The Kindle Swindle. Content farming and ebooks.

Back in May of 2011 Laura Hazard Owen wrote an article titled “The Kindle Swindle” about Mike Essex, a Search Specialist at UK digital marketing agency Koozai. Mike believes that ebooks are the next frontier for content farmers, and is already noticing an increasing number of spam e-books hitting ebook stores like the Kindle Store.

Read Laura’s full article at Publishing Trends here.

Mike originally wrote about his discovery on the Koozai blog. In his article Mike said “It’s true most eBook platforms review the content they receive, however it will be little more than a cursory check by automated software with thousands of eBooks published every day across multiple platforms. I tested this by publishing an eBook with content taken from my own blog on Amazon, this didn’t set off a single detector or warning. You have to tick a box to confirm you have permission to use the content, but tick boxes have never stopped scammers from lying before.

Therefore there’s nothing to stop people gathering content from the web, and creating an eBook. Someone could go to a blog, grab any content they want, label it as their own and make money from another person’s content.”

Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, commented on Mike’s article: “Good post, thanks. At Smashwords, we have zero tolerance for content farm garbage. We have multiple systems in place (automated and human) to detect it, and if we discover it we delete the offender’s account without warning. Per our Terms of Service, they forfeit any accrued earnings. Since we pay quarterly, it makes it even more difficult for them to earn income before we catch them.”

Mike mentioned one content farmer named Manuel Ortiz Braschi,  “who created 2,879 eBooks in just a couple of years. Many of his books have reviews listing formatting errors and he covers such as wide range of topics it’s impossible to believe he is really an expert in all these topics. Most reviewers also cite that they won’t buy an eBook again, therefore Manuel has destroyed the platform for honest creators.”

Where’s there need there’s greed.