A follow-up to the previous article Gaming the Long Tail:
Guy Delisle’s Shenzen sells for about $15 and is about 150 pages long.
Now if you look for it on Amazon, you will also find an “e-book” that is a two page review of that book. Two pages! For only $9.95! This is just an article from a magazine, and there are close to 7 thousand like it in Amazon’s product database. These e-books have no upfront publishing costs (like, actually printing a book) and their sole purpose is to spam the Amazon product index and hope for someone to mistake the e-book for the actual book.
Now comes another spammer (most likely not affiliated with the e-book “publisher”) who takes the Amazon product database and pours affiliate links into Twitter, thus advertising the faux e-book.
How did I stumble over these things? Because I’m reading Guy Delisle’s new book right now, then heard that he is at a conference right now that people tweeted about and went to Twitter search to see what people write about his appearance. And there in Twitter’s search result this e-book appeared. The long tail effect in action.
Both Amazon and Twitter are at fault for this. They both could easily identify abuse with Amazon affiliate IDs and remove those. Hey, Twitter, is it really that difficult to identify and block a bot like this?