Wall Street Journal article featuring Rick Frishman
Here's an article from today's Wall Street Journal on the creating bestsellers at Amazon.com using some "promotional tricks." John also talks about this in his book, in Chapter 12 (right?).
Just this week, I've gotten emails of this nature from one specific publishing house for three of their authors. All of them offer gifts with purchase--"gifts" of email newsletter opt-ins, and other tools that if I wanted to dig a little, I'd find free anyway. And they are, for the most part, the same gifts. This is just my opinion, but before long, consumers are going to be annoyed.
So, at what point does the Amazon.com bestseller program cease to be effective now that a number of authors/publishers are doing it--and some at the same time?
In my experience, authors embrace Amazon.com and assign a lot of value to their sales ranking, not fully understanding the algorithm and how volatile it can be--just five sales a day can drive your ranking way up, and like the article says, a day without a sale can drive you down to 50,000. Or lower.
Repeat after me: you are not your Amazon sales ranking.
The article does mention two other tools used to monitor Amazon.com sales rankings--I use it as a measure of the effectiveness of my publicity efforts, and often see corollaries between major placements and sales of a specific title.