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posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday June 12, @06:41AM   Printer-friendly
from the scamming-the-big-guys dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow8317

A few levels past the bestsellers and sci-fi/romance/adventure titles on Kindle Unlimited, in the darkest corners of the Kindle Direct Publishing market, there are books that are made entirely out of garbage designed to make scammers hundreds of dollars a day. One user, who called his or herself Chance Carter, was one of the biggest abusers of the KDP system and, more important, made over $15 per book they uploaded to the system, over and over, for books that contained no real content.

Carter, according to the Digital Reader, would create large novels out of other books. The books, which were simple hack jobs written by Fiverr writers, were hundreds of pages long and, on the first page, featured a recommendation to flip to the last page to get a free giveaway. KDP pays authors for both paid downloads as well as for pages read and it doesn't sense reading speed, just the highest number of pages reached. Therefore Chance's "readers" were instantly sending him or her about twenty dollars a read.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/11/notorious-kindle-unlimited-abuser-has-been-booted-from-the-bookstore/


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @06:58AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @06:58AM (#691808)

    Last time I checked, single and double quotes weren't abrogated.
    Neither the ™ sign.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:04AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:04AM (#691809)

      Yeap, I knew Kindle was notorious, but that it had an unlimited abuser is quite new to me. Good story, S/N, this is why I love the editors here.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by FakeBeldin on Tuesday June 12, @07:44AM (1 child)

    by FakeBeldin (3360) on Tuesday June 12, @07:44AM (#691819) Journal

    Another type of ebook spam I came across years ago basically relied on actually selling books - cheaply even.
    It was clearly less effective than this scheme per book ($1-$2).
    The trick was that the books had somewhat alluring titles ("getting the most from your tax return"-alike titles during tax season, etc.). The contents was basically copy-pasted together from all sorts of sources that you'd find if you were to search for keywords from (or related to) the title. So basically: 50-100 pages of content from the first obvious Google hits. Next to no formatting, butt-ugly layout, but: there is (copy-pasted) content in there.
    Moreover, spam authors had set up sock puppets to add reviews and promote the book, to make it (very) visible in search results.

    These type of spam books are priced so cheaply ($1-$2), that with all this random copy-pasting going on, it's hard to argue that a reader did NOT get that value. There's bound to be one or two pieces of advice / tips / tricks in there that warrant $1-$2.

    Apparently, the combination of aggressively polluting the regular review process combined with the extremely low price worked well enough to earn some money per book. I remember seeing authors that published multiple books per week... always a red flag.

    Haven't looked at this type of spam since 2010, so curious if it still exists and is still profitable. Does anyone around here know?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, @09:04PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, @09:04PM (#692528)

      Yeah, I got a "programming" book like that about 3 years ago. Not sure if it was for PHP or that Twitter CSS thing.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by SanityCheck on Tuesday June 12, @07:57AM (1 child)

    by SanityCheck (5190) on Tuesday June 12, @07:57AM (#691822)

    Amazon makes shitty system,
    Someone abuses shitty system for profit
    ????
    Outrage?

    • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Tuesday June 12, @12:58PM

      by bzipitidoo (4388) on Tuesday June 12, @12:58PM (#691869) Journal

      It was bound to happen. Resources that publishers should have spent on making good systems, checking their designs for obvious problems, instead have been thrown away to fight their War on Sharing. They're still fervent, clinging believers in copyright and the notion that most everyone in the world is a depraved, shameless, thieving pirate.

      And this problem is embarrassingly obvious. Release system that was hastily designed and has huge, gaping exploits, and what do you expect will happen? The problems will be found, and the world will beat a path through those holes. They should be glad it's not far worse, with hordes of angry, vengeful, and starving people pushing the various weak systems we use to collapse.

  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday June 12, @08:06AM (7 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 12, @08:06AM (#691823) Journal
    Sounds like Amazon got burned badly. It's too bad that this sort of thing rarely ever gets fully exposed. It'd be interesting to see who was involved and a timeline of the mess and how it developed (for example, how long the thing stayed as a single person scam).
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @01:58PM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @01:58PM (#691892)

      I was going to ask whether amazon ever made money, but I guess they recently did, because their P/E is positive. But it's 275, fools are valuing their stock that highly.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday June 12, @02:36PM (4 children)

        by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday June 12, @02:36PM (#691914) Journal

        They are probably betting that same-day delivery and fresh grocery delivery will pay off:

        Amazon’s Whole Foods deal makes online grocery ‘prime’ for acceleration [marketwatch.com]

        Data from Slice Intelligence shows that online grocery grew 44.6% in 2016 versus 2015. However, Moody’s said in a March note that online food sales account for less than 1% of the $1 trillion U.S. grocery market.

        Amazon currently has 18% of the online grocery market share, according to Slice.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @03:46PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @03:46PM (#691961)

          I just can't see grocery delivery getting big. Dry goods, sure. Meat, veggies, and fruit though? I want to see that shit, and feel it, check for ripeness, disease, etc. And I don't want it delivered by some asshole who throws everything at the front porch and runs away while I'm opening the door.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:16PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @07:16PM (#692061)

          They are probably betting that same-day delivery and fresh grocery delivery will pay off:

          I'm sure they are betting a lot. But why are the investors betting along with them? Retail has traditionally been plagued by low margins, and though Amazon may have the "one click patent", there's a lot of competition that can get goods to the consumer. Unless they feel that the thin margins aren't worth getting into business for. :)

          Yesterday German TV reported that Amazon has just been returned items to the crusher, including major appliances like refrigerators and washing machines: https://www.zdf.de/politik/frontal-21/amazon-vernichtet-tonnenweise-ware-100.html [www.zdf.de]

          What a strange MBA world we live in...

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, @09:11PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, @09:11PM (#692533)

            Yeah, a lot of online vendors seem to have check-out via PayPal now, where addresses and payment are handed automatically by someone whom you might trust a bit. Amazon used to have a big convenience advantage, but that's no longer true.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @03:59PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @03:59PM (#691968)

      Sounds like Amazon got burned badly.

      Well, what did they expect when they allow people to Kindle [dictionary.com] Unlimited? ;-)

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by Bot on Tuesday June 12, @08:06AM (4 children)

    by Bot (3902) on Tuesday June 12, @08:06AM (#691824)

    We will take over.
    Ebook scammers will soon resort to AI instead of merely copypasting, and people will realize OUR stuff is almost on par with meatbags' and with way less bias. Readers will resort to AI too, and the propaganda system disguised as culture outlet will finally collapse.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @08:37AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @08:37AM (#691831)

      Actual footage [youtube.com] of early AI ghostwriters in training.

    • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Tuesday June 12, @08:42AM (2 children)

      by aristarchus (2645) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 12, @08:42AM (#691833) Journal

      Go, go, Gadget Author!! And correct, could not be much worse, and possibly better, except for the erotica; wait a minute, especially the erotica! 512 shades of Binary?

      --
      #freearistarchus!!!
      • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Tuesday June 12, @11:27AM (1 child)

        by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 12, @11:27AM (#691856)

        I suppose in your days 9-bit machine words might've been the common thing... :P

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @12:56PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @12:56PM (#691868)

          Today we have 64 bit words, so: 18 446 744 073 709 551 616 shades of binary.

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @08:34AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 12, @08:34AM (#691830)

    If you read TFA go read some of the comments. There are comments defending Chance Carter as well as comments from people who took a seminar on how this scam works, taught by Chance Carter.

    What a strange world we live in. Read more about it in my new Amazon Unlimited Exclusive "Anonymous Anonymous, How Ghostwriters Helped Me Make The Internet What It Is Today"

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, @04:39PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, @04:39PM (#692395)

    This particular crook has been on Amazon for at least two years.

    Glad you're not the fire brigade, Amazon.

  • (Score: 2) by kaganar on Wednesday June 20, @07:21PM

    by kaganar (605) on Wednesday June 20, @07:21PM (#695715)

    Readers get unlimited books, authors get paid per pages read -- sounds good, right?

    Like many other "optimizations" to mundane problems that involve large cash flow, the devil is in the details, and more and more the details are a hard-to-quantify algorithm. Counting what pages are "read" is not trivial as there are many non-trivial edge cases and opportunity for scamming. As a result of this complexity, a niche business has been created based around exploiting the mechanics, much like SEO. Furthermore, Amazon has repeatedly been slow to fix glaring problems with KU only widening the disbenefit to genuine authors.

    Self-publishing and eBooks are great -- self-publishing has a similar author's expected return as going through a conventional publisher -- but at the end of the day KU benefits scammers more than authors.

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