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Thread: For those with a deep and abiding faith in Kay Yu...


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Permlink Replies: 13 - Pages: 1 - Last Post: Jul 18, 2017 7:58 AM Last Post By: Moshe Ben-Or Threads: [ Previous | Next ]
writerbn

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For those with a deep and abiding faith in Kay Yu...
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 9:03 AM
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...here's a comprehensive post from David Gaughran's blog that might open your eyes (if it survives moderation, of course):

https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/scammers-break-the-kindle-store/
Jonathan B

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Re: For those with a deep and abiding faith in Kay Yu...
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 9:37 AM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
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Interesting. If all of this is true (and I don't have reason to doubt it), then I am curious as to why Amazon allows it. If this guy and others can pinpoint scammers, then certainly Amazon can.

I use KENP because it is currently the best way for me to maximize revenue. However, while I do own Amazon stock, I do not owe Amazon loyalty as a platform for my work. I am grateful to the company for giving me a platform and the ability to be a full-time writer, but the moment I think I can make more by going wide and ditching KENP, then I will.
Melinda Clayton

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Re: For those with a deep and abiding faith in Kay Yu...
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 9:54 AM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
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One theory on a different discussion board is that KU, and KDP in general, are such a small drop in the bucket for Amazon that it isn't worth fixing. Maybe. Who knows? In reading so much about this the past couple of days I can't help but wonder if a better strategy might be for people to email KDP instead of Amazon. I mean, if I have a complaint about one store in the mall, I take it up with that store rather than with mall management. Just a thought.

I played around with Select a couple of times, but always found it cannibalized my Amazon sales. That, and the exclusivity thing just sits wrong.
writerbn

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Re: For those with a deep and abiding faith in Kay Yu...
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 10:29 AM   in response to: Jonathan B in response to: Jonathan B
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Jonathan B wrote:
Interesting. If all of this is true (and I don't have reason to doubt it), then I am curious as to why Amazon allows it. If this guy and others can pinpoint scammers, then certainly Amazon can.
David Gaughran is, IMO, a pretty reliable source. He's up there with Hugh Howey in terms of advocating for indie authors.

As to why Ama*zon allows it, I do think they're trying to do something. I've seen reports of legitimate authors getting caught up in a sweep from time to time, and Gaughran mentions that as well. However, all their solutions rely on bots, and using bots to fight bots is just not a practical solution. Until they invest the time and money to have human intervention as the first line of defense, I don't think anything will change.

I use KENP because it is currently the best way for me to maximize revenue. However, while I do own Amazon stock, I do not owe Amazon loyalty as a platform for my work. I am grateful to the company for giving me a platform and the ability to be a full-time writer, but the moment I think I can make more by going wide and ditching KENP, then I will.
I agree about being grateful to Ama*zon. If it wasn't for KDP, I probably would be stuck with a piddling royalty at a small press. I did figure out I could make more by going wide with most of my books, so I did. For the others, I use Kay Yu for the first 90 days before going wide, and that seems to be a good compromise.
Moshe Ben-Or

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Re: For those with a deep and abiding faith in Kay Yu...
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 11:38 AM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
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The Zon does not care because the Zon is a monopolist. They are 75% of the electronic book market.

The B&N store is a giant joke. The iBook store sells products that are only useful if your have an Apple device. Kobo... What's Kobo?

The bottom line is that every new purchase is money in the Zon's pocket. A book at the top of the charts automatically brings additional buyers who more than pay for the expense associated with the fraudulent Kay Yu borrows. Genuine authors competing via AMS shell out yet more cash, sending the average CPC climbing through the roof and bankrupting themselves in a vain effort to salve their bruised egos.

Rant and rave all you want. Why should the Zon change? What power do you have to *make them*?

The real answer to all this involves the humorless fellows in ill-fitting suits and polyester ties who introduce themselves with the initials "FTC" after their names.

When the Zon is broken up and competition is restored, there will be change. Until then, nothing will happen.
writerbn

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Re: For those with a deep and abiding faith in Kay Yu...
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 1:54 PM   in response to: Moshe Ben-Or in response to: Moshe Ben-Or
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Moshe Ben-Or wrote:
Rant and rave all you want. Why should the Zon change? What power do you have to *make them*?
I'm neither ranting nor raving, simply posting a link to an intelligent, detailed analysis of a problem that many on this forum don't believe exists.

I'm also under no illusion that I have the power to make the Zon change. I'm a tiny blip on their radar screen, if I even show up at all. However, if a few of their top authors raise a stink, the powers that be at the Zon can and will listen. They've done so in the past; that's how we ended up with Kay Yu 2.0.

The real answer to all this involves the humorless fellows in ill-fitting suits and polyester ties who introduce themselves with the initials "FTC" after their names.

When the Zon is broken up and competition is restored, there will be change. Until then, nothing will happen.

I don't have a lot of faith in anti-trust lawsuits, to be honest. And that was even before the current administration took office. I'd much rather the market took care of itself; however, you may be right that neither Apple nor B&N are that interested in improving their offerings. Internationally, however, the real competition is Goo*gle Play, and it seems to be doing quite nicely, at least for me.
jm14

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Re: For those with a deep and abiding faith in Kay Yu...
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 3:49 PM   in response to: Moshe Ben-Or in response to: Moshe Ben-Or
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When the Zon is broken up and competition is restored, there will be change.

Ah, yes. The days of frolicking unicorns and perpetually arcing rainbows.
Moshe Ben-Or

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Re: For those with a deep and abiding faith in Kay Yu...
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 3:53 PM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
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I'm also under no illusion that I have the power to make the Zon change. I'm a tiny blip on their radar screen, if I even show up at all. However, if a few of their top authors raise a stink, the powers that be at the Zon can and will listen. They've done so in the past; that's how we ended up with Kay Yu 2.0.

I sincerely hope so, but the skeptic in me doubts it. I did not mean to put you down, and if you took it that way I wholeheartedly apologize.

Simply put, when I look at the problem from the Zon's perspective, I see no reason for them to crack down on the clickfarms. The ones who page through the books to generate KENPC do cost the Zon some money. But this money is almost certainly offset by the money the Zon gets when genuine readers buy the suddenly highly-ranked book. If there is ever a problem, the Zon can respond by lowering the payout, and the accounts will balance.

From the point of view of the bottom line, a clickfarm is no different from a book promotion site. Both drive traffic to a book for a short time and increase its ranking. Ultimately, the traffic stops, and the book sinks back down. A tiny minority of books catch fire, and become bestsellers. The Zon makes money either way. Why should they care?

A clickfarm behaves quite differently from the average real reader. If the Zon wishes to stop the problem, it could readily hire Kount or a similar service to develop some profiling systems not very different from the one they currently use to defeat cardtesters and other such fraudsters. The fact that they choose not to do so tells me that they are making a good deal more money than they are losing, and therefore simply don't care.

I don't have a lot of faith in anti-trust lawsuits, to be honest.
I do not have faith in government bureaucrats, period. They have the reverse Midas Touch. But once they become involved, things always change. Generally, they change for the worse...
Moshe Ben-Or

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Re: For those with a deep and abiding faith in Kay Yu...
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 3:56 PM   in response to: jm14 in response to: jm14
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Ah, yes. The days of frolicking unicorns and perpetually arcing rainbows.

Actually, as a lifelong pessimist, I envision more along the lines of the days of dreary editors and overflowing slush piles. If there is one thing life has taught me, it is to trust in the power of government to make things worse. They're good at that, governments are. That, and spending our money.
the_peartree

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Re: For those with a deep and abiding faith in Kay Yu...
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 11:50 PM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
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Thank you for this link, which I have read. For some time I've been wondering whether to pull my books out of KU as a matter of principle - the use of click-farms and other scam practices as well as the steadily reducing reward for authors are really demotivating. Unfortunately, as with most matters of principle, there will be a cost for me, in that pages read now produce about fifty per cent of my income. I don't blame the readers, who simply went for the cheapest deal, but in the long run these issues will damage the brand if they are not resolved, whether or not individuals like me eventually pull out of Select.
writerbn

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Re: For those with a deep and abiding faith in Kay Yu...
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 5:12 AM   in response to: Moshe Ben-Or in response to: Moshe Ben-Or
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Moshe Ben-Or wrote:
I sincerely hope so, but the skeptic in me doubts it. I did not mean to put you down, and if you took it that way I wholeheartedly apologize.
No worries; I was merely pointing out that my post wasn't a rant. And, as I said, my status as an author is insignificant in the Zon's eyes. There are a few authors here who aren't, though, and they do have inside tracks to the Zon that most of us don't.

Simply put, when I look at the problem from the Zon's perspective, I see no reason for them to crack down on the clickfarms. The ones who page through the books to generate KENPC do cost the Zon some money. But this money is almost certainly offset by the money the Zon gets when genuine readers buy the suddenly highly-ranked book. If there is ever a problem, the Zon can respond by lowering the payout, and the accounts will balance.

From the point of view of the bottom line, a clickfarm is no different from a book promotion site. Both drive traffic to a book for a short time and increase its ranking. Ultimately, the traffic stops, and the book sinks back down. A tiny minority of books catch fire, and become bestsellers. The Zon makes money either way. Why should they care?

On the surface, you're right. They still make money. However, at some level up the chain of management, someone will care about the damage being done to the Zon's reputation, just like they cracked down on fake reviews.

I do not have faith in government bureaucrats, period. They have the reverse Midas Touch. But once they become involved, things always change. Generally, they change for the worse...
You won't get any argument form me on that :)
writerbn

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Re: For those with a deep and abiding faith in Kay Yu...
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 5:19 AM   in response to: the_peartree in response to: the_peartree
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the_peartree wrote:
Unfortunately, as with most matters of principle, there will be a cost for me, in that pages read now produce about fifty per cent of my income.
There's definitely a cost. I started pulling books out of Select about a year ago, also as a matter of principle. I lost around 40% of my royalty income, but eventually, it proved to be the right decision. If you get 50% of your income through Select, it would be hard to give that up. You could try keeping new releases in for the first 90 days and then going wide. For one pen name, that's what I do.

In the end, you don't know if it will work until you try it. It requires a lot more work, too, because you now have to market your books to other channels besides the Zon.
acornwriter

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Re: For those with a deep and abiding faith in Kay Yu...
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 10:33 AM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
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On the surface, you're right. They still make money. However, at some level up the chain of management, someone will care about the damage being done to the Zon's reputation, just like they cracked down on fake reviews.

"Fake Bestsellers" could turn out to be a public relations nightmare. Like I said, if it's true, they'd better put that fire out quickly. The owner of Amazon is also the owner of The Washington Post. This is just the sort of story they would investigate. Amazon MUST be making attempts at stopping these corrupt practices. I can't imagine overlooking that. An oversight like that is unfathomable.
Moshe Ben-Or

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Re: For those with a deep and abiding faith in Kay Yu...
Posted: Jul 18, 2017 7:58 AM   in response to: acornwriter in response to: acornwriter
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"Fake Bestsellers" could turn out to be a public relations nightmare. Like I said, if it's true, they'd better put that fire out quickly. The owner of Amazon is also the owner of The Washington Post. This is just the sort of story they would investigate. Amazon MUST be making attempts at stopping these corrupt practices. I can't imagine overlooking that. An oversight like that is unfathomable.

If the problem becomes widespread, sure. If the problem remains relatively small as proportion of books sold, unlikely. Ultimately, with each such book, the problem solves itself. Readers simply one-star the thing to death. Those who buy it outright, quickly return it, and all is well.

Given how relatively easy it would be to crush the current generation of clickfarms, and to identify and severely punish the writers who use them or have used them in the past, if the Zon was actually interested in stopping these practices, they would stop them in a heartbeat. It seems to me most likely, based on my admittedly limited observations, that the Zon periodically identifies and removes the most severe offenders among the writers, but lets the clickfarms be.

If there is ever a PR issue, they can honestly stand up and say that they address the problem, and point to some suspended accounts. They can also immediately generate an avalanche of account suspensions, and thump themselves on the chest as they proclaim "rigorous enforcement".

In the meantime, they know exactly who the bad apples are, and do not have to worry about evasive strategies being adopted by a new generation of clickfarms.
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