No More Answers Today Than We Had Yesterday…
This entire thing will take time to settle out. I see three paths: Data Guy and Hugh can make changes, they can go on as they plan, or someone large could shut them down. No telling.
But here is what I heard today. Also great stuff in the comments on Passive Guy and on my posts over the last two days. Thanks, everyone, for the comments. Too bad Data Guy didn’t feel up to responding.
What I heard through the day (in letters and on private lists) from lots of writers was that they felt betrayed because they had given Data Guy their information. A number said that Data Guy had promised something different at RWA Nationals to get people to give their information to him. I know nothing about that, I wasn’t there so I only heard second hand what he promised.
I got four letters from writers who have written to Amazon filing a complaint. That is a pretty standard kind of business response when you enter in to a contract between your business and another business (you with Amazon) with an assumption of confidentiality (as stated in their TOS and standard business practices) and that assumption is broken. (Amazon is letting this happen so far.) You file a complaint.
So writers are writing Amazon and if I heard of four, there are others I am sure. Not a clue if any of those complaints are being heard by Amazon. But Amazon is allowing this at this point, more than likely because they flat don’t realize that someone is getting their data and making money from it.
A number of writers are worried that this attempt to expose personal writer information will actually cost the indie world general data we can use when this is all shut down. I fear that as well. But I think no matter what happens, this is now lost to us indie writers. Sadly.
And even if Amazon and other big companies allow this to continue, I would never really trust another Author Earnings Report if this is going on behind the paywall. I would never really believe the data because I would not be able to tell if there was a motive to slant the data for the big buyer’s purposes.
As I have said before, I have no issue with Data Guy trying to make money from his hard work on this. But exposing the sales numbers of all writers as if that is what the writer actually earns is not the way to do it.
I heard from two traditionally published writers who are angry as well. (Traditionally published writers don’t tend to follow my blog or this kind of thing.) This new service will hurt them. They have complained to their agents and publishers. Again no idea if that will have any value.
So my update is that there is no telling where this will end up. But no matter what, unless Data Guy and Hugh pull back all personal sales information and take it back to a general information level, this won’t end well for anyone. Sadly.
Guess we go back to writing our books and just move into the new future, whatever it might now be.
By the way, if you were wondering what this is all about, take a look at:
Here is one of their ad blurbs…
That hot new title, up-and-coming author, or exploding genre that someone just mentioned?
Have a phone in your pocket?
You can check their online sales right now.
That’s right, anyone with a cell phone who can afford to buy this information can check your recent book sales at any time. Fun for you for your own books, no doubt. But you can’t buy it for yourself. Only your competition can get it.