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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Kicking the Author in the Teeth

Craziness abounds.

Facebook has been giving me fits with their latest skullduggery. Apparently, if you have a Facebook Page, only a small percentage of people ever see it. It doesn't matter if you have ten followers or ten thousand. In order for everyone to see your page, Facebook will cheerfully charge you every month for the privilege.

It is no longer enough to ask someone to "Like" you. If they want to be sure to see your updates they must also add you to Interest Lists. Pull down the arrow next to the little star burst (shown in a blue tab when you click on it) and you'll find a list of options. Select "Add to Interest List".

If you hover over the Liked icon, it also gives you options like Get Notifications or Show in News Feed, but I'm told that's not enough.

It's a pain. I'm at the point now where I'm seriously considering deleting my Frugal Way Page. I usually just feed my Back to Basics blog and the freebies I find along the way, but there's not much point if only a small percentage of followers see them. And seriously, how many people are going to remember to click the extra buttons?

Anyway, if you want to see my updates, please add it to your "Add to Interests List".


Amazon is getting into the circus by deleting reviews submitted by authors to prevent phony 5-star reviews from polluting the system. How do they know they're phony? They don't. So rather than leaving well enough alone, they punish everyone regardless if the review was legitimate.

I don't think I've lost any of my reviews, but I've had friends who've lost their reviews and that sucks. If you still have your reviews, I suggest copying and pasting them on a document file so you can at least put them on your web site for your fans to read.


Apparently, insanity runs in my blood too. I had a chat with hubby and another friend who I've always counted on for sound business advice and I think I'm about to do something foolish. We'll see.

If I don't get any farther behind, I'll be able to make an announcement in a couple of weeks. If you really want to know what it is, you can write me privately. Just remember, I'll have to swear you to secrecy. I'm serious.  Iko has the duct tape.


So what's new? Has Facebook or Amazon annoyed you lately? 

How do you feel about that Penguin/Random House merger? What do you think it will mean for our industry? 

The NYT had an interesting article on the topic. Personally, I think the consolidation was done to keep their market share from shrinking. It may be too little, too late, but time will tell.


E.J. Wesley said...

I'd just heard about this with Facebook the other day ... really disappointing. I'm going to share your post, because it's the best explanation of it (and how to resolve it) I've read.

Ultimately, I'm like you in that I don't know if it's going to be worth the effort. Maybe I should just create a regular account for my author side of things? I just preferred the page because it made it easier to keep my personal and author stuff separate.

The Amazon thing stinks, too. I agree they should try to deter authors from writing their own reviews--well, not just authors, but ANYONE who reviews their own product. But a blanket policy like that is just going to create more grief I think.

Maria Zannini said...

EJ: I kept wondering why my friends said they never saw my updates. I did a little research and voila...nefarious skullduggery.

Ref: Amazon
Back when people were complaining about phony reviews and demanding something be done about it, I remember thinking: Careful what you wish for.

broken biro said...

I lost my grip on Amazon a while ago, even on a personal level. The notifications you get feel completely arbitrary. They must be getting oodles of lolly for all the ads they're sneaking in anyway without making people pay for the privilege. I can't believe that ticking 'get notifications' isn't enough and have never heard of 'interest lists'. Pah!

Mike Keyton said...

Truth is, Maria, I have no particularly strong feelings either way ref Facebook and Amazon, though the latter is more efficient and actually sends me what I ask for at a good price. Market forces will decide both their fates, though I'd put my money on Amazon rather than Facebook. I'm grateful though for your explanation as to why I see so little of my friends' comments : )

Maria Zannini said...

Broken Biro: I thought clicking on getting notifications would be enough, but mine gets wonky after the second email. They start to bounce like a bad check.

Emails clog up my box anyway. I just want to see my friends' feed. That's why I signed up.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: Amazon has been good to me. I can't fault them there. Last week, two books I ordered were lost in transit. I emailed them and a new set of books were delivered the next day.

Ref: Facebook
I might post once a week or so. I'm there mostly to read everybody else's posts, but if FB won't show the feed, it becomes irrelevant to have them.

Giacomo Giammatteo said...

Thanks for the update on Facebook. I am lost there half the time and with all of their changes, it ensures I stay lost. The bad part is it makes me lose interest in even using Facebook. As to Amazon, I lost three reviews, which I guess isn't as bad as some, but it's nonsense. Hope your crazy idea comes to fruition. Can't wait to hear about it. Good luck.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I think the publishing houses will continue to shrink until they eventually get big enough to fall apart into little presses again. Circle of publishing life.

Facebook once blocked one of my Barbie shots as inappropriate. And she wasn't even nude, just one of their nanny programs being flaky.

If my dog had duct tape, she'd probably just try and eat it.

Angela Brown said...

I have little to say for Facebook since I've still not mastered how to properly use it for marketing or some such.

Amazon and the "let's just delete author reviews" blanket bit is still something I don't fully understand. It seems the ones that show as being "Amazon bought and verified" have yet to disappear. I wonder if it is just ones Amazon can't verify if it was bought? I don't know. So much confusion.

The pub house merger will show it's benefits or consequences soon. It will trickle via complaints or uber praise or fake uber praise until the stuff hits the fan. But, we shall see. Not much choice but to take a sit and wait approach.

Jackie Burris said...

Maria am going to only address your succumbing to insanity as FB lost my interest long ago, Amazon and publishing house mergers do not affect my reading and Iko having duct tape intrigues me.

Same thing can be said about one persons trash being another's treasure, one persons "insanity" can be another's "genius". I think you know which camp that you fall in as so far your business decisions have been winners.

(On that note my curiosity is killing me but waiting several weeks might not be too hard, just don't drag out the suspense too long!)

Jenny Schwartz said...

FB is insane. So annoying because I liked pages there so I could see their updates, and then, they're frigging hidden from me *cranky*

I don't think Amazon's deleted any of my reviews, yet. Fortunately, all my reviews are over at Goodreads, so wouldn't be completely lost.

Maria Zannini said...

Jim: I'm clueless on FB most of the time. I don't post a lot, just when I have something amusing or interesting to share.

But it seems pointless considering what its original purpose was.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: That's the way it was with the telecommunications industry. Bell Telephone was ginormous until the government forced them to disband. After decades as little companies it's regrouped and is almost back to its original size. Only now it has competition from Verizon.

Maria Zannini said...

Jackie: I just have to tweak some ideas and check the waters before I commit to anything.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: Amazon's response annoys me because I prefer to read my reviews there, since I normally buy there.

But don't get me started on Facebook. I know they want to make money, but changing the whole reason why people use FB is ridiculous. They'll force people to go to Twitter, where they'll have to bow to you in your Twitter tiara. ;-)

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: That's a brilliant conclusion. It would make sense that they would delete reviews if the reviewer didn't buy the book from them, but why not spell it out?

I dunno. It's too complicated for my simple brain.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Facebook is also doing something new, different and everytime it irritates me.

Shelley Munro said...

Facebook drives me batty. Every time I think I've got a grip they move the goal posts.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: I wouldn't mind so much if they at least were more honest about the changes. Changing stuff under the radar and then hearing about it on the grapevine makes for bad PR.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: That's the truth! I no sooner understand what's going on when they change the rules or the format.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I saw there were problems with FB pages which is why I held off n creating one. ANNOYING.
And yeah, Amazon, another pain in the butt. I did lose a review--but it wasn't an author (I don't think)so I don't know why. But yeah, it is is silly especially since authors DO read.

Melissa McClone said...

Have you seen the new Pages feed on the left? All the post from your liked pages show up there. Some of mine I haven't selected anything other than like.

But more stuff to figure out.

I really wish it would stop changing, but I fear now that they need to make a profit they'll eventually find a way to charge everyone for using FB.

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: Ref: Amazon that blows that theory out of the water. I wonder what's going on.

Maria Zannini said...

Melissa: Someone else wrote me about that. I'm checking it out now.

Susan Blexrud said...

I re-tweeted your post, Maria. Thanks so much for this information!

Here's my little side story. I met with a social marketer (at $75.00 per hour) about ten days ago, primarily for some help with Facebook. She walked me through the system of liking a page, and then posting on my author page with the highlighted (@Lincoln, or whatever) reference, which she said would then show up on their timeline. Well, I posted out the wazoo with "like" symbiosis to quilting, birding, train, Civil War, Lincoln, Chihuahua pages, thinking my posts would show up on their timelines. Ha, the rules had changed, and my social marketing guru wasn't even aware of the shift. And now we don't even know who sees our posts. I realize this is all about more revenue for Facebook, but if I have to start paying for my marketing there...