Author Topic: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)  (Read 151233 times)  

Offline BGArcher

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Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #725 on: June 23, 2018, 03:05:56 pm »
I think almost everyone here agrees on Amazon enforcing and clarifying the recent rules. Encouraging them to do that is something you can take action on today. Personally I've decided to report every new collection or compilation I see coming from the serial stuffers to [email protected]

This is the email they've given us specifically for reporting scammer related violations. You get a reply back when you write it, unlike filling out the report form on the product page.

Whether doing this gets the collections stuffed with duplicate content taken down or not, I think it sends a message. If enough people do it often enough on these monster bundles then KDP should get the idea quickly that we want this to end by aggressively going after the bad actors or changing policy.

Yesterday I saw a lot of people seeming to calm down and make some general suggestions. I'm leery about putting a max payout at $3.50, but sure, some of the ideas yesterday were fine. And then today somebody starts talking about getting rid of all star bonus, and unless I'm misreading you, you're suggesting we should band together, and play mall cop. Someone else mentioned it seems more productive to maybe just write another chapter, and that just seems like the "yes, of course" answer. Amazon moves slowly, but why don't we let them do their job, and we just do ours? Which is namely, writing novels.

A lot of the pushback in this thread seems to be from people who don't get that we're in late stage capitalism, and what do in that arena. I'm not saying I love it, or amazon. I really don't. But instead of complaining about it, or making suggestions that would in general just hurt a lot of perfectly legitimate authors, I'm going to go publish another book. Because that's not negatively effecting other author's, but will positively effect my bottom line. If I saw a book that was obviously spoofing, (see jack run for five hundred pages, and five different versions of the same book with a different cover) of course I would report that. But comb through the top 100 of any list looking for people putting out bundles? That's not just a waste of my time, it feels borderline unethical to me. But you all do you.

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    Offline GoneToWriterSanctum

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #726 on: June 23, 2018, 03:16:06 pm »
    I don't consent
    « Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 03:54:24 pm by Writer-Fueled Dreams »
    I did not & do not agree to the new TOS that I had no chance to agree to or deny.
    I've requested removal to Admin 18th Sept 2018 & by email to [email protected] 19th Sept 2018

    Offline PhoenixS

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #727 on: June 23, 2018, 03:28:11 pm »
    While youre busy scouring the store reporting books that amazon has specifically blessed and allowed in their TOS, Im going to finish another chapter in my work in progress.



    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca

    Every time I hear someone ask why an author is engaging in activity that isn't directly related to writing, I think about those hopefuls who berate literary agents for spending time on social media instead of spending every spare minute they have plowing through their never-ending pile of queries. Usually because the hopeful's own query is buried somewhere in that pile. That always told me more about the motive of the person doing the berating -- who is, you know, also hanging out on social media -- than about an agent taking a break from the grind.

    Personally, I've fulfilled my career goals, and I haven't required steering from some anonymous screen name since ... well, never. I also currently have time on my hands, so I can afford that minute it takes to find and report a scambook while listening to a podcast or waiting for a game to load. But thank you for your concern.
    « Last Edit: June 25, 2018, 09:53:34 pm by Becca Mills »
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    Offline Phxsundog

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #728 on: June 23, 2018, 03:31:03 pm »
    I have to disagree with Bobfrost. It's not clear whether or not these retitled collections are allowed. If they are, then why are authors with better marked anthologies than the serial stuffers receiving compliance emails? I know at least three people who have.

    Another consistent Top 100 romance stuffer also had many of her books pulled for several days this week after calling them compilations. Guess what, the books are back today and they're no longer stuffed. Clearly in her case retitling the stuffed books compilations had serious consequences.

    So again, if retitling books collections is completely fine then why is Amazon sending mixed signals with threats and sometimes removals of rebranded bonus books?

    Even if you think the collections should be allowed, you have to admit their message so far is confusing and inconsistent.

    This is another benefit to reporting these collections, which are reshuffled duplicate content. If enough of us do it then KDP will be forced to clarify or refine what their new policy really is.

    If adding collection to the end of a title and stuffing is truly sanctioned by Amazon, then every romance author who doesn't want the stuffers to have an unfair advantage should start doing it.

    This isn't the solution I want. Ideally these collections should be banned because they are in many cases 70% or more duplicate content. The same bonus books reordered with a new lead story.

    What I think and what Amazon does may be two different things. I'll admit that. I just want a hard answer from Amazon either way and consistent enforcement if the collections are off limits.

    Reporting works to take out bad actors and bring others into line. It shutdown Chance Carter and it has also forced several stuffers with abusive formatting to clean up their books. Anyone who wants to see a cleaner Kindle store with more clarity on what the bonus content policy truly is should keep doing it.

    Offline MyraScott

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #729 on: June 23, 2018, 03:33:31 pm »
    We are not a bloc with any control or influence over a private business.

    If half of all indie authors removed all their books from Amazon tomorrow, it would have the effect of removing a swimming pool's worth of water from the ocean. 

    Your dedicated readers would find your new books wherever you direct them to go but people who aren't as established would be cutting off their own income.  And the void left would be instantly filled with all the books that are already there- they might get more attention.

    Sure, make yourself heard, lodge your complaints, offer ideas of what you would do if you were in charge... maybe someone from Amazon in a decision-making capacity will see one and be inspired. But you still have to work with things the way they are today or walk away.

    Scammers suck.  Call me a mall cop if it makes you feel better, but when I find them, I report them.  Simple and easy and might help, might not, but it only costs me a few keystrokes. I don't get the contempt about reporting scammers- it feels like maybe it strikes too close to home?

    When you see bad things going on and you look the other way, you're helping the bad things.  If you think Amazon is the bad thing, walk away.

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    Offline Phxsundog

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #730 on: June 23, 2018, 03:49:39 pm »
    Right, MyraScott. Some people are overestimating how much time and effort it takes to report high visibility stuffers. A person could easily spend no more than a half hour every week looking at the Top 100 and sending [email protected] a list of ASINs to look at. Save the message as boilerplate language to reuse every time. Done.

    I personally focus on the dozen or so megastuffers in romance who consistently rank high. It's most relevant to me and I know these are the stuffers screwing things up the most. I'm not spending hours chasing down every scammer in noir or nonfiction sitting at a 10,000 rank.

    It's obvious there are several hundred indie romance authors who care deeply about this issue. I don't think they'd be sacrificing any real productivity spending the same time on reporting that it takes them to knock out a few posts debating bonus content here.

    I'll add that Amazon has specifically invited us to report possible offenders. They've given everyone who wrote them on the book stuffing issue over the past few months the Content-Review address and said they welcome the reports.

    Offline bobfrost

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #731 on: June 23, 2018, 03:53:50 pm »
    If it makes you feel better, go nuts.

    Just dont let yourself and you mood get dragged down into the mud when little to nothing happens.

    I prefer to focus on positive endeavors, but thats just me. Im not into author-on-author attacks. Never have been.

    Offline JWright

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #732 on: June 23, 2018, 03:54:05 pm »
    Well, "bonus content" may be out or on the way out but "compilation" looks to have just taken it's place - just another word for box set.  In a lot of cases things have been made clearer for readers though. Nothing wrong with a box set or collection if readers know what they are getting, but to me these books are stilled "stuffed" but using different words.

    I think no duplicate content in KU would help - although there is plenty of content spinning software that might make it fairly easy to get around that too.  If there was a real no duplicate content rule people could still have box sets or single novels if they wanted to just - just not both at the same time.  You could always release the single novels in a series and then box them up in a set and then have that in KU instead of the single novels and still have the single novels for sale on Amazon or vice versa. 

    BobFrost, in the time it took you to write your last post someone could report 1-3 books and like you still have finished their writing for the day, lol.

    Whether or not Amazon really enforces things is still not clear but they do appear to at least be listening to some concerns.

    Offline bobfrost

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #733 on: June 23, 2018, 03:58:31 pm »
    Reporting books and authors for publishing compilations that are specifically allowed by the current TOS.

    I wonder what the next scapegoat will be when amazon bans compilations? :)

    Offline JWright

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #734 on: June 23, 2018, 04:02:56 pm »
    Personally I think it would be a waste of time to report books that weren't violating the TOS.

    Nothing wrong with a good collection - whatever name it goes by, but yes the workarounds didn't take long, lol.  We'll see how long it all lasts.  If people want to have multiple books together and it doesn't deceive the readers then I say have at it.  Some of them still definitely seem "stuffed" but hey I'm not the audience for them.

    Offline Phxsundog

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #735 on: June 23, 2018, 04:06:19 pm »
    Reporting books and authors for publishing compilations that are specifically allowed by the current TOS.

    I wonder what the next scapegoat will be when amazon bans compilations? :)
    ]

    Two questions for you:

    If they're specifically allowed, then why are they being unevenly pulled from sale while other authors receive compliance emails for clearly marked anthologies?

    If they're specifically allowed, then why do you care if they get reported?

    Offline Nope

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #736 on: June 23, 2018, 04:14:47 pm »
    .



    « Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 07:59:51 pm by Nope »

    Offline Phxsundog

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #737 on: June 23, 2018, 04:35:30 pm »
    Pragmatism, yes. I want to add Amazon is making this situation worse over the past few weeks by sending conflicting messages.

    No one except Amazon can clarify whether the newly retitled collections stuffed with duplicate content are okay or not. Their existence at high ranks doesn't mean they're kosher while authors with series anthologies are getting hit with emails for bonus content violations.

    I think they're not okay but I don't know that for sure. By calling for more reporting I'm doing exactly what Amazon has asked us to do: report these books to [email protected] so KDP itself can determine TOS violations.

    I want answers. Reporting is the best way to get them and turns in stuffers if they're breaking TOS. This isn't the only way. If I knew a thousand indie authors were planning to email Bezos the same week asking for clarification on the new policy, I'd join that effort too.

    Offline Crime fighters

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #738 on: June 23, 2018, 07:20:06 pm »
    Yes. The pay per page might not go up, but there would be more opportunity to actually be seen in the store once the crap was cleaned out. It's like driving with a dirty windshield, think how amazing it is when you wash it.

    Me thinks thou doth protest too much.

    One has to wonder why what any of us does with our time is so important to you that you continue to exhort us to spend it more productively, as per your fine example. I can multitask. It's an amazing skill and truly a wonder to behold how much I can actually fit into my day on top of writing all the wordz.

    They've literally admitted to hiring ghostwriters and stuffing. There's a reason they protest too much, tell us we all have better use for our time, and say they can't be bothered to waste time on the matter because they're too successful. Yet here they are again.

    Offline AltMe

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #739 on: June 23, 2018, 07:35:55 pm »
    I'd like to make a couple of general comments.


    1. I'm bored. And have been for days as far as this thread is concerned. The horse is dead, until Amazon actually do something. Flogging it has been reduced to watching grass grow.



    2. I notice most of the activity is coming from people who wont show their books. I'm sure you are all writing the next book, but if I cant see your books, I cant see where you truly come from. And without that, in this thread, nothing you say carries any weight.



    Which makes this thread hot air. Just saying.
    Gone to WriterSanctum.

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    Offline Crime fighters

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #740 on: June 23, 2018, 07:46:32 pm »
    Then don't read it. Don't post in it. Simple.

    Offline AltMe

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #741 on: June 23, 2018, 07:50:09 pm »
    Then don't read it. Don't post in it. Simple.


    I'm waiting for when Amazon does do something. I'm most likely to hear about it here first.
    Gone to WriterSanctum.

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    Offline bobfrost

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #742 on: June 23, 2018, 08:20:12 pm »
    They've literally admitted to hiring ghostwriters and stuffing. There's a reason they protest too much, tell us we all have better use for our time, and say they can't be bothered to waste time on the matter because they're too successful. Yet here they are again.

    I've used ghostwriters. I run a publishing company. I write books, I do royalty sharing with other authors, and I have (in the past) bought many ghostwritten books. It's not part of my current business strategy but it was successful in its day. Nothing wrong with that. I'm proud of every book I've published and I've paid people fairly for their work.

    I used bonus content on books ages ago when it was allowed, but I have no bonus content on any live title these days, and haven't done a bonus book, box set, or compilation at all this year. I've moved in a more profitable long-term direction in my quest for my next million. I couldn't care less that bonus content is gone.

    No conspiracy here. I just happen to enjoy an open and relatively unrestricted publishing environment.

    I'm not purely self interested. If you want to clamp things down, I'm not the one who hurts on the tail end of that.

    Anyway, I think I'll just step away from the fun for now. There's nothing more for me to say here. Do as you will.

    « Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 06:24:27 am by bobfrost »

    Offline RPatton

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #743 on: June 23, 2018, 08:39:20 pm »
    Reporting works to take out bad actors and bring others into line. It shutdown Chance Carter and it has also forced several stuffers with abusive formatting to clean up their books. Anyone who wants to see a cleaner Kindle store with more clarity on what the bonus content policy truly is should keep doing it.

    I just want to make this point again, because I personally feel that it's important to remember that correlation isn't causation.

    Chance's account suspension was likely caused because he (inadvertently) caused Amazon to be complicit in a sweepstakes that was in actuality an illegal lottery. I would bet my entire catalog and future catalog that the reason for the removal was because someone in the legal department said, "Oh crud, we can't have this, take it down. Now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200." (Except you can add a bunch more curse words.)

    In all probability, Compilations or Collections or Box Sets had nothing to do with the suspension of his account. I don't even think the possibility of review manipulation or incentivized page reads caused the suspension, although I do think it added to the ammunition.

    Just because it happened at the same time doesn't mean it's causation.

    I also firmly believe that the next baseball bad to the kneecaps from Amazon will be related to external links in book files. It's important to remember that Amazon is a business first and their business encompasses a lot more than KDP. By ascribing our own views on what they should be doing to their reactions, we're ignoring all the other variables that may be (and in this case likely are) the actual catalysts that caused their reaction.

    It's like the belief that sugar causes kids to be hyper. All scientific evidence says it doesn't, it's usually the situation surrounding the consumption of the sugar that causes the increased levels of excitement. Correlation is not causation.

    Offline KelliWolfe

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #744 on: June 23, 2018, 08:49:04 pm »
    The thing is that even if Amazon by some miracle does do something to address this particular problem, the scammers will simply find another way to scam. As long as they can essentially make free money by gaming the KU casino using bots and clickfarmers with free KU subscriptions and cheaply produced content, nothing is going to change. Just as has happened every single other time so far, the scammers will adapt to the new changes far more quickly than the legitimate authors do and end up right back on top. For the most part the only people who truly get hurt when Amazon "does something" is us. That's is how it has played out since the very first days of KU 1.0, when a bunch of us right here on kboards predicted exactly what was going to happen because of the way the system is designed.

    The only way it ever stops is if Amazon limits the borrows allowed for each monthly subscription like Scribd did and/or substantially increases the price of a monthly subscription. They aren't going to do either, which means that the scammers have every incentive to keep right on going. It's simple mathematics. If you can get more cash out of the machine than you put in every single time, you keep playing. Amazon doesn't care, because they don't care whether KU ever makes them a dime. KU isn't about making money, it's about bringing people into the store, destroying the market share of their competitors through dirt cheap content and exclusivity, and preventing new competitors from getting any traction.

    PS: For those who believe that KU is somehow making money, I suggest you look at how Scribd and the other subscription services have had to limit their offerings in order to keep from going under, especially when it comes to romance and erotica where the readers are particularly voracious. Yet those are by far the two largest components of KU.

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    Offline Crime fighters

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #745 on: June 23, 2018, 08:58:47 pm »
    I see the argument that they will continue finding ways to scam the system. That's true. But in the first iteration of KU, it wasn't this bad. They weren't dominating an entire genre. They were making their money but it wasn't hurting our bottom line or visibility.

    KU2 has a perfect design for scammers. Address that problem and it takes away 90% of their power.

    Offline KelliWolfe

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #746 on: June 23, 2018, 09:10:14 pm »
    I see the argument that they will continue finding ways to scam the system. That's true. But in the first iteration of KU, it wasn't this bad. They weren't dominating an entire genre. They were making their money but it wasn't hurting our bottom line or visibility.

    KU2 has a perfect design for scammers. Address that problem and it takes away 90% of their power
    The fixed payouts for KU 1.0 were what encouraged the scammers to get into short erotica, which they quickly dominated, and publishing scamlets so scraped content that were read by bot and click farms. KU 2.0 was supposedly implemented to address those issues.

    As long as you offer unlimited content for a fixed price, scammers can ALWAYS get more money out of the system than they have to put in. It is a free money machine. It's called math.

    Olivia Blake | Lessons in Love

    Offline Phxsundog

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #747 on: June 23, 2018, 10:22:09 pm »
    RPatton, I agree with you on Chance. Probably wasn't stuffing that got him banned. However the hundreds of reports against him helped bring his page manipulation and giveaway to Amazon's attention. Reporting worked in this case to take down a bad actor. It could happen again if the other megastuffers are engaging in further shady practices that come to KDP's attention.

    Online Crystal_

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #748 on: June 23, 2018, 10:46:09 pm »
    Normally, I'd agree, because in a normal market, the top-earning authors would be the most popular. They'd satisfy the most customers. They'd make Amazon the most money. They'd act as a draw to the KU program and to the Amazon store. However...

    In today's Kindle Unlimited, the exact opposite is likely true. Recent bonus recipients probably frustrate more customers than they satisfy. They probably cost Amazon the most money, because they're leading to over-inflated payouts. They're pushing customers away from not just KU, but also the Amazon store entirely, because they're making it hard for customers to find books they actually want to read.

    If Amazon was smart, they'd, at the very least, revamp how they select the All Star bonus recipients so stuffed books were excluded in the calculations.

    I'm not a KU superstar, but I'm probably B-list (maybe C+ lol). I made somewhere between 10-20% extra last year from All Star bonuses and I would be much more inclined to go wide if bonuses don't exist. Thinking with my practical, business owner hat, I'm not sure bonuses make a huge difference in my bottom line (I had an especially great month last year and earned the top title and author bonus in the UK and US. I don't see that happening again, but the second tier bonuses are certainly in the realm of possibility. Yay for writing especially long romances), but they're so psychologically enticing. Thinking that I can prove myself one of the top ten authors of the month by earning the 25k. And that I can make an extra 25k if I just advertise my books on Amazon well enough. (or an extra 10k, or 5k, or $2500, plus the UK bonuses). It really encourages high spend strategies, which encourages me to send traffic to Amazon.

    There are downsides to KU. Losing a huge upside like All Stars would really discourage big authors from staying in the program. The All Stars are a classic corporate motivation technique and they really do work. I'm not saying they should go because I like them. I'm saying Amazon would be foolish to cut them and I think they know that.

    But now I really am out of this thread. Because I see a lot more talking in circles and I think the conversation has become unproductive.

    Offline unkownwriter

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #749 on: June 24, 2018, 05:59:05 am »
    Quote
    I don't get the contempt about reporting scammers- it feels like maybe it strikes too close to home?

    I do. It's because no one wants us to take away the gravy train. It's work and extra money to work around the limits, and it knocks profit off for a while. I'm not specifically accusing anyone, so leave the torches and pitchforks at home, but it makes you wonder why some people are so concerned with what any of us do or don't do. Add to that the ones who invariably pop in and defend the bad actors, or try to turn our eyes away from what they didn't get caught for (supposedly). I don't think any of us worried over this BS really cares why someone is gone, just that they're gone and their buddies are following right on their heels.

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