Friends by NumbersI embarked on a project recently to understand what algorithms do. It all started because I was trying to figure out what Amazon had been up to with regard to deleting book reviews by people who could actually write in coherent sentences, and by this it logically banned authors. So by adding a few minus factors to their review algorithm, such as minus author, minus mother, minus sister, minus friend, minus Twitter connection, minus Facebook connection, book reviews were tidied up in an instant.

Of course, by applying this formula, the only people left who can post book reviews now are those who are completely disconnected, such as Fiverr reviewers and registered Amazon reviewers. $500 Kirkus reviews are ok too. Well, Kirkus is promoted by Amazon, so it must be ok.

Then there was my own interpretation of how Amazon algorithms work when you decide to part company with KDP Select. Basically, I think your author name, which of course has already been subtracted from the review algorithm, is also conveniently deleted from any worthwhile cross promotion. I can only say that I have my suspicions about this, but then again I didn’t expect a gold watch and a bunch of flowers when I exited the program.

With all this exploring behind me, I left the world of Amazon algorithms and happily proceeded to set my sights on non-algorithmic book marketing and reviewing. Until I stumbled upon a very clever algorithmic idea – how to make friends by using the Friendship Algorithm.

I’ve been using it for a week or so now and by applying N=N+1 and then factoring in N>6? and N=0 to any new social media contacts I have made, I have been able to narrow down the hundreds of possible new friendships to only those who are suited exactly to my unique friendship profile requirements.

You guessed it, zero new friends. Curiously though, it approximately equates to the number of book reviews I have received in the same period.

I think I’ll just concentrate on writing. I’ve never been good with numbers.

Friends By Numbers
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7 thoughts on “Friends By Numbers

  • 12/12/2012 at 3:05 pm
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    Hi Derek, I was curious enough to click on the friendship algorithm above to see if it held any secrets, and was surprised to find it’s actually a perfect flowchart of how new friendships start.
    As for Amazon reviews, I’ve figured out the trick. Only review other authors if they write in a different genre than the one you write in. If such a different genre author might review one of your books, don’t review theirs in turn, at least not on Amazon, because the algorithm will find you and crush you.
    The reviews I’ve posted on Amazon have stayed, even after their blitz, so I can only assume this is the reason why.
    I’m wondering if I can try to use the review algorithm to my advantage. I’m seriously considering befriending a hairy little troll who trashed one of my books. Maybe if the Amazon algorithm picks up the friendship connection, Amazon might actually remove the review, which was both spiteful and malicious. One can only hope…

    • 12/12/2012 at 7:15 pm
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      Nice to hear from you Niki. I must admit that I have moved my focus to Goodreads reviews now. They are being used by Sony ebooks and Kobo via an api, and now appear on all my books. I know another online retailer is looking at this as well. So hopefully the days of relying solely on Amazon only for reviews is close to being over.

  • 12/12/2012 at 5:04 pm
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    OMG! You have just uploaded the Sheldon Cooper friendship algorithm! I love the Big Bang Theory :D

    • 12/12/2012 at 7:09 pm
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      I found it by using the ‘Random Chaos Theory’ Pri. :)

  • 13/12/2012 at 5:42 pm
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    LOL Like you, I’ll stick to writing. None of the reviews of my books have been deleted – not sure what that means.

    • 13/12/2012 at 8:14 pm
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      I’ve had a few Amazon reviews deleted I think Darlene, but I’ve shifted my focus now and I’m concentrating on Goodreads for reviews and other retailers for sales. Amazon have been moving the goal posts too often lately for my liking. Plus it takes up too much writing time trying to keep us with their changes. I’m taking an ‘ignorance is bliss’ approach to Amazon right now.

  • 13/12/2012 at 11:40 pm
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    What amuses me about this whole review system is that every second day or so I’ll get an email from Amazon saying that my review has helped another purchaser and that you have bought…..big list here ….books (including some of my own) can you please review them to help other purchasers… You have no idea how tempted I am to review one of my own books….would that be frowned upon??? .

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