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Messages - TwistedTales

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Writers' Cafe / Re: KDP insinuates that Amazon ads are manipulative?
« on: June 14, 2018, 04:59:30 PM »
Because you received a form letter. The same form letter they send to every person you emails that address about that subject, regardless of the actual content of their email.

Amazon always sends form letters. It's why people tend to have to email over and over, often escalating, before getting a non-form letter response.

The team, or whoever looked at your email, didn't check your account. Probably didn't even read your email in entirety. They simply ascertained . what you were emailing about (page read stripping) and replied with the form letter.

In the wider business world, the current CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems are auto generating replies to customer emails based on AI, which means no human is reading the emails. Fair to say, the CRM AI is a bit dim and inappropriate responses are frequently issued to customers.

From what I can see of Amazon's processes, they're auto generating page cuts, suspensions and bans based on a set of criteria nobody seems to understand. Emails are issued and actions taken without any human ever getting involved, which is not unusual for many business processes, but if an author writes to them, the current CRM interprets the email and auto sends a response. If the author writes again they end up in an argument with a none too bright AI system rather than ever reaching a person.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« on: June 14, 2018, 05:04:08 AM »
I liken it to buying games on Steam vs getting DVDs from a games store. I will actually buy Steam versions of games I've owned for years, just to have them in one place, automatically updated and always available.

I also get credit on amazon for affiliates sales, and I use that to buy ebooks.

Maybe, but I'm set up and have campaigns scheduled, so I prefer to give it a go before writing it off as impossible. Now it's set up, it's no effort to add the direct sales channel to campaigns and I wouldn't expect to sell enough initially for it to add much, if any, admin effort to manage the customers.

Personally, I can't see any reason not to give direct a go. I've got nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain. Taking a swing at it is a no-brainer for me.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« on: June 14, 2018, 03:56:53 AM »
I've been on the web since 1993, and I agree that it's much harder to sell anything now. I was hugely excited by Payhip a year or so ago and set up PDF, Kindle, and epub versions of two books. Never sold one! Not one.

I do sell the occasional paperback or hardcover off my websites, but again, not nearly as many as ten or twenty years ago. In the 1990s people really needed gatekeepers on the web; but there's no need of us now. With Amazon accounting for 50 percent of US online sales, who needs to go anywhere else?

I think selling direct is about using the right marketing tools to find your target audience. You're also changing the profile of your target audience, and they'll need to be people willing to buy direct for permanent discounts (done using discount codes) and additional benefits like free books, stories not available elsewhere, etc. The Patreon model offers that sort of members benefits approach and some of that could be adapted for direct.

What I don't think will always work is just making the direct buying facility available. Sure, if you have a massive following then you can probably sell any way you want, otherwise you'll need a more structured approach, which is around the target profiling, marketing tactics, and sweeteners like permanent discounting, etc.

At this stage of the online sales game, I doubt direct will be a large percentage of sales for many, but successful book selling (outside of the KU ecosystem) is about incrementals. Every platform adds a percentage of sales, which in total is a respectable number and direct is just an additional sales channel. Over time, the percentages shift, so Amazon can start as 80% of total sales and (in my experience) erode to 20% as your reputation grows on the other platforms. Direct could easily go the same way by starting as 5% and growing over time to being much higher. I suspect it's a question of how well you promote direct as to what percentage of your sales it could become over time.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« on: June 13, 2018, 01:33:21 PM »
Hey, everyone! Julie from BookFunnel here, and I just wanted to chime in on how BookFunnel helps with this and, more generally, about selling direct. Short answer: you should give it a try. We're doing a whole blog series about selling and exclusive content over at:

BookFunnel launched Sales Delivery Actions last fall that covers a lot of the issues mentioned here. You can use one of the existing sales platforms we integrate with (Payhip, Selz, PayPal, Shopify, and WooCommerce) to handle the store and all the money details, and BookFunnel will handle the delivery. If your readers have trouble, our support is there 365 days a year (yes, even on Christmas) to help readers "side load" their book onto their device.

You certainly don't have to use BookFunnel, but if you already have an account with us, you should give it a try (and, if you don't have an account, you can sign up for $20 a year). There are no extra fees, and BookFunnel doesn't take a cut of any of the sales. We just handle the delivery and all the support headaches. :)

And, to the question of whether readers are willing to go through all this, our CEO thought the same thing as others have said here. Namely that readers won't do it, it's too much trouble, they don't care, etc... He has since been proven very wrong. I just checked our numbers for delivery actions, and since launching back at the end of September, we have delivered over 18,000 books sold from authors' websites. Most through special offers, exclusive content or discounts, boxsets, and just plain appeals to readers. Readers love their favorite authors, and they want to support them.

We're happy to answer any questions about direct sales, even if you don't have a BookFunnel account. Just drop us a line at!

We've set up bookfunnel and payhip for direct selling and so far it's working well. The only issue we have is payhip also send a copy of the book when we only want it sent by bookfunnel. If you know how to stop payhip from doing that I'd be interested to learn.

Our next campaign runs aren't happening until September and we have all platforms including direct sales available through our website. For direct sales we can comfortably offer a 20 - 25% discount code and still make close to what we would selling through other platforms. When we sell direct we know who the buyer is, which means we can offer additional benefits like members only stories, discounts and freebies. There are so many potential advantages to selling direct that it's not an option I would write off lightly.

I expect September will be the first of many trials we'll run around direct selling while we learn how to do it right. Bookfunnel and payhip have certainly provided an easy to set up and use option, so thanks for your support. Some of us out here are quite impressed.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon as your competitor
« on: June 12, 2018, 01:28:58 AM »
It's true Amazon favor their brands over others, which means having them gain so much power over the consumer market will have a negative knock-on effect to suppliers inside and outside of their ecosystem.

I suspect they're finding the book markets a bit harder to take control of because there is a degree of artistic endeavor. It's only a degree though, a lot of books are commodity in that the reader is wanting a familiar experience, so they actively look for the same story. That reader is a high consumer, which means they generally don't want to (or can't afford to) pay much for their reading habit. In theory, if Amazon swept enough of those readers into a subscription pool, then by volume alone they could be profitable, but that assumes the payouts to authors are legit, which is how we end up with their current process of randomly cutting page reads. The subscription logic only works if the fee and payment calculations are valid, otherwise I'm sure it's not profitable.

However, that type of reader is only one type and, although they probably consume the highest number of books, they pay the least for them, which makes them a low margin business. There is another market where the reader chooses their books based on a different set of criteria. They're not necessarily looking for a copycat storyline and may well pay more to get what they're looking for. Overall, those readers might read less books, but the margin on every book sold is a lot higher than what the subscription book earns. This is why declaring Amazon own 80% of the book market makes no sense -- for example: owning 80% of a 1% profit margin business isn't worth as much as owning 20% of a 80% profit margin business.

When you start assessing whether Amazon are a competitor, you need to work out what market you're talking about. In the subscription model, I'd say Amazon aren't much of a competitor for anyone in KU for a variety of reasons, but most obviously the sheer volume of churn means there is plenty of room for everyone inside it. The content mills publishing 20, 50, 100, 1,000 books a month are probably the greatest threat to that model and Amazon come second, but that's only because they keep screwing with author payments.

Take a look at the higher margin market and you have so many competitors it's hard to see Amazon imprints as the worst of it. By making a borrow = a sale, Amazon pitch the higher margin market against the subscription market, effectively burying our books on their site. I think that does more damage than Amazon imprints ever could. In that one action, they pitch us up against the content mills as well. Analyze that fight and we don't win, which makes Amazon a secondary site not worth marketing. The other competitors in the high margin market are the TPs and other sale only indies. On the other platforms (not Amazon), its a fair fight that comes down to visibility, pricing, packaging, quality, loyalty, in other words, nothing outside of typical good product design, packaging, management and marketing.

The noise in this business is mostly around the subscription model and how Amazon abuse it to dominate their own site, but they've done such a thorough job of screwing anyone not in KU that they have become irrelevant to authors not in KU. I believe they are now tearing apart authors in KU desperately trying to make their subscription model profitable, because that's what the page cuts will be about.

My interpretation of Amazon's page cuts is they have tantamount confessed that KU doesn't work (which means it does not make profit because that's all they care about) and they don't know how to fix it. Now they've unleashed some mad logic that will result in a solid reduction in page reads to get their escalating costs under apparent control. It's a sloppy solution to say the least, but what I've come to expect from Amazon. They're not the best run outfit by a long distance.

I remember when I went wide a couple of years ago, and talking about it. I got slammed pretty hard for (supposedly) trying to get Select authors to pull out, that I was talking a narrow view, that I shouldn't be trying to dictate what others did--when in reality I was (mostly) just pointing out the the risks.

Lots of people didn't want to hear about those risks. Just like people riding a stock market bubble, most people pooh-poohed the risks, choosing to believe KDP would do them right. I even got ripped up for daring to call Amazon's savaging of authors and their livelihoods "abusive."

The petty part of me feels vindicated, but the better part of me is saddened by what's happening--still happening, as we keep seeing the same type of thing over and over.

Select/KU is a minefield. Filled with rewards, sure, but still a minefield. The only way to not eventually hit a mine is to get out of the minefield.

If you stay in the minefield, make sure it's a considered decision, and take every precaution you can. As mentioned above, plan for the worst-case scenario--losing your entire Amazon account, even the right to sell your books retail--and decide whether the risk is really worth it.

Quite a few of us have been ragged on hard for pointing out possible risks and outcomes over the years, but I believe there is value in all opinions being expressed. Anyone who can't cope with the scary nature of the risks can stop reading, or should question themselves whether this is the business for them.

By its very nature business, especially small business, is high risk and often stressful because you have limited resources with which to address problems when they occur. Small business has a very short road from "ok" to "royally screwed". If anything, staying on top of potential outcomes and being prepared for them is mandatory, and probably the only thing that will help you sleep at night (that very much applies to people paying their bills this way).

But those of us trying to stay ahead of the axman take a kicking from people who don't want to run their businesses this way. My advice is if someone scares (or irritates, frustrates, annoys, etc) you too much then use the block feature, because there are other people who do want to know about risks and what they might/could do about them.

I'm not in any way arguing with the prudence of having a plan B in the event Amazon really does go completely crazy. It's not ever a bad idea to plan for the worst case scenario. All I'm suggesting is that assuming the worst case scenario is the only possibility doesn't really add anything to people's preparedness. All it does is increase stress levels. You may not be that vulnerable to stress. I'm saying this for the benefit of the people who are. I've seen plenty of people make themselves miserable by obsessing over upcoming disasters, some of which never happened. So, yes, it's good to have a flexible response in place, but one doesn't have to assume the worst will happen in order to prepare for it.

So, you think no one should discuss potential outcomes, risks and scenario planning just in case someone reads it and gets stressed out by it.

They best not watch the news then because that's full of scary stuff.  :o

This is also being done through BabelCube, and BabelCube says they have no way to opt out of it.

Guess who's terminating his translations-for-hire at the end of their contracts, and publishing them himself?

Yep, you guessed it!

Some "trial", huh? And it won't affect indies, huh?

Hmm...forewarned is forearmed.  :D

@Bill Hiatt

I'm not going quote your post because I don't agree with much of what you've stated in it, but you are entitled to your opinion. You run your business your way and I'll run mine my way.

Regardless of whether the email was sent to some people in error or not, thanks for the heads up.

Do I think Amazon would roll out something like this if they thought authors would agree? Yup. Why not? It gives them more control, which is something they're always gunning for. I don't think it's a stretch to assume Amazon would love to have complete control over pricing of all books.

But make no mistake, some of us are already working hard to limit our exposure to Amazon by focusing on the other platforms. If Amazon ever enforce something like dynamic pricing we will be in a position to delist our books rather than handover pricing control. Is that stupid or paranoid? No, it's just good risk management and is a no-loss tactic. If Amazon never doing anything that forces us to delist, then we've extended our reader base. If Amazon do something we don't like, then we can delist and still have a solid reader base. It's win-win no matter what Amazon do.

It comes down to how you choose to manage your business.

Before we decide that the world's coming to an end, let's wait and see Giacomo's response on the publishing house question.

Yes, it's possible Amazon wants dynamic pricing for all ebooks. It's also possible it really wants something more limited.

By the way, I do distribute to some outlets through Steetlib, and I got no email. Did those of you who received the email use an imprint name? That might be where the publishing house confusion is coming from.

More than once, we've seen review disappearances lead to rumors that Amazon was changing its policy. A short time later, most of the reviews reappeared.

Remember the fracas over the 50% royalty figure that appeared briefly? I suppose that could still come to pass, but that was months ago, and more likely a glitch, just as the review shifts sometimes are. (50% is the ebook royalty for Amazon imprints, so it's in the system, but not necessarily for KDP specifically.)

In other words, it's good to be watchful, but it's probably also good not to jump to too many conclusions before actually knowing. Amazon has certainly done a lot of things we don't like--but it also hasn't done some things people were sure were coming.

This is not a glitch. It's a trial of dynamic pricing, which is not the same as the glitches you've quoted.

I'd like to hear Streetlib's definition of "publishing house".

Given this dynamic pricing trial is definitely taking place, regardless of how serious Amazon are about it, I think we should express our opinions about it. Why not? They put it out there and we're entitled to have an opinion about it.

Hello, Giacomo of StreetLib here, I'd like to participate in this interesting discussion too!

First, I want to clarify the following points of our experiment:

1- This is a program strictly reserved to *publishing houses*. This means that the self-publishers selling on the Amazon Kindle Store through StreetLib *are not affected in any way*.

2- The publishing houses using StreetLib to sell on Amazon have the possibility to opt-out from this experiment if they don't like it. They only have to send us a line to and we'll take care of them.

3- At StreetLib, we always like to work with an open mind, doing experiments, collecting data, and learning from that. With no agenda beyond getting better at distributing more books, to more people. That's how we're building a distribution network of many retailers all around the world, dealing with each of them with the same mindset. And that's the spirit with which we approached this experiment with Amazon. We figured it was a great opportunity to learn something from an important books retailer, and we're committed to sharing what we'll learn with our authors and publisher communities. We're optimistic but not naive, I hope!

As to the TOS violation question:
Which TOS are you referring to? Are you referring to the distribution agreements that a publisher may have directly with other retailers?

Thank you for your time and engaging this matter with us.

I don't know what you mean by "publishing house" because I got the email, so does that mean I am one or you sent it to me by mistake?

As for Streetlib's role and intent, I doubt anyone has an issue with either. My concerns are specifically about where Amazon might be heading with dynamic pricing because it's nothing I'll ever support. And as someone else in this thread noted, it might be "opt in"now, but Amazon often "soundboard" ideas and if no one objects, then it gets hardwired in.

And if you're doing this trial to get feedback, then the comments here should be added to yours and Amazon's learnings.

Not Megan, but it is 100% going to violate the TOS of some retailers.  And, frankly, it may even trigger Sarbanes-Oxley violations against Amazon (if, of course, a competitor wanted to pursue it)

I assume it would force the other platforms to price match, so Amazon effectively have control of our pricing on all platforms.

The whole idea is so absurd and Amazon-centric, I can only assume Amazon don't believe many of us earn more from the other platforms, and we would never give them that degree of control over our pricing. Why would we? Amazon can often be only 25 - 30% of our total sales, so they're not the most important platform to us, especially since they make us invisible and turn our book pages into chintzy looking click bait ads.

Amazon need a wake-up call because many of us who are wide don't consider them to be central to our business plans for today or the future.

Giving Amazon control of pricing based on dynamic pricing is fraught with risk and it's all on the author side.

1. Amazon's bots/algos aren't the brightest bunnies.
2. Amazon have a rep for bait and switch (check out Audible & even KU).
3. Amazon are NEVER clear about the TOS.
4. Amazon change the TOS and usually don't tell anyone.
5. Amazon will get to decide what "poor sales" look like & discount at will.
6. Amazon will have control over our pricing on all platforms due to price matching.
7. Amazon haven't explained the rate cut from 70 to 60%. Why would anyone agree to that?
8. Amazon/Bezos has stated "your margin is my opportunity".

Authors who are wide have already rejected KU. Some of us left KU because we don't want to give Amazon control over who we can sell our books to and what we charge for them. We will not be receptive to any attempt by Amazon to control our pricing.

And the authors willing to give it a try will need to be wary. Even if they appear to make more money in the initial period, there is a good chance Amazon will change something and they stop making money overnight. Unfortunately, there is precedent for these concerns because it's happened repeatedly with Audible and KU2.0, not to mention the various other types of "cliff" moments many authors have experienced.

When it comes to Amazon, many of us are now sceptical, untrusting and cynical for good reason. Eventually Amazon will take a step too far and authors will delist their books from the site. Amazon won't care because they believe they're untouchable, but just as they don't need us, we don't need them either. The thing about authors is, although we can make good money, many of us don't need our book sales to pay our bills. We write because we love to write and we don't need Amazon to do that.

I can't decide whether I find this fascinating or horrifying.

I'm more irritated than anything else. If I was happy for Amazon to decide what I get paid for a book I'd be in KU. They're just trying to get control over the "sale only" books on Amazon. It's the sort of stunt you get from a company that thinks it can do whatever it wants and we will all concede just because.

Visibility is a way more important factor in selling books than pricing.  Amazon can do whatever it wants with your prices, but if you have no visibility, the price that either you or Amazon pick is irrelevant.  Amazon doesn't give 99% of its books any visibility at all, so Amazon's experiment in pricing will fall flat on its face. 

But it's possible that Amazon is only going to be changing the prices of books that are using AMS ads.

There are lots of ways to achieve visibility that don't involve being in KU or using AMS, but I'll be damned if Amazon get to decide what I charge for my books based on some addled algo. Imagine the problems this causes for authors who are wide? Our prices will be changed by some mad little Amazon algo so they're no doubt cheaper on Amazon than any other platform. Even if they aren't cheaper, it's still an uncontrolled way to manage your pricing across multiple platforms.

This trial is being run by Streetlib/Amazon, which means the books affected are wide (I'm pretty sure you can't have your books in KU if you go through Streetlib, so by default the books must be wide.). I don't list my books on any site through Streetlib so this trial won't affect me, but if Amazon need feedback on this idea then I'm going on record to say they can't have control of my pricing this way. No way. Not ever.

Email from Streetlib. I'm not interested in ever giving Amazon control over my pricing no matter how they try to take it. If this ever becomes mandatory then I will delist all my books from Amazon.


"We wanted to let you know about a new Amazon revenue share model that we’ve been invited to join. If you are not selling your books on Amazon through StreetLib, please ignore this email! Otherwise you can take advantage of this opportunity to join an exclusive program that we believe could improve your publishing revenues.

Basically, Amazon's new “Dynamic Price Model" defines the best price on any given day for every title in a catalog. It lowers the price of books that are selling few to zero copies thanks to unsustainably high prices, and also raises the price of books that could be priced higher (without losing sales as a result).

How does it work?

You, the publisher, set a price for your ebook. Same as always.
Based on that price, Amazon creates an “Optimal Price” that will shift from time to time.
When your ebook is sold, you will receive 60% of the Optimal Price, (mostly) regardless of where the book buyer is located.
In India, Australia, and The Netherlands, the standard reseller terms (40% over list price) will be applied until further notice because of how the Kindle Store currently works in those countries. In countries with fixed-price laws (such as Germany), publisher’s prices will stay as they are, according to the laws there.

These changes will go into effect on July 1 -- and will have zero effect on the approximately 80-85% of books that are already priced well.

So what does this mean for you? You should see an overall revenue increase. We ask that as we learn more about how well this program works for us all, that you please be proactive, esp. in the next few months:

-- Keep a sharp eye on sales numbers.
-- Please write us if you notice something strange, so that we can investigate and involve Amazon in the solution.

Of course everybody here wants to increase book sales and revenue! So if you find this program is not working as it's intended for you, again, please, please let us know.

But overall we think it’s good news and we're excited about its potential! There’s also a possible side benefit: Leveraging the optimized prices to experiment with different pricing on the rest of your stores."

Amazon automate everything. If you were to look back at old issues like public domain works, copyright, exclusivity problems, etc, Amazon have automated most of them so now bots find the "errors" and send emails to authors about non compliance and penalties.

They've been doing the same thing with the scamming issues. Initially they weren't as confident with their conclusions so the penalties were often withdrawn, but that seems to be changing now. The notice they've published tells me they're confident in their process and bots, not so much that they won't accept "feedback", but sure enough that they're entrenching the process by using bots.

The thing to remember is this is only the set up. Once they have a process and bots in place they will expand the capability and reach of the bots. Right now they're capturing specific types of "scamming", but they'll add to that based on feedback and additional analysis. We can expect the scope of the bots to be wider and the penalties to be strictly enforced.

What does it mean? I guess KU just got even harder to survive. Now actual scammers know Amazon will ban accounts I'm sure they will be busy working out how they can use that to their advantage. It's the nature of KU. Everyone is wheeling and dealing it, looking for way to get what they want out of it. Unfortunately, the system controls in KU are shockingly weak, so there are plenty of ways to abuse it. It appears Amazon's solution isn't to design a better system, but to keep gap filling in the hope eventually they'll catch every leak. They won't and it'll mean KU will become increasingly difficult to manage.

Same. I also told them my sales data from other sellers, which I suspect is the only thing they're after with those surveys, is proprietary information they'll have to purchase from me.

Nice one!

I get those questionnaires regularly and no longer bother to complete them. What's the point? You get no feedback. Most company surveys provide summary feedback as a courtesy to the people who took the time to do the survey, but not Amazon. You might as well have flushed your feedback down a black hole. Furthermore, nothing ever seems to change in our favor, so I'm guessing they're not running those surveys for our benefit.

So, Amazon can keep emailing me their surveys and I'll keep deleting them because I value my time even if they don't.

good bot

I think the gist is instead of having a human check upfront they're letting the bots decide who lives and dies. If you think you deserve to live then you better flag it to them otherwise the bots rule.

I hope they're serious about re-auditing in response to feedback.

(Why does typing that make me feel like a naif?)

It's not like Amazon to admit to anything they're doing, which suggests to me they don't plan to stand down from this latest tactic like they have before. I suspect this new three step process to remove "illegitimate" page reads and banning authors is now the new norm. Re-auditing probably means they're willing to check if their bots were right, but we don't know what they think "right" is.

Just saw this on KDP forum. See below for content.

"Removal of Illegitimate Reading from the KDP Select Fund


We have recently heard concerns from authors about our on-going efforts to detect and remove illegitimate reading from the KDP Select Fund. In order to fairly distribute the KDP Select fund to all authors, we remove fraudulent activity, notify authors, and only pay royalties associated with legitimate reading activities. We greatly appreciate the questions and feedback we have received and are re-auditing our processes based on these concerns.
If you ever have specific questions about your account, or feel like your account status was inappropriately affected, please contact us at and we will take a look.

Best Regards,
The Kindle Direct Publishing Team"

Writers' Cafe / Re: Facebook followers
« on: May 21, 2018, 09:08:25 AM »
I've only ever done it once and I don't remember, but the guy I blocked had left comments in posts and when I clicked on his comment (as the Adminstrator) it offered me the option to block him. There's probably another way if he hasn't made any comments, but you'd have to google it. Sorry.  :(

Writers' Cafe / Re: Facebook followers
« on: May 21, 2018, 08:55:10 AM »
You can block his user name. If you do that then he can no longer see your page or interact with it. If he has another account then he can use that one to take actions on your page, but if you catch him again then block him again.

Otherwise I don't think we can stop someone from following our page. I think the most you can do is stop them from commenting on it, but even that is post by post rather than the whole page.

I'm confused. On this thread, I see a lot of people stating that Amazon is headed for a "pay to play" platform, i.e., you have to pay for AMS ads if you want sales, and that's how they make up for the higher than average royalties.

On at least one other thread, this notion is quashed by some other authors as some sort of paranoia.

Which is correct?

Everything is a question of how you choose to see it so that's why you get differing opinions.

Amazon have loaded 5 million books and there are at least 100,000 more being loaded every month. It makes it nearly impossible to be visible on the site, so most authors have to advertize one way or another. Some have mail lists, but often that isn't enough anymore to reach high enough ranks to make the cat 100 lists or to stay there for long enough to be seen. Authors who aren't in KU don't benefit from a download = sale rank kick so we're even less visible. Amazon offer AMS ads as a way of being visible so many authors feel they must advertize to be seen.

Regardless of which ads you run, every time you spend money on the books in any way you are reducing the "margin", which is the gap between the royalty and what you spent. Authors who feel they must use AMS to make their books visible are reducing their margin.

Is this Amazon's master plan? Well, according to their annual report they intend to expand their advertizing platform so I'm guessing yes. It serves them to charge suppliers to make their products more visible on their site. It serves them to make any supplier who doesn't pay to be visible to be less visible. Amazon have publicly stated they will be significantly growing their ad revenue (which is AMS ads), so the entire "pay to play" is intentional, planned and a significant part of their revenue growth plans.

You can draw whatever conclusion you want from that.

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