Kindle Unlimited Cheat Chance Carter’s eBooks Have Been Removed From Amazon

Kindle Unlimited Cheat Chance Carter's eBooks Have Been Removed From Amazon Amazon

Amazon still hasn't released a statement about the most notorious Kindle Unlimited abuser, but they have taken the smallest possible step to curb the abuse of Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon has removed the ebooks written by "Chance Carter" from the Kindle Store. The retailer has also removed the ebooks published by Carter under the "Abby Weeks" pseudonym. Both accounts look like the owner was booted from KDP, although there's no way for third-parties to confirm this conclusion.

To recap, "Chance Carter" was the guest of honor in last week's hot story about cheating in Kindle Unlimited. Along with Abby Weeks, Chance Carter was the pseudonym for someone who was publishing ghost-written books in Kindle Unlimited (a ghost writer on Fiverr has claimed credit for writing a couple titles published by Carter, yes).

This individual stuffed multiple novels inside a single ebook before uploading the ebook to Kindle Unlimited as one really long, really large file. The latter novels were described as bonus content, and were published on their own as well as stuffed in the back of other ebooks published by Carter.

KU users were then tricked into flipping to the end of an ebook by a freebie offer. Due to a bug in the Kindle platform, Amazon can track your location, but not what pages you have actually read. As a result, this paid Carter the same as if the reader had actually read an ebook all the way through.

Edit: I have seen nothing official from Amazon to suggest it, but a number of authors are convinced that the jump to the end trick no longer works. There is a good chance that I am wrong in the previous paragraph. (I have trouble believing it because if they are right then book stuffing would not be profitable to be worth the effort.

By using this trick, Carter was paid around $14 to $15 per user. All this money came from content created cheaply by ghost writers.

Carter insists that everything they did was entirely within the rules at the time. That may be true (I have a different interpretation of the rules),  but that doesn't make it ethical nor does it indemnify Carter from public criticism.

At best, Carter is the equivalent of the content mills that stuff Google's search results with poor-quality content. Those content mills used to rank high in the search results due to good SEO practices, but that only lasted until Google changed its algorithm to punish purveyors of bad content. Content mills are still around, but they don't enjoy quite the success they used to.

Like Google, Amazon has changed the rules in Kindle Unlimited  several times, all in an effort to fight cheaters. Most recently Amazon restricted bonus content to 10% of an ebook's length (this rule was announced Saturday), but past rule changes have included switching to a system that paid based on pages read rather than per copy,  limiting the length of ebooks in KU, and banning practices like putting a TOC at the end of a book.

While Carter would claim that they haven't done anything wrong because they have stayed entirely within the rules, the fact that Amazon kept changing the rules to ban specific practices should have been  a clue that said practices were not ethical or fair.

image by Rusty Clark 

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

14 Comments

  1. Allen F8 June, 2018

    I’m actually glad Amazon doesn’t kill off a writer or account just because people are up in arms about it – think of how easy it would be to get writers banned and accounts closed if all it took was X number of complaints about it.

    Time will tell if they did a one-time kill on that joker or changed their bots enough to snag him and his like. If the bots were tweaked then we’ll soon be hearing from a ‘honest’ writer or three that ‘wasn’t doing anything wrong’ but Amazon is being mean again (it seems to happen every time Amazon makes it harder for cheaters.)

    And I don’t think too many KU readers were actually fooled. What does reading KU cost – $8-9? So if I could make that $14-15 per read per ebook per reader, then paying fifer types to open KU reader accounts and ‘read’ 50 of my mega-fake-ebooks, that brings in $700-750 per KU reader account. Have them also ‘read’ a few hundred other KU ebooks to throw off Amazon – and/or to get ‘honest’ accounts closed too.

    Which is one of the reasons Amazon doesn’t post ‘all’ the rules, it’s harder to game the system if you don’t know what might trip you up.

    Reply
  2. Whatever8 June, 2018

    If you’re going to post about this issue, at least get your facts straight.

    “KU users were then tricked into flipping to the end of an ebook by a freebie offer. Due to a bug in the Kindle platform, Amazon can track your location, but not what pages you have actually read. As a result, this paid Carter the same as if the reader had actually read an ebook all the way through.

    By using this trick, Carter was paid around $14 to $15 per user. All this money came from content created cheaply by ghost writers.”

    This isn’t true anymore. It hasn’t been true for over a year. Only pages manually clicked on count towards payment. Skipped pages (unless on a very old, un-updated device) DO NOT COUNT.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder8 June, 2018

      Amazon hasn’t corrected me on this point in the post I published last week, so I am confident I am not wrong.

      Also, I know that Amazon rolled out the new page count feature last August, but I also know they removed any mention of it the same day. It didn’t work.

      And guess what? The new measurement method you mention is not referenced on Amazon’s KDP pages:
      https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201541130

      Do you know what, I will double check with Amazon PR and see if I got it wrong.

      Reply
      1. Whatever8 June, 2018

        The reason I know it’s not true is because we’ve all had problems with pages not being counted when skipped over in Page Flip. Back in late 2016 authors were seeing cuts as drastic as 50% of their page reads in a month, when Page Flip started getting enabled left, right and center.

        Authors did tests, uploading dummy books with bad covers (so that no real reader would buy them) to see if they’d get credited for skipped pages. So regardless of what Amazon says, in practical use, skipped pages are no longer counted.

        Reply
        1. Just Me8 June, 2018

          This is correct. They’ve fixed it as far as I know. Authors like CC were instructing readers to keep flipping all the way through so they’d get a bigger payout. https://twitter.com/ease_dropper/status/1002001437876944897

          Reply
          1. Nate Hoffelder8 June, 2018

            I still have trouble accepting the jump to the end trick no longer works – why bother stuffing ebooks if that is the case – but it looks like I am in the minority so I will concede the point.

            Thank you both for calling that into question.

            Reply
          2. jiminycrickets8 June, 2018

            It hasn’t worked in over a year, Nate. Moreover even the most notorious stuffers to my knowledge only used the click to end trick for a month or two before Amazon shut it down with a change to the TOS. It’s a bit of a red herring that keeps getting resurrected and I think diluting the very reasonable argument against stuffing. What continued to work until July or so last year was that authors were credited for the furthest read point in a book. So if you had 3 books in a file, and someone skipped the middle one, you’d get credited for all three. Now you verifiably do not.

            I think that’s why some of the stuffers have gone so crazy in the last 9 months. This time last year, most of them put one, maybe 2 books in the back. But since the change it has been an arms race of increased bonus books. Even blue chip romance authors have been doing it – and escaping much of the blame I see. Better PR perhaps.

            All said and done I doubt it’ll make much impact on the rate, whether or not compilations get tacitly allowed by Amazon (as I suspect) or not. At a push the top stuffers are doing 250m pages a month. A lot, sure, but last month’s total pages was in the region of 4.6bn, so it’s barely more than 6% of total reads. I doubt the top stuffers will lose more than 40% of those even if ‘compilations’ disappear, and it’s not like the readers are going to stop reading. Those 100m pages will shift around to different books, and the rate will stay the same. Maybe boosted a few thousandths of a cent by Zon to quell the anger, but probably not.

            Reply
  3. David Gaughran9 June, 2018

    My original comment didn’t post so apologies if this ends up being a duplicate:

    The click-to-the-end scam still works. Why do you think stuffers still do it? Amazon claims to have closed the loophole but it’s only a half-truth. It still works on some devices and there are related click-to-the-end tricks still in play which I won’t detail for obvious reasons.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder9 June, 2018

      Sorry about that; the site didn’t recognize the email you used.

      Reply
  4. Mike D9 June, 2018

    Yes, the trick must still work on older Kindles because the firmware on K1, K2, K3, K4 hasn’t been updated.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder9 June, 2018

      And let’s not forget the original Paperwhite.

      So there are a lot of devices out there – possibly as many as half of those in use – that didn’t get the update.

      Reply
  5. Nate Hoffelder11 June, 2018

    In a way, you could look at the jump to the back trick as a lottery: if the cheat can get one of the N percent of Kindle owners to do it then the cheat wins $15.

    Reply
  6. Joanne13 June, 2018

    Chance is a horrible representation of an author! He bribes women in his group he instructs them on how to review and flip through. All so he can pad his pockets. You should see what goes on in that group. Rather a cult. They refer to him as their King! There are 2 women in his group that even buy books for others judt to get reviews. He’s a Book stuffer with no morals.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder14 June, 2018

      Yes, it’s kinda like a car accident – you can’t help but sow down and gawk.

      Reply

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