Award-Winning and Prize-Winning Author of Access Denied, The Wretched, The Roots of Evil, The Ghost of Clothes, Omonolidee, First Words and Unzipped: The Mind of a Madman, The Deeper Roots of Evil, along with numerous short stories, poems and articles.
Now, it seems, Audible have a similar, but strikingly WORSE issue. If you look up my audiobook, Access Denied, it shows “More from the same Author” beneath my book, detailing a number of works relating to religion by an author called “David Gates”:
Now, ordinarily I’d welcome any additional cross-referencing and exposure I could get. But, in this case – because I’m an atheist – I don’t want to be associated with any religious works.
I contacted ACX, the people “behind” Audible and they gave me the following response:
“The “More from the Same” section on the Audible website is an Audible feature for which we have little information or insight. From what we’ve been told, the results in the “More from the Same” section are related to a smart search function and relates products based on keywords and other factors. If someone has the same name as you, you will most likely find their works listed as well. Similarly, this other individual will have your product showing on their book page which will give you additional exposure as their listeners will discover your content as well. Since this is a smart search type of function it is an automatic process that cannot be manually manipulated. Unfortunately neither ACX nor Audible have the ability to manually add or remove products to the ‘More from the Same’ section. We have expressed concerns to Audible regarding this search functionality and hope to see this addressed and improved.”
I wasn’t happy with this. It’s not exactly a “smart” search if it reveals the wrong items is it? I requested the issue to be escalated. After some to-and-fro where I was given a number in the USA to call (which would have been prohibitively expensive) because the presumption was I was in the states, they directed me to Audible who, in turn, re-directed me BACK to ACX. I finally got an answer which indicated they hadn’t even bothered to read my original complaint! They said:
“To be honest, I didn’t see the initial issue that you presented to us until you requested that someone assist you. I looked back and found that you are trying to find somebody to fix what shows in the “More From the Same Author” section of your title profile. There isn’t anybody that you can speak to to have this section corrected. I reached out to Audible’s metadata team to see if this could be corrected. Unfortunately, Audible’s metadata team let me know that they don’t have control over the “More From The Same” section. It’s a website issue that they hope to fix down the line. Currently the “More From The Same” section is controlled by a general search. The algorithm will try to determine the best matching titles based on that search. It’s possible that the algorithm will choose to display only one entry, whereas sometimes the search will yield two or three entries. It will also choose names that are similar. This is all at random.”
I wrote back to them stating that their suggestion that I wrote those books was libelous and potentially damaging to my reputation. The response was unreal:
“My name is Jemal, ACX Support Supervisor. I appreciate your patience as I researched your escalated concerns related to the ‘More from the same’ feature on our site. I reached out to the appropriate department internally and I was informed that the ‘More from the same’ search feature is a code that cannot currently be manipulated to change the options associated with your name, unless your name changes (i.e. David E.G., D.E. Gates). You also have an option to go by a pseudonym if you feel that your reputation is at risk.”
So, because they won’t fix their search, the best suggestion they come up with is that I should change my name? Utterly ridiculous! Would they suggest Stephen King change his name? Of course not. They’d fix it pretty quickly I’d imagine! My response bore my frustration:
“That is an absolutely ridiculous suggestion. As is the suggestion that you cannot manipulate the code so it reflects the actual author of the book rather than a random search. I work in IT and know that any code can be manipulated or changed. I would suggest you escalate this further to your developers.
My name is my brand and I shouldn’t have to change it because your crappy system cannot work out the difference between the actual author and one found through a search of similar words.
Maybe you can change the words “more from this author” to “more from authors with similar names?”
Either way it’s farcical. Imagine if you wrote a book and created an audiobook from it and then somebody with a similar name created an audiobook about something you found extremely distasteful and that was suggested as one of your titles? How would you feel given the days and hours you invested in creating the book and the audiobook only to find that it was cross-referenced with something entirely inappropriate?
No other company has such a woeful return of results as is demonstrated by Amazon’s search algorithm. As I said previously Apple and Smashwords get it right every single time. So should you.”
I’ve been informed that this has been re-escalated, but I don’t hold out much hope. It’s a shame because previously ACX/Audible have been fantastic in their customer support.
I’ll keep you posted though I doubt anything will be done – it hasn’t with the Amazon search issue despite me writing to the Managing Director.
A teenage boy explores the forbidden areas of his home town and gives life to a new evil that stalks him and his friends and family with vengeance in mind. Whilst grappling with the onset of puberty, he must battle the shape-changing menace which haunts his dreams and knows no bounds in its savagery whilst coming to terms with his own metamorphosis. A unique horror story, drawing inspiration from local folklore, set in and around Portsmouth.
Two copies of a Paperback to be given away – sign up to win! Also available to buy in eBook and Paperback formats from all good online bookstores.
“Fantastic read. Once I picked it up, could not put it down. Wanted to see what happened next. Expertly written. An excellent addition to the David Gates collection of recent stories. Totally recommend it.” – Amazon customer.
“Very enjoyable read for someone who lives in the area and can relate to the places we are taken to. The fact that this is half fiction (or is it?) makes it more of an interesting read.” – Heather Jennings.
“Started reading ‘The Wretched’ after lunch and haven’t been able to put it down! David has an uncanny knack of drawing you into his books with his wonderful characters and twisting tales and this one is no exception. I’m excited to see what is going to happen next...” – Karen Moore.
Competition open until July 1st 2017.
No cash alternative. One copy of paperback of The Wretched per winner.
The organisers said “Terrific poem. We just promoted your poem on our social networks and will make sure it’s read right away by 100s of people.”
Outrunning The Rain is a very personal acknowledgement of the feelings I have felt when at my lowest point and the way I try and deal with them.
My previous poem, Terminators, appeared on the site earlier this year and was also published at the Wildsound Festival Review and has been promoted at the Best of APRIL 2017 NEW poetry of POEMS from around the world.
David’s previous collection, First Words, is a unique collection of more than 40 previously unpublished poems, short-stories, scripts and film reviews and is available in paperback and eBook formats from all good online bookstores.