Is this a new scam being perpetrated on amazon?

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xouper
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Is this a new scam being perpetrated on amazon?

Post by xouper » Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:59 pm

As some of you know, I have a hobby of collecting free amazon kindle books. (Yeah, I know :roll: )

The past few days I've been getting free kindle books in a genre I had not seen before.

Example:

Title: Watch Venom 2018 Movie HD #14 [Print Replica] Kindle Edition
Author: Qowakos Susohiv
Publication Date: January 7, 2019
(no publisher listed)

Image

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MC5Q5NK/

It was free when I bought it the other day, but it is now $0.99.

At first I didn't pay much attention, but after getting literally dozens of these things this past week for different movies, curiosity got the best of me and I decided to take a look inside to see what they are about.

Movie reviews, maybe? Some kind of commentary?

Nope.

There is no publisher listed, and the author is different for each kindle book. The author names look suspiciously like random computer generated pseudonyms, first and last names exactly 7 letters each, and the same format of four consonants separated by three vowels.

The book above is exactly one page long and I quote it in full here
(under fair use so I can comment about it):
[image]
[image]

Venom 
  
“Click here to play Venom movie online”
  
Investigative  journalist  Eddie  Brock  attempts  a  comeback  following  a  scandal,  but 
accidentally becomes the host of Venom, a violent, super powerful alien symbiote. 
Soon,  he  must  rely  on  his  newfound  powers  to  protect  the  world  from  a  shadowy 
organization looking for a symbiote of their own. 
 
Release 
2018-10-03 
Date 
 
Runtime 
112 minutes 
 
Genre 
Science Fiction 
 
Production  Columbia Pictures, Marvel Entertainment, Sony Pictures, Avi Arad Productions 
   
Casts
That's it. Nothing more. One fucking page with a link to a Canadian(?) website. :shock:

I hesitate to post the actual link for legal reasons. There are still several of these available for free (as I write this) if you want to see the link yourself. To find these books, do an advanced kindle search with "watch movie" in the title, sorted by price low to high.

It seems obvious to me these are all published by the same entity, but I have not yet figured out how to track them to see when the price changes or new ones are published. (Perhaps there is a list at that Canadian website, but I have not yet had the guts to go there.) The best I know at the moment is to use the above amazon kindle search, but that gets more results than I want and I know for a fact it does not show all of them, since some of them don't have either of those two words in the title. But they all seem to have a "play" button on the cover image.

Sidebar: This is a common amateur marketing error for many amazon kindle authors or publishers, they do not make it easy to find all the books in their catalog in case you like what you see and want more of the same.

I have not seen any reviews yet for any of these, but I suspect amazon will be getting complaints. Who wants to pay 99 cents for a free link? If this is a scam, then I suspect amazon will be pulling them from the catalog real soon now, so get 'em while you can.

If it's not a scam, then I'm still scratching me head, wtf? :dunno:

But wait there's more . . .

I also have:

Title: Watch Venom 2018 Movie HD #20 [Print Replica] Kindle Edition
Author: Qitagoj Heyehis
Publication Date: January 7, 2019
(no publisher listed)

Different cover image, but exactly the same content and same exact link as #14.

I don't have any of the other #1-13, or #15-19. I don't even know how many there are, but I assume they are all the same thing.

You can see 16 (of 20) variations here, same movie, but different cover images:
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss ... 8+Movie+HD

Based on the two I already have, I assume they all have exactly the same content.

I don't know what happened to the other 4.

So is this a scam, or what? Who wants to pay 99 cents for another copy of a book you already own? Why would I prefer to buy #20 instead of say #12 if they both have the exact same content? It seems they are conspicuously silent on that point.

Since I'm getting email invoices for each and every one I buy (for free), I am tempted to count them towards my goal of collecting a million free kindle books, but somehow this feels like cheating. This isn't a real book by any definition I'm familiar with. It's just a link to a free movie streaming site, which may or not be legitimate. I suppose I should put a footnote to my collection explaining this.

See, this is what hobbies are good for. Wasting your time on meaningless shit, all the while pretending it has some intrinsic conversational value. Maybe I should start a blog or something. :mrgreen:

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Nyarlathotep
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Re: Is this a new scam being perpetrated on amazon?

Post by Nyarlathotep » Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:54 pm

Sounds to me like a scam to steer you to whatever cheesy, scammy, malware-laden website they are supposedly hosting the undoubtedly bootleg copy of the movie on (provided they actually have even a bootleg copy, as opposed to just some nastiness you don't want on your computer).
Spoiler:
Quote Redacted by Section 31

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xouper
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Re: Is this a new scam being perpetrated on amazon?

Post by xouper » Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:44 am

My local library has this movie on DVD I can borrow for free so why would I bother going to some unverified website?

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Nyarlathotep
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Re: Is this a new scam being perpetrated on amazon?

Post by Nyarlathotep » Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:04 am

Because you are not the target audience for this scam. The target audience is stupid people. The same people who find nothing amiss with the idea that the Nigerian Oil Ministry wants to go halvsies on 3 million bucks if they just send their bank info.
Spoiler:
Quote Redacted by Section 31

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xouper
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Re: Is this a new scam being perpetrated on amazon?

Post by xouper » Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:52 pm

xouper wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:59 pm
. . . If this is a scam, then I suspect amazon will be pulling them from the catalog real soon now, so get 'em while you can.
Well that didn't take long.

It seems that as of yesterday, they have all been removed from amazon and are no longer available for any price. I could not find any notice who pulled them, whether it was amazon or the "publisher".

I can't say for certain that they pulled ALL of them since I am not aware of a single search* that is guaranteed to find them all, not even in my own database. The most I can say is that I could not find on amazon any of the ones I already know about.

So I don't even know how many of them I have, but I estimate it might be around 200. I do know however that I have (at least) 71 different copies of "How to Train Your Dragon 3", with the same exact content in each of them, but slightly different titles, authors, and cover images. They all contain the same exact link to watch the free movie at that (Canadian?) video streaming service.

Although gone from amazon, at least one of these is still listed on goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/437 ... r-dragon-3
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/437 ... gon-3-2019

I am more tempted now to omit these from my official total, but these might still be worth a mention as one of the unusual things that happened on my way to a million.

Over the past four years, I have noticed dozens of authors disappear from amazon, with no notice or explanation, and consequently literally hundreds of kindle books are also no longer listed, although I still have the ones I bought. Some of these authors and books are still listed on goodreads, however.




____________________________________________
* Footnote: Maybe a regex expression search could find them all, since the authors (pseudonyms) all seem to follow the same pattern of cvcvcvc, where c = consonant and v = vowel.

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xouper
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Re: Is this a new scam being perpetrated on amazon?

Post by xouper » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:46 am

xouper wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:52 pm
xouper wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:59 pm
. . . If this is a scam, then I suspect amazon will be pulling them from the catalog real soon now, so get 'em while you can.
Well that didn't take long.

It seems that as of yesterday, they have all been removed from amazon and are no longer available for any price. I could not find any notice who pulled them, whether it was amazon or the "publisher".
I just got a bunch of emails from amazon about these, all saying pretty much the same thing (in other words, an automated form letter). Here's an example:
Hello,

We're contacting you about order #[redacted] for "HD Free Movie John Wick Chapter 3 Parabellum 2019." We discovered this title contains suspicious hyperlinks. If you have downloaded the title to your device, we ask that you avoid clicking on any links within the book and delete the title from your device and library.

Sincerely,
Amazon Customer Service
From that, it seems safe to assume it was amazon that pulled them from their store and not the "publisher". I can't say I'm surprised.

It seems odd that they ask me to delete the title from my device when it is well known that they can delete it remotely if they wanted to.

If they send me an email for each of these "suspicious" titles that I bought, that will help me count how many I have. From the order number, I can find the ASIN and then flag it my database.

So, hey, thanks amazon for the heads up.

Now I wonder how long before these are removed from goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/437 ... ellum-2019

I also did a google search for that author and got 5 results:
https://www.google.com/search?q=Tuponaf+Hewihet

Actually, I'm surprised there were that many.

And thus I found that the book is still available here (apparently):
https://books12.co/book/hd-free-movie-j ... 9/43714711

I wasn't curious enough to register for the free trial (call me a coward if you want), so I can't confirm if it's the same as the kindle version. However, how many authors are there in the world named "Tuponaf Hewihet"?

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xouper
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Re: Is this a new scam being perpetrated on amazon?

Post by xouper » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:40 am

xouper wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:59 pm
See, this is what hobbies are good for. Wasting your time on meaningless shit, all the while pretending it has some intrinsic conversational value. Maybe I should start a blog or something. :mrgreen:
Or maybe not.