So, the last week of March, there was an activity that happened to a lot of erotica and erotic romance authors having their books shadow-banned on Amazon. This was the action of putting titles into different categories and not having them show up in a general search or the store. Eventually, some answers came out that it was a “mistake” and that the titles were being put back.
Now, more is coming out in regards to reviews. People, regular Amazon customers, are having their accounts removed from Amazon for having violated “Terms of Service (TOS)” that they received a free product or gift card to do a positive review. Secret groups have formed on Facebook and Twitter to discuss what happened. Many former customers on Amazon are using the tag #amazonclosed to discuss how many don’t know why their accounts were closed or how maybe writing positive reviews for a free gift or gift card might have backfired on them. There is even speculation that it is Russia hacking Amazon and closing accounts.
Then, this last week starting in the beginning of April, authors have noticed hundreds to thousands of pages reads being taken out of their March Kindle Unlimited reports. According to a Kboards.com thread, many of the authors have noticed a drop over the last week. The speculation is that it could be from the shadow-banning of the erotica, that made many other titles much more noticeable the last week of March. Or it could be because of the recently closed accounts, and they are deleting the reads for all of the accounts.
Who can say what it truly is, but Amazon itself. What has been disclosed by Amazon are new law suits filed this week a UK book stuffer on April 5. Book stuffers make up bogus books using previously published book material or sometimes just gibberish, to get clicks and reads. But often, they use “bots” and click farms to manipulate KU page reads and rob Amazon and legitimate authors of hard earned cash from the program. They also tend to rank high and get reads from unsuspecting readers that think they are a legitimate book.
Many authors and I’m sure readers will be happy to see these scammers finally going down. I know there has been a calling to clean up KU for years, and it seems to finally be happening. But there is a lot of fall out, of legitimate customers and authors, losing accounts or pages. This always seems to happen. It’s hard to know who has been playing by the rules and who has not. And to make it more difficult, scammers sometimes have picked legitimate authors to focus their bots on and buy reads to make them look more legitimate. There have been reports of some authors having this happen to them.
So, it might be that finally Amazon is going after the book stuffing scammers that have plagued Kindle Unlimited for years. And it might be also some back lash of still going after reviewers that still receive gift cards and free products to do positive reviews on Amazon. Of course, it’s a private website and all reviews belong to Amazon when you write them. But because of this backlash, I have noticed a real fall out of people wanting to review for Amazon anymore.
Most people have been leaving reviews on Goodreads these days for my books, and just not bothering with Amazon anymore. Plus, Kindles tend to direct you to the Goodreads site to review when you finish a book. I know, I’ve started reviewing more when I’m done with a book on my Kindle on Goodreads, and not even bothering to review on Amazon. Though, the email prompts will get me to motivate these days and write a quick review of a book I’ve read on Amazon these days.
So, it was surprising to me to hear there were still people leaving reviews for gift cards and free products still. The Zon also has the right to regulate its own website, which in some cases, is welcomed to get rid of the scammers. But in true Zon fashion, the nuclear option does sweep up some innocent bystanders. Reading tweets about how people will not be able to buy things for Easter or other means just shows how much power Amazon has over our lives now.