Author Topic: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)  (Read 151229 times)  

Offline theymightbewriters

  • Status: Dr. Seuss-10022
  • *
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)
« Reply #1450 on: October 09, 2018, 02:39:31 pm »
As a newly successful Romance writer (top 200 in Kindle store! :D), I'm curious what these shady tactics are? I'm afraid of doing something wrong and getting banned...lol.

All I do is release in a series (no extra content other than a teaser for the next book), fb ads, a little ams, and some email promos.

Am I safe?

KBoards.com

  • Advertisement
  • ***

    Offline Phxsundog

    • Status: Lewis Carroll-10005
    • **
    • Posts: 116
      • View Profile
    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)
    « Reply #1451 on: October 09, 2018, 03:08:37 pm »
    As a newly successful Romance writer (top 200 in Kindle store! :D), I'm curious what these shady tactics are? I'm afraid of doing something wrong and getting banned...lol.

    All I do is release in a series (no extra content other than a teaser for the next book), fb ads, a little ams, and some email promos.

    Am I safe?

    To name a few tricks: clickfarming, incentivized buy schemes, ghost stuffing (putting two or more barely connected books into the same volume and pretending it's one story), abusive email spamming, participating in spam rings, illegal giveaways or participating in any promotions using the same tactics. The last one is easy for a newbie author to wander into through no fault of their own. Caution should be in the front of everyone's mind going forward. It's critical like never before. Only book promotions by promo sites with long track records or ones owned by credible, transparent people.

    The fourth romance ban a few mentioned here is just sad. This author always produced high quality content and had a popular organic following. She probably got hit due to association with real scammers and KU criminals. I hope she's able to get a second chance with Amazon because she's not cut from the same cloth as the Warrior Forum blackhat scammers who are causing this year long tragedy in romance. Take it as a strong warning. Every author now needs to be extremely careful what promotions they book and who they associate with. If anyone seems like a sketchy internet marketer promoting mass email spam or promising impossible results or mass producing low quality ghosted books, run away. This isn't to say ghostwriting is always bad. However large numbers of low grade ghostwritten romance novels is often a sign of other shady behavior. Your whole career could be at stake if you associate or run promotions with such authors.

    Many honest romance authors interested in maintaining the integrity of KU by keeping the blackhats out are quietly sending the new pen names owned by terminated publishers to KDP. This is not a witch hunt. Total proof has been found that the Masterminds terminated during the summer are returning under new accounts. They're using proxy services and new account details to mask their accounts from Amazon. Their second accounts were banned in some cases but many come back a week or two later again for attempt number three or four. Many of them are already farming, ramping up their email spam and publishing books with bad formatting for inflated page reads. They'll make a mess for Amazon and honest romance authors all over again if they aren't stopped. None of this proof will be posted here because there's no need to make them smarter (and it's against Kboards rules). Long term many hope Amazon will take these publishers to court for KU manipulation and multiple attempts to skirt KDP bans with new accounts. They won't stop until they face severe consequences. Amazon should seek to claw back every penny these blackhats stole from KU and financially empty them so they no longer have the means to repeatedly attack KU. See David Gaughran's article today for more https://davidgaughran.com/2018/10/09/kindle-unlimited-scamming-cheater-magnet/

    Offline theymightbewriters

    • Status: Dr. Seuss-10022
    • *
    • Posts: 6
      • View Profile
    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)
    « Reply #1452 on: October 09, 2018, 03:59:34 pm »
    How can you really protect yourself re: email promos?

    If I sign up for Red-feather Romance/Bargain Booksy/Fussy Librarian/etc. I have zero say in the other people being featured/recently featured in the email. Looking at also-boughts seems like a pretty crazy way to determine a ban.

    I for instance, have 3 of those who were banned in mine, not because I'm in league with them, but because they were incredibly prolific romance "authors" with a ton of books and sales. 

    I've pretty much devoted the last year of my life to this endeavor. I would be destroyed if it all was taken away as some kind of "false-positive".

    DISCLAIMER: I'm not saying Amazon shouldn't take action against authors violating the TOS. Simply that I hope they know what they are doing.
    « Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 04:20:07 pm by theymightbewriters »

    Offline Phxsundog

    • Status: Lewis Carroll-10005
    • **
    • Posts: 116
      • View Profile
    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)
    « Reply #1453 on: October 09, 2018, 04:54:57 pm »
    How can you really protect yourself re: email promos?

    If I sign up for Red-feather Romance/Bargain Booksy/Fussy Librarian/etc. I have zero say in the other people being featured/recently featured in the email. Looking at also-boughts seems like a pretty crazy way to determine a ban.

    I for instance, have 3 of those who were banned in mine, not because I'm in league with them, but because they were incredibly prolific romance "authors" with a ton of books and sales. 

    I've pretty much devoted the last year of my life to this endeavor. I would be destroyed if it all was taken away as some kind of "false-positive".

    DISCLAIMER: I'm not saying Amazon shouldn't take action against authors violating the TOS. Simply that I hope they know what they are doing.

    It's not easy. I have nothing but sympathy for real authors and publishers who get trapped in bad promotions unknowingly. But to ignore the growing danger would be a mistake. The best way to protect yourself comes down to researching who you're booking with promotions with as much as possible. Ask a few questions. Do the lists have a long track record of promoting authors without issue? Do you know who owns them? Can you find out? Do known author brands use these services? Or do the books they're promoting all appear to be by new, low quality or sketchy pen names? I wish I had a better answer. I'll guess all the places you specifically mentioned are fine. They'd be on my credible promo list. Everyone's will look different. We don't have to all agree on what services seem safe or credible or not. It's more important authors start asking these questions rather than wandering into a bad promotion without enough information.

    Offline PhoenixFromTheAshes

    • Status: Lewis Carroll-10005
    • **
    • Posts: 108
    • Gender: Female
    • I'm an old KB soul reborn with 4300 previous posts
      • View Profile
    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)
    « Reply #1454 on: October 09, 2018, 05:13:27 pm »
    If I sign up for Red-feather Romance/Bargain Booksy/Fussy Librarian/etc. I have zero say in the other people being featured/recently features in the email. Looking at also-boughts seems like a pretty crazy way to determine a ban.

    Amazon doesn't rely on alsobots. They can track granularly from where clicks are coming.

    Successful free runs used to result in the occasional innocent author being rankstripped, but just for the book targeted. Not even all their books were rankstripped. And certainly not an account ban. Once Amazon's algos 'learned' better (or got tweaked), the number of innocents getting hit with rankstrips decreased drastically.

    The number of successful books by innocents on the paid side getting stripped has always been very low. And again, that's not even suspension, much less termination.

    Using established, fully transparent, completely public promoters that pass Phxsundog's interview questions is probably 'safe.' 

    However, anyone doing newsletter swaps or other promo with the bad-boy masterminds or other nefarious blackhatters likely needs to worry. Many of those newsletters push subscribers to do things against the general TOS (meaning the readers are engaging in violating the TOS, as well as the author/publisher incentivizing the behaviors). 

    In the past, we've had authors come here swearing up and down they'd done nothing -- nothing! -- and Amazon had banned them. Only to discover they were using bots, incentivizing buyers/borrows/reviewers, or engaging in another of the myriad other tactics blackhatters routinely use.

    So, since we don't know you, your books or all your tactics, no one here can say whether you're safe or not. All we can do is note the tactics that we know are safe and those that aren't.

    Offline theymightbewriters

    • Status: Dr. Seuss-10022
    • *
    • Posts: 6
      • View Profile
    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)
    « Reply #1455 on: October 09, 2018, 07:27:42 pm »
    Amazon doesn't rely on alsobots. They can track granularly from where clicks are coming.

    Successful free runs used to result in the occasional innocent author being rankstripped, but just for the book targeted. Not even all their books were rankstripped. And certainly not an account ban. Once Amazon's algos 'learned' better (or got tweaked), the number of innocents getting hit with rankstrips decreased drastically.

    The number of successful books by innocents on the paid side getting stripped has always been very low. And again, that's not even suspension, much less termination.

    Using established, fully transparent, completely public promoters that pass Phxsundog's interview questions is probably 'safe.' 

    However, anyone doing newsletter swaps or other promo with the bad-boy masterminds or other nefarious blackhatters likely needs to worry. Many of those newsletters push subscribers to do things against the general TOS (meaning the readers are engaging in violating the TOS, as well as the author/publisher incentivizing the behaviors). 


    I did swap a couple times with Alice Ward. Her PA contacted me, I looked at her Amazon page and though "Wow this person is successful, this person must have a really engaged audience" lol. Other than that, I don't think I've swapped with anyone too nefarious, at least I hope not.

    I guess I should just stop swapping? I don't really have a full proof way of knowing who's legit or not.

    Also Are ARC's bad? I'm giving them an early copy of the book and asking for a review? I read this was standard practice. Is that not the case?

    Also I have DEFINITELY seen people who are now banned advertise on the aforementioned email promo sites...I guess I just have to hope Amazon knows what they are doing.

    I don't know how to prove I'm not some some nefarious scammer other than my facebook receipts for $4500 for $7000 in sales last month, and that people seem to really like my books :)

    Online Crystal_

    • Status: Dostoevsky-10015
    • ******
    • Posts: 3181
    • Gender: Female
    • Portland, OR
      • View Profile
    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)
    « Reply #1456 on: October 10, 2018, 12:21:54 am »
    How can you really protect yourself re: email promos?

    If I sign up for Red-feather Romance/Bargain Booksy/Fussy Librarian/etc. I have zero say in the other people being featured/recently featured in the email. Looking at also-boughts seems like a pretty crazy way to determine a ban.

    I for instance, have 3 of those who were banned in mine, not because I'm in league with them, but because they were incredibly prolific romance "authors" with a ton of books and sales. 

    I've pretty much devoted the last year of my life to this endeavor. I would be destroyed if it all was taken away as some kind of "false-positive".

    DISCLAIMER: I'm not saying Amazon shouldn't take action against authors violating the TOS. Simply that I hope they know what they are doing.

    You don't need to worry about using promo sites with a long history of legitimacy. If you're not sure, don't use it.

    With swaps, if you're not sure if an author is above board, don't swap. Most of us did swaps with people who turned out to be shady. It was just a huge thing for awhile. I don't think it's a career ender but you're better safe than sorry. Don't engage with people who aren't above board, period.

    KBoards.com

    • Advertisement
    • ***