Subverting Amazon's Ranking System For Fun And For Profit

from the not-so-hard dept

Earlier this week I posted a story about how authors are increasingly paying attention to their Amazon sales ranking. In the comments it was pointed out that authors, realizing how much attention this gets, are starting to “game” the system, and pointed to a request from Bruce Schneier to specifically boost his book sales on a particular day. It appears he’s not the only one. Publisher’s Weekly has the story of an author who paid the owner of a huge mailing list of folks looking for info on “self-help” books to send out an email blast pitching the book, with a special offer to get more “free” writings from the same author – but only if they bought the book on September 24th. Apparently, in that one day, the book’s sales rankings shot up from #900,000 to #1. Apparently, many more self-help authors are lining up to shell out a few thousand dollars to this list owner for similar treatment. Of course, this sort of strategy only works so long, until every book is advertised like this and the marketing value of the boost becomes much less noteworthy. It would suck, for instance, if on your “special book boosting day” 500 other authors also had their books boosted.

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Comments on “Subverting Amazon's Ranking System For Fun And For Profit”

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Beck says:

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The church of scientology used to give out money and send out hundreds of people to buy multiple copies of L. Ron Hubbard books during a specific week so that the book would hit the top of the best-seller charts.

He could advertise himself as a best-selling author even though no one except these people ever bought or read his books. Many of the books that were bought by his minions were later returned to the stores and then sold again to yet another wave of people sent to purchase his books.

Dianetics, by L. Ron Hubbard, ‘One of The Most Acclaimed and Widely Read Authors of All Time’.

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