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Topics - PhoenixS

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Writers' Cafe / Hehe. Amazon: 2 for 5, FreeBookService: -$89,300
« on: September 02, 2018, 08:26:48 am »
Ever-vigilant David Gaughran spotted a court request from Amazon to confirm an arbitration award for $89,300 granted in July against the owner of FreeBookService.

Read the Motion in its entirety here:
https://www.geekwire.com/2018/amazon-awarded-75k-dispute-e-book-marketer-kindle-direct-publishing-scheme/amp/

Read the arbitration demands for the 3 outstanding authors/companies hit late last year here (Amazon received an arbitration award for the 5th back in January):
https://www.geekwire.com/2017/amazon-targets-authors-marketers-alleged-abuse-kindle-direct-publishing-system/

And read how KB helped sniff out the FBS scam to help warn others (special thanks to Monique for guinea pigging and reporting):

https://www.kboards.com/index.php?topic=179247.0

https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,169160.0.html

https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,167502.75.html

Score another one for the white hatters, and pay attention to how KBoards can be an early-warning system when we put our collective experiences together and are allowed to voice our evidence without bias or heavy moderation.

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UPDATE: D2D has clarified their policy. https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,265457.msg3696709.html#msg3696709

Now, it's up to Amazon to help police this by communicating with D2D when banned books and authors reappear in the Amazon store.
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Re-posting this in its own thread because it's a loophole that Amazon and D2D both need to know about (and they will directly -- I've since received the final bit of evidence needed, and likely others have already reported it as well). Is it responsible to discuss this publicly and tip other black hatters off, which is purportedly why Amazon refuses to discuss any details of what they consider "manipulative" actions? Well, if we discuss it early and publicly, the loophole will likely get closed a lot quicker than if we let folk profit for months or years before action is taken. Bad behavior should not be rewarded. IMO.

Looking at one particular author's case (in their own words, their KDP account was banned, they tried setting up a new KDP account under their spouse's name, that account was banned too, so they republished via D2D), here's what I'm seeing:

Titles repubbed via D2D are getting new ASINs. When an ASIN is assigned, it's the next number in a progressive series, so pretty easy to tell what's new and what's old.

Books that were pulled off of Amazon and repubbed via D2D, all received ASINs that begin B07B4.

For instance, one book's ASIN when first pubbed on Amazon in Aug 2013 began with B00E. (When it was advertised on one of the ad sites in June 2017, that was still the ASIN.) Today, that book's ASIN begins with B07B4.

Here's the kicker: The pub date still shows Aug 2013, and the reviews on the page date back to Aug 2013.

Three other books I've tracked back also all have ASINs that begin with B07B4, yet their pub dates on the product page are: July 2016, Jan 2017 and June 2017. And the reviews all date back to their original pub dates.

Unless you compare the ASIN to the pub date, you could easily believe that the books are still being published by KDP.

As with other accounts we've seen through which banned authors are resurfacing on Amazon, this author's books are unable to be enrolled in KU.

IMO, the owner of an account terminated for cause should not be allowed back in through backdoors. Amazon seemed to be diligent in that the author above stated that when they attempted to publish a banned title under their spouse's new account, Amazon banned their spouse's account too. But whatever software Amazon is using to check for copyright infringement via titles pubbed through KDP, they don't appear to be using it on titles pubbed outside of the KDP system.

Likewise, we know of other banned authors who are republishing their previously banned books through non-KDP/non-D2D accounts. The common, amazing thing is that these authors are continuing to use the pennames that were banned, the titles are the same as they were in the catalogs when they were banned, and the old pages with existing reviews are being reused.

Checking new accounts through aggregators or non-KDP pubs against pennames (and their book titles/pages) that have been terminated for cause would seem to be a no-brainer first step in curbing this practice.

Checking all book content with the same plagiarism-detecting software already in use and comparing across all content already submitted, no matter who or what company has submitted it, would seem to be a good second step. 

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The article is long, wanders a bit and isn't tightly focused -- mainly, I think, because it tries to incorporate too many diverse scams in the romance ebook community. There are, however, some cross-over players that tie all the scams together. David Gaughran is quoted, along with a few other names you might know.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/7/16/17566276/cockygate-amazon-kindle-unlimited-algorithm-self-published-romance-novel-cabal



Edited to add "merged" to the thread title. - Becca

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Comment removed to protect content and data from the over-reaching TOS of new forum owner VerticalScope.

VerticalScope claims rights to any content posted to this site as theirs to disseminate beyond this site in any way they see fit.

Read the Terms of Service, both before AND after you've registered. At the time of this post, the new, more egregious TOS is available to read only after you've registered.

KBoards was purchased by VerticalScope 7.5 years and 4000 posts after I joined. VerticalScope will not allow that existing content to be permanently deleted, despite the fact I did not and do not agree to granting the new owners the rights to my content.

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I think this is an important enough development to pull out of the bonus content megathread where I first posted about it so others might note it and perhaps discuss.

A UF author with 90 titles recently had his account terminated. Books he co-wrote with another specific author that were not in his account were also removed. If the mods decide we can name authors whose accounts have been terminated, I'll disclose it. Association is important, and while he's no longer around to associate with, being able to decide whether to associate with his associates (assuming you knew who this author is, and knew the groups he was in) may be important to some. I know it would be important to me. And if I were in the same genre and didn't know the author, it would give me impetus to do more research to uncover what practices he might have been banned for, and if there were others in his circle who might also be red flags.

Now, in the past, I haven't necessarily been as concerned about the ACX side of things when an author's KDP account is terminated.* This, however, I found interesting: The banned author says ACX is -- rightfully, imo -- keeping rights to his audiobooks for the contracted terms...but ACX has removed them from sale for the duration.

Now, I don't know in this case if the narrators were paid upfront or were on a royalty payment basis. If the latter, then that truly sucks for the narrators. Either way, this is a stark reminder that not only is it other authors and readers who are affected by bad behavior, but service providers can be affected too.
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* As an aside, I am concerned that authors whose KDP accounts have been terminated have been allowed to re-publish to Amazon -- under their same banned pen names even -- via non-KDP (not a typo) accounts. Now that some of those non-KDP accounts have a history of publishing known banned authors, what's to keep other banned authors from re-publishing with them? It's a loophole that I sincerely hope the tweaked language in the T&Cs updated on May 24 regarding terminated accounts has closed, and that Amazon will soon be acting against violators, both retroactively and going forward. Otherwise, we'll be hearing a LOT more about this in the next few weeks. I will personally guarantee that. ;)

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So, a handful of folk were asked to consult about the agenda for the meeting Marie Force (aka the Indie Author Support Network, aka IASN) instigated with two KDP executives on June 12. David Gaughran and I were two of those involved. Although the consultant group wasn't in agreement about what tone to strike with Amazon, we were all in agreement about which topics were priorities, and together we created a list of talking points and potential solutions. We had hoped to have at least one of the consultants also attend in person (they had volunteered to fly to Seattle), and to have David and/or myself call in.

We were told Amazon declined any other representatives of IASN to attend in person or by phone.

When Marie shared the outcome of the meeting with the consultants, it was pretty much what we expected: all platitudes we've heard before.

After her debrief to us, which was pretty much the same as the email that went out to the IASN membership, we each expressed our disappointment in not learning anything new, and in not being given any more clarity around the issues brought up.

One of the biggest disappointments was being told things weren't progressing as quickly as we hoped they would because Amazon was being very diligent and deliberate in their investigations. What we had hoped for was a follow-on conversation that asked why some are getting their books pulled down or rank-stripped immediately and their accounts suspended within a month or two for external behavior they can't control, while the most egregious offenders actively participating in such behaviors, with tons of evidence presented against them, are taking several months to years before action is taken against them -- and even then scammed money, bestseller titles and bonuses are not being remanded. Alas, those deeper dives on the issues that we had strongly encouraged were apparently not addressed.

We also were hoping for a commitment to developing more transparency in communications and due process for accusations made. That didn't seem to materialize either, with the same song being sung around not wanting to tip off scammers (news flash: they're already way ahead of you in the scamming, Amazon) and to direct all questions to Content Review (who, based on my experience, will reply that they can't comment any further on whatever issue you bring up).

Another issue was that while Marie was in Seattle discussing the aftermath of incidents such as Tiffanygate and Chance Carter, she herself was running an illegal pay-to-play sweepstakes -- with required purchases of 10 paperbacks to be entered for the grand prize of a trip for 2 (airfare and lodging), along with fewer purchases required to win gift cards and swag.

If my differing views about the meeting and IASN in regards to its organization and mission hasn't sealed my fate for not being asked to continue on as a consultant, I'm pretty sure my calling her out on the sweepstakes thing a couple of days after the meeting will. To be honest, my disillusionment with the IASN as it exists now and the lack of planning for its future is enough for me to decide to move on and direct my personal efforts elsewise. Such is the life of a whistleblower. ;)

I hope with the current and continued social media and regular media pressure, along with hearing from RWA and the Authors Guild on these and other issues (well, the AG isn't championing any indie-specific issues such as KU so far, but it has been involved with issues that simply happen to affect indies too), as well as the face-to-face with Marie, and the myriad reports, queries and complaints indies have been directing their way, that Amazon is, indeed, working behind the scenes to clean up the mess their storefront has become.

They are listening, of course, and have been. There has been sloooow progress. But so far, it's barely been more than a one-way monologue, with the execs providing nothing more concrete than the scripted answers the KDP chatbots deliver with aggravating sameness.
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Note: If you're not a member of IASN and want to read the full debrief, you'll be forced to join Marie's Author Support Network FB group. (Note that Marie's old group, which is similarly named, has become the official FB group for IASN as well.) Marie is not allowing the email contents or her FB post there to be shared and is apparently not posting it to the public IASN website. Transparency extends only so far...

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Comment removed to protect content and data from the over-reaching TOS of new forum owner VerticalScope.

VerticalScope claims rights to any content posted to this site as theirs to disseminate beyond this site in any way they see fit.

Read the Terms of Service, both before AND after you've registered. At the time of this post, the new, more egregious TOS is available to read only after you've registered.

KBoards was purchased by VerticalScope 7.5 years and 4000 posts after I joined. VerticalScope will not allow that existing content to be permanently deleted, despite the fact I did not and do not agree to granting the new owners the rights to my content.

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TL;DNR conclusion: Amazon seems to have replaced much of the free, off-site visibility it once used to promote indie titles with paid, on-site AMS ads. A shift as devastating to some catalogs as any ranking algo change.

Thoughts?

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Our BB feature in late March was a free box set of mostly old-school historical romances, which garnered about 43K downloads and a few hundred sales/borrows all from a cold start. Prior to the BB feature, there were only also vieweds. When the alsobots crunched in, #1 was a top-ranking book that...well, let's just say it wasn't historical romance, and it had its share and more of 'bonus' content. The next 60 or so alsobots were relevant historical romances -- the type we've gotten before and what you'd expect from an HR BookBub feature -- followed by another 40-ish mainly historical roms mixed with a few other genre-romance types.

I sent a pre-emptive mail with my concerns to ECR, who passed it to the Content Review team who acknowledged receipt.

I received no further communications from KDP (where's MY red phone, David Gaughran?). However, within 24 hours that anomalous book was no longer the #1 alsobot. Further, it was no longer in our book's alsobots at all. Coincidence? For a #1 alsobot to disappear completely from all 100 alsobots in one crunch is...well, no more typical, organic behavior than it is to get slotted there to begin with.

What does it mean? No idea, but I do suspect manual intervention. It seems to be a customer-centric step, at least. And maybe a step toward squeezing visibility.

Perhaps others emailing the Content Review team with similar concerns when the first page of their books is swarmed with ill-matched alsobots might get some attention.

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Writers' Cafe / Retiring! Maybe. Probably. For now, at least.
« on: April 18, 2018, 07:42:52 am »
Jennifer Blake and I announced to our newsletter list back in November that we'd be shuttering Steel Magnolia Press this spring. So, I thought I'd also share here why, just to get ahead of any rumors regarding any reduced visibility we may have going forward.

I retired from the corporate world in Jan 2011, with thoughts of writing and publishing a couple of my own books. That summer, JB and I started serious discussion around publishing some of her novellas. We studied the ebook market, and when she was offered a 6-figure contract for a new historical romance series but the publisher couldn't provide any marketing assurances, she declined the offer. We launched our pub thing (SMP) in Nov 2011.

36 of JB's otherwise out-of-print backlist books were with her agent's pioneering E-Reads (and had been since 1999/2000). When half that catalog came up for renewal in Dec, SMP negotiated to subcontract the ebook rights to the titles not up for renewal in exchange for renewing print and audio rights for the other half. A few months later, E-Reads sold the audio rights for all 36 titles to Audible (and Audible agreed to use the matching covers we provided them).

We published those tiltles as ebooks over the next year, then invited a handful of other authors with rights-reverted books to join us. We even subcontracted rights for another author from E-Reads (which was later sold to Open Road). We worked with those authors, helping with book covers and ebook formatting and marketing, and when their 2-year contracts were up, and I was ready to cut back on hours, we sent them back out on their own with solid ebooks, ranks, reviews, royalties and marketing plans.

JB wrote two new contemporary romance series after SMP launched. One of her box set collections spent 7 weeks in the Top 100. During 2014 and 2015, I put together and managed 3 dozen box sets to various degrees of success. A couple hit USAT. One hit NYT. I quit managing box sets at the end of 2015, again to gain more hours back in my life.

JB and I discussed shuttering in the fall of 2016, but then news came that a 6-book historical romance series was eligible for rights-reversion. We jumped, and decided to do this thing for another year or so.

In fall 2017, when a play to get the rights back to her final 2 series with her publisher (9 books total) fell through because their sales were still too high, JB, in her mid-70s and after 50 years in the writing biz, decided real retirement would be nice. I agreed...for both of us! So in September, I wrote out a 6-month close-down plan.

That plan included a new limited-time Christmas boxed set, unpubbed in Jan, and 2 limited-time "Best Of" box sets -- one with contemporary works and one with historicals. BookBub kindly featured the Best Of boxes in Feb and March. The contemporary will be unpubbed today; the historical at the end of the month. The boxes were meant for the tail to keep JB's catalog afloat once we ended our advertising on Mar 31. My commission on her catalog ends with her April royalties, although I'll still be watching over her catalog -- which will remain in KU -- and, if she decides to dip her own toe into advertising later on, I'll offer my guidance.

It's possible she or I will get the itch to write a new book, or that those final 9 books of hers will become eligible for reversion. If so, we may gear up again for the short term to launch any new stuff. But that's all in 2019 or 2020, if at all.

For now, save for the final spreadsheeting and housekeeping, I'm officially retired. (I'm 58 for anyone who cares.) Lots of time now to brush pony manes, garden and play with the pooches. Which doesn't preclude my keeping a light finger on the pulse of indie publishing. So no, you haven't gotten rid of me...quite...yet. :)

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Just noticing today that Amazon has added TWO Sponsored Ads in the *middle* of search results for searches by author name. That's in addition to the two ads that have been appearing at the top and/or bottom of the search results (I've been seeing either two ads at the bottom or one at the bottom and one at the top).

So now there are FOUR ads out of 20 spots, or 20% ads on the page, with half of those sneaked into the middle. Have I just not been searching on author names recently, or is this new? Is everyone seeing this, or is it being A/B tested to see how many ads they can insert without it being overly disruptive to the the average customer? And will the average customer notice?

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Writers' Cafe / KB's own Monique Martin has a guest post on the BN blog
« on: February 13, 2018, 04:44:49 pm »
Need more info on the new author platform at BN? Looks like Monique's got it covered. :)

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/bnpress-blog/bnpress-gets-right/

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Writers' Cafe / Kudos, Amazon! 9+ More "Author" Accounts Terminated
« on: September 21, 2017, 09:06:02 am »
Since I've been a bit extra cynical about Amazon here on KBoards recently, I would like to give a nod to Amazon for what progress they are making on the scammer side of things.

First, of course, are the scamming services Amazon has targeted for arbitration. BIG time thanks for that, Amazon!

Second are the rank-strippings for books which have violated KDP T&Cs (although, in my opinion, for the serial offenders, this is little more than a wrist slap when their books are still allowed to remain in KU, are still eligible for All-Star bonuses, and receive no other sanctions other than a short time-out) (well, so far, at least ;) ).

Third, I'm noticing that some of the authors who've engaged in bad behavior for months have finally had their accounts terminated. The books and authors who seem to have been repeatedly botting their way into the Top 20 Free since David Gaughran and I called them out on his blog in spring of 2016 and again here on KB and in David's blog in spring of 2017 no longer have ebooks available for sale.
https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/ku-scammers-attack-amazons-free-ebook-charts/
https://www.kboards.com/index.php?topic=250007.0
https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2017/06/03/amazon-has-a-fake-book-problem/

A leisurely search indicates at least 9 such author accounts have been terminated. This may be coincidental with or as a result of the services being sued. I'm confident there are more terminated accounts. That number is based on just the first ones I checked; I haven't gone through my entire list yet.

It really seemed like Amazon was unwilling to do much, if anything, about folk abusing and scamming the Free lists for the longest time. It's heartening to see some action being taken there as well as on the Paid side, even if it's been so long in coming.

There are still two publishers with very large catalogs who are still operating, although it appears they're botting less frequently. Perhaps Amazon rank-stripped some of their titles in warning? I don't know, but their catalogs of 200-300 or so books are all still in KU. Perhaps Amazon is working up individual cases against them? I hope it's something like that, and that Amazon isn't ignoring them -- which was honestly seeming to be the case with the 9 authors mentioned above. So, cautious optimism there now, too.

On a totally unrelated note, Amazon, why did you strip out numbers of results for searches? That was such a helpful metric in soooooo many ways. *weeps at their loss*

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See Page 2, Reply 31 for Update...
See Page 3, Reply 57 for Update...


It's the tick of a new month, and I see that every rank-stripped book I've been following (about 25) now has a rank.

Did the time-out make a difference? For a couple of the less-prolific authors, probably. The less-prolific who botted their way to the Top 10 overall in the US and Canada stores don't appear to have attempted those shenanigans again. Perhaps the warning was enough. Or perhaps they're just biding their time. Or maybe they've simply learned to keep a lower profile.

For the ones releasing every couple of weeks and routinely hitting in the Top 100? I saw no change in their new releases over this past month, either in the way they were released (read into that what you will) or in how stuffed they are. In fact, one of the stripped books whose rank was returned is still 14MB with the message: "Due to its large file size, this book may take longer to download."

So, just how much of a deterrent will a rank-stripping time-out be, even for the occasional botter? I compared one author's books that each hit #6 in the US on consecutive days in early June. One was rank-stripped, the other wasn't. Their ranks today:
291K - rank-stripped book
279K - non-stripped

Five of the previously Top 100 romances discussed elsewhere returned with ranks from the low 500s to the mid 3000s.

Gee, (generic) you can miss seeing a book left for sale on a non-US vendor that even Google fails to pick up and have your book -- even your catalog -- yanked from KU. Blatantly and repeatedly bot your way to the Top 100 and/or stuff your books to the max and not only are you allowed to keep that book in KU, you can continue to keep your catalog in KU and continue to release KU-scamming titles into KU.

Priorities, anyone?

Amazon, not only can you do better, you must. Perhaps there's more clean-up going on behind the scenes, but the public view is not pretty. And it just keeps getting uglier. :(

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July 6 @ 9:00 am CT.

#2-9 = Do I even need to comment?




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NOV 29 UPDATE: https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,252500.msg3599299.html#msg3599299

Donations for legal fees being taken at: https://www.gofundme.com/6we7rk-it-takes-a-community

To make a direct donation via PayPal (Christina will update the gofundme page manually), use "friends & family": christina{at}christinagarner.com 

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ORIGINAL POST (June 19, 2017):

I'm posting the following as follow-up for the folk who donated to Christina's legal fund via gogetfunding.
https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,250747.0.html

Much of the money has already been put to use.

Today, Rebecca Hamilton and QBW Services were served with a civil lawsuit citing:

1) BREACH OF WRITTEN AGREEMENT;

(2) BREACH OF IMPLIED COVENANTS OF GOOD FAITH AND FAIR DEALING;

(3) FRAUD;

(4) UNJUST ENRICHMENT;

(5) LIBEL PER SE; and

(6) DEFAMATION

Details of the case as they accrue will be posted publicly at:
http://www.lacourt.org/casesummary/ui/index.aspx?casetype=civil

You'll need to enter the case number: BC664530

It's my understanding as well that Rebecca's Amazon account was terminated last month, and that it has not been reinstated. Others likely know more about the details around the new LLC the box sets are now being published under via Pronoun.

Christina will be along later to answer what questions she can. It's early yet in the suit, and there will some things she won't be able to discuss. So please keep that in mind. Right now, she just wants to assure those who donated that their money is in fact being used for the legal fees intended.

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So it was Easter last year that I went on a rant on David Gaughran's blog regarding all the obviously botted books in the free list.
https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/ku-scammers-attack-amazons-free-ebook-charts/

Over the next year, I watched. I reported. I verified and confirmed with others what certain publishers were doing. I stayed hopeful. Any day now, I kept thinking, Amazon would block the IPs of the blatant bot sites. If they can exclude BookBub's downloads and sales from the poplist algos simply because they want control of THAT customer experience, they can surely do the same on the bestseller side for obvious scammy, black hat tactics that mislead customers and make for a decidedly poor customer experience. Not to mention a poor author experience by taking up at least 20% of the highest-visibility, Top 100 chart spots every. single. day.

So, things have improved in the past year, right?

On the paid/borrows side, yes, some. There are still WAY too many scambooks getting through, and way too much turning a blind eye to certain authors, publishers and practices, but overall, yes, things have improved.

On the free front, though, I have seen zilch in the way of improvement. The SAME authors, the SAME publishers and obviously the SAME bot sites continue to operate with impunity. Really, Amazon? What's the secret to escaping the banhammer, because I'd like some of that immunity too.

So one year later, I took a scroll through the Top 100 Free (because yes, I have a personal bias today - one book is sitting at #113 and another at #114 as I write this, and this is far from the first time our catalog has been in this position), and I can easily pick out fully HALF of the Top 34 books as books that have been botted there (robo-clicked, paid-per-action - whatever the mechanism that isn't organic readers making uncompensated decisions to download free books). Of those 17 books, one author name has 7 books, ones which have seen the Top 20 quite a few times over the past year. Yet none of those books have any ad footprints whatsoever for any of their free runs.

And 50% is only the easily detectable number. I've certainly seen recognizable names who've obviously bought clicks to get to the top. And we here on KBoards have seen books that unless we were following their history closely we'd miss any clues of being bot-driven.

And this happens routinely now. Not occasionally. Not one-off. Every. Single. Day. Of. Every. Single. Week. Of. Every. Single. Month.

Think about it. Even if we put the number of bot-driven books at a conservative 10 per day in the Top 100, that's 3650 titles in the past year getting top visibility and shutting out books that legitimately belong there. Visibility = $$ in this game (whether from follow-on KU reads or cross-promo to other books in an author's catalog), and people scamming the system are not just figuratively but literally stealing from authors who aren't gaming their way to the top.

And the thing that sucks the most? Amazon is ENABLING this behavior. They have the means to shut it down the same way they clamped down on BookBub's influence in the poplists. That would shut it down at the IP level. They could also shut down the accounts of the authors/publishers engaging in this behavior over and over and over.

But they don't. Why? My speculation is that if this were happening on the paid side, where the Big 5 and Amazon's own imprints hang, it wouldn't last long. Sure, we see it happen (especially with bot-borrows and Facebook click-through groups), but not usually for as long or as blatantly as we see on the free side. Plus, the free side is more volatile. So many of the titles in the Top 100 are there at most for 5 days. Folk aren't watching those lists the same way they watch the paid ones. It's a more slippery list to pin down.

But pin down it can be, and those of us watching have been reporting to no avail. So, one year later, while we have seen improvement on the paid side, on the free side, it's still Scammers 1, Amazon 0.

Oh, and yes, there's at least one *same* suspect author today with books in the Top 30 list whose books were in the Top 20 list when I posted to David's blog 1 year ago. (And yes, I recognize that *I* too am running a campaign with 8 freebies almost exactly 1 year later with books in the Top 20 and with 3 just outside the Top 100 very reminiscent of last year. The difference is when our books hit in the Top 100 you can easily find their ad footprints and follow their trajectories -- and they don't all hit in a solid rank block at the same time. Lots of folk run several freebie ad campaigns per year. It's not when they're run or the frequency with which they're run, but HOW they're run that's at issue here.)

Some things just never change.

Grrr.

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Writers' Cafe / Page read numbers for November bonuses?
« on: December 20, 2016, 07:47:23 am »
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Go, Monique! 8)


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Not sure if it's congratulations, condolences or bribes I should be offering...

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Need moar data!

Sooo, it's beginning to look like a long-lasting glitch or a MAJOR algo change in the freebie ranks hit on Sept 15.

Let's figure out which! I'm collecting data from a pool of 150 freebie owners today, although not everyone there qualifies to play or will choose to play. You can help add to the collective IF your book meets the following criteria:

A) It's on Select free promo right now
OR
B) It's a permafree on promo right now

AND (applies to BOTH A and B)

C) It has MORE sales today than it did yesterday.

Got that? (A or B) + C

We need to be consistent to get an accurate picture of what's going on. If we're watching rank, that means we need books that are gaining to get to that rank, not just passing through it as they fall or maintaining it because of bloated history.

If your title meets the requirement, here's what I would love for you to do:

* In the US morning after about 5am and before 10am CT (6-11am ET, 3-8am PT), jot down the book's rank on .com.

* Check your Sales Graph and see how many downloads you had today (Wednesday) ONLY on the .com site. That's very important to restrict it to .com.

* Record the stats here (or PM me):

- Your book's ASIN* (in case I have questions, so I can check the Tracker tool or the product page, etc) - I won't share the ASIN directly beyond this forum or the PM. You can also provide downloads and rank here without the ASIN to maintain your anonymity. If it fits the data curve, I'll love to include it. If it doesn't fit, and I can't verify what and why, I'll have to ignore it.

- # of downloads on .com only
- Current rank on .com
- Select of Permafree


Quote
Example:

B008THBM5S
277 DLs
#1,740
Select

Let's see how tomorrow goes and we'll probably do it on Friday morning too. A book can play just once on either day or on both days, providing it continues to meet eligibility requirements.

I'll post out a chart (without the ASINs) when we're all done, compare it to what life was like pre-Sept 15, and together we'll see if we can make sense of it.

Oh, and if you're in the SPRT FB group, too, please just post here OR there.

Thank you!

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We've seen the recent issue with disappearing/non-appearing alsobots and alsovieweds.

We've seen the recent issue with thousands of downloads not being counted in freebie rankings.

Now I see this...

I wanted to check where our latest promoted books are on the KU poplist. Normally, I just use the regular ebook list and check the Kindle Unlimited box (currently showing 1.4 million titles). This time, I clicked on the Kindle Exclusive content with its 1.1 million KU books, figuring the discrepancy in numbers was due to some publishers able to have content in KU that's not exclusive. Why yes, I found healthy ranks for Books 1 and 2 of a couple of our series, but where were the Book 3s?



I did a search of the KE section, and the results showed the books in the store, but not part of the Kindle Exclusive content. Interesting. One of the books was released in early June and just started its second term in Select. It just sold 1343 copies on a $1.99 Countdown, and is currently #3 in the Countdown ranks, so pretty sure it's still in Select. The second book was released in mid-July and was one of the books caught up in the Free Rank snafu (over 6000 downloads, yet it spent only a few short hours just skimming in the Top 100, and not even on the day with its best download numbers).

So I did a search for some other titles I know were recently published. David Gaughran's title that's had the alsobot issue was pubbed in late July. It's not in the KE section. Two other titles pubbed in August that were hit with both the alsobot issue AND the Free Rank snafu aren't in there either.

What gives, Amazon?  :(  Are all these glitches the precursor to some major site change or a new program on the horizon?

And is anyone else seeing any other gremlins, especially ones interfering with the algos and our ability to gain visibility in the store?

(These glitches are happening on .com only that I'm aware of.)

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