“Amazon’s continued inaction is increasingly baffling,” wrote best-selling author David Gaughran on his blog. Gaughran reported about many incidents, such as the one that happened recently, when a “click-farmed” title hit #1 in the Kindle Store. And Amazon took no action…
“Over the last six weeks, one particularly brazen author has put four separate titles in the Top 10, and Amazon did nothing whatsoever. There are many such examples. I wrote at the start of June about how scammers were taking over Amazon’s free charts. That post led to a phone conversation with KDP’s Executive Customer Relations. I explained in detail how none of those contentions were true, that readers are leaving angry reviews under these books, which regularly hit the charts, and further that KDP has singularly failed to act on 18 months-worth of complaints.”
The Facts and How Amazon Reacts (or NOT)
Here are the details what’s going on at the Amazon charts: An increase of 38,584,000%! within days… How does that not set off alarm bells in Seattle? Amazon is yet to respond or take any action. Sam DeSilva, a lawyer specializing in IT and outsourcing law at Manches LLP in Oxford had mentioned that: “Potentially, a number of laws are being breached – the consumer protection and unfair trading regulations. Effectively it’s misleading the individual consumers.”
It seems that Amazon can invent flying delivery robots, but can’t handle a 1990s-level internet marketer scam.
Amazon Has A Fake Book Problem
In this former article author David Gaughran explains in detail
how the click farm scammers “produce” and distribute their books: “For over fifteen months now, scammers have been raiding the Kindle Unlimited pot using a well-worn trick. They usually pilfer the content first of all – often by stealing an author’s original work and running it through a “synonymizer” – and then upload it to Amazon, thus avoiding the automatic plagiarism detectors. They make sure the “book” is as long as possible.
These thieves make the book free for a few days, and then use a variety of banned methods to generate a huge and immediate surge in downloads – generally suspected to be bots or click-farms or dummy accounts, or some combination thereof. These fake books then suddenly jump into the Top 20 of the free charts, displacing authors who have gone to considerable effort to put together an advertising campaign for their work.”
What are Click Farms?
A click farm, according to Wikipedia is a form of click fraud, where a large group of low-paid workers -usually located in developing countries, such as India, the Philippines, and Bangladesh – is hired to click on paid advertising links for the click fraudster.
It is extremely difficult for an automated filter to detect this simulated traffic as fake because the visitor behavior appears exactly the same as that of an actual legitimate visitor. In an effort to circumvent filtering systems, click fraudsters have begun to use these click farms to mimic actual visitors.
KindleUnlimited – Forget it!
David Gaughran explained in his blog that fake authors are sucking in money from the communal author pot, and stealing visibility from genuine, hardworking authors – despite the irate reviews from readers.
“One of these scammers who has been engaging in various shady tactics for years with impunity – has gate-crashed the Top 10 four times in the last six weeks using click-farms. His books tend to immediately slink back to around 100,000 in the charts and don’t have “Also Boughts” weeks after publishing (meaning that he didn’t manage to rustle up 50 genuine sales yet – borrows don’t count towards “Also Boughts”).
On the same day that this click-farmed book hit #1 on Amazon, KDP announced yet another drop in rates for Kindle Unlimited authors – and rates have been steadily dropping for some time now.”
See the long list of emails which David Gaughran sent already to Amazon – without any action from them to stop these scammers. It shows clearly that authors are screwed when participating in KU – not only due to the measly payouts. Best step for authors is NOT to enroll their book in KDP Select.
Inclusion in KDP Select (and KU) means that authors are losing out on other revenue streams – and also becoming increasingly more reliant on Amazon. KU is NOT an author’s friend. It’s Amazon’s friend to draw customers to their site.