
David Dalglish, cearly you are not procrastinating hard enough at the moment. Threads like this are golden. :P

This thread's been my latest rubber-necking train wreck for me. And I gotta do something to kill the hour until football starts  ;D
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 08, 2013, 09:02:51 AM
I think what Phoenix was getting at was the ROI, because if you're telling other authors you liked the service and would pay for it again, the number one thing prospective customers would be curious about is how much of your money you made back. If there are other positive factors for you outside of ROI that's fine, but leaving out the money part entirely is a big missing link for prospective customers, who are weighing whether or not they should invest $325 in it. As an example of how important it is, in the "Has anyone here used Bookbub?" thread, almost all the users who report back on results comment on if they made their money back, which is a huge factor in other authors submitting to Bookbub.

As I stated above, my ENT did not earn out (held one day later), only produced half and that took 2 1/2 days, when in the past I always made a profit. Also, my latest FKBT, took all month to earn out.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Danni on December 08, 2013, 09:08:32 AM
While we're on the topic...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2013/02/22/heres-how-you-buy-your-way-onto-the-new-york-times-bestsellers-list/ (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2013/02/22/heres-how-you-buy-your-way-onto-the-new-york-times-bestsellers-list/)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 08, 2013, 09:10:24 AM
I guess what you have to decide is: Being in the top 100 of the free store: Is it worth it to you to pay, to hang around in the top 100 free for (I'm now there going on 4 days) x amount of days and be at the top of your subgenre lists?

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60 Free in Kindle Store

Yes, for me the visiblity is worth it. I base my advertising on a yearly budget, set aside from when I had good runs. If you're expecting results like you had a year or two ago, and are publishing outside romance, I'd say you won't get those results now.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Deanna Chase on December 08, 2013, 09:23:36 AM
I guess what you have to decide is: Being in the top 100 of the free store: Is it worth it to you to pay, to hang around in the top 100 free for (I'm now there going on 4 days) x amount of days and be at the top of your subgenre lists?

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60 Free in Kindle Store

Yes, for me the visiblity is worth it. I base my advertising on a yearly budget, set aside from when I had good runs. If you're expecting results like you had a year or two ago, and are publishing outside romance, I'd say you won't get those results now.



Right. Everyone needs to decide for themselves if it's worth it. For most of us ROI is the primary factor when considering these services. When one member says, "I used this service and I'm happy with my sales." A lot of us will naturally think that means a good return on investment.

But if it turns out the real return was $50 or even $100...then, yeah that's a big loss $$$ wise. And that is what Phoenix and others are getting at. Does genre and audience matter as to how well any title will sell? Of course it does. But not when you're breaking down the actual ROI on any individual title.

For you you're happy. Great. I wouldn't be. In fact, I'd be frustrated at the loss of money and frustrated my fellow author was ambiguous when recommending a service.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: melissafmiller on December 08, 2013, 09:23:55 AM
As I stated above, my ENT did not earn out (held one day later), only produced half and that took 2 1/2 days, when in the past I always made a profit. Also, my latest FKBT, took all month to earn out.

Lisa,
Has ENT started offering Bargain Book postings for a flat fee? You keep saying your ENT ad didn't earn out, but as late as last month, those ads weren't a flat fee: ENT takes (took?) 25% of royalties earned on books actually sold through their link. I think this is a fantastic way of charging, BTW, specifically because it *doesn't* disadvantage smaller genres. What you pay is based on what you earn.

So the "not earning out" bit has me confused. Or I could just need more coffee. Always possible.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: BillSmithBooksDotCom on December 08, 2013, 09:25:45 AM
"But MY cigarettes have Vitamin C and stuff and they are GOOD for you."

Hm. Color me skeptical. Amused, but skeptical.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: KMatthew on December 08, 2013, 09:42:02 AM
ENT takes 25% of royalties earned on books actually sold through their link.
That's actually a really good deal. If all advertisers did that, everyone would be buying advertising, because it would always be a win/win situation.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: she-la-ti-da on December 08, 2013, 09:42:20 AM
Quote
Writers trade on their reputation. I use my real name on my books, and my real reputation is on the line here. I choose to do that because I'm confident that my real-world reputation is protected by my behaviour. I don't conduct myself dishonestly, or employ black hat techniques, or engage in rank manipulation, etc. I help people without expecting a reward. I tell the truth. That's my armour.

Thanks for your research, David. The above is pretty much my feelings as well, especially the bolded part. {Also thanks to Kat and KB -- great posts.}

Whether or not some people feel this is an okay thing, or they think it works for them (or if it does), I can only go by what I think, and I think I smell something fishy. And it ain't the fish sticks.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Wansit on December 08, 2013, 09:59:48 AM
Lisa,
Has ENT started offering Bargain Book postings for a flat fee? You keep saying your ENT ad didn't earn out, but as late as last month, those ads weren't a flat fee: ENT takes (took?) 25% of royalties earned on books actually sold through their link. I think this is a fantastic way of charging, BTW, specifically because it *doesn't* disadvantage smaller genres. What you pay is based on what you earn.

So the "not earning out" bit has me confused. Or I could just need more coffee. Always possible.

In this instance she might be referring to a ENT BOTD - Book of the Day. The once a year promotion you can sign up to be blasted all ENT lists for the day. I don't know what they charge since I've never had it but I know it's a flat fee.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Deanna Chase on December 08, 2013, 10:04:25 AM
In this instance she might be referring to a ENT BOTD - Book of the Day. The once a year promotion you can sign up to be blasted all ENT lists for the day. I don't know what they charge since I've never had it but I know it's a flat fee.

Looks like a Bargain Book ad (http://ereadernewstoday.com/more-ent-daily-deals-for-12-6-13/6738020/) to me.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: ChristinePope on December 08, 2013, 10:25:29 AM
In this instance she might be referring to a ENT BOTD - Book of the Day. The once a year promotion you can sign up to be blasted all ENT lists for the day. I don't know what they charge since I've never had it but I know it's a flat fee.

I did one last month. It was $60. I made back about quadruple what I paid.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on December 08, 2013, 10:35:19 AM
If someone is making factual claims about a service and then either not disclosing results or being somewhat misleading, I think it's fair to point it out.  In fact, I think it's a help to this board for people to be held to such a standard.

Writers are watching this thread and trying to determine whether or not to spend hundreds of dollars on a service that might be anything from a scam to a wonderful new marketing tool.  If someone is skewing that appearance by making claims about sales or sales rank and then being disingenuous, I'm glad there are people on these boards who will hold them to account.

And I don't appreciate your cautions in this regard, Ann.

Ann is reminding people about tone.  It's fair to ask for information. It's not fair to attack them if they decide not to provide the information.

If an author reading this thread thinks the lack of disclosure reflects poorly on the recommendation, the member can choose to disregard the recommendation based on that lack of disclosure.

Betsy

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 08, 2013, 10:40:37 AM

If an author reading this thread thinks the lack of disclosure reflects poorly on the recommendation, the member can choose to disregard the recommendation based on that lack of disclosure.


I think it's this that's troubling people. It troubles me:

Quote
Here's the thing:  if a person used the service and is happy with the results, let it alone.

Should we let it alone if we think they're being misleading or purposefully or not omitting critical data? Esp. when we can provide more information that will help other members make an informed decision?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on December 08, 2013, 11:07:58 AM
Sorry, Monique, I kept getting distracted by Washington getting rolled over by the Kansas City Chiefs in the snow :(.  Took me awhile to type this.

If someone has specific information to contribute to decision making and wants to offer that, that's fine.  One can say, "I see this data (for example, Phoenix's post with data from Tracker) and this is how I interpret it and this is why I would or wouldn't use the service." What we've seen here is people posting that they were happy with their results, and why, and other people telling them that they shouldn't be.  

I re-read the entire thread this morning, yes, all 18 pages at that time.  More than one person has stated that they have been satisfied with increased ranking results they received from the service they purchased, despite few or no follow-through purchases.  That's fair.  The fact that they did not get many follow through purchases was disclosed.  People can decide whether getting ranking advancement enough is enough of an investment for them.  It apparently is for some, not for others.  Others have posted the reasons they would not use the service (no follow-through purchases, questionable ethics).  That's also fair.  There's plenty of information here for someone to come to a conclusion, as far as I can tell.

Questions are good.  Piling on someone is not.  Making assumptions of motive or state of mind is not.

You know, I have seen threads here before where people said they did not get their money back from an ad purchase somewhere, but that they thought the exposure was worth it.  You can agree or disagree with them, but you can't tell them how to feel about it.  And I see arguing here about someone's personal assessment.  That's the problem.

This thread has gone on for twenty pages now.  We're not trying to shut down discussion, no matter what David's rather poor analogy would seem to indicate  (David, you're one of my favorite members, but....  :()

We're just asking that members not pile on each other.

Betsy




Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: gorvnice on December 08, 2013, 11:18:33 AM

We're just asking that members not pile on each other.


What you see as possibly piling on, some of us see as simply bringing facts to light and being critically minded, using data and evidence to back it up.

I don't appreciate moderators discouraging intelligent discussion around a potentially expensive service that is perhaps making money off of uninformed authors.  By discouraging "piling on," I believe you're actually discouraging critical discussion about the service.  By trying to keep members nice at all costs, you're actually hurting authors who read here to stay informed.

I hope you'll allow the discussion to continue.  I do agree it shouldn't get personal or lead to ad hominem attacks, but the critical discussion should, in my opinion, be allowed without discouragement from overzealous moderators.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 08, 2013, 11:21:16 AM
Sometimes piles are good. :)

(http://www.ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/pile-of-panda-babies-1-636.jpg)

PS - I'm watching the Snow Bowl (Det. vs Phi.) Love it!

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on December 08, 2013, 11:45:54 AM
What you see as possibly piling on, some of us see as simply bringing facts to light and being critically minded, using data and evidence to back it up.

I don't appreciate moderators discouraging intelligent discussion around a potentially expensive service that is perhaps making money off of uninformed authors.  By discouraging "piling on," I believe you're actually discouraging critical discussion about the service.  By trying to keep members nice at all costs, you're actually hurting authors who read here to stay informed.

I hope you'll allow the discussion to continue.  I do agree it shouldn't get personal or lead to ad hominem attacks, but the critical discussion should, in my opinion, be allowed without discouragement from overzealous moderators.


gorvnice,

I'm sorry, I don't see where intelligent discussion has been prevented  (I confess, I removed some snarky graphics earlier).  I don't see where anyone being critically minded has been discouraged.  I don't see where we've prevented anyone from presenting data and evidence.  I don't see where we have prevented anyone from asking for data and evidence.  I do think people have the right to provide information as they choose, and others have the right to draw their own conclusions from that.  But at some point, it's "asked and answered. (Or not answered.)"  The question, and the answer or not, is here for people to read. 

And I don't see where asking people to have civil discussion is overzealous.  We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

Really, I don't want the overall discussion sidetracked by this discussion.  I want useful information to be presented to our members, just as you do.  I just don't want members who are posting in good faith to be attacked.

Betsy
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 08, 2013, 11:49:02 AM
Sorry, Monique, I kept getting distracted by Washington getting rolled over by the Kansas City Chiefs in the snow :(.  Took me awhile to type this.

If someone has specific information to contribute to decision making and wants to offer that, that's fine.  One can say, "I see this data (for example, Phoenix's post with data from Tracker) and this is how I interpret it and this is why I would or wouldn't use the service." What we've seen here is people posting that they were happy with their results, and why, and other people telling them that they shouldn't be.  

I re-read the entire thread this morning, yes, all 18 pages at that time.  More than one person has stated that they have been satisfied with increased ranking results they received from the service they purchased, despite few or no follow-through purchases.  That's fair.  The fact that they did not get many follow through purchases was disclosed.  People can decide whether getting ranking advancement enough is enough of an investment for them.  It apparently is for some, not for others.  Others have posted the reasons they would not use the service (no follow-through purchases, questionable ethics).  That's also fair.  There's plenty of information here for someone to come to a conclusion, as far as I can tell.

Questions are good.  Piling on someone is not.  Making assumptions of motive or state of mind is not.

You know, I have seen threads here before where people said they did not get their money back from an ad purchase somewhere, but that they thought the exposure was worth it.  You can agree or disagree with them, but you can't tell them how to feel about it.  And I see arguing here about someone's personal assessment.  That's the problem.

This thread has gone on for twenty pages now.  We're not trying to shut down discussion, no matter what David's rather poor analogy would seem to indicate  (David, you're one of my favorite members, but....  :()

We're just asking that members not pile on each other.

Betsy


But the key difference between this service and every other promotion service out there is that if they are generating the downloads artificially (bots, pay-per-download, whatever - doesn't matter), like the data seems to indicate, then it's a direct violation of Amazon's ToS, and any author using the service is in violation of the ToS as well.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on December 08, 2013, 11:49:35 AM
Sometimes piles are good. :)

(http://www.ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/pile-of-panda-babies-1-636.jpg)

PS - I'm watching the Snow Bowl (Det. vs Phi.) Love it!



Awww.....yeah, well, right now I'm going through the membership list and banning everyone from Kansas City. :)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: MonkeyScribe on December 08, 2013, 11:52:07 AM
But the key difference between this service and every other promotion service out there is that if they are generating the downloads artificially (bots, pay-per-download, whatever - doesn't matter), like the data seems to indicate, then it's a direct violation of Amazon's ToS, and any author using the service is in violation of the ToS as well.

This is a key point. We're not just talking about the efficacy of the service, but whether it's even legal in the first place, not to mention the ethical questions.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 08, 2013, 11:56:48 AM
But the key difference between this service and every other promotion service out there is that if they are generating the downloads artificially (bots, pay-per-download, whatever - doesn't matter), like the data seems to indicate, then it's a direct violation of Amazon's ToS, and any author using the service is in violation of the ToS as well.

This is a key point. We're not just talking about the efficacy of the service, but whether it's even legal in the first place, not to mention the ethical questions.

------------------


You're not reading the thread or ignoring responses, because I know of several authors, including Shelley Hitz, who have emailed Amazon with their concerns, and in every case, Amazon has said these are legitimate Kindle owners and Kindle ap owners doing the dls. This means that yes, they are potential readers.


Even after proof is posted multiple times you are ignoring it. For what reason I do not know. If you aren't going to make constructive comments then I ask that you refrain your continued abuse towards me.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on December 08, 2013, 11:56:49 AM
But the key difference between this service and every other promotion service out there is that if they are generating the downloads artificially (bots, pay-per-download, whatever - doesn't matter), like the data seems to indicate, then it's a direct violation of Amazon's ToS, and any author using the service is in violation of the ToS as well.
This is a key point. We're not just talking about the efficacy of the service, but whether it's even legal in the first place, not to mention the ethical questions.

Yes, that discussion has been a recurring theme, though not on the last couple pages of the thread. And is a perfectly valid discussion.   Please continue.

Betsy
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on December 08, 2013, 12:03:20 PM
FBS,

I see questions and concerns by members; I do not see abuse.  I understand that there is frustration on both sides.  Let's remain civil.

Betsy
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 08, 2013, 12:09:06 PM
------------------



Even after proof is posted multiple times you are ignoring it. For what reason I do not know. If you aren't going to make constructive comments then I ask that you refrain your continued abuse towards me.

What proof? All I saw was an email saying that the downloads are coming from Amazon accounts. It doesn't mean they aren't all owned by one person, or being given incentives to download or whatever. I have emails here from Amazon too (one of which I posted already) that say that regardless of how you're doing it, if they aren't legitimate, "normal" customers (which the data overwhelmingly shows they are not), it's in violation of the ToS.

People questioning the legality of your service isn't abuse, especially when you're very likely putting peoples' publisher accounts at risk.

Oh, also, I've emailed Amazon and I'm attempting to get three questions answered that will put this all to bed (hopefully):

1. Does KDP/Amazon approve of this service's use?

2. Are authors breaking the Amazon ToS in any way by using this service?

3. If KDP does not approve of this services use, what are the consequences, if any, for authors who choose to use this service anyway?

Hopefully I'll be able to get a KDP rep who knows how to write replies longer than 1 sentence so we can get an official stance on this issue once and for all. The last reply I received completely sidestepped these questions and only talked about how much they frown on rank manipulation:

Quote
Dear xxxxx,

Thanks a lot for contacting us with your question and for bringing this website to our attention.

Amazon does not accept sales rank manipulation; while I am unable to comment regarding the mechanics of sales rank at our site, I can assure you that we have processes in place which discourage their manipulation. I've already forwarded your input for the appropriate business team to take action regarding this issue.

Feedback like yours helps us continue to improve our author and publisher experience.

As always, please feel free to contact us should you have future questions or comments.

I hope this helps. Thanks for your continued interest in Amazon KDP.

...............................................................
Did I solve your problem?

If yes, please click here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=A3E6LDKQOHI05H&k=hy

If no, please click here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=A3E6LDKQOHI05H&k=hn
...............................................................

Regards,

Nicole D.
Kindle Direct Publishing
http://kdp.amazon.com
=============================
Connect with KDP and other Authors and Publishers:
Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/KindleDirectPublishing
Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/AmazonKDP


No idea what the "take action" part means, but I pointed them right in your direction, FreeBookService, so they could give me a straight answer on whether they approve of its use or not.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: MonkeyScribe on December 08, 2013, 12:14:37 PM
------------------
Even after proof is posted multiple times you are ignoring it. For what reason I do not know. If you aren't going to make constructive comments then I ask that you refrain your continued abuse towards me.

If your service is on the up and and up it would be easy to establish that by being more forthright. Straight up, are you using some sort of "pay per click" system to generate downloads?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 08, 2013, 12:24:54 PM
------------------
Even after proof is posted multiple times you are ignoring it. For what reason I do not know. If you aren't going to make constructive comments then I ask that you refrain your continued abuse towards me.

There is still something I would like to know. In the first post you said that you created a mailing list through links in the back of your books. Then later you say you have a collection of blogs and websites (none of which are to be found anywhere). Which is it? Nobody is doubting that you are getting downloads but we are doubting how you get them and if they are real readers.

You want the clients but you don't want to answer any questions.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 08, 2013, 12:29:46 PM
Becca Mills - You missed my point. What works for erotica nad romance NYT best sellers, and those with huge backlists in romance, is not necessarily going to  work for less popular genres. It's not even realistic.

I receive private emails all the time from authors here who are frustrated, because a few "outliers" here tend to dominate and expect everyone to have the same results. I'll happily pay for the visibility, because yes, it does lead to modest trickle down, and if nothing else, builds brand recognition for  my future work.

If someone offers you a chance at visibility, right before Christmas, and thus a chance to be at the top of sub genre lists that are filled with your readers, you seriously don't see a benefit?

Fine, don't go with FBS. As I pointed out my last two ads with sites everyone respects, is not delivering the results it did a year or two ago either.

Romance skews results for all other genres. That's just a fact.


I totally see your point about romance. That's why I was particularly interested in your sell-through rate. Your Angel series is not in the game genre as my series, but it's closer than romance. I've already decided against FBS for multiple reasons, but others may not have.

Knowing if the amount of sell-through you're getting matches what you'd predict for X number of downloads, based on past performance, could help other YA and/or fantasy writers decide. For instance, if your usual sell-through rate is 3%, and you sell 150 more copies of Book 2 than usual, that indicates that 5,000 real potential readers downloaded Book 1. If you sell 450 more copies of Book 2 than usual, that indicates that 15,000 real potential readers downloaded your book (and would help validate FBS's claims not to be breaking the rules).

If all you get from FBS is a few days in the Top 100 Free and at the top of the genre lists, then it would help authors to know that they're going to spend $300 to purchase a chance for more exposure, and that recouping the costs (as you were hoping to do (http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,169160.msg2420165.html#msg2420165) when you decided to buy a slot) is unlikely.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 08, 2013, 12:36:03 PM
There is still something I would like to know. In the first post you said that you created a mailing list through links in the back of your books. Then later you say you have a collection of blogs and websites (none of which are to be found anywhere). Which is it? Nobody is doubting that you are getting downloads but we are doubting how you get them and if they are real readers.

You want the clients but you don't want to answer any questions.

Pretty sure it's been confirmed that the "we are using blog networks and stuff" thing is a blatant lie as well. After receiving all his downloads, KMathew reported finding little/no additional promotion anywhere on the net that coincided with this promotion.


Yesterday, the downloads started rolling in. Though the service says you'll get your downloads over the course of two to three days, I'm pretty sure I got them all yesterday, as there hasn't been much movement today.

Also, I did a search on my book to see where it showed up for the day that my promotion ran. I did find one free book website that was promoting it, but that was all.


Before FBS chimes in and tries to say that these are all private networks (tens, hundreds, or thousands of blogs/communities that go to the lengths necessary to completely exclude themselves from all Google indexing, but are big enough to supply tens of thousands of downloads daily - lol), one would need to think about how large a network and how much traffic would be required to sustain these numbers for multiple purchasers. Then, on top of that, all of these communities would need to carefully and thoughtfully exclude every page of their community from Google indexing (which means no facebook, no twitter, no social media mentions of any kind, in addition to server-side noindexing calls in their .htaccess files). Oh, and Santa is real too.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: ゴジラ on December 08, 2013, 12:36:26 PM
Last time I post in this thread - if you don't like Freebooksservice's service, then by continuing to engage him (fruitlessly, because he'll never admit to anything) is pretty much just continually bumping his thread to the top of the forum and giving him free promotion. I'm sure he doesn't care what anyone says at this point as long as it keeps getting his post to the top. Folks aren't going to invest 20+ pages of reading time to see the discussion that follows; they'll make their decision based on the first post.

Debating is fun and all, but you're accomplishing exactly the opposite of what I think most users want to get out of this conversation.

I think the ethics and techniques associated with FBS are pretty obvious at this point. Anyone who disagrees has probably already dropped their benjamins to roll around in fake downloads and enjoy the priceless "exposure."

There's nothing left to talk about. If you don't want to support this service, ignoring it is pretty much the best thing to do now.

My two cents.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 08, 2013, 12:40:17 PM
Last time I post in this thread - if you don't like Freebooksservice's service, then by continuing to engage him (fruitlessly, because he'll never admit to anything) is pretty much just continually bumping his thread to the top of the forum and giving him free promotion. I'm sure he doesn't care what anyone says at this point as long as it keeps getting his post to the top. Folks aren't going to invest 20+ pages of reading time to see the discussion that follows; they'll make their decision based on the first post.

Debating is fun and all, but you're accomplishing exactly the opposite of what I think most users want to get out of this conversation.

I think the ethics and techniques associated with FBS are pretty obvious at this point. Anyone who disagrees has probably already dropped their benjamins to roll around in fake downloads and enjoy the priceless "exposure."

There's nothing left to talk about. If you don't want to support this service, ignoring it is pretty much the best thing to do now.

My two cents.

I think that's a fair point and (once again) I'm going to try and bow out of this conversation. It just sucks watching fellow indie authors forking over their hard earned money for a service that, to me, is quite obviously a scam.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 08, 2013, 12:42:53 PM
There is still something I would like to know. In the first post you said that you created a mailing list through links in the back of your books. Then later you say you have a collection of blogs and websites (none of which are to be found anywhere). Which is it? Nobody is doubting that you are getting downloads but we are doubting how you get them and if they are real readers.

You want the clients but you don't want to answer any questions.


I have copy and pasted what I put in the first post just incase you had problems finding it.

The bulk of our reader-base has come from including opt-in forms on our own books. We placed forms in the description area using HTML, and with that, were able to build our list. We kept this extremely close to our chests, because literally everybody would be using the same method to create their own reader-base, in effect diluting our own list that we worked hard on creating. Since then, Amazon has overhauled their description pages, and you can no longer add Opt-ins to your book page.

Some books are still grandfathered in... Note, that is not my book: (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F23Q9CI/) however this can no longer be done. All of our readers are double opt in and completely can-spam compliant, and this method of promotion, as with BookBub, is in accordance to Amazons ToS.


I also mentioned we are working on other web properties, but if you have ever tried to build websites from the ground up then you would know they are extremely difficult to grow at any reasonable pace.




Last time I post in this thread - if you don't like Freebooksservice's service, then by continuing to engage him (fruitlessly, because he'll never admit to anything) is pretty much just continually bumping his thread to the top of the forum and giving him free promotion. I'm sure he doesn't care what anyone says at this point as long as it keeps getting his post to the top. Folks aren't going to invest 20+ pages of reading time to see the discussion that follows; they'll make their decision based on the first post.

Debating is fun and all, but you're accomplishing exactly the opposite of what I think most users want to get out of this conversation.

I think the ethics and techniques associated with FBS are pretty obvious at this point. Anyone who disagrees has probably already dropped their benjamins to roll around in fake downloads and enjoy the priceless "exposure."

There's nothing left to talk about. If you don't want to support this service, ignoring it is pretty much the best thing to do now.

My two cents.

Thanks for the reply.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 08, 2013, 12:48:43 PM
I think that's a fair point and (once again) I'm going to try and bow out of this conversation. It just sucks watching fellow indie authors forking over their hard earned money for a service that, to me, is quite obviously a scam.

This. I personally want to see this thread locked/deleted, but it seems without heading over to FBS's computer and posting screenshots of the operations back end, no mathematical data is proof enough. Which means that until this thread is removed, Kboards is indirectly Ok'ing this service, if only because they have no idea what to make of it.

The thing that people are missing about the Warrior Forum MO is that this is exactly what they do. They come in, launch some scammy operation, generate as much revenue as fast as possible until they're caught, then they move on to the next thing. Watching authors get taken for fools by old Warrior Forum techniques just rubs me the wrong way. Especially when it's highly likely that the service gives Amazon a reason to start closing publisher accounts (even if the chance is remote).
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 08, 2013, 12:53:48 PM

I have copy and pasted what I put in the first post just incase you had problems finding it.

The bulk of our reader-base has come from including opt-in forms on our own books. We placed forms in the description area using HTML, and with that, were able to build our list. We kept this extremely close to our chests, because literally everybody would be using the same method to create their own reader-base, in effect diluting our own list that we worked hard on creating. Since then, Amazon has overhauled their description pages, and you can no longer add Opt-ins to your book page.

Some books are still grandfathered in... Note, that is not my book: (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F23Q9CI/) however this can no longer be done. All of our readers are double opt in and completely can-spam compliant, and this method of promotion, as with BookBub, is in accordance to Amazons ToS.


I also mentioned we are working on other web properties, but if you have ever tried to build websites from the ground up then you would know they are extremely difficult to grow at any reasonable pace.




Thanks for the reply.

You're still claiming that you're using emails to do the bulk of the promotions, really?

Can you please explain why your subscribers don't exhibit normal reader behavior (as stated by multiple people in this thread who have purchased your 10k package), like other email promotion services? What is causing them to download the promoted book, but do nothing else?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 08, 2013, 12:56:37 PM
You're still claiming that you're using emails to do the bulk of the promotions, really?

Can you please explain why your subscribers don't exhibit normal reader behavior (as stated by multiple people in this thread who have purchased your 10k package), like other email promotion services? What is causing them to download, but do nothing else?

If by normal you are referring to bookbub, sorry, I have never used their service.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on December 08, 2013, 12:58:55 PM
This. I personally want to see this thread locked/deleted, but it seems without heading over to FBS's computer and posting screenshots of the operations back end, no mathematical data is proof enough. Which means that until this thread is removed, Kboards is indirectly Ok'ing this service, if only because they have no idea what to make of it.

No.  Allowing this thread and the subsequent discussion does not mean we OK the service.  We do not vet services.

Service threads here are allowed on a "buyer beware" basis.   We would not be able to allow author services threads to be posted otherwise. Members considering use of services posted about here should do their due diligence in researching.  Allowing the discussion here is part of that.

Sigh.  We've locked threads about services members found questionable in the past for a number of reasons and were accused of not allowing people to be warned about them.  A locked thread soon disappears from the listing but at least is searchable here and in Google.  A deleted thread does not show up in search.  No matter what happens with this thread, I do not believe deleting it is in the best interest of our membership.  Finally, I was under the impression that members wanted to continue the discussion and that there were members who were waiting to post long term results of their service,

Rest assured, this thread is being discussed in Admin.

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 08, 2013, 01:17:40 PM
No.  Allowing this thread and the subsequent discussion does not mean we OK the service.  We do not vet services.

Service threads here are allowed on a "buyer beware" basis.   We would not be able to allow author services threads to be posted otherwise. Members considering use of services posted about here should do their due diligence in researching.  Allowing the discussion here is part of that.

Sigh.  We've locked threads about services members found questionable in the past for a number of reasons and were accused of not allowing people to be warned about them.  A locked thread soon disappears from the listing but at least is searchable here and in Google.  A deleted thread does not show up in search.  No matter what happens with this thread, I do not believe deleting it is in the best interest of our membership.  Finally, I was under the impression that members wanted to continue the discussion and that there were members who were waiting to post long term results of their service,

Rest assured, this thread is being discussed in Admin.

Betsy
KB Mod

Fair enough. Wasn't trying to point the finger at Kboards because I can imagine the difficult position any "shady" services would put Kboards operators in, especially without irrefutable proof. I just wasn't aware that any service, regardless of its integrity, was allowed to be posted here on a "buyer beware" basis. My ignorance on this issue is my own fault, seeing as I'm still very new around here. My apologies.

If by normal you are referring to bookbub, sorry, I have never used their service.

That's not the question I asked. I asked if you could explain why your "subscribers" behavior differs so greatly from what authors deem to be normal email list subscriber behavior. Whether the readers come from their own personal email list, bookbub, ENT, or whatever is irrelevant. What is relevant is that more than one person in this thread has stated that they don't believe the behavior to be "normal" reader activity, which is what I'm asking about and would like you to address.


Or, I guess you could just ignore this question like you do every legitimate question presented in this thread.  ::)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 08, 2013, 01:46:52 PM
Last time I post in this thread - if you don't like Freebooksservice's service, then by continuing to engage him (fruitlessly, because he'll never admit to anything) is pretty much just continually bumping his thread to the top of the forum and giving him free promotion. I'm sure he doesn't care what anyone says at this point as long as it keeps getting his post to the top. Folks aren't going to invest 20+ pages of reading time to see the discussion that follows; they'll make their decision based on the first post.

Debating is fun and all, but you're accomplishing exactly the opposite of what I think most users want to get out of this conversation.

I think the ethics and techniques associated with FBS are pretty obvious at this point. Anyone who disagrees has probably already dropped their benjamins to roll around in fake downloads and enjoy the priceless "exposure."

There's nothing left to talk about. If you don't want to support this service, ignoring it is pretty much the best thing to do now.

My two cents.

On the flip side, this thread is very high in the Google results. For authors who want to exercise due diligence, the information is here. If they see the first post and jump in with both feet ... well, you know what P.T. Barnum supposedly said.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 08, 2013, 01:56:46 PM
No.  Allowing this thread and the subsequent discussion does not mean we OK the service.  We do not vet services.

Service threads here are allowed on a "buyer beware" basis.   We would not be able to allow author services threads to be posted otherwise. Members considering use of services posted about here should do their due diligence in researching.  Allowing the discussion here is part of that.

Sigh.  We've locked threads about services members found questionable in the past for a number of reasons and were accused of not allowing people to be warned about them.  A locked thread soon disappears from the listing but at least is searchable here and in Google.  A deleted thread does not show up in search.  No matter what happens with this thread, I do not believe deleting it is in the best interest of our membership.  Finally, I was under the impression that members wanted to continue the discussion and that there were members who were waiting to post long term results of their service,

Rest assured, this thread is being discussed in Admin.

Betsy
KB Mod

Not to derail this thread or anything, but I do have one question regarding this...

(Please note this is clearly hypothetical and not meant to be related to the service of this thread. Just so I can better understand Kboards policy on these types of threads/services)

If I were to start a service that offered up paid reviews and was blatantly obvious about it, would I be allowed to have an ongoing thread here under "buyer beware", in spite of the ethics and that it's a violation of Amazon's Review Policy?
Title: Re:
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on December 08, 2013, 02:03:37 PM
We do not allow services that are clearly against Amazon's terms of service.  For example, we do not allow discussions of DRM removal nor do we allow sale through postings here of pirated material if that can be determined.  We are closely following this thread and reviewing the info posted herein and await the response to your questions from KDP.

Betsy


Sent from my Fire HDX7
Title: Re:
Post by: K.B. on December 08, 2013, 02:08:43 PM
Sent from my Fire HDX7

Ugh, I want my HDX7 now. Not christmas morning  >:(
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 08, 2013, 03:20:00 PM
We do not allow services that are clearly against Amazon's terms of service.  For example, we do not allow discussions of DRM removal nor do we allow sale through postings here of pirated material if that can be determined.  We are closely following this thread and reviewing the info posted herein and await the response to your questions from KDP.

Betsy


Sent from my Fire HDX7

That's good to know. I do like that Kboards tries to support only legitimate services. The problem with the bolded part is that even though I asked them for an official stance regarding this service (and supplied them with enough info to verify its legitimacy one way or another), it's highly likely the response will be muddled with corporate speak that won't publicly endorse or dismiss this service.

Which means that Kboards operators will be waiting for irrefutable proof (that just won't come because the victims here don't control the platforms being used to generate the downloads or the platform being targeted) or for Amazon to drop the hammer themselves.

The dangerous thing about that is this: If we operate under the assumption that these downloads are being generated through artificial or incentivized means, it makes the following true:

1. The service itself is in direct violation of Amazon's ToS.
2. It puts authors in direct violation of Amazon's ToS for using the service.
3. Since accounts in violation of Amazon's ToS are subject to banning/removal, it puts Kboard users' publishing accounts in jeopardy.
4. Since it's been shown that this service can/does currently control the top 100 list (and subsequent sub-genre lists) and the rank manipulation that results from that, this service decreases downloads/conversions to paid across the board for every author with a free book in the store - even those who are using this service.

Now I'm all for "innocent until proven guilty," but I find it a blatantly obvious red flag that not even Kboards moderators can get a few simple straight answers from the operator who is publicly and freely advertising on their forum. In fact, the operator openly ignores any pertinent questions, in effect giving the middle finger to both interested parties and Kboards operators.

And while it will be difficult for anyone except Amazon to acquire any hard proof that discredits this service, if the service is exactly what the operator has claimed it to be for the past 20 pages, it should be remarkably easy for FreeBookService to present information that verifies the service's legitimacy without compromising any of its proprietary assets. The fact that if his service proves to be generating downloads maliciously puts publisher accounts in direct violation of Amazon's ToS, I'm finding it hard to understand why Kboards operators are allowing the operator to maintain this thread while completely ignoring any and all attempts aimed at verifying the complete legitimacy of the service itself, while cherry-picking anything that reflects positively on it.

Edit: Not sure why I'm so feverishly looking to protect Kboards users from potential scamming, maybe it's because of my disdain for the rampant scamming seen by WSO operators from my days on the Warrior Forum and my quickly-growing affection for the community here, but I hope it's clear that I'm not trying to be a thorn in anyone's side for the sake of being a pain, to simply cause trouble, or to slander a random service.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 08, 2013, 04:28:39 PM
That's good to know. I do like that Kboards tries to support only legitimate services. The problem with the bolded part is that even though I asked them for an official stance regarding this service (and supplied them with enough info to verify its legitimacy one way or another), it's highly likely the response will be muddled with corporate speak that won't publicly endorse or dismiss this service.

Which means that Kboards operators will be waiting for irrefutable proof (that just won't come because the victims here don't control the platforms being used to generate the downloads or the platform being targeted) or for Amazon to drop the hammer themselves.

The dangerous thing about that is this: If we operate under the assumption that these downloads are being generated through artificial or incentivized means, it makes the following true:

1. The service itself is in direct violation of Amazon's ToS.
2. It puts authors in direct violation of Amazon's ToS for using the service.
3. Since accounts in violation of Amazon's ToS are subject to banning/removal, it puts Kboard users' publishing accounts in jeopardy.
4. Since it's been shown that this service can/does currently control the top 100 list (and subsequent sub-genre lists) and the rank manipulation that results from that, this service decreases downloads/conversions to paid across the board for every author with a free book in the store - even those who are using this service.

Now I'm all for "innocent until proven guilty," but I find it a blatantly obvious red flag that not even Kboards moderators can get a few simple straight answers from the operator who is publicly and freely advertising on their forum. In fact, the operator openly ignores any pertinent questions, in effect giving the middle finger to both interested parties and Kboards operators.

And while it will be difficult for anyone except Amazon to acquire any hard proof that discredits this service, if the service is exactly what the operator has claimed it to be for the past 20 pages, it should be remarkably easy for FreeBookService to present information that verifies the service's legitimacy without compromising any of its proprietary assets. The fact that if his service proves to be generating downloads maliciously puts publisher accounts in direct violation of Amazon's ToS, I'm finding it hard to understand why Kboards operators are allowing the operator to maintain this thread while completely ignoring any and all attempts aimed at verifying the complete legitimacy of the service itself, while cherry-picking anything that reflects positively on it.

Edit: Not sure why I'm so feverishly looking to protect Kboards users from potential scamming, maybe it's because of my disdain for the rampant scamming seen by WSO operators from my days on the Warrior Forum and my quickly-growing affection for the community here, but I hope it's clear that I'm not trying to be a thorn in anyone's side for the sake of being a pain, to simply cause trouble, or to slander a random service.


If I took a screenshot of part of my list and sent it to a moderator of this board, would you knock it off already?

(I assume the answer is no because you would find a way to discredit even this, but then again, have you actually seen bookbub's list?)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 08, 2013, 04:38:20 PM
NOBODY is asking to see your list of email addresses. That would be invasion of privacy on behalf of members who have 'signed up' for it. We want to see the email that goes out to everyone on the list. That has been stated probably about a hundred times by now.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 08, 2013, 04:42:24 PM
NOBODY is asking to see your list of email addresses. That would be invasion of privacy on behalf of members who have 'signed up' for it. We want to see the email that goes out to everyone on the list. That has been stated probably about a hundred times by now.

I've also stated why that wont happen. Beyond our own business 101 reasonings, our own paying clients do not want it. Around and around we go.

(http://oi40.tinypic.com/2nixnq0.jpg)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: cinisajoy on December 08, 2013, 04:47:11 PM
I've also stated why that wont happen. Around and around we go.

So you are saying that even though there is no personal information in the e-mail, you can not show us the e-mail that you send to your downloaders.   

You cannot show us your promo e-mail.  Is this what you are saying?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 08, 2013, 04:47:30 PM
I've also stated why that wont happen. Around and around we go.

So, your clients are so paranoid about privacy that they don't want anyone -- neither other authors nor just plain readers -- seeing the emails you send out advertising books, but they wouldn't mind if you revealed their actual email addresses to some random stranger?

Some mighty odd folks have hired you.

ETA: Last time FBS posted this screen shot, I caught myself wishing I could hire that unknown author as a ghostwriter. I mean, to never get criticized by an actual reader, only by vindictive competitors ... that person's writing must be un-fricking-believable.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 08, 2013, 04:48:34 PM
So, your clients are so paranoid about privacy that they don't want anyone -- neither other authors nor just plain readers -- seeing the emails you send out advertising books, but they wouldn't mind if you revealed their actual email addresses to some random stranger?

Some mighty odd folks have hired you.

Where did I say I wouldn't blur out email addresses? Your assumptions deceive you.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Becca Mills on December 08, 2013, 04:53:33 PM
Where did I say I wouldn't blur out email addresses? Your assumptions deceive you.

Oh, okay, got it. But Betsy or Ann will be able to see their actual names, right? Or will it just be a grid with a bunch of fuzzy gray stuff where all the info would be?
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Danni on December 08, 2013, 04:57:14 PM
We don't want to see your list, we want to be ON it so we can receive your promotions. If a person pays for an ad, they should be able to see it. You know? Business 101 and all that. And any author who thinks their promo will be in secret is mistaken since they are showing up on each other's alsobots, which btw, makes for such randomness that it isn't doing the authors any favors.  ::)

But, given who your website is registered through, I'm not surprised by all the secrecy.

Like SMR said, every reply is bumping you and I can see why you keep provoking the crowd with evasive answers. All we're doing is our due diligence because of the potential ramifications it could have on our career and standing with Amazon. Not to mention the impact of rank boosting due to "click farms" impacting other authors on lists.

I'm so over this thread and I wish I could untag myself the eff off it. I hope authors here read EVERY PAGE carefully. There are seasoned authors here who are expressing caution and concern for a reason.


And I'm done here. If I keep seeing this thread on page one, I'm probably going to stay off KB for a while. Nah. You won't miss me. I'll be writing and submitting my books through awesome services like Bookbub where I'll get real readers and similar alsobots.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 08, 2013, 05:13:06 PM

If I took a screenshot of part of my list and sent it to a moderator of this board, would you knock it off already?

(I assume the answer is no because you would find a way to discredit even this, but then again, have you actually seen bookbub's list?)

You're right. Anyone with any experience with the Warrior Special Offers forum knows that screenshots aren't worth the pixels used to generate them.

If you really want to prove the legitimacy of your service, there really is a few simple ways to do that... the first being to simply answer the questions that have been asked numerous times in this thread. Such as:

You've stated repeatedly that your promotion methods are through email marketing, and that you generate your 700k+ email list from this:


I have copy and pasted what I put in the first post just incase you had problems finding it.

The bulk of our reader-base has come from including opt-in forms on our own books. We placed forms in the description area using HTML, and with that, were able to build our list. We kept this extremely close to our chests, because literally everybody would be using the same method to create their own reader-base, in effect diluting our own list that we worked hard on creating. Since then, Amazon has overhauled their description pages, and you can no longer add Opt-ins to your book page.

Some books are still grandfathered in... Note, that is not my book: (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F23Q9CI/) however this can no longer be done. All of our readers are double opt in and completely can-spam compliant, and this method of promotion, as with BookBub, is in accordance to Amazons ToS.


I also mentioned we are working on other web properties, but if you have ever tried to build websites from the ground up then you would know they are extremely difficult to grow at any reasonable pace.

Thanks for the reply.

This brings up some obvious questions:

1. If I signup via the opt-in form here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F23Q9CI/ (the book you've used to back your email list over and over and over) will I receive promotional emails from your service that I can cross reference with ranking updates to verify reader activity?

Since you're likely going to say, "but that's not my book," why can't a moderator see an opt-in form (and subscribe) to your service that seemingly 700k+ other people have and continue to subscribe to so that they can do what I said above? After all, you're not opening it up to authors, just a sole moderator who can vouch for your service.

2. Why is it that none of your web properties and communities that you've stated you use for promotion appear on any Google search in relation to any titles promoted in this thread?

3. All of your subscribers appear to open the email and take action the day of the promotion, then stop immediately. This behavior isn't typical of any standard email list because subscribers to any list continue to open emails days and weeks after a promotion is sent (several reports in this thread indicate an immediate drop from around 1000 downloads an hour to significantly lower levels after the download threshold is reached). Why doesn't your email list exhibit normal list behaviors?

Additionally, the same users do not mirror typical reader behavior because conversions don't seem to mirror anything that authors have been using as comparable behavior from their own long-term conversion data and promotions, so the question is why? What causes your subscribers to download the promoted title and stop without typical conversions to subsequent titles?

I'm sure other people will have better questions, but, you're right. With the hole you've backed yourself into, barring giving a moderator a temporary user/pass to your back end, you've got an uphill battle. But, by giving sufficient answers and references to the questions that have been asked repeatedly of you in this thread, it will certainly help ease concerns. (At least until Amazon decides to weigh in on this fiasco)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Mandy on December 08, 2013, 05:34:47 PM
Supposing these are empty downloads from people who will never read your book, is anyone at all concerned about the long-term effects of this service? There is no selective criteria for being accepted with FBS; you fork over the cash and you will get the promised number of downloads, regardless of how good or crappy your book is. The increased visibility means real readers are gonna grab these books while they are high in rankings. If a book is high in rankings, it must be pretty good, right?

What happens when the real readers read these books and become angry that they wasted time on a book that was very poorly executed and never should have broke the top 50? What happens if these readers found out many authors are essentially buying rank? Or when readers find out how skewed the rankings are because the books that deserve to be up there are now being pushed back by thousands of empty downloads? Is a temporary boost in rank and a small boost in sales worth risking credibility? As a reader, I'm already suspicious of the current ranks. I'm very curious to see how a service like this will change the game as well as how Amazon reacts to it.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: RM Prioleau on December 08, 2013, 05:37:54 PM

The bulk of our reader-base has come from including opt-in forms on our own books. We placed forms in the description area using HTML, and with that, were able to build our list. We kept this extremely close to our chests, because literally everybody would be using the same method to create their own reader-base, in effect diluting our own list that we worked hard on creating. Since then, Amazon has overhauled their description pages, and you can no longer add Opt-ins to your book page.

Some books are still grandfathered in... Note, that is not my book: (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F23Q9CI/) however this can no longer be done. All of our readers are double opt in and completely can-spam compliant, and this method of promotion, as with BookBub, is in accordance to Amazons ToS.



This book has an opt-in mailing list form embedded in the book description. Is this one of your books? http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EN2LXJ8?tag=kbpst-20 (NSFW)
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 08, 2013, 05:48:21 PM
This book has an opt-in mailing list form embedded in the book description. Is this one of your books? http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EN2LXJ8?tag=kbpst-20 (NSFW)

No. An email was sent out via KDP about it:

"The book description contains unsupported HTML tags. While we've allowed this HTML in book descriptions before now, after November 2, 2013, we no longer support it. For more information about what’s allowed in book descriptions, please see: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A377RPHW6ZG4D8"

Some people are grandfathered in, and havent changed it. Maybe they missed the email from amazon.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: RM Prioleau on December 08, 2013, 05:51:46 PM
No. An email was sent out via KDP about it:

"The book description contains unsupported HTML tags. While we've allowed this HTML in book descriptions before now, after November 2, 2013, we no longer support it. For more information about what’s allowed in book descriptions, please see: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A377RPHW6ZG4D8"


Okay, well I noticed you had said that some of the books had been 'grandfathered in' with the HTML in the book description so that was why I was wondering.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Lisa Grace on December 08, 2013, 06:10:41 PM
I won't be sharing results here in the future. When I do share good promos (like ENT book of the day where I made thousands) everyone is nice.

When I share visibility is great, and I'm happy but say sell through is modest, I get piled on. If I wasn't sharing I was using this service, no one here would know.

I've received emails from some of the bestsellers here and elsewhere who wonder why I share with you all. They would never, and I'm beginning to see why.
If something works, I'll keep it to myself.
If something doesn't work, I'll keep that to myself too.


My book is still:

ASIN: B0052AI5W8
Text-to-Speech: Enabled  
X-Ray: Enabled  Lending: Enabled
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Religious & Inspirational Fiction > Christian > Fantasy
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Horror

I'm very happy with the visibilty this site is providing. Four days later, and it's still in the top 100.

Worth every penny I paid, as that is better visiblity on lists that I've had from any paid marketing promotion from any site. I'm in the writing game for the long term. I'm building the Lisa Grace brand. Visibility for me is key. I have another book coming out in January. If this doesn't play into your long term plan, fine.

I can think of many companies that lose money because they keep reinvesting (Amazon is one of them). I can think of many authors who did the same thing. James Patterson and John Grisham come to mind. Invest in your career the way you see fit. If immediate ROI is all you care about, great. While it would be nice, it may not be realistic outside the romance and one or two other genres.

Good luck to you and however you decide to work your plan.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 08, 2013, 06:34:25 PM
I'm sorry you feel piled on. My snarky graphic (that was removed by an administrator) wasn't aimed towards you but rather the first line in that post. The one basically saying if you didn't want to be in the top 100, don't buy this service. The implication that you are now going to HAVE to buy downloads bothered me.

You are free to make your own decisions and I don't think anybody in this thread is telling you that you can't. I also wouldn't look at it like piling on but rather see it as concern from authors to authors. There are about a hundred red flags, and at the very least I think it would be best to sit back and watch the cards fall.

At the end of the day, if it turns out these aren't readers but rather manufactured downloads, Amazon IS going to do something about it. They could delete publisher accounts or they could alter the way free downloads work. We don't know. There is no malice in this thread for those who choose to use the service, only concern. I'm sorry you feel otherwise.

Posting exact sales numbers takes courage because for a lot of people they are private. And I think you are looking at it wrong. When you have success, people of course, are going to congratulate you. When you have less than desired results, it makes sense that others would point out flaws in a system. Should we have not said anything?

This service could be vindicated in the future but it's not a likely outcome I can see happening. What I don't understand are those users who post about their results but are impervious to the faults and instead of thinking it over go on the counter attack. I don't think you've been attacked but again I'm sorry if you felt that way.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Kat Lilynette on December 08, 2013, 06:41:12 PM
No. An email was sent out via KDP about it:

"The book description contains unsupported HTML tags. While we've allowed this HTML in book descriptions before now, after November 2, 2013, we no longer support it. For more information about what’s allowed in book descriptions, please see: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A377RPHW6ZG4D8"

Some people are grandfathered in, and havent changed it. Maybe they missed the email from amazon.


I'm still patiently waiting for any answers to questions I posted about your service. Thanks.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: RoseInTheTardis on December 08, 2013, 06:50:01 PM
When I share visibility is great, and I'm happy but say sell through is modest, I get piled on. If I wasn't sharing I was using this service, no one here would know.

Not trying to pile on, but they would know by looking at your also-boughts. Two days ago, they were the rest of the books in your series (which is really *good* for a perma-free) and other angel/YA books. Today they're a bunch of.. well.. not books I would associate with yours and clearly ones that belong to people who also used this service. I'm glad you're happy with it, I guess, but having that kind of shake up of your also-boughts for a permafree that's first in a series would be a HUGE disadvantage of the service to me.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Monique on December 08, 2013, 06:54:38 PM
Not trying to pile on, but they would know by looking at your also-boughts. Two days ago, they were the rest of the books in your series (which is really *good* for a perma-free) and other angel/YA books. Today they're a bunch of.. well.. not books I would associate with yours and clearly ones that belong to people who also used this service. I'm glad you're happy with it, I guess, but having that kind of shake up of your also-boughts for a permafree that's first in a series would be a HUGE disadvantage of the service to me.

The alsobot issue is a huge one. I see a few erotica books in your ABs now, Lisa. That can be very problematic for some books/genres.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: KMatthew on December 08, 2013, 07:00:56 PM
Not trying to pile on, but they would know by looking at your also-boughts. Two days ago, they were the rest of the books in your series (which is really *good* for a perma-free) and other angel/YA books. Today they're a bunch of.. well.. not books I would associate with yours and clearly ones that belong to people who also used this service. I'm glad you're happy with it, I guess, but having that kind of shake up of your also-boughts for a permafree that's first in a series would be a HUGE disadvantage of the service to me.
I actually never realized this before, but you're right about her also-boughts not lining up with what people interested in that genre would typically buy. For the freebie I ran through this promotion, all of my also-boughts are still other books in my series. It's been 3 days since the promotion. Now I'm beginning to wonder if mine are going to change as well. The particular book I used this promotion for wasn't erotica.

Also, if you click on the other books in her also-boughts, those books have most of the same also-boughts, including Lisa's book.

This could be both good and bad. On the bad side, you're showing up on the also-boughts for books completely outside of your genre. On the good side, your book is now on the also-boughts of probably dozens of other highly ranked books.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: freebookservice on December 08, 2013, 07:03:57 PM
What proof? All I saw was an email saying that the downloads are coming from Amazon accounts. It doesn't mean they aren't all owned by one person, or being given incentives to download or whatever. I have emails here from Amazon too (one of which I posted already) that say that regardless of how you're doing it, if they aren't legitimate, "normal" customers (which the data overwhelmingly shows they are not), it's in violation of the ToS.

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You're not reading the thread or ignoring responses, because I know of several authors, including Shelley Hitz, who have emailed Amazon with their concerns, and in every case, Amazon has said these are legitimate Kindle owners and Kindle ap owners doing the dls. This means that yes, they are potential readers.

Your inconsistency in the interpretation of clear facts from amazon shows your blatant lack of objectivity towards the service. Multiple people have come back with results from amazon, which you either slightly change the wording on, or ignore. But thanks for your comments anyway.

Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: K.B. on December 08, 2013, 07:13:32 PM
You lost your right on calling out posters 'ignoring' anything when you have failed to answer very basic questions for 22 pages. And no that email doesn't disprove anything you have been asked or anything that has been insinuated. This might come as news but Amazon is MUCH bigger than books. A customer does not make a reader.

You know that very well.
Title: Re: Kindle "Free Book Service" official thread - Increase your rank
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on December 08, 2013, 07:16:52 PM
OK, folks--

Locking for at least the time being while we discuss in Admin.  I don't see any new information being posted and the questions, comments and accusations are going in circles.

Have a good evening.  I don't anticipate having a resolution for you until tomorrow.

Betsy



eta:  further communication from Amazon by members who tried this service indicate that using the service violates the ToS Authors agree to when uploading their books.  Please see This Thread (http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,179247.0.html) for more current information. -- kboards moderators
Title: FreeBookService (FBS) Update ,
Post by: freebookservice on October 24, 2014, 12:04:01 PM
Hi,

This is Tom from FreebookService (FBS), a service that provides free book downloads for Kindle authors looking to expand their readerbase. We are posting this update to help new users and past users understand some of the issues that our service has had in the past regarding legitimacy and Amazon compliance. Multiple users on kboards and other websites emailed Amazon asking if our service was allowed and Amazon told them it was in accordance with ToS each time. Some time after our service began gaining traction, some authors on kboards allegedly received emails from Amazon that was to the contrary stating that our service was in some way against the terms of service of Amazon and that using us to promote could cause negative action towards authors. To show we are not trying to hide anything, here is the link where an author allegedly received an email from Amazon with the warning, http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,179247.0.html . We never received such an email from Amazon and if we had we would have acted accordingly to find out what their issue with our method of promotion was.

Now that our service has been running a full 12 months without one report of negative action towards any of our hundreds of authors that regularly use our service to promote their books we would like to show the public the reality of using our services track record is that not one author has ever been suspended for using our promotion services. The only response we have had in private has been positive and many of our customers have been loyal to us for the entire 12 months that we have been in business. We have publishers that use our books for multiple titles monthly and if any sort of negative action were to be placed against them because of our promotions we are sure we would hear about it. We have emailed Amazon countless times to find out exactly how our service was against the terms of service of Amazon with absolutely no response. Initially they told our clients that asked if our service was legitimate every single time. We believe the emails that stated our service was fraudulent may have originated from somebody other than Amazon because of the lack of response from them, also to add to this theory is the fact that the people that received the email stating we were a fraudulent service all had their emails publically posted on Kboards or other forums.

After 12 months of us running our service with absolutely no negative actions towards our authors or their books, the argument that our service is somehow non compliant with Amazon is just no longer valid. If there are authors against promotion, that's your prerogative, but there are authors out there having a hard time getting their name in the market and our service is a way they can do this. If someone is actively trying to prevent authors from promoting by using scare tactics such as getting their account suspended, that is unfair to the authors that can clearly benefit from promoting with us.

I understand that most of the negativity towards our service was because of the fact that we refuse to give out exact methods on how we acquire and maintain our reader base but doing so is one of the primary reasons we are still in business. If we were to divulge our exact methods of acquiring and more importantly protecting our reader base our business would be at jeopardy and our clients would be the ones paying the price. The results that our clients are receiving from our service has only gotten stronger over time and we firmly believe promoting your book for free on Amazon is one of the strongest methods for new customers to find your book. We are posting this just to update Kboards on our status in the market and that we haven't just disappeared. If anyone has had any negative action taken against their account or their books we would want to be the first to hear about it and fortunately we have had zero claims of that happening. We know this thread will eventually spiral into how much better Bookbub or any of the other services are than us but that isn't our intention, if any customers have questions they would like clarified they can PM us and we will be glad to get back to them.

Although there have been many negative opinions on our service (price and transparency) , we are going to give away 3 packages to Kboards members and we only ask that you give your honest experience with the service, free of the group sentiment towards our service.
Title: Re: FreeBookService (FBS) Update ,
Post by: dkgould on October 24, 2014, 12:41:14 PM
We have emailed Amazon countless times to find out exactly how our service was against the terms of service of Amazon with absolutely no response. Initially they told our clients that asked if our service was legitimate every single time. We believe the emails that stated our service was fraudulent may have originated from somebody other than Amazon because of the lack of response from them, also to add to this theory is the fact that the people that received the email stating we were a fraudulent service all had their emails publically posted on Kboards or other forums.

After 12 months of us running our service with absolutely no negative actions towards our authors or their books, the argument that our service is somehow non compliant with Amazon is just no longer valid.

I understand that most of the negativity towards our service was because of the fact that we refuse to give out exact methods on how we acquire and maintain our reader base but doing so is one of the primary reasons we are still in business.

While I'm glad to see that someone from your company has returned to update the company's position without being confrontational, I still have to say that your post has done nothing to alleviate the concerns that were already raised.  Emailing Amazon and settling for "no response" as tacit permission is not a very good business practice, and it's not going to be any comfort to people that you ran for 12 months "under the radar" when Amazon finally gets around to answering.  Even new authors here know how to escalate customer service issues until they reach an actual human being who will answer their questions.  Someone doing business that depends on another's policy should make sure they understand that policy and have a representative confirm it.  You've said some of your customers have received confirmation, but you as a business have not?  As to your second point, it was far more shady that you refused readers here that wanted to sign up as subscribers and turned away business, than that you wouldn't give us a step by step recruitment process. 
Title: Re: FreeBookService (FBS) Update ,
Post by: Quiss on October 24, 2014, 01:17:06 PM
Fair enough to say that Amazon has not reacted negatively to people using your service. Thanks for the update.

I would be interested to hear from any kboard members who have tried this  about sell-through after the promotion.
Members here are always enthusiastically sharing their experiences with promo sites (just add up all the posts about Fiverr) but I haven't heard anything about this one. Perhaps they aren't doing so because of all the shouting earlier, which is understandable.
Send me an IM :)
 
Title: Re: FreeBookService (FBS) Update ,
Post by: Patty Jansen on October 24, 2014, 01:24:21 PM
Posting defensive messages is such a great way to alleviate people's concerns. Show us that you're not a clickfarm and we might bite.
Title: Re: FreeBookService (FBS) Update ,
Post by: Ann in Arlington on October 24, 2014, 01:27:29 PM
Under review by moderator team.


EDIT by Betsy to add:

As KB policy is for service providers to have only one thread, we've merged this new thread with the existing thread for freebookservice.com while we discuss.  Thanks.




After review and discussion by the moderator team, it appears that nothing has changed since the original thread was locked: due to the warnings from Amazon posted by multiple members and due to the concerns of the community over the lack of transparency over how FBS results are achieved, we are going to stand by our earlier decision to not allow advertising by Freebookservice on this site.

Future new threads by members of Freebookservice will be removed as we do not allow new threads to be started when an existing service thread has been locked.