by Anne R. Allen
Amazon periodically cracks down on users who have been abusing their customer review and ranking systems. Most of us are happy when the giant retailer takes steps to combat the abuse. Cheaters take money out of our pockets and give honest authors and reviewers a bad name.
Unfortunately, the company usually does this with a clunky algorithm that throws out many babies with the bathwater. The worst part is there’s no opportunity to appeal to a human. A lot of honest reviewers had all their reviews taken down in a draconian purge in 2016.
And now there’s an equally heavy-handed crackdown going on. This one is aimed at authors who appear to be gaming the system to manipulate rank, especially using boxed sets. I warned about the boxed set scams in July. Sadly, many authors didn’t realize they were agreeing to violate Amazon’s TOS when they signed up.
And a whole lot more who have NOT been doing anything wrong are getting hammered. They’re all getting the following notice:
“We are reaching out to you because we detected purchases or borrows of your book(s) originating from accounts attempting to manipulate sales rank. As a result, the sales rank on the following book(s) will not be visible until we determine this activity has ceased.
Please be aware that you are responsible for ensuring the strategies used to promote your book(s) comply with our Terms and Conditions. We encourage you to thoroughly review any marketing services employed for promotional purposes.
Any additional activity attempting to manipulate the Kindle services may result in account level action.”
As David Gaughran posted on Friday, a whole lot of innocent (and perplexed) authors are being stripped of their sales rank. It happens after the author has run a big Bookbub promotion. When a book’s sales rank suddenly soars, no matter the reason, it apparently triggers punishment, and so far, Amazon is stonewalling anyone who tries to appeal. See further discussion at the Kindleboards. And there’s another conversation here.
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