Gaming the Search Engines….

The Internet is in flames about the Censorship of free speech on social media and abuse of customer information. This is beyond Orwellian and it’s dangerous on many levels.

Novelists are among the first to go to the Gulags,” some who study history say. It’s the little guys that get hit first. I’ve already posted my tale of being blacklisted on Amazon during the run-up to the 2016 election.

That post went viral on Twitter. Today we see others with larger problems, lawsuits, testimony in Congress, etc. This will get worse as the election approaches, but some of the worst abuses (e.g. data theft, biased search engines, false reporting) are concealed.

There is a Civil War raging in Cyberspace. Facebook managed to enrage both the left and the  right. Who knew that was  even possible?

Burning Books in Cyberspace? Orwell lives!

Amazon is still selling my novels. They have a huge market share in the United States, about 70% for E-books. Hence, when I discovered that I could still  update my authors pages there — I can’t post any comments or book reviews. I’m blocked. — I did so, adding years of Editorial Reviews and other such endorsements to the pages for my novels.

It worked. Readers liked what they saw. I did some promotion. Here is what came back from a loyal reader:

“I noticed today that Amazon seems to have disabled your name in their author search system. Turns up no hits. Although book titles are searchable, your name isn’t. WTF??? I’d be happy to complain to them on your behalf, but for the life of me can’t find a way to do so. All of their help and contact buttons only filter down to what they want to hear, and “complaint” is not one of them. If you have one, send me an email for their complaint department and I’ll read them the riot act.

Do you have any idea why they are picking on you and restricting access to your books?

Haven’t read the newest yet, but have one on the way and looking forward to it.”

I checked, asking people I met at book signings to see if  they could find my novels on Amazon. Those new to my books reported problems. Those who clicked through from my authors page (www.johntrudel.com), newsletters, tweets, etc. — that’s how I usually go in myself — had no issues. It worked fine for them.

Interesting. I ran some tests. Here is what  I found, searching on Amazon.

If you search on Amazon under books for my name — John Trudel — you won’t find me. That’s how I expect most would start looking.

Again: If you search for “John Trudel” you get NO RESULTS FOR an author named “Trudel,” but you do get two pages for an Indian Activist named “John Trudell” – and NONE of my books.

So I tried other ways of searching.

If you go to “Books” and Amazon and search for my surname, “Trudel,” you come up with 24 pages of books, with mine scattered around in the mix. Not very convenient.

If you search for “John D. Trudel,” you get what looks like the same 24 pages of books, again with mine again scattered around.

Only if you search for “john d trudel” (all lower case and no period) does the search engine being you right to my books. Oddly, it also pulls up three (3) “sponsored” books, works that have nothing to do with my books and were written by authors who are not named Trudel.

I complained to Amazon, saying: SURELY AMAZON CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT. Can’t you?

Here is the response I got back:

Hello John,

I’m sorry your search results on Amazon.com aren’t what you had anticipated.

Please be informed that, a search query on Amazon.com functions much like an internet search engine, producing results for each of the words separately and in relation to one another.

The order of items that appear when searching for your title is determined automatically by our system from information such as past sales history, current availability, and the length of time it has been listed on our site. These factors change and the search results are continually being updated to reflect those changes.

When you use our search engine to look for books, our system attempts to find the products you’re most likely to be looking for based on the words you entered. Our search methods go beyond simple keyword matching and may also be using information not visible on the search results page, including attributes provided by the publisher.

Search results for books may be based on the text of each book, not just its title. That’s why you may sometimes see results you weren’t expecting.

Associating appropriate search keywords to your books might improve the chances of your books being listed in the search results. If you want us to update the search keywords for your book, we can help you with that.

At this time, we can include up to five (5) search keywords. If you’d like us to update the search keywords keyword associated with your books, we’ll be more than happy to. You can get in touch with us via daytime phone support or e-mail through the link below:

https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help/contact-us

If you prefer to e-mail us instead, please be sure to include the ISBN/ASIN of your book as well as the five (5) keywords you’d like associated with your book in our system.

While we’re unable to change the search results, we do hope you have a better understanding of how our system works.

Thank you for your understanding. We look forward to seeing you soon again.

We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the buttons below to vote about your experience today.

Best regards, xxx, Amazon.com

Basically, that translates into, “pound sand.” Amazon can’t or won’t do better.

The “tags” they refer to are non-printing items that denote categories of books, e.g. “Thrillers, crime, children’s, romance,” etc. Tags simply tell stores where to  place the  books,  on what shelf. This is clever disinformation. There is no shelf labeled “Trudel.”

Amazon is not going fix my problem.

Here’s what you can do to help:

  • Pass the word about how to find my books on Amazon. Search for “john d trudel” under books.
  • The best way is to come  in through my web site, www.johntrudel.com. The “order books” link takes you to Amazon and various other book sellers.
  • If you like my books, please throw up a positive review on Amazon and use it to pass the word about how to work around their search engine, ah, “issues.”

ABE Books

Search engines on the other web sites for books (e.g. Apple, B&N etc.) don’t have that problem.

One other thing I discovered from my readers — I need a fan club! — was an independent site that has MORE of my books (paper books) than Amazon does, and at very low prices. Here is a link that will take you directly to my books on ABE. Link

Thank you for your interest and support. If you would like  to get my occasional newsletters, just  sign up. All my lists are private (never shared or sold), the is no cost, and I’d be happy to add you. You can OPT OUT at any time.

Here is my (US) Amazon Authors Page, and a direct link to it.

My (US) Amazon Authors Page

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