Today I went to Amazon to search for a non-fiction book on a pet-related topic I’m interested in learning more about. Like countless people, I typed in my search terms and got a list of books.
But for the first time, the list Amazon returned looked a lot more like Click Bank than Amazon. Imagine my surprise to see a huge laundry list of identical ugly 3-D ebook covers created by one of those cheesy online ebook cover creators.
They were all Kindle books by multiple authors with different prices. But the Kindle books all had the same (or similar titles), identical covers, and descriptions. The books are probably made of up PLR (private label rights) content they bought from some Internet marketer (check out the screen shot below of another sea of virtually indentical Kindle books).
Amazon: Welcome to the World of Content Spam
Guess what Amazon? You now have to deal with the same Internet Marketing losers that Google has been fighting for years.
People often whine about the “duplicate content penalty “on Google, but I’ve always regarded it as a good thing. I use the Internet to find stuff and answer questions.
As a searcher, I don’t want to get 200 listings of the same keyword-stuffed article.
A lot of Internet marketers freaked out about the recent “Panda” update in which Google changed it’s algorithm to try and fend off an increasing level of content spam.
Unique content that has something interesting to say should rank higher than a bunch of junk on articles sites that people are using to game the search engines.
How Amazon Can Clean Up This Mess
The good news for Amazon.com is that, unlike Google, they don’t have to essentially police the entire Internet. They only have to worry about their little corner of it.
Amazon owns Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and controls everything related to Kindle. They can do whatever they want. A few obvious solutions come to mind.
1. Charge to upload books to the KDP platform. Even Click Bank (which I loathe) charges money. I love the idea of “free” in concept, but in reality, by making KDP uploads free, Amazon is inviting every loser to use the site to test pricing and see what spammy tactics they can get away with.
2. Require an ISBN to upload to KDP. One thing that has separated ebooks (in the Internet marketing sense) from print books is the need for an ISBN. Real print books have ISBNs; Internet Marketing ebooks don’t. Authors whine about coughing up money to Bowker for a block of ISBNs, but that one small expense keeps a lot of spammy content out of the publishing stream.
As with the Panda update, Internet Marketers will scream, but for readers and authors producing print books and quality Kindle books, it will help differentiate our stuff from the sea of PLR drek.
Personally, I find this infiltration of the Amazon system incredibly depressing. I started publishing print books to get away from the hordes of spammy ebooks online. As a Kindle owner and reader, I don’t want to have to deal with it there too.