Kindle Spam Is A Filter Issue, Not A Spam Issue

from the filter-away dept

Via Slashdot, we learn that spammers have discovered the ability to publish cheap "ebooks":
Thousands of digital books, called ebooks, are being published through Amazon’s self-publishing system each month. Many are not written in the traditional sense.

Instead, they are built using something known as Private Label Rights, or PLR content, which is information that can be bought very cheaply online then reformatted into a digital book.

These ebooks are listed for sale – often at 99 cents – alongside more traditional books on Amazon’s website, forcing readers to plow through many more titles to find what they want.
The article makes it sound like this is a big problem, calling it "the dark side" of self-publishing, but I don't get it. Assuming no one wants this crap, then it seems likely that Amazon will start to filter it out of any search results or top lists.

There is some slightly more legitimate concern about outright plagiarism, where some of these "spammers" are merely copying other books and then re-branding them and selling them as ebooks. But, once again, this seems like a filter problem more than anything else. In fact, I'm a bit surprised that Amazon doesn't do a basic check to make sure the content of an ebook hasn't already been offered by someone else, and do a further investigation if that's the case. Others have suggested that Amazon charge a small fee to upload a book, as that might prevent spammers from going crazy with such copies, and that could make sense as well. I just have trouble believing that this is such a serious "problem" that it can't easily be stopped.

Filed Under: ebooks, kindle, spam
Companies: amazon


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2011 @ 3:22am

    This is not a new problem...

    ...all that's new is that the press is now reporting it. Those of us who work in the anti-spam arena have known about it for quite some time, have alerted Amazon, and quietly provided them with some free consulting advice on how to put a stop to it. It's unfortunate that they haven't used that advice, doubly so given that it comes from people vastly more experienced than anyone on their staff, but that's their choice.

    Unsurprisingly, the same scumbags who are engaged in this are also engaged in other abuse: link farming, content farming, SEO, Usenet spam, email spam, IM spam, text spam, etc. And one of their current strategies seems to be to combine these modalities into integrated "campaigns" designed to annoy as many people as possible.

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