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The new indie author trope...

Amazon tests X.

 

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I have been seeing different variations of this for about a week. Not impressed.  As a buyerr, I do NOT want pages of sponsored adds, few of which are actually relevant to what I read. I liked the also-bots and often used them to find new books that were genuinely similar in tone to what I enjoy.
 

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Anarchist said:
The new indie author trope...

Amazon tests X.

Wherein "discussion" is now called "panic", and rational people parsing Amazon's craziness is dismissed as not worthy of analysis, because, you know, it's our business. You could just SOB threads you don't like.

As for the point of the OP, I was wandering about Amazon yesterday and I saw variations of all these things. Vertical thing with sponsored stuff below. Only sponsored stuff. Also boughts as usual. I think Amazon is testing things, seeing which both brings them more money and also makes readers look at different books.
 

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Will C. Brown said:
Weird. I'm only seeing four also-boughts for your book The Fixer and they're laid out in a vertical format:



ETA: ...and now it's back to normal. Must have been testing or a glitch.
Look closer. Those aren't also boughts. They are the far more insulting "what customers bought viewing this item"

There's another thread about this about one page back
 

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she-la-ti-da said:
Wherein "discussion" is now called "panic", and rational people parsing Amazon's craziness is dismissed as not worthy of analysis, because, you know, it's our business. You could just SOB threads you don't like.
Analysis? There's no analysis here. There's conjecture.

And there's stuff like this...

Atlantisatheart said:
Is anyone else seeing this?

That's a game changer.
... and this...

Atlantisatheart said:
Maybe amazon are testing us to see our reaction to what we'll say or come up with in a plan of action if they killed the AB'S and went totally pay per play? Ever feel like you're being watched?

If they kill the AB'S then they are basically handing over the shop to the marketeers. It'll be the kiss of death for new authors, and going wide would be preferable for outside advertising than handing over half of our profits back to amazon.
The purpose of analysis in a business context is to plan future actions. The key ingredient is predictability. Rational people wait until the smoke clears, note the new circumstances, and proceed with confidence that the new circumstances are reasonably stable.

If Amazon is still testing wide, there's no stability. Thus, no predictability.

How can you "analyze" a situation with zero foresight regarding what will be the case going forward? Again, that's not analysis. It's conjecture masquerading as analysis.

Nice try, though.
 
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Anarchist said:
The new indie author trope...

Amazon tests X.

Seems like you're having a go at authors for being worried. And why shouldn't they be worried? Amazon is contemplating the removal of a major discoverability feature to replace it with pay to play sponsored nonsense. Bad for readers and writers - bad for everyone. And yet you're obviously doing so well others' anxiety is amusing to you.
 

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I think I said this in another thread, but the best thing we can do if Amazon is still testing is make a point of not clicking on AMS ads for a while. Instead, we should click like crazy on the also boughts and buy one of the them every so often.

Amazon doesn't pay that much attention to what we say, but we all have customer accounts, and Amazon does pay attention to what customers do.

As to why the testing is going on so long, I speculate that Amazon isn't getting the answer it wants. I'd be surprised if very many people cycle through all those ad pages, even on one carousel, let alone two. I'm sure Amazon wants to monetize every single pixel of space it can, but the reality is that people don't go anywhere to consume ads in bulk. I don't know a single person who would do that. Anyway, I think the testing is still going on in the vain hope that people will start clicking the ads more.

This strategy is risky. It could lead to ad blindness.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Anarchist said:
Analysis? There's no analysis here. There's conjecture.

And there's stuff like this...

... and this...

The purpose of analysis in a business context is to plan future actions. The key ingredient is predictability. Rational people wait until the smoke clears, note the new circumstances, and proceed with confidence that the new circumstances are reasonably stable.

If Amazon is still testing wide, there's no stability. Thus, no predictability.

How can you "analyze" a situation with zero foresight regarding what will be the case going forward? Again, that's not analysis. It's conjecture masquerading as analysis.

Nice try, though.
If nobody asks the stupid questions then smarter people can't come up with a well thought out answer or solution.

I wonder if we can split an atom? - let's not think about it until somebody else does it.

That comet is hurtling in Earth's direction and could hit us, how can we stop it? Let's just bury our head in the sand and see what happens.

Forewarned is forearmed. Or should armies just walk blindly into Death Valley?

Oh, look - shiny. ;D
 

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I use the Brave browser, which looks so much like Chrome that sometimes I mistake the two, but Brave is a lot safer, blocks adverts, and most important doesn't report my movements to Google. On my two most important books, I see:

On the high-priced money maker, published 2016: the first carousel is four Also Boughts, followed by a carousel of Sponsored Products, followed by all the standard book stuff, followed by a carousel of Sponsored Products, followed by Reader Reviews, followed by a carousel of Also Viewed.

The most recent, published May 1: a carousel of four Also Viewed, followed by all the book stuff including Reader Reviews, followed by a carousel of recommendations based on my browsing history, then another carousel of "inspired by your purchases" -- no Sponsored Products at all!

It really does vary, doesn't it?
 

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We've learned through many, many hard lessons over the years to be worried whenever Amazon starts doing something like this. They have consistently taken space away from us on our product pages, reduced visibility, and degraded organic sales in an attempt to upsell other products on our pages and push more people into their paid advertising programs. For the last five years the trend has been that practically every action that they have taken has had a negative impact on sales for the vast majority of us, so anytime they "do something" it's almost guaranteed to have a negative impact. So yeah, we'd be stupid not to be worried at this point, especially when AMS ad effectiveness is dropping off due to high-bid non-relevant titles dominating the top ranks of the sponsored item lists.
 

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KelliWolfe said:
We've learned through many, many hard lessons over the years to be worried whenever Amazon starts doing something like this. They have consistently taken space away from us on our product pages, reduced visibility, and degraded organic sales in an attempt to upsell other products on our pages and push more people into their paid advertising programs. For the last five years the trend has been that practically every action that they have taken has had a negative impact on sales for the vast majority of us, so anytime they "do something" it's almost guaranteed to have a negative impact. So yeah, we'd be stupid not to be worried at this point, especially when AMS ad effectiveness is dropping off due to high-bid non-relevant titles dominating the top ranks of the sponsored item lists.
This is precisely why I went wide back in October. I'm still trying to figure out how to gain more visibility on other retailers but every bit helps. I just don't trust Amazon anymore (and they are far down the list of profitable retailers for me). Barnes & Noble, iBooks, & for some reason this mystical Tolino take the lead from Amazon in sales. My experience is this: organic sales used to be a thing and my book + also boughts used to be the only ones shown on the product page. Now a whole bunch of books that have no similarity to what I write are on there: erotic romance, paranormal romance, YA, etc...why?! Like, seriously, why? How does that help a reader who is looking for a particular type of story? And although it's kind of stupid it hurts my feelings a little because, in essence, Amazon is saying to readers, "Hey, I know you're on the product page for a mail-order bride story but how about this erotic romance with 200 reviews at 5 stars? Wouldn't that be a funner read?"
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Another worrying aspect to Amazon that I've noticed is that their emails recommending books to me do not feature books that aren't in KU or are wide. I received an email today (for my own books) that had the second and third of a series that is in KU, but not the first that I've let drop out to take wide.

They have that; if you're not (all in) with us then you're against us, attitude that's not really helpful in achieving that 'customer experience' they like to pretend that they have.

And, we still have July's annual changes coming up. Interesting times ahead.
 

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I buy stuff from Amazon fairly frequently.  I like their lightning service.  And, the stuff I buy is seldom if ever blemished on delivery.

Lately, I have been overwhelmed by the number of ads that you have to sort through in order to even see the original item you wanted to look at:  first, the sponsored ads at the top, which seem to never end (much like a fixed tweet on Twitter,) then perhaps the item, then more ads--more ads--more ads--then, perhaps the product description, then--more ads...

I will never buy anything unless I get to read the previous buyers opinions.  I use Chrome, and getting these reviews to come up can be a repetitive request.  But, it's only hooked to a "look below" type of prompt, so I discovered I could just scroll, scroll, scroll some more, and finally hit the reviews.

But, then, I like to start with the critical reviews, the bad ones.  Lately, while the good reviews can be seen, the bad reviews frequently bomb out with a "unable to filter at this time, come back later" type of a message.  This is extremely frustrating to me.  I am having to resort to outside reviews if I want to totally examine the product.  Which, I do.  If I can't find it, I won't buy it.

There will probably come a day when I will not put up with this nonsense anymore.

Meanwhile, I am wondering what is in store for me, a reliable buyer, when Amazon is recruiting its own delivery drivers and force, when Trump has been after Bezos with complaints on how little they have to pay the post office for service.  When Amazon's contract with the post office is up, what will happen?  You know that prices seldom go down except during special times, and will delivery costs go down, or will they go up?  If Bezos pulls this off, it will be interesting.  (Apparently, you have to lease their trucks; not provided for free.)

I feel like a punching bag.  I am going to hang in there and do what I have to do, but good golly, it's discouraging.
 

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SuzyQ said:
Look closer. Those aren't also boughts. They are the far more insulting "what customers bought viewing this item"

There's another thread about this about one page back
Following up, since yesterday when i said my also-boughts were still there, right now I'm seeing the 'what customers bought after viewing this item" listing instead.
 

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Well put, Hollis!
 
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dianapersaud said:
Anyone else seeing the new Best Seller list layout?
So big I can see them with my glasses off!

I like it because it's much cleaner than the previous layout.
I saw it a few weeks ago and liked it (assuming it's the same one! 50 books to a page and the hot new releases in the middle instead of on the side?) but it didn't last long for me. Maybe day or two and it was back to normal.
 

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MelanieCellier said:
I saw it a few weeks ago and liked it (assuming it's the same one! 50 books to a page and the hot new releases in the middle instead of on the side?) but it didn't last long for me. Maybe day or two and it was back to normal.
Yes. I hope they keep it.
 
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