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 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re:

    You said:" you say that as if the absolute quantity of signal is reducing. it's not."

    Me: I don't think so. It is a question of ratio. If you have 100 good works, and 10 bad ones, your signal to noise ratio is high and you have no problems. But if that shifts to 100 good works and 1000 bad ones, the chance that you find the signal (same level as before) is very low.

    In a world where anyone can publish anything at any time with little or no real cost, you will get more noise. Spammers, jammers, and scammers will figure out how to make money in the noise, and the noise increases.

    One only has to look at the number of twitter bots, automated posters, automated follow bots, and auto-retweeters to see where the noise comes from.

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