1. It’s about time…but will retail platforms and publishers enforce this? Amazon UK is even worse than U.S. in this regard and they don’t seem in any hurry to clean it up.

    1. Author

      Hi, Noelle, thanks for your comment.

      I’m told by officials at BIC that in fact this announcement is only the opening salvo in what they expect to be a wider, prolonged campaign to address the misuse of metadata practices in the industry and that they’ll be pressuring all points in the chain, including retail, to play their roles in the process. So with luck, responsiveness will rise up and down the supply chain.

      Thanks very much for reading us and commenting.

      On Twitter: @Porter_Anderson @PubPerspectives

  2. Author

    Self-published authors are to blame: they figured out that though the practice broke some rules it does have a positive impact on sales. HOWEVER, the good news is that Amazon now specifically prohibits the practices described. See

    Examples of items that are prohibited in the title field include but are not limited to:

    • Unauthorized reference to other titles or authors
    • Unauthorized reference to a trademarked term
    • Reference to sales rank (e.g., “bestselling”)
    • Reference to advertisements or promotions (e.g., “free”)

    Lots of books still slip by this rule, and there are many legacy titles online from before this prohibition was established. If a publisher sees a competing title on Amazon that breaks the rules they need to use the ‘Report incorrect product information’ tool on that title’s page — a lot of work and, sigh, that then leaves all the other online resellers.

    Thad McIlroy

    1. Author

      Thad, many thanks for your input here, much appreciated.
      While not left here in our comments, Mark Williams, I believe, has referenced your input here, in case you’d like to have a look. Thanks for contributing to a very worthwhile discussion!


      On Twitter: @Porter_Anderson @PubPerspectives

      1. Thanks, Porter. I screwed up by using the word “blame” — it really should be “credited”. It was Indie authors that first discovered that the practice of adding advertising copy to a title could improve sales. That’s the kind of innovation that the indie publishing scene is noted for. Mark Williams does a great job of showing how far the practice has spread among the traditional publishing houses and even Amazon’s own imprints, noting that “yes, self-publishers are partly to blame, but they are by no means alone.”

        1. Author

          Ah, well, Thad,

          You’re helping us remember that one person’s “blame” is the next person’s “credit” in this and so many elements of publishing’s evolving realities. 🙂
          I’m sure Mark Williams appreciates your gracious response, as I do. Now, let’s hope that the publishing community can work together to take care of this problem of metadata use and misuse so that maximum prosperity is available to all players.


          On Twitter: @Porter_Anderson @PubPerspectives

  3. Thad-
    As a publisher who has used the “report incorrect product information” button in the past, I can tell you that Amazon doesn’t care.

    Now when I asked our rep if the metadata policy had changed and if we could now use keyword stuffing to compete with the independents, they were very quick to say that the policy is still in effect and that they were interested in enforcing.

    I followed up with a short spreadsheet of some of the worst offenders. 6 months later, those books had cleaned up titles, but the authors continued to employ the same methods in their other books.

    Here are the emails to report keyword stuffing from KDP books:,

    Without pressure from publishers, Amazon isn’t going to do anything.

    This was the last email I sent to Amazon regarding this issue (Sent 11/7/17). No response.


    I sent a message back in April about this issue and the ASINs I pointed out at that time were addressed, but all of the authors behind those titles continue to keyword stuff their titles.

    Is this going to continue into the holiday sales season? Other Kindle Store categories seem to have cleaned up this practice, yet KDP authors in the children’s category continue to abuse the system.

    We’re currently paying thousands a month through AMS to get visibility for keywords like “childrens books” yet these people are creating titles like this one to game the search results:

    Children’s book: ” BEAUTY AND THE WITCH “: Teach your Kids kindness toward others through a story with a moral message (Children’s story for Halloween) … stories fiction picture kids books Book 2)

    This is the actual title for ASIN B076TSNRMT

    I could create another list for you, but someone needs to clean up the Kindle Kids store. It’s very obvious that no one is paying attention to the customer experience.


    I would love to see Amazon crack down on keyword stuffing in titles. We continue to avoid it. But I don’t begrudge other publishers trying to compete with self-publishers trying to scam the system.

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