Author Topic: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)  (Read 151268 times)  

Offline Hope

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Re: Looks like Amazon is taking action?
« Reply #800 on: June 25, 2018, 07:26:05 pm »
Yay for everyone!  ;D

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    Offline Starry_Knights

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    Re: Looks like Amazon is taking action?
    « Reply #801 on: June 25, 2018, 07:44:56 pm »
    What happens to purchased books when Amazon takes them down? Do they disappear off people's devices once they hit a WiFi connection? Or do they get to keep the tainted goods?
    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 lyndabelle

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    Re: Looks like Amazon is taking action?
    « Reply #802 on: June 25, 2018, 07:49:19 pm »
    Wow! Usually the last week of June we see the Zon gearing up for its next big thing that will start July 1. Maybe it will be finally cleaning up the categories and giving us little prawnies a chance again. Still moving out of KU though. Think it was time for me, and I want more money streams and not to just rely on the Zon for income. But it is promising to see something being done.

    But still wondering what will roll out July 1.  8)

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    Offline MarilynVix

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    Re: Looks like Amazon is taking action?
    « Reply #803 on: June 25, 2018, 07:52:40 pm »
    There are a LOT of missing catalogs right now. I've been tracing through the Customers Also Bought Items By lists on their author pages and branching down and just... Wow.

    Edit: Based on the very common book styles and cookie-cutter author info, etc. I can't help thinking that this is a handful of accounts with a lot of different pen names. And I'm still seeing some obvious ones that have slipped through. It's certainly a good start, though, and I imagine there are going to be some very happy contemporary and NA authors who see significant jumps when they check their ranks tomorrow.

    Oh, this is good news. I'm hoping that people will be able to find listings and books they want again easier. Maybe we prawns will be able to get back up and noticed again.

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    Offline KelliWolfe

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    Re: Looks like Amazon is taking action?
    « Reply #804 on: June 25, 2018, 07:55:41 pm »
    What happens to purchased books when Amazon takes them down? Do they disappear off people's devices once they hit a WiFi connection? Or do they get to keep the tainted goods?
    The customer always gets to keep the books, no matter what happens to the seller. Amazon doesn't screw with the customers.

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    Offline Tymber Dalton

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    Re: Looks like Amazon is taking action?
    « Reply #805 on: June 25, 2018, 08:08:10 pm »
    The customer always gets to keep the books, no matter what happens to the seller. Amazon doesn't screw with the customers.

    Eh, the 1984 debacle a few years back, where they yanked it from people's Kindles.

    The irony was thick as sea fog, too.
    Tymber Dalton (Lesli Richardson).

    Author of The Reluctant Dom, The Great Turning, & others.

    Offline David VanDyke

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    Re: Looks like Amazon is taking action?
    « Reply #806 on: June 25, 2018, 08:10:21 pm »
    The customer always gets to keep the books, no matter what happens to the seller. Amazon doesn't screw with the customers.

    Well...

    https://boingboing.net/2012/10/22/kindle-user-claims-amazon-dele.html

    Offline Becca Mills

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    I've merged in a short thread on today's book take-downs/account closures. Sorry for any confusion.

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    Offline AltMe

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    Dang, and mere hours ago I had just unclicked the Kindle Select 'renew' buttons. What to do, what to do...

    Am I asleep?


    Yes. Stay that way until next month. It wont be until then that we find out how permanent any of this is.
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    Offline 75845

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    Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
    « Reply #809 on: June 26, 2018, 12:35:09 am »
    Which is why it would help to know if things that have always been considered part of a book, even if not part of the main story, are part of that 10%. Because as it stands, I can think of any number of reasons that people might disagree on where the "book" ends and where the "bonus content" begins.

    That is very simple (or should be). The material that is part of a book is something that you read to further explore that book. I love the appendices of the Lord of the Rings. They are long, but I don't see Amazon banning one of the greatest novels of the 20th century any time soon. A 30%  extract from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight would count towards bonus content.

    Offline unkownwriter

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    I was trying to edit it, but hit delete instead! this is what happens when you have two windows open at the same time.

    reposting it, I'm thinking of launching a series in the fall that falls more into seasons. (genre is UF) So season one would be five books, season two five books and so on. Each book is it's own thing, but each season would have a big bad so to speak. after each season was done, I was planning on bundling it, and putting that up as well. My question was, under the current rules, would anyone in this thread think that would be an issue. I would clearly label the bundle just that, and the individual books would not break the 10% rule in terms of back continent. (IE I would put a chapter from the next book, and links to my catalog and that's it in it) The bundle of five books would maybe feature a bonus short story, but otherwise, that's that. I figured that way, readers would have an easier time catching up, or if they wanted the cool new bundle, one place to find it.

    Ah, it wasn't me! :D  To answer your question, legitimate bundles/collections/whatever are not a problem currently. So, as you described it, what you'd be doing is common for those writing serials, as they collect a "season" into one bundle at some point after the end. Clearly labeled, correctly formatted, and with no more than 10% bonus material, and you'd be fine. Unless Amazon decides not to allow such things in KU, that is.

    Only four more days until July 1st. I guess we'll see sometime in the next week if some of these accounts stay down, or if things go back to business as usual. The first would be good, the second should be a sign to all that Amazon either has no clue how this stuff is happening, or they simply don't care. I don't know which of those would make me madder, but at least I would know where I stand so I can make business decisions with a better understanding.

    Offline Nate Hoffelder

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    Re: Looks like Amazon is taking action?
    « Reply #811 on: June 26, 2018, 04:11:30 am »
    What happens to purchased books when Amazon takes them down? Do they disappear off people's devices once they hit a WiFi connection? Or do they get to keep the tainted goods?
    I still have my two Chance Carter books

    Offline RPatton

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    I think I am going to make this a standing post...

    I doubt, as in I would be willing to bet all of my past and future writing, that these books have been removed for stuffing and using the compilation tag.

    As much as people want compilations to be "wrong", they just aren't. At least not in Amazon's eyes. There are a lot of "compilations" out there.

    Also, I saw someone throw out that maybe another author got his removed because someone in the stuffer's camp went on a reporting spree. Don't ascribe what you are willing to do to what others are willing to do. Most (not all, but most) subscribe to the mantra, "You do not report someone's book. Ever. No Matter what. You just don't do it. End of discussion." They aren't going to break that mantra now.

    But again, the likelihood that this latest round of temporary suspensions has anything to do with compilations and/or reporting books is low to none.
    « Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 09:05:05 am by RPatton »

    Offline bobfrost

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    Almost every single effected penname had a recent compilation on their account that was highly ranked.

    There are exceptions, but in at least two of those examples, the penname seems directly connected to one of the suspended pen names that had collections, which leads me to believe they were just other (innocent) pen names on suspended accounts.

    Most of those collections were bombarded with one star reviews.

    There are compilations still standing but amazon always does this when they block a wave of books.

    I think there's too much in common here to ignore RP. Even if amazon is still allowing compilations, clearly they are being targeted in some way.



    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 10:32:41 am by Becca Mills »

    Offline Crime fighters

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    Get rid of them all. Four big names down, another four to go.

    And none of these pen names were innocent. A pen name can't be innocent when the operator of the pen name is a bad actor / stuffer / scammer. I find it amazing that one of the ones taken down, and who many had identified as belonging to the same person, interacts with each of their own pen names publicly. "So good to see you this weekend".

    What did she do? Look in the mirror?

    Offline bobfrost

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    Get rid of them all. Four big names down, another four to go.

    And none of these pen names were innocent. A pen name can't be innocent when the operator of the pen name is a bad actor / stuffer / scammer. I find it amazing that one of the ones taken down, and who many had identified as belonging to the same person, interacts with each of their own pen names publicly. "So good to see you this weekend".

    What did she do? Look in the mirror?

    You know what I meant. Those were pennames that weren't using compilations. My point was that they didn't seem to be breaking any rules (whether real or imaginary), so I assume they were connected to accounts that were suspended.

    As for two pennames talking to one another, I see no reason why you're so amazed by that. Pennames are personas. They might reflect the creator, but they can also be complete works of fiction. They can have their own personality and talk amongst themselves if the author thinks that's a beneficial thing to do.

    I've seen people use pennames in this way successfully as a marketing strategy.

    Offline Elizabeth S.

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    As much as people want compilations to be "wrong", they just aren't. At least not in Amazon's eyes. There are a lot of "compilations" out there.

    There are genuine box sets and collections, and then there is what stuffers are calling compilations. Let's not pretend they're the same thing.

    Offline sela

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    You know what I meant. Those were pennames that weren't using compilations. My point was that they didn't seem to be breaking any rules (whether real or imaginary), so I assume they were connected to accounts that were suspended.

    As for two pennames talking to one another, I see no reason why you're so amazed by that. Pennames are personas. They might reflect the creator, but they can also be complete works of fiction. They can have their own personality and talk amongst themselves if the author thinks that's a beneficial thing to do.

    I've seen people use pennames in this way successfully as a marketing strategy.

    That's BS. Sorry Bob. Not going there with you.

    If the reader found out they were talking to a man posing as a three other women authors, all of whom talked to her and each other in a conversation, do you think the reader would be happy? I don't think so.

    A rule of thumb my daddy taught me: if you have to hide it, if you have to lie about it, you are probably doing something wrong.

    On ads on TV the actors must be identified as such. Think about the "I'm a paid non-doctor spokesperson!" fast-talk at the end of the ad when talking about the wonders of the snake oil they're selling.

    There is such a thing as truth in advertising.

    Look, I use a pen name. It's my initials plus my mother's maiden name. I used it because when I started writing, I was in a very responsible government job and didn't want people snickering behind their hands when I chaired meetings on very serious matters because they knew I wrote erotic romance. ;) But I never pretended to be what I was not to my readers. When I use a different pen name, I won't talk to my old one and pretend they're two different people. That's crazy and deceptive. 

    Sorry if that insults authors who do this kind of thing but that's how I see it. YMMV
    The Author Formerly Known As Sela

    Offline Crime fighters

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    There are genuine box sets and collections, and then there is what stuffers are calling compilations. Let's not pretend they're the same thing.

    This.

    You know what I meant. Those were pennames that weren't using compilations. My point was that they didn't seem to be breaking any rules (whether real or imaginary), so I assume they were connected to accounts that were suspended.

    As for two pennames talking to one another, I see no reason why you're so amazed by that. Pennames are personas. They might reflect the creator, but they can also be complete works of fiction. They can have their own personality and talk amongst themselves if the author thinks that's a beneficial thing to do.

    I've seen people use pennames in this way successfully as a marketing strategy.


    Because I still don't know if we're allowed posting names here, I won't. If the moderators could give a ruling on that matter, I'd appreciate it. It'd be easier to sort through this mess if we could name the ones removed, but I'll abide by whatever.

    And no, that's not normal. Not when they use each other as a defense against the other when accusations of wrongdoing are leveled against them. Now, they're gone. Hopefully for good. Maybe they'll enjoy their time off because it seems the two of them (and their cousin) have a lot to catch up on.

    Offline sela

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    Almost every single effected penname had a recent compilation on their account that was highly ranked.

    There are exceptions, but in at least two of those examples, the penname seems directly connected to one of the suspended pen names that had collections, which leads me to believe they were just other (innocent) pen names on suspended accounts.

    Most of those collections were bombarded with one star reviews from witch hunters calling them scam or stuffed books, and presumably the hunt went deeper than one star bombing.

    There are compilations still standing but amazon always does this when they block a wave of books.

    I think there's too much in common here to ignore RP. Even if amazon is still allowing compilations, clearly they are being targeted in some way.

    If the author's account has been suspended, I would expect that all their pen names would be suspended -- not just the name with the offending compilations.

    I think that's only just, since it is the author/publisher being suspended, not the pen name.

    I don't think compilations are disallowed. I think quickly re-labeling a stuffed book as a "compilation" when it is stuffed with duplicate material also stuffed into other quickly-re-labeled "compilations" is disallowed. I checked some of these stuffers. They re-labeled their stuffed book a compilation but left the other stuffed books as they were, like they just didn't have time to fix their stuffed books or something. Or they hoped that only the most visible book would be noticed. Who can say why?

    It's not the compilation that's the infraction.

    It's the stuffing book after book with the same duplicate material and switching out the titled work -- and probably incentivizing readers to slide through or page through the book to the end for a full read through credit -- that's the infraction.
    « Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 09:19:51 am by sela »
    The Author Formerly Known As Sela

    Offline Crime fighters

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    That's BS. Sorry Bob. Not going there with you.

    If the reader found out they were talking to a man posing as a three other women authors, all of whom talked to her and each other in a conversation, do you think the reader would be happy? I don't think so.

    A rule of thumb my daddy taught me: if you have to hide it, if you have to lie about it, you are probably doing something wrong.

    On ads on TV the actors must be identified as such. Think about the "I'm a paid non-doctor spokesperson!" fast-talk at the end of the ad when talking about the wonders of the snake oil they're selling.

    There is such a thing as truth in advertising.

    Look, I use a pen name. It's my initials plus my mother's maiden name. I used it because when I started writing, I was in a very responsible government job and didn't want people snickering behind their hands when I chaired meetings on very serious matters because they knew I wrote erotic romance. ;) But I never pretended to be what I was not to my readers. When I use a different pen name, I won't talk to my old one and pretend they're two different people. That's crazy and deceptive. 

    Sorry if that insults authors who do this kind of thing but that's how I see it. YMMV

    There are four types of people in this industry:

    1. Hobbyists: Writers who enjoy writing and don't care about or need to make a living. These are the purest who's only reason for writing is because they love it.

    2. Professionals: Writers who intend to make a full-time income off their writing. They are serious about both marketing and craft, while obeying the clear lines of ethics.

    3. Business Casuals: Maybe they write their own books. Maybe they don't. Whatever the case, marketing is more important than craft. This is where ethics become blurred but many at this level still manage to be honest people...

    AND THEN....

    4. The people who were pulled off Amazon yesterday: [publishers] who knowingly and willingly strong-arm Hobbyists, Professionals, and even some business casuals out of the market. They target and use readers as weapons to get to the top, selling the names and addresses of readers to each other.

    The conversations in this thread revolve around 'The Plastics'

    They don't deserve your empathy or considerations. They don't deserve second chances.



    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 11:35:20 am by Becca Mills »

    Offline PhoenixS

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    Whether some of these authors' books reappear or not, let's be very, very clear: a particular group was nicknamed 'stuffers.' That, however, was not the only way this very particular group being discussed here are/were violating TOS/T&Cs.

    They are/were incentivizing reviews/buys/borrows/reads. They are/were violating Amazon's Giveaway policy. They are/were using 3rd-party sites to further game/scam the system. They are/were using creative coding to game/scam KENPC. They are/were intentionally publishing an unstuffed ebook or print book to get the 'right' page count, then pubbing the stuffed file over that so that real page-count trigger didn't show up in the metadata. They are/were category squatting, and publishing thinly disguised erotica, trying to pass it off as contemporary romance, not even erotic romance. And they are/were doing things illegal in general, such as selling emails, infringing visual copyrights, and indulging in illegal lotteries.

    Stuffing is merely the tip of the scam. It's the bit anyone browsing Amazon can see and that anyone can report on. But the act of stuffing itself is not what this particular group of publishers is only being called out on. It's the aggregate of all their intentional scamming/gaming practices.
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    Offline Crime fighters

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    ^^^ This, too.

    Stuffing alone isn't the only problem. The entire thing, from top to bottom, is an orchestrated scheme that violates TOS and the law.

    Offline KelliWolfe

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    Whether some of these authors' books reappear or not, let's be very, very clear: a particular group was nicknamed 'stuffers.' That, however, was not the only way this very particular group being discussed here are/were violating TOS/T&Cs.

    They are/were incentivizing reviews/buys/borrows/reads. They are/were violating Amazon's Giveaway policy. They are/were using 3rd-party sites to further game/scam the system. They are/were using creative coding to game/scam KENPC. They are/were intentionally publishing an unstuffed ebook or print book to get the 'right' page count, then pubbing the stuffed file over that so that real page-count trigger didn't show up in the metadata. They are/were category squatting, and publishing thinly disguised erotica, trying to pass it off as contemporary romance, not even erotic romance. And they are/were doing things illegal in general, such as selling emails, infringing visual copyrights, and indulging in illegal lotteries.

    Stuffing is merely the tip of the scam. It's the bit anyone browsing Amazon can see and that anyone can report on. But the act of stuffing itself is not what this particular group of publishers is only being called out on. It's the aggregate of all their intentional scamming/gaming practices.
    Which underscores what RPatton said earlier, we have no idea exactly what it was that these people got busted for, and stuffing might have had little or nothing to do with it. Phoenix, I don't even want to know how you dug all of this up on them. I only imagine it required lots and lots of showering afterwards to feel clean again.

    Olivia Blake | Lessons in Love

    Offline bobfrost

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    That's BS. Sorry Bob. Not going there with you.

    If the reader found out they were talking to a man posing as a three other women authors, all of whom talked to her and each other in a conversation, do you think the reader would be happy? I don't think so.

    A rule of thumb my daddy taught me: if you have to hide it, if you have to lie about it, you are probably doing something wrong.

    On ads on TV the actors must be identified as such. Think about the "I'm a paid non-doctor spokesperson!" fast-talk at the end of the ad when talking about the wonders of the snake oil they're selling.

    There is such a thing as truth in advertising.

    Look, I use a pen name. It's my initials plus my mother's maiden name. I used it because when I started writing, I was in a very responsible government job and didn't want people snickering behind their hands when I chaired meetings on very serious matters because they knew I wrote erotic romance. ;) But I never pretended to be what I was not to my readers. When I use a different pen name, I won't talk to my old one and pretend they're two different people. That's crazy and deceptive. 

    Sorry if that insults authors who do this kind of thing but that's how I see it. YMMV

    No need to apologize to me. I was just pointing out that I've seen people use this sort of thing in an effective way.

    I think there are absolutely reasons to hide your identity behind a penname (not the least of which being real biases that exist in the reader base which might prevent you from otherwise succeeding in today's market), but I digress. Someone might have multiple pennames talking to each other as a way to recommend each-other's books (so they can leverage all of their various penname fanbases to push a single book from a new pen or an existing pen). It's not all that abnormal for a professional running a small press to do something like this to help push their success as a whole.

    At any rate, as a man who only writes under my manly man penname, Buck "Dude" Johnson, and never engages in any such cross-promotion, I won't press the point further.


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