PG was intrigued by comment to another TPV post from Ann Christy about innocent indie authors being seriously harmed by KU borrow scammers:
When I was doing my blog posts on the KU Scammers, several people on both sides of the issue wrote to me. One such was a woman who had her account shut down in exactly this manner.
She was a “prawn” and had almost no borrows to speak of. She had a one day spike on a book (much like the one in the kboards post referenced above) and was confused, but chalked it up to one of the many smaller newsletter services picking up her KCD without her applying. We all know that happens and we can’t always figure who picked it up.
Fast forward and she was shut down.
Now, it’s happened again. And there are more if you go to the Kindle community forums. All are completely innocent, all are prawns and the only common denominator seems to be a one day spike in borrows for a single book that they didn’t initiate.
I researched the KU Scams extensively for months, but you don’t have to do that to figure out what’s happening. Bot driven KU accounts are hired by click-farms. Just like with Adsense and other such click schemes, how do they obfuscate that they are bot driven?
They download a random real book and make sure to do the same to that one. By doing it enough times interspersed with the books they’re hired to click-farm, they make it hard to figure out they’re a click farmer at first glance.
Unfortunately, now that Amazon has responeded to the click farming, they are hammering the innocent victims of the click farmers attempts to hide what they are.
If you’re a prawn, you’re a potential target.
And there is absolutely nothing you can do.
It’s a real shame and I’m pretty shocked that Zon is doing this. I’m not in the Zon and I could figure it out in a hot second. This is their business and they couldn’t?
I’ve always been a huge fan of KDP and KDP Select, but this is worrisome. It is both capricious and stupid, which makes it dangerous to anyone who is a prawn that in good faith publishes with KDP-S.
As to why they choose prawns…obvious. They have no phone contacts at KDP to make take notice immediately. A prawn has no such recourse and is essentially at the mercy of whatever whim is currently blowing up the collective KDP skirt.
Also, this is now a way to target anyone you don’t like. Hire a click farmer for a one day shot at a book by someone you don’t like. Now, they will be ruined without even being asked about it.
In this context, PG believes a prawny author is someone who is not a big fish author.