Amazon scams are rife because they work.
Forget affiliate marketing, phishing and blog comment spam as a way to make a few bucks. Kindle scams are the easiest way to make money on the Internet according to an article in the Washington Post.
“Making money with Kindle is by far the easiest and fastest way to get started making money on the Internet today,” enthuses one video that promises to guide viewers to riches. “You don’t even need to write the books yourself!”
For all the hard-working self-publishing authors out there, who are battling away day after day trying to make a go of selling fiction, it might feel like a kick in the guts to know that there are Kindle scams that are raking in mountains of money, and they don’t even write the ebooks themselves.
No, they outsource the time-consuming writing part and simply concentrate on milking the market.
How does it work? This article in the Washington Post goes into great detail. How an industry of ‘Amazon entrepreneurs’ pulled off the Internet’s craftiest catfishing scheme.
What is clear from the article is that non-fiction self-help ebooks are the prime target of these Kindle scams and that they produce new ebooks at a phenomenal rate.
In fact, one author, by the name of Dagny Taggart published 84 books in one year. Those who have read Atlas Shrugged will recognise this name immediately, but sadly, now it’s the name of a Kindle, scam author.
As the article in the Washington Post explains, it is all about publishing content, with no regard whatsoever for quality, and then manipulating or buying reviews to give these Kindle scam books some credibility.
So if it is so easy to spot a Kindle scam, why don’t Amazon react and close down the scammers? Perhaps this quote from the Washington Post article will help you understand why Amazon doesn’t move as fast as one would like to think they should.
It must be noted, though, that Amazon technically also profits off its catfish: For every dollar someone like Pylarinos or Marrocco makes off the Kindle store, Amazon makes $1.86.
It’s a tough world out there in self-publishing, for the honest, hard-working self-published author. But for the crooks, thieves and miscreants, well, it’s easy pickings.
I mean, one author publishing 84 ebooks in one year is a pretty good clue that something is amiss.
Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited can’t count
Another problem that scammers exploit with ease, is Amazon’s technical inability to count pages that are read by Kindle Unlimited (KU) subscribers.
Of course, authors are paid by the number of pages that are read, but in fact, Amazon doesn’t really know how many.
Kindle makes the calculation based on the location a reader is at in an ebook. Therefore, if a reader skips pages, Kindle counts the pages that are skipped.
Scammers recognised this flaw almost as soon as KU was released. So they added skip links at the beginning of a (trash) ebook to get readers to go to the last page of the book with a promise of some phoney reward or special offer.
In reaction, Amazon has tried limiting the length of ebooks and placed bans on tables of content at the end of an ebook.
Yet, the scams continue in various forms, because Amazon still can’t count pages.
One can only hope that Amazon takes action very soon to protect readers from these obvious Kindle scams.
Update: Unfortunately, I think I will be continually updating Kindle scams. Here is another one:
“Chance Carter is the perfect example of both how the book-stuffing con works, and how Amazon is completely incapable of stopping the scammers.”
Read the full article on The Digital Reader.
Further reading: Publishing Companies To Avoid And Nasty New Author Scams