Author Topic: How to report publishers abusing category system  (Read 1765 times)  

Offline Redgum

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How to report publishers abusing category system
« on: October 23, 2020, 04:58:06 pm »
Hey All

Finally snapped with stables abusing the category system but cannot find a way to report it. They upload fiction into totally irrelevant non-fiction categories to get a higher ranking and often a #1 which they then plaster all over their sales spiel. It also has the incredibly annoying effect of stopping writers in those categories from getting their proper rank and often costs them their genuine #1 position. The latest is a stable who shall remain anonymous uploading crime fiction into non-fiction adult education, non-fiction animal care and non-fiction music. These charts are full of genuine books on these subjects (textbooks etc) pushed down the ranks by this pathetic and dishonest little scam. It also stops customers being able to find the books they are looking for. It is also highly deceitful and misleading as it implies to potential readers the #1 was earned in a crime category when it was achieved simply by putting it into a low-selling non-fiction category such as goldfish tank care or how to clean out your budgie cage. This is unacceptable practice.

How can this be reported, or do Amazon just not give a damn about writers and readers?
« Last Edit: October 23, 2020, 05:05:09 pm by Redgum »

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    Offline Nicole Simon

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #1 on: October 23, 2020, 05:08:34 pm »
    besides this being all that you described, it is also highly annoying. i am mostly a non fiction reader and cannot stand these kinds of books - there is always the clueless author who does not know better but often it is just intentional.


    There is a report problem at the far end of the page and it would be a 'quality problem' which has a selection for other.
    If you feel strongly, I would consider using that.

    Offline Redgum

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #2 on: October 23, 2020, 05:11:15 pm »
    besides this being all that you described, it is also highly annoying. i am mostly a non fiction reader and cannot stand these kinds of books - there is always the clueless author who does not know better but often it is just intentional.


    There is a report problem at the far end of the page and it would be a 'quality problem' which has a selection for other.
    If you feel strongly, I would consider using that.

    Hi Nicole

    Thanks for your reply and I am glad I am not the only one annoyed by this. I will use the function you just described! :)

    Offline WegR

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #3 on: October 24, 2020, 12:08:52 am »
    Some of my fiction books have landed in non-fiction categories - blame the zonbots. And of course amazon don't seem interested in the problem when I contact them, or if they do move my books out of the non-fic categories, they're back in there on the next bot sweep.  ::)

    I'm guessing it's to do with keywords and/or titles.


    Offline katherinef

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #4 on: October 24, 2020, 03:08:53 am »
    A few of my books ended up in non-fiction because of Amazon. Took me ages to get them out. One of them is still there because it somehow always returns when I republish the book. Amazon doesn't care much.
    De gustibus non est disputandum.

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    Offline nail file

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #5 on: October 24, 2020, 04:16:36 am »
    I'm guessing it's to do with keywords and/or titles.

    This. Sure, some authors do abuse the cat system. Not all. Over the years, I've had books show up in inappropriate categories and it was nothing I had done deliberately. For reasons unknown to me, that's where they end up.

    So it's not always a scam.

    It's disingenuous to assume, and accuse, otherwise.

    Offline Gareth K Pengelly

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #6 on: October 24, 2020, 05:42:12 am »
    My first in series, a humorous urban fantasy, for some reason is #1 in Cell Phone Adapters.

    Don't know why, didn't put it there, have messaged KDP to get that category removed, still hasn't happened.

    Offline Bite the Dusty

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #7 on: October 24, 2020, 12:37:14 pm »
    My first in series, a humorous urban fantasy, for some reason is #1 in Cell Phone Adapters.

    Don't know why, didn't put it there, have messaged KDP to get that category removed, still hasn't happened.

    Is there really a book category for that lol?

    Offline Gareth K Pengelly

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #8 on: October 24, 2020, 12:40:39 pm »
    Is there really a book category for that lol?

    Nope! It's in that category, but because it's a permafree, and there's no Free chart for normal products, it just doesn't appear.

    It's very, very weird.

    Online NikOK

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #9 on: October 24, 2020, 04:09:15 pm »
    My first in series, a humorous urban fantasy, for some reason is #1 in Cell Phone Adapters.

    Don't know why, didn't put it there, have messaged KDP to get that category removed, still hasn't happened.

    Ha!  That's pretty good.  I wonder if it was something in the blurb.  Like, saying that the book is "action charged" or "12 volts of excitement" or "an adventure that will bring you to 100% fast"  I mean, there has to be some insane reason why that happened, right?

    Offline unkownwriter

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #10 on: October 25, 2020, 03:15:11 am »
    There's no point to it, as it's often something Amazon itself does. Whether it's through keywords, something in the blurb, or whatever reason, things end up in crazy places. Sure, people abuse the system, wanting that #1 banner somewhere, but Amazon basically doesn't care. Until it becomes a publicity issue, they probably won't ever do much about it. Just look at the history of abuses in Select/KU, and you'll understand.

    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #11 on: October 25, 2020, 02:10:43 pm »
    There is a big problem with the deliberate manipulation.

    A couple of years ago there were numerous articles about how "shrewd" authors in the romance category were deliberately positioning their novels into other subgenres to get a bestseller rank. The romance category being crazy competitive is a good reason to try to branch out ...except these books had nothing to do with the subgenres they got into.

    I have seen it happen in various teen and young adult sub categories...where some of the books in the rankings don't belong.

    Amazon does not have the will to police this...and why would they? Unfortunately, it hurts most of us trying to do things the right way.

    Mark


    Offline nightwork

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #12 on: October 25, 2020, 02:18:04 pm »

    How can this be reported, or do Amazon just not give a damn about writers and readers?

    publishers aren't doing this, amazon is doing this

    having contacted them multiple times about my books being in the wrong categories i suggest you worry about your own books instead of about trying to make life harder for others

    i gave up fighting this battle long ago, you can ask for a category, but amazon algos decide where you're going to land & even if you beg them to change their mind, you usually only stay out of that wrong category for a week or two before their algo puts you back where they "think" you belong


    Offline nightwork

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #13 on: October 25, 2020, 02:20:35 pm »


    Amazon does not have the will to police this...and why would they? Unfortunately, it hurts most of us trying to do things the right way.

    Mark

    how on earth does someone landing in the wrong category hurt YOU?

    the publisher who got mis-catted is the victim here, they're the one who ends up getting a lot of clicks that don't lead to sales leading to their book being absolutely destroyed in the algos

    if you think being in the wrong category helps you, try it, put a book in the wrong category, see what it gets you

    you will not be happy, i promise

    Offline psnew

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #14 on: October 25, 2020, 02:48:23 pm »
    Some of my very steamy work was put in religious categories. I'm guessing because of the subtitles. That's not something I want to happen. I changed the subtitles and covers because I dreaded getting one stars from religious conservatives. Amazon seems stricter about changing your title after publishing now, so an author might not even be able to do that to correct this situation.

    Online Simon Haynes

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #15 on: October 26, 2020, 08:02:20 am »
    Let me introduce you to the Humorous Science Fiction top 100, which is a complete joke

    https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Kindle-Store-Humorous-Science-Fiction/zgbs/digital-text/16232453011/
     

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    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #16 on: October 26, 2020, 08:42:09 am »
    Let me introduce you to the Humorous Science Fiction top 100, which is a complete joke

    https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Kindle-Store-Humorous-Science-Fiction/zgbs/digital-text/16232453011/

    Great example....and of course it hurts any legit author who should be in that category. Also, this is not likely an Amazon error but good chance the author deliberately made sure it was in a category where it could rank.

    Offline psnew

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #17 on: October 26, 2020, 11:08:44 am »
    Great example....and of course it hurts any legit author who should be in that category. Also, this is not likely an Amazon error but good chance the author deliberately made sure it was in a category where it could rank.

    Maybe, but if you know anything about science fiction romance you'd know those man-chest books are currently competing with some very popular sci-fi romances that have romantic comedy elements. So it would be reasonable for those authors to use a string of keywords like "humorous romance science fiction" to be visible to those readers. I can see how Amazon itself would then decide to throw their books into this category.

    Online Simon Haynes

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #18 on: October 26, 2020, 11:21:50 am »
    This is what happens if you put computers in charge of the job, instead of humans.

    Back in the day, when each publisher had a human being who manually set the categories, this would never have happened.

    Right now the onus is on the (indie) author, and I've been caught out myself when I put a keyword in my product page and ended up in the movie tie-ins category. I took the kw out and my book was then removed from that category.

    Unfortunately the rewards for stuffing a book into 10 scattershot categories (deliberate or not) make it worthwhile to do so.

    It does make you realise just how dumb computers are though.
     

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    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #19 on: October 26, 2020, 12:03:16 pm »
    Maybe, but if you know anything about science fiction romance you'd know those man-chest books are currently competing with some very popular sci-fi romances that have romantic comedy elements. So it would be reasonable for those authors to use a string of keywords like "humorous romance science fiction" to be visible to those readers. I can see how Amazon itself would then decide to throw their books into this category.

    Putting a keyword "romance" would not put it in sci-fi humorous.  Sounds very deliberate to chose keywords to get it into this category, leaving the word "romance" out.

    Offline psnew

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #20 on: October 26, 2020, 12:23:38 pm »
    Putting a keyword "romance" would not put it in sci-fi humorous.  Sounds very deliberate to chose keywords to get it into this category, leaving the word "romance" out.

    "Humorous romance science fiction" doesn't exist as a category. If there's no category that matches your keywords you can't end up in one a bot would assume is a similar category? I thought that was a pretty common thing, but I could have misunderstood the role keywords play in miscategorization.

    Offline Rhett Gervais

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #21 on: October 26, 2020, 12:50:15 pm »
    Great example....and of course it hurts any legit author who should be in that category. Also, this is not likely an Amazon error but good chance the author deliberately made sure it was in a category where it could rank.


    I don't mean to laugh at your pain, but damn thats funny...it may even make a good story..An author who tries to write a funny novels but ends up as star romance writer.

    Offline Redgum

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #22 on: October 30, 2020, 06:06:39 am »
    There's no point to it, as it's often something Amazon itself does. Whether it's through keywords, something in the blurb, or whatever reason, things end up in crazy places. Sure, people abuse the system, wanting that #1 banner somewhere, but Amazon basically doesn't care. Until it becomes a publicity issue, they probably won't ever do much about it. Just look at the history of abuses in Select/KU, and you'll understand.

    Yeah, this is about it. I reported the abuse to Amazon and didn't even get a brush off - nothing.  My recommendation to authors is to put their books in any go-dd-am category just for a laugh - in fact make a meme out of it to highlight to the high/main street customer what a joke Amazon is and just how much contempt they show their book-buying customer. Anything goes because it is just a joke - noir in coming of age, action-adventure in girl's crochet, vampire porn in how to improve your indoor bowls delivery. Just go for it until we shame them into doing the right thing, if that is possible in 2020.

    Online Simon Haynes

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #23 on: October 30, 2020, 06:11:38 am »
    I always remember when Amazon had that system with 'People who like Scifi Adventure rated this book 4.2/5' or 'People who like Space Opera rated this book 4.5/5'

    Mine had the classic 'People who like coffee rated this book 4.4/5'

    (My character drinks a lot of coffee...)



     

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    Offline BuckarooBanzai

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    Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
    « Reply #24 on: October 30, 2020, 06:42:08 am »
    Annoying, very annoying. Still, whoever is making 'Scary-Coloured Man Chest Alien Objectification Sci-Fi' covers is making a packet. I might have to put a manly torso on my book of esoteric poetry and Slovenian haikus.

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