Amazon has filed arbitration demands against several book authors, publishers and marketers, alleging that they abused the Kindle Direct Publishing system to artificially inflate their profits and sales rankings.
The five arbitration demands, filed Wednesday with the American Arbitration Association, make a variety of allegations, including fraudulent customer reviews, the creation of fake user accounts and other schemes to increase rankings and royalties on the company’s self-publishing platform for e-books.
One of the demands, for example, alleges that a man from the Philippines offered a service to authors to boost the number of pages read in their books using hundreds of fake Amazon customer accounts, in exchange for a 40 percent cut of their profits. Amazon pays authors who participate in the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library program using a formula based on pages read.
“While the vast majority of authors and publishers using Kindle Direct Publishing are genuinely working in good faith to publish and promote their books, a small minority engage in fraud to gain an unfair competitive advantage,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. “Today’s news reflects yet another step in our ongoing efforts to protect readers and authors from individuals who violate our terms of service and manipulate programs readers and authors rely on.”
The company is seeking injunctions preventing the authors and publishers from continuing the alleged activity, as well as attorney’s fees and financial damages to be determined through arbitration.
See copies of the arbitration demands below, as obtained by GeekWire.