Amazon Tagging Returns with Changes

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Amazon’s popular tagging feature allows readers and authors a chance to perform search-engine optimization on their favorite titles. In essence, you can add “fantasy” as a tag to fantasy books to help them gain exposure, and other people can tick the box to “agree” to it. The more a keyword is tagged, the better it’s exposure.

Recently, the tagging functionality was taken off from the U.S. Kindle store. Why? To sum it up, there are three commonly-agreed possibilities with no word from Amazon.

  1. The $9.99 boycott. People were complaining eBooks were priced the same as (or, in some instances, higher than) their paper counterparts. Readers put tags expressing their disdain for it. This was not a small, constrained incident.
  2. Indie authors participating in “tagging circles”. I did it. It’s good as long as it’s done responsibly. For instance, an author may want more people to tag “fantasy” on his fantasy book. The tag is appropriate for the book. In other cases, authors may want a tag like “Stephen King” to be exposed to people searching for Stephen King, even though the book isn’t, in fact, written by the master himself.
  3. In a sort of twist to #1, Amazon may have seen undesirable tags like “bad book”, “trash”, and so forth littering the pool. They may have taken a break to remove them or add a word censor of sorts.

What does this mean for the rest of us?

The tag exchange thread on Amazon’s Create Space community has been locked, and many other tag groups have gone quiet.

I’m sure the tagging groups will be reborn or continue in some way, shape, or form, just not on an Amazon website. And, who knows, Amazon’s hand may have been forced on the issue. It may just be another case of people being punished because others abused the system and tried to do malicious things.

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