Author Topic: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)  (Read 151218 times)  

Offline PhoenixS

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There are, of course, true innocents -- or at least innocents who've unwittingly engaged in or with bad behavers -- being caught up. But there are also a number of folk loudly proclaiming to be innocent who aren't -- whether that means they're operating under black hats or 'merely' a darker shade of gray.

There have also been a handful of non-romance authors whose accounts have been recently terminated. The non-romance ones I know about are justified, imo, and I hope there are still many, many more to come.
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    Offline unkownwriter

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    Yeah, you know that old saying about people in prison, everybody's not guilty. What's the percentage of that being likely? Innocent people get caught up in Amazon's net, but from what I see, they tend to get their accounts straightened out. Might take a few days, and be a huge pain in the butt, but it does happen.

    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Plenty of us have families to support and are doing this as our day job, and are not cheating. Excuses aren't reasons. That argument doesn't fly, and it isn't why those folks are stuffing and scamming. It's spelled G-R-E-E-D. They'll be off doing something else shady if this doesn't work out for them anymore.

    Life's hard. Sometimes you have to go get a job because you can't sell enough books. That's always been true. Nobody's entitled to make a living at writing fiction. I finished my third book the day before I went into the hospital for a week. It's my happiest book, even though I wasn't making ANY money at the time, because I wrote it on 8 Vicodin a day. Right now, I'm writing a book with a herniated disk in my spine, because I have a family AND because I love writing. It hurts like a bandit. We all have problems. We all have issues. No excuse for crappy behavior and stealing.
    « Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 12:52:34 pm by Usedtoposthere »

    Offline KelliWolfe

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    Ken, a whole lot of these people gloat about what they do on the private forums while whining about why they do it in public. "It's for the children!!!  *sniffle sniffle*" Most of them care about absolutely nothing but how they can make as much money as they can as quickly as possible, without the slightest question as to the means and no qualms about how their actions might impact anyone else. They don't care. They don't care about their readers. They don't care about other writers. They don't care if what they're doing is immoral or even illegal - until they get caught. The only thing they care about is raking in gobs of cash through fair means or foul. It's greed, plain and simple.



    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 01:30:18 pm by Becca Mills »

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    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Who you are isn't what you say, it's what you do. If you do shady stuff, you're shady.

    Too black & white? Could be. Everybody has their own standards. But I've been in that spot since I started publishing--near the top, but not at the highest level. Believe me, I know ALL about fear and anxiety and thinking it'll all disappear the same way it appeared, dreading the slip down that mountain. It's a motivator to work harder and write better and keep improving, because others have upped their game, and "good enough" isn't good enough anymore. I reject it as an excuse for shady behavior.

    Offline unkownwriter

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    Who you are isn't what you say, it's what you do. If you do shady stuff, you're shady.


    Yes, this.

    Don't give people an out for their bad behavior. I've been so low on money as to literally not have two pennies I could come up with. Seriously, would be under a bridge in a box if I didn't have my sons working. We were scraping by, doing without, and hoping like heck the car could make it to payday. And it wasn't an option to do something shady, scammy or whatever to make money.

    Don't let these people fool you. They don't deserve your sympathy. They don't deserve you thinking for one minute they do this out of fear. That's a load of bull puckey.

    Online Dpock

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    Chance Carter profile may be down but looks like he might be back up under [redacted]. Even bold enough to use his own pic which has been compared on twitter. Brass balls is all I can say.

    I did get a chance to view the link before it was redacted and have to agree it looked fishy. The author bio line-up perfectly with the tone of CC's marketing ("Hey Beautiful"). But while fishy it could also be a copycat cashing in.

    I have no doubt CC and others will be back. My question is, will they be able to use their back catalogs? If not, they really will be starting from square one, meaning a possible boon to ghostwriters.


    Offline Not any more

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    "I have kids to feed" has been an excuse for theft going back to Genesis. It's a great plot device, but the attempted justifications for situational ethics wore thin on these boards years ago. When someone looks me in the face and says, "I'm more important than you are, and I don't care if you starve, so I'll steal from you," then I'm going to push back. Not a single excuse, justification, or rationale for unethical and/or illegal behavior holds water.



    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: June 30, 2018, 02:34:23 pm by Becca Mills »
    This post remains on KBoards over my objections.

    Offline anniejocoby

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    On the multiple-carriage return/html formatting thing, whatever it is people are doing to pad books:

    I've noticed there are 500 page books in sci-fi categories where reviewers will complain that the story, in their opinion, was too short. I was like, 500+ pages is too short? Then you read other reviews and find folks complaining that there's a lot of spaces between paragraphs or words and this sort of thing with the formatting that winds up padding the page stats.

    All I can do is shake my head. But then, I hear some of these bestsellers in interviews and they talk about being full-time writers and they talk about having families etc.

    Leads me to thinking about what a lot of these authors are going through in their own minds and in their lives. I think a lot of them feel pressure to keep the money rolling in because they have mouths to feed and health coverage to pay for, etc etc.

    So, I guess when it comes to gaming the formatting to pad page counts and when it comes to stuffing and the like, I imagine a lot of it comes from fear. These people have bills to pay and no day job. I can imagine a lot of top sellers are scared to death of not making enough and having to go back to a day job and not being able to provide. That kind of visceral fear can lead people to doing things they might normally agree are less than ethical or run contrary to their character entirely.

    Which is not to say I condone their actions. I don't. I wish they wouldn't engage in these nefarious practices because they hurt others by doing so, and those others have bills and worries and fears of their own as well. But I understand how some of these authors might feel put between a rock and a hard place even if that isn't the rational, objective fact on the ground. I mean, instead of gaming the system you can work a day job, you can also be a top seller without the funny business and accept that you'll make a little less.

    There's no rationalizing with fear, however. And how do you rationalize with someone who, while maybe not admitting they're living in fear to you or to themselves, might go on and on about how they're "living the dream"? What do you say to that? Are you going to get through to them or have them listen, much less agree, if you try to throw cold water on how they're bringing in a living by asking them to stop hurting others with their less than ideal practices?

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, I understand why some of those I observe at the top of some of these sales charts are doing what they're doing. I just wish they didn't feel so afraid in the first place or perhaps didn't allow that fear of being unable to meet their bills to drive them to do these things. I'm wishing for the impossible probably.

    But getting back to Amazon's efforts to reign any/all of this in:

    Really, so long as that fear exists, I'm not certain you're ever going to be able to stop people from doing unethical things in an attempt to squeeze more money out of the system. Fear can be every bit as powerful a motivator as greed. Perhaps more. There's no algorithm for that.  :(

    Fear that they can't feed their families? That's the excuse you're coming up with for what these losers were doing? Come on. From what I understand, they were making a million or more a year. Chance has been in the game since 2015. His pen name, Abby Weeks, has been in the game since 2014. I would imagine he's probably cleaned up millions. If they can't live off of what they scammed out of the KDP system for the rest of their lives, then that's on them. I know that if I had just one million dollar year, I would personally be set for life. It wouldn't be sailing around the world, living in a beach house set for life, but I know that I would never be on the streets with that kind of money, either.

    Nope, not buying it. It was good old-fashioned greed.

    I do understand that there is a certain mental illness that some super-rich people suffer from in that they literally cannot keep from attaining more and more and more and more, no matter who gets stepped on. It's a bottomless pit that can never be satisfied for some of those people. If anything, that might be what those scammers suffer from.

    At any rate, I'm not crying for any of them. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
    « Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 03:59:35 pm by anniejocoby »

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    Offline Mr. Sparkle

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    The companies need directors, and these have to be real people.

    [...]

    So, (dons combat armour) companies cannot submit to KU. Problem solved.

    Nope.

    The Supreme Court of the U.S. said corporations are creatures of statute and have the same rights to do business as people. That also means businesses can own other businesses. It's right there in 1 U.S.Code 1 (https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/1/1). That would open Amazon up to litigation.

    Good luck trying to convince large publishers that their multinational corporate overlords' owners' real names and ITINs, EINs, or SSNs need to be on all the paperwork.

    Also, some of us like not receiving stalker mail from our readers. Putting your real name in public documents is publicly searchable forever. Yes, there are legal ways to avoid this.
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    Offline Rose Andrews

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    Plenty of us have families to support and are doing this as our day job, and are not cheating. Excuses aren't reasons. That argument doesn't fly, and it isn't why those folks are stuffing and scamming. It's spelled G-R-E-E-D. They'll be off doing something else shady if this doesn't work out for them anymore.

    Life's hard. Sometimes you have to go get a job because you can't sell enough books. That's always been true. Nobody's entitled to make a living at writing fiction. I finished my third book the day before I went into the hospital for a week. It's my happiest book, even though I wasn't making ANY money at the time, because I wrote it on 8 Vicodin a day. Right now, I'm writing a book with a herniated disk in my spine, because I have a family AND because I love writing. It hurts like a bandit. We all have problems. We all have issues. No excuse for crappy behavior and stealing.
    AMEN to that! I'm sorry about your herniated disk and hope you are able to get proper care. Feel better soon. :)

    Going back to a day job is the reality. Unfortunately, I have to go back to one after my son returns to school in August. I've been interviewing for a really good job and we'll see what happens. But even though it's a really good opportunity, I don't want to do it! I rather be at home, taking care of my house and writing stories. But I don't make enough to help out with family income so back to the daily grind I go.

    C'est la vie. A hungry family is NOT an excuse to scam.

    Offline Mr. Sparkle

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    Gee, it's almost as if people are jumping on a point I haven't made and are using it to make a point I don't disagree with without actually taking into consideration what I've actually said, in full and in context. This must be the internet or something.

    Good gravy, I have not said "it's okay for people to cheat because they have families to feed". I have said I get that it can be a motivating factor that leads them to committing negative acts, and I'm not sure how you combat it. There is a difference there if you care to see it.

    I've also said I completely am against committing said acts. Full stop. And I've also said it's not excusable. And to reiterate, I'm not saying that fear is definitively why they're doing it, I'm saying I could see it as a potential reason. And I recognize what a powerful motivator that can be and I'm wondering if there's any way to get through to these folks. I don't understand what's wrong with saying this.

    I get that this is a subject that raises people's hackles, but a little appreciation of nuance would be nice.

    It's almost as if trying to discuss topics dispassionately is enough to label people as enabling scammers...

    When the thread about the arbitration came up (NOT a lawsuit!), several people calmly and rationally tried to point out that Amazon is at fault, the ToS was vague, the KENPC pot doesn't take from one person and give to another, etc. The amount of derision and scorn was way over the top. I salute RPatton and others for staying engaged with the amount of vitriol thrown at them.

    Welcome to our world. Just know that the angriest voices do not speak for all of us, and I don't think you should have to repeat the fact that you are not in favor of cheating in order to be not dogpiled, much less acknowledged.
    Mr. Sparkle is disrespectful of dirt!

    Offline Rick Gualtieri

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    The last couple of posts bring this scene from the Simpsons to mind:  :)

    Bart: Uh, say, are you guys crooks?

    Fat Tony: Bart, is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family?

    Bart: No.

    Fat Tony: Well, suppose you got a large starving family. Is it wrong to steal a truckload of bread to feed them?

    Bart: Uh uh.

    Fat Tony: And, what if your family don't like bread? They like... cigarettes?

    Bart: I guess that's okay.

    Fat Tony: Now, what if instead of giving them away, you sold them at a price that was practically giving them away. Would that be a crime, Bart?


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    Offline Rick Gualtieri

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    Not sure what this has to do with anything I've said. Clearly, stealing for any reason is a crime and is inexcusable. What I've been saying is if fear is the motivating factor behind why someone would steal bread or cigarettes and re-sell them for a profit, I wonder how you can get through to these people to stop doing it since the thing motivating them to do it is so powerful.

    Less what you said and more the I have a family to feed excuse.

    I understand. Theres a human behind every one of these scammers, stuffers, and /or whatever.  While I think some of them are definitely dirty scoundrels whod sell their own mother for a buck, I have to think its not all.

    Like you, I can understand fear. I dont excuse it, but I can very much understand it.


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    Offline Starry_Knights

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    Gee, it's almost as if people are jumping on a point I haven't made and are using it to make a point I don't disagree with without actually taking into consideration what I've actually said, in full and in context. This must be the internet or something.

    Good gravy, I have not said "it's okay for people to cheat because they have families to feed". I have said I get that it can be a motivating factor that leads them to committing negative acts, and I'm not sure how you combat it. There is a difference there if you care to see it.

    I've also said I completely am against committing said acts. Full stop. And I've also said it's not excusable. And to reiterate, I'm not saying that fear is definitively why they're doing it, I'm saying I could see it as a potential reason. And I recognize what a powerful motivator that can be and I'm wondering if there's any way to get through to these folks. I don't understand what's wrong with saying this.

    I get that this is a subject that raises people's hackles, but a little appreciation of nuance would be nice.


    There's a guy at work who's a professional slacker. He comes to work and spends all day doing things to keep from doing his job. He spends more effort not doing his job than he would if he just did his job. Two or three times over, probably. And it's really annoying, because it causes others to have to work much harder to do their jobs because he's either not getting the work done or taking a short cut that costs one of us a lot of extra effort to remedy.


    I think some of the others might wonder, like I do, why people smart enough to game the system in such devious and brilliant ways don't use their smarts in a legit way that doesn't hurt other people. If they want to be lazy, great. Laziness is the mother of invention. But it seems like all the work they do to manage all these shenanigans could just as easily go towards making a good living doing something that doesn't harm others.


    They obviously know covers, blurbs, and ads. They could easily run services to provide that to authors, and they could even farm that work out and just manage those services if they don't want to dirty their hands actually doing something--I mean, they either know how to do those things themselves or find people who do. Why not do that and be a kind of hero to authors who aren't good at that part of it? If it's just as easy to do something good and something bad, but you choose to do bad, I have to think it's just that you enjoy doing bad things. Sort of like the slacker at work. I finally figured out that he just enjoys causing problems. It's hard to feel sympathy for people like that, no matter how many starving kids they do or don't have.


    I understand worrying about paying the bills, I really do. I've had to pay for many a ramen noodle with pennies I've rolled and toted to the grocery store. But if they're so afraid they feel they have to cheat to stay on the hamster wheel, maybe that isn't the right profession. That sort of pressure is just asking for ulcers and a heart-attack.
    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive... To be 'cured' against one's will and cured of states which we may not even regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. For if crime and disease are to be regarded as the same thing, it follows that any state of mind which our masters choose to call 'disease' can be treated as a crime; and compulsorily cured. Even if the treatment is painful, even if it is life-long, even if it is fatal, that will be only a regrettable accident; the intention was purely therapeutic. --C.S. Lewis

    Offline Not any more

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    Honestly, I think some people don't even stop to think whether what they're doing is ethical or not. They just see that they can do something to make easy money, so they do it, without considering ethics, legality, or consequences.

    Yeah, I've seen the argument that scamming KU isn't hurting other authors and Amazon can afford it. I've seen the same argument applied to shoplifting and a lot of other schemes. Those same people always scream bloody murder when they get caught and have to pay the piper.
    This post remains on KBoards over my objections.

    Offline KelliWolfe

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    A lot of these people were scammers before KU came along. They were in click fraud, ad scams, online sales fraud, review fraud, and things like that. They jumped into KU because it is high reward-low risk. It's easy to make a lot of money quickly, it tends to be difficult to get caught, and the consequences if you get caught are essentially nonexistent because you aren't scamming CUSTOMERS who will complain to law enforcement because they lost their money. They have a great deal of support from people producing turnkey scripts and software to manage their many KU accounts and books and AMS ads who also work in other gray if not black hat areas of software. The ones at the bottom are just as eager to break the rules as the ones at the top, and pay thousands of dollars for access to the guru's methodologies and software. 

    While I'm sure there are some normal, everyday people out there doing things to cheat the KU system, very few of them are operating on anything like this level. They aren't professionals and they aren't the problem. They aren't the ones who are raking in millions of dollars every month and using click farms to generate page reads on OUR books to disguise their activities.

    The longer this goes on and the deeper we see it going without Amazon doing anything effective to combat it other than nuking a few high profile accounts, the more convinced I am that the scamming is so big a part of the monthly page reads that Amazon simply can't afford to let anyone know how bad it really is. And they can't do anything to fix the problem because page reads would drop so much that the cat would be out of the bag.

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    Offline Not any more

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    Yes, that's basically what I'm getting at. I can try to understand why people do what they do without endorsing it. In that understanding I'm wondering if there's a way to get through to people to not commit those acts because it seems like a lot of other methods haven't worked.

    I'm also concerned because I'm not certain what Amazon can do in the face of this either. If there isn't something algorithmically that can be done, maybe getting through to the human on the other side of the terrible act can be a way to bring about the positive changes we'd like to see. I understand I'm probably pipe dreaming, but it'd be nice to figure out a way to really clean things up.

    I think I'm a little more cynical about human nature than you are. Amazon needs to clean things up instead of just playing whack-a-mole and pretending they're doing something. If that requires blowing up KU and implementing a system very different than the present one, then I'll bite my tongue and ride it through. But that is going to take a little more imagination than they've displayed so far.

    Gee, it's almost as if people are jumping on a point I haven't made and are using it to make a point I don't disagree with without actually taking into consideration what I've actually said, in full and in context. This must be the internet or something.

    <snip>
    I get that this is a subject that raises people's hackles, but a little appreciation of nuance would be nice.

    Ken, I completely understand what you're saying, and why. I just think you're bending over backwards to be kind to people who don't deserve it. While I have a teeny-tiny bit of sympathy for the author who thinks they need to cheat to get past the $200/month mark, those buying new BMWs know exactly what they're doing and could give a rat's @--


    This post remains on KBoards over my objections.

    Offline MyraScott

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    Greed is certainly powerful, but there's a definite thrill that comes from gaming the system for some of these people.  It's not even about the money after a certain point, it's about being "smarter than everyone else."

    Once you've fed those kids steak and lobster and bought them a toy store for every holiday, it's not about survival.  There's a thrill they get from getting other people to pay for their life. 

    It's why getting rid of these actors is like playing whack-a-mole... there's never enough money to walk away.  It's the thrill of finding a new exploit and watching it succeed, then playing your pipe to lure others into doing the same thing.  It's power.



    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 10:39:31 pm by Becca Mills »
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    Offline sela

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    On the multiple-carriage return/html formatting thing, whatever it is people are doing to pad books:

    I've noticed there are 500 page books in sci-fi categories where reviewers will complain that the story, in their opinion, was too short. I was like, 500+ pages is too short? Then you read other reviews and find folks complaining that there's a lot of spaces between paragraphs or words and this sort of thing with the formatting that winds up padding the page stats.

    All I can do is shake my head. But then, I hear some of these bestsellers in interviews and they talk about being full-time writers and they talk about having families etc.

    Leads me to thinking about what a lot of these authors are going through in their own minds and in their lives. I think a lot of them feel pressure to keep the money rolling in because they have mouths to feed and health coverage to pay for, etc etc.

    ...

    Really, so long as that fear exists, I'm not certain you're ever going to be able to stop people from doing unethical things in an attempt to squeeze more money out of the system. Fear can be every bit as powerful a motivator as greed. Perhaps more. There's no algorithm for that.  :(

    Ken, I think you are being far too generous to the scammers.

    Hey, I've seen my sales fluctuate wildly. I'm the sole support of my two sons, with no help from their feckless dad. One of them has Asperger's and may take a long time to find his way to being independent. The other is still experimenting and relies on mom for a place to live because he doesn't earn enough $$ to live by himself. So I am the breadwinner and everyone relies on me. It's stressful to be in that position.

    HOWEVER -- scamming is scamming. It's unethical. If I ever have to, I'll get a job as a Walmart greeter before I'll try black-hat scams to make big money.

    Instead, I look at those who are crushing it and try to emulate them.

    We all make choices on how to act. I chose not to break the TOS and scam despite the stress of supporting myself and my sons on my own.
    The Author Formerly Known As Sela

    Offline Atlantisatheart

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     Right now, I'm writing a book with a herniated disk in my spine, because I have a family AND because I love writing. It hurts like a bandit. We all have problems. We all have issues.


    Me too. If you're not allergic to it, try rubbing a smidge of castor oil over that part of the spine - takes away the pain from most pains and sprains for at least six hours - works like a charm - just don't use too much in one go cos you'll get the **~**.




    Offline Rose Andrews

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    A lot of these people were scammers before KU came along. They were in click fraud, ad scams, online sales fraud, review fraud, and things like that. They jumped into KU because it is high reward-low risk. It's easy to make a lot of money quickly, it tends to be difficult to get caught, and the consequences if you get caught are essentially nonexistent because you aren't scamming CUSTOMERS who will complain to law enforcement because they lost their money. They have a great deal of support from people producing turnkey scripts and software to manage their many KU accounts and books and AMS ads who also work in other gray if not black hat areas of software. The ones at the bottom are just as eager to break the rules as the ones at the top, and pay thousands of dollars for access to the guru's methodologies and software. 

    While I'm sure there are some normal, everyday people out there doing things to cheat the KU system, very few of them are operating on anything like this level. They aren't professionals and they aren't the problem. They aren't the ones who are raking in millions of dollars every month and using click farms to generate page reads on OUR books to disguise their activities.

    The longer this goes on and the deeper we see it going without Amazon doing anything effective to combat it other than nuking a few high profile accounts, the more convinced I am that the scamming is so big a part of the monthly page reads that Amazon simply can't afford to let anyone know how bad it really is. And they can't do anything to fix the problem because page reads would drop so much that the cat would be out of the bag.
    I agree with all of this. It's a shame, really, because KU (in its purity) is a decent program. It kind of seems like we're past the point of no return--I'm going to go as far out and say that taking KU out entirely might be the only way to get rid of the scammers for good. And that sucks, since many authors rely on KU. In a way, it's good that KU still works for legitimate authors but it's appearing to hurt more than not. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

    Online Dpock

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    Meanwhile...

    I just cruised through several Romance Top Lists. They're looking a lot cleaner and more importantly, price-points are less focused at $0.99.

    I've also noticed several keywords in my AMS campaign with some romance crossover have been costing a lot less. I hope that keeps up.


    Offline KelliWolfe

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    I agree with all of this. It's a shame, really, because KU (in its purity) is a decent program. It kind of seems like we're past the point of no return--I'm going to go as far out and say that taking KU out entirely might be the only way to get rid of the scammers for good. And that sucks, since many authors rely on KU. In a way, it's good that KU still works for legitimate authors but it's appearing to hurt more than not. It'll be interesting to see what happens.
    KU is fundamentally broken. Because of the unlimited borrows, it is always possible to extract more money from the system than goes in. Always. It's like a slot machine that is guaranteed to give you back five dollars for every dollar you put in it, every single time. All you have to do is figure out where the break-even point is - for a $9.99 subscription with page reads paying $0.0045 per page, that's about 2220 pages, which isn't just a whole lot, especially if you can pad your page counts and you've got the same content appearing multiple times in KU in stuffed books. Everything past that is profit.

    Put up twenty 200 page books and have someone "read" them using a sub you bought them and you've made $20 for your $10 investment. There are plenty of romance readers who can burn through that in a month, so it wouldn't even stand out. These people have many, many accounts with many pen names with many books each per account. It adds up quickly. And of course it's even better if you can convince people who are already paying for subscriptions to read your books. 500 people reading one of your 200 page books gets you about $450. So you announce a contest where one lucky reader will win a $100 Amazon gift card - provided that they can prove that they actually read the book. You still made $350 without having to pay for all of the subscriptions.

    You can see how easy it would be to scale this up. Instead of having twenty 200 page books you have 20 accounts each with 20 pen names each with 20 individual books which you then bundle AND stuff into other books so the same content appears multiple times so you get paid over and over and over again for the same books being "read" by the same subscribers.

    But as long as the content available to a subscriber every month is unlimited, there will always be a way to game the system so you can pull more out than you have to pay in. Always. There is no way to fix that. That's just math. Getting rid of stuffed books and even box sets won't stop it, because the scammers were already making tons of money before they started with those. It was just a way for them to make *more*. The basic problem is still the same.

    Olivia Blake | Lessons in Love

    Offline 101569

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    KU is fundamentally broken. Because of the unlimited borrows, it is always possible to extract more money from the system than goes in. Always. It's like a slot machine that is guaranteed to give you back five dollars for every dollar you put in it, every single time. All you have to do is figure out where the break-even point is - for a $9.99 subscription with page reads paying $0.0045 per page, that's about 2220 pages, which isn't just a whole lot, especially if you can pad your page counts and you've got the same content appearing multiple times in KU in stuffed books. Everything past that is profit.

    Put up twenty 200 page books and have someone "read" them using a sub you bought them and you've made $20 for your $10 investment. There are plenty of romance readers who can burn through that in a month, so it wouldn't even stand out. These people have many, many accounts with many pen names with many books each per account. It adds up quickly. And of course it's even better if you can convince people who are already paying for subscriptions to read your books. 500 people reading one of your 200 page books gets you about $450. So you announce a contest where one lucky reader will win a $100 Amazon gift card - provided that they can prove that they actually read the book. You still made $350 without having to pay for all of the subscriptions.

    You can see how easy it would be to scale this up. Instead of having twenty 200 page books you have 20 accounts each with 20 pen names each with 20 individual books which you then bundle AND stuff into other books so the same content appears multiple times so you get paid over and over and over again for the same books being "read" by the same subscribers.

    But as long as the content available to a subscriber every month is unlimited, there will always be a way to game the system so you can pull more out than you have to pay in. Always. There is no way to fix that. That's just math. Getting rid of stuffed books and even box sets won't stop it, because the scammers were already making tons of money before they started with those. It was just a way for them to make *more*. The basic problem is still the same.

    The math has always bothered me. I know their are plenty of  people that don't get their moneys worth in reads each month, but I bet there are many of us that get way more. I figured it out for my reading style. Im reading on a bad week only about 5-7 books on a week were I have plenty of time 20+ a week. Let's say the average voracious reader in romance keeps it down to 1 book a night including weekends which I bet they read a few more than that but lets call it 30 books at an average of 300 ish KNEP they are generating  a little over $40 in revenue for authors, but only paying 9.99 or less. On a month I've read enough books to generate over $180 in revenue for authors. Now know I know the average reader doesn't consume that much but I am sure there are quite a few of us that do. How are they making any kind of money here?
    « Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 07:08:21 pm by idontknowyet »

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