November 22, 2017, 11:02:53 AM

Author Topic: Scammers break Kindle store  (Read 997 times)

Offline Lady Ty

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Scammers break Kindle store
« on: July 16, 2017, 08:21:19 AM »
Read this today and think it's a lousy mean stupid scam and wanted to make sure all our writers knew about it. Seems Amazon doesn't care much.

https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/scammers-break-the-kindle-store/
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Offline Not Lu

Re: Scammers break Kindle store
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2017, 05:53:40 PM »
Yeah, the problem has been known about for a while, but Amazon seems slow in stopping people. Other articles I've read say the scammers often do the click farming on the weekend because Amazon is short staffed. It usually takes until Monday or Tuesday before the book's rankings are removed (due to customer complaints).

I think the problem is that Amazon doesn't have an automated system to detect the scammers. They're probably afraid it will catch too many legitimate books that are simply running a promo like Bookbub or large scale Facebook advertising during a book launch.

Offline cupiscent

Re: Scammers break Kindle store
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2017, 11:30:04 PM »
The thing that bugs me about Amazon - and I don't know if they've fixed this since I saw it in action - is their removal of reviews by people who "know the author". And their definition of knowing the author is following her on twitter. So basically, no reviews allowed by people who like the author's work enough to want to know more about it.

Like I say, I don't know if they've fixed this. I saw it in action a couple of years ago, when an author I followed for query advice released her first book, and put in a huge amount of effort on social media to drum up interest and encourage people to leave reviews... only to have almost all of those reviews removed by Amazon. But I notice, as I read the article that Lady Ty linked, that paid services leaving reviews would be absolutely fine, because they don't "know" the author.

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Scammers break Kindle store
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 12:34:32 AM »
This seems ridiculous as many SFF authors have huge Twitter followings because they are interesting personalities.engage with heir fans and of course we all know it is for marketing but appreciate that they bother. Just because fans follow they are not all going to immediately write aglowing review. People like Scalzi, Jim Butcher and his actual characters, Kevin Hearne and so many more have enormous following. Some of like comparative newcomer Jen Williams have probably gained many since they published and engaged on SM.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 12:44:06 AM by Lady_Ty »
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Offline tebakutis

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Re: Scammers break Kindle store
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 04:07:32 PM »
That was a fascinating article, Lady_Ty, thank you for sharing. I'll admit I haven't been following KU much if at all. My books are enrolled, but I've only seen one case where someone used it. In this case, they read to page 202 of Glyphbinder, but never finished, which seems odd. I'm sure people have tried reading my stuff and found it not for them before, but usually that happens in the front end of the book, not the tail end.

If there's one thing this article proves, it is that humans as a group will find a way to exploit any system. As for Amazon's lack of response, I'd imagine it has more to do with their money people than anything. I can't see how the KU scamming hurts them - they're still getting money - so the fact that it hurts authors is immaterial, most likely. It's always sad to admit, but unless Amazon itself starts actively losing money, I'd be surprised if they move on this. And if they are moving on it, they won't say ANYTHING until they drop the hammer so as not to give those exploiting the system a chance to prepare.
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Offline Not Lu

Re: Scammers break Kindle store
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2017, 04:59:53 PM »
If there's one thing this article proves, it is that humans as a group will find a way to exploit any system. As for Amazon's lack of response, I'd imagine it has more to do with their money people than anything. I can't see how the KU scamming hurts them - they're still getting money - so the fact that it hurts authors is immaterial, most likely. It's always sad to admit, but unless Amazon itself starts actively losing money, I'd be surprised if they move on this. And if they are moving on it, they won't say ANYTHING until they drop the hammer so as not to give those exploiting the system a chance to prepare.

I'm not sure Amazon is making any money from the scammers. They buy lists of credit card numbers, then signup for a free month on Kindle Unlimited to borrow the books. Some of them even put their own "books" (mish mash of out of copyright material) in KU and have the click farm read the book. They get paid for the page reads, but haven't paid for a KU subscription. Thus Amazon and legitimate authors lose money to the scammers.

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Scammers break Kindle store
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2017, 05:45:26 PM »
You're probably correct, I should have been more clear. My feeling is they aren't LOSING money to scammers. If there were losing money, they would have addressed this months ago, so the fact that they seem unconcerned (and are taking their time) tells me it isn't hitting their bottom line. If they were taking any financial hit from this problem, they would have fixed it long ago, I think.

If there's one thing this article proves, it is that humans as a group will find a way to exploit any system. As for Amazon's lack of response, I'd imagine it has more to do with their money people than anything. I can't see how the KU scamming hurts them - they're still getting money - so the fact that it hurts authors is immaterial, most likely. It's always sad to admit, but unless Amazon itself starts actively losing money, I'd be surprised if they move on this. And if they are moving on it, they won't say ANYTHING until they drop the hammer so as not to give those exploiting the system a chance to prepare.

I'm not sure Amazon is making any money from the scammers. They buy lists of credit card numbers, then signup for a free month on Kindle Unlimited to borrow the books. Some of them even put their own "books" (mish mash of out of copyright material) in KU and have the click farm read the book. They get paid for the page reads, but haven't paid for a KU subscription. Thus Amazon and legitimate authors lose money to the scammers.
T. Eric Bakutis: 2014 Compton Crook Finalist and author of Tales of the Five Provinces

You can read my cyberpunk police procedural Loose Circuit for free at the link!

Offline Quill

Re: Scammers break Kindle store
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2017, 12:07:41 AM »
From what I understand, there is a pot of money attached to KU and other such Amazon schemes. The scammers are increasing their share of the pot through underhanded means, depriving the legitimate authors of their share. Since the pot does not change, however, Amazon is not losing money, as pointed out. Thus, Amazon's only incentive for taking action is when it is made public this way and it might affect their credibility and sales.

Another reason to seek alternate means of funding your writing, though it is an uphill battle given Amazon's near monopoly.
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Offline AmeliaFaulkner

Re: Scammers break Kindle store
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2017, 11:52:50 AM »
In fairness, the pot changes every month. Amazon sticks a finger in the air and decides at random how much the pot will be for the previous month.

Offline Ray McCarthy

Re: Scammers break Kindle store
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2017, 09:18:10 AM »
Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime make Amazon extra profit and short change publishers/creators as well as subscribers.
Subscription services for TV, video, musics, books etc are ultimately a double scam by the "platform".

I can enlarge more as to why Amazon's particular system is flawed and basically cheats authors/publishers.