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Thursday, October 08, 2020

A moment of surreality

 As Darkstream viewers know, I think rather highly of the marketing book In Search of Stupidity. I've read the 2nd edition twice - I borrowed the paperback from Farley at his recommendation - and after discovering that an updated 3rd edition had been released, I went and picked up a copy. I'm about halfway through it, and you can probably understand I was a little startled by the following passage from the chapter on Amazon and its war with the Big Five publishers.

Another problem with Karnivorous is that it seems he has a distinct political bias. In March 2018, members of the Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance (CLFA) began reporting that many of their book reviews were disappearing from Amazon; in some cases, all reviews were pulled down. As always, Amazon refused to say why. Progressive and liberal authors writing on topics similar to the conservatives and libertarians did not have their reviews purged. The CFLA begin to push back publicly, and some authors such as sci-fi author Jon Del Arroz had their reviews restored. Arroz had his own theory on what had happened: 

“I believe the CLFA was targeted by an extreme alt-left troll mob running an email harassment campaign to Amazon who were enabled by a rogue Amazon employee."

This was not paranoia on Arroz’s part. In 2017, an Amazon employee had temporarily succeeded in having a book released by conservative publisher Castalia House kicked off Kindle until their behavior was uncovered.

As readers here will recall, the SJWs in the KDP department behaved even more egregoiusly in 2019. While their customer service first told a bunch of lies, the KDP department's actions were subsequently determined to have been based on "incorrect" information and Castalia's account was quickly reinstated. While we did manage to get everything sorted out in only 18 hours, the incident served to confirm the importance of the strategic shift we had already begun. Now we're moving off of Audible in favor of the Arkhaven store and it may not be long before we abandon KDP as well.

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27 Comments:

Blogger xevious2030 October 08, 2020 11:27 AM  

It would not be surprising to see your work come up as required reading of the greats, in a couple thousand years. Compendium, original work, whatever, a great work is a great work. SSH is timeless as people, as is the story of convergence cancer. And the tip of the spear becomes a point of reference for the remainder of the shaft.

Blogger Critias October 08, 2020 11:37 AM  

One good thing about Amazon, I haven't a clue when the last time was they 'improved' their user interface. But hopefully they never do.

Blogger Tallen October 08, 2020 11:43 AM  

Now we're moving off of Audible in favor of the Arkhaven store

Your DRM-free audiobooks alone make them preferable to Audible. My first (and likely last) Audible purchase was JCW's Superluminary trilogy. The process of getting it into my car's data storage for playback without using the Audible app was overly convoluted.

Blogger Dafo October 08, 2020 12:19 PM  

Audible's terms of service state that they are not obliged to make your purchases available for download long-term. I think a lot of people miss this as they think they'll always be able to re-download their stuff on new devices. But Audible can simply remove any book they don't like and have you stuck having it only on your old devices. Exporting requires paid 3rd party software and I'm not sure how easy it is.

Blogger Nate73 October 08, 2020 12:22 PM  

I wonder how long until the business schools start teaching this kind of thing. For example the common wisdom has been that massive phone complaints is something you pay attention to because for every 1 phone call it's 100 dissatisfied customers who didn't call. But that principle is reversed in the social media age where most of the people in the twitter mob don't even use your product!

Blogger Parallax October 08, 2020 12:28 PM  

Words can never express my family’s appreciation for all you’ve done to and continue to do to preserve and promote The West. It’s an oasis. Excelsior!

Blogger tdcommenter October 08, 2020 12:42 PM  

@2 Ultimate jinx. I put the over-under at 14 days before we get the message: Dear Customer, To upgrade your user experience, we have outsourced the interface to a truly inclusive and diverse programming team.

Blogger J Van Stry October 08, 2020 12:54 PM  

I think Bezos needs to stop with his vanity blog and get back to running Amazon before he loses it.
A friend of mine, who was making Amazon millions of dollars a year (no exaggeration) was banned by Amazon and here it is two years later and they have yet to tell him why. No one knows. He even took them to court but still couldn't get an honest answer. All Amazon will say is 'he deserved it' and 'he broke a rule'. Yet they can't point to the rule he broke and every answer is different, when you can get an answer at all.
My suspicion is that some SJW at Amazon got butthurt that he was making so much money and was so popular selling 'the wrong kind of book' (i.e. - something that men wanted).
Customer service is starting to devolve there as well. You can end up dealing with some incredibly rude people at Amazon nowadays.
But they're the only game in town right now, so what are you going to do?

Blogger Newscaper312 October 08, 2020 12:55 PM  

Best dumb marketing goof I've heard of in person, coworker at a previous job worked for a guy in mid-90s starting up a local dial-up ISP when that was still a thing. After getting office space, leasing first T1 line and buying initial hardware including faster than usual modems, boss blew most of his available cash on fancy full color flyers to spam the city and surrounding area with.
Paid to have them printed and a bunch mailed out to a purchased mailing list in addition to placing around town.
OOPS... Forgot to print phone number! Place out of business in 2 or 3 months.

Blogger SonyAD October 08, 2020 1:39 PM  

SJWs and contract law abusers or position of trust or authority abusers bring shame to us nationalist leftists who cringe at being associated or conflated with them.

Blogger Krymneth October 08, 2020 1:48 PM  

Nate73 wrote:For example the common wisdom has been that massive phone complaints is something you pay attention to because for every 1 phone call it's 100 dissatisfied customers who didn't call.

I've heard online that Congressional offices have a rule-of-thumb they use for phone calls vs. custom letters vs. form letters, though I don't recall offhand the exact ratios they use.

Yeah, social media needs a fraction applied rather than a multiplier, and for a Republican, a Twitter mob probably means you're on the right track, not something you should back away from; in other words, a Twitter mob should use a negative number for the ratio.

Blogger Billy October 08, 2020 1:54 PM  

Y’all should probably try really hard to get Castalia Library books sold thru Amazon... not

Blogger Karen took the Kids October 08, 2020 1:59 PM  

Shit. I ordered the second edition after watching the stream. I guess I found stupidity.

Blogger VD October 08, 2020 2:15 PM  

No, 2nd edition is still well worth your while.

Blogger Seeingsights October 08, 2020 2:18 PM  

I’m not surprised that low level employees at Amazon are playing commissar. I wrote a negative review on Amazon of Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture by historian Michael A. Bellesiles. It’s a discredited book about American gun culture, an expansion of a 1996 article he published in the Journal of American History. Bellesiles, then a professor at Emory University, used fabricated research to argue that during the early period of US history, guns were uncommon during peacetime and that a culture of gun ownership did not arise until the mid-nineteenth century.

My review and other negative reviews were not easy to find. That situation was corrected.

Then I wrote a highly positive review of a anti-communist book but it didn’t appear on Amazon for two days. I contacted a rep; the rep said he saw nothing wrong with the review, found parts of my review funny, and had no idea why my review wasn’t posted. My review got posted.

Blogger Unknownsailor October 08, 2020 4:13 PM  

Seeingsights wrote:I’m not surprised that low level employees at Amazon are playing commissar. I wrote a negative review on Amazon of Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture by historian Michael A. Bellesiles. It’s a discredited book about American gun culture, an expansion of a 1996 article he published in the Journal of American History. Bellesiles, then a professor at Emory University, used fabricated research to argue that during the early period of US history, guns were uncommon during peacetime and that a culture of gun ownership did not arise until the mid-nineteenth century.

My review and other negative reviews were not easy to find. That situation was corrected.

Then I wrote a highly positive review of a anti-communist book but it didn’t appear on Amazon for two days. I contacted a rep; the rep said he saw nothing wrong with the review, found parts of my review funny, and had no idea why my review wasn’t posted. My review got posted.


I saw someone cite his book on Quora last month, I really had to dredge through internet history to find the authoritative rebuttals, it has been so long....

Blogger Kevin Smith October 08, 2020 4:29 PM  

"The Contagion Myth" by Sally Fallon Morell and Thomas Cowan has just been cancelled by Amazon. This book offers a strong challenge to the Covid-19 narrative -- it's purging from Amazon is highly suspicious.
Catherine Austin Fitts' review of the book is worth reading:
https://home.solari.com/book-review-the-contagion-myth-why-viruses-including-coronavirus-are-not-the-cause-of-disease/

Blogger Rick Chapman October 08, 2020 6:09 PM  

"Karen," send me your email address; I'll send you a coupon that that enables to obtain ISOS3 for free.

rick chapman
rickchapman@softletter.com

Blogger VD October 08, 2020 6:25 PM  

My compliments on the great book, Rick. And congratulations on the new edition. I'm very much enjoying it.

Blogger Rick Chapman October 08, 2020 7:57 PM  

Hi, Vox. This is Rick Chapman, author of "In Search of Stupidity: Over 40 Years of High-Tech Marketing Disasters." I just wanted to touch base and thank you for your very kind comments about ISOS2 and 3. I'm going to pick up a copy of Corporate Cancer and write a review for Softletter; as you already know, I think a company involving itself in politics is stupid and destructive.

If you'd like to speak on the phone with me directly let me know know and we can schedule a time.

I'd like to know more about the 2019; I'm opening up a miniblog to on stupid high-tech behavior and this sounds like a case study.

rick

Blogger Rick Chapman October 08, 2020 10:42 PM  

+++ My compliments on the great book, Rick. And congratulations on the new edition. I'm very much enjoying it. +++

Thanks! Let me know if you'd like to talk; I'm picking up a copy of Corporate Cancer tomorrow and will read it over the weekend.

Blogger Seeingsights October 08, 2020 11:44 PM  

Speaking of Corporate Cancers, a CEO has developed a remarkable remedy:

Coinbase sheds 60 activist employees after refusing to bring politics into the company

https://reclaimthenet.org/coinbase-sheds-60-activist-employees/

Blogger preapprehension October 09, 2020 2:39 AM  

Looking forward to reading the section on the Amazon Fire phone disaster which I had the misfortune of witnessing first hand. The emperor had no clothes; everyone I worked with (below the exec level) knew that nobody would pay full price for the thing. Jeff had had a list of game changing features, and all of them had flopped except the 3-d head tracking, so that was the main focus: hell or high water.

Can't tell you how many practical and essential phone features got shelved because head-tracking was the only thing upper management via Jeff wanted to see. There were months where management was only taking head tracking progress demos, so anything that wasn't a head tracking demo would crash and be completely unusable. At one point one of the upper managers took a long personal leave and engineering used the time to revolt and get some of the "bread and butter" done, there's no way we would have ever shipped without that revolt.

Many of us thought that the budget phone ("otis" as I recall) would eventually launch and save us, but it was never given legs.

Blogger RedJack October 09, 2020 7:08 PM  

It is very interesting what Amazon "allows" on the Kindle in what country. I am an early adopter in Ebooks, but there are titles that are not allowed to be sold on Amazon. Which has drove me to other sites.

Blogger Ariadne Umbrella October 10, 2020 10:54 AM  

I would prefer that Mr. Da keep at least a few titles on sale at Amazon and consider going on Kobo to pick up the Walmart sales. I've bought the books on my kindle. I've bought a few of the comic books on my kindle, on the theory that eventually my child will read them.

Consider it the dandelion method - a few unexpected seeds drifting out on to other people's lawns.

Blogger VD October 10, 2020 11:05 AM  

Consider it the dandelion method - a few unexpected seeds drifting out on to other people's lawns.

We have six years of data. The benefits of pushing your own platform are much greater than the dandelion method. Kobo is almost entirely worthless, as is Smashwords. The Arkhaven store has sold more books in one month than we have sold in six years on Kobo and Smashwords combined.

Blogger Daniel October 12, 2020 4:07 PM  

This is true. I initially had amazing success on Smashwords in its early days: thousands of units of sold per quarter. Then it bottomed out as its libraries grew, and nothing I did ever made it work again. "Almost entirely worthless" is accurate.

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