Scammers Break The Kindle Store

I was unaware of this way that scammers are gaming the Kindle Store, and especially Kindle Unlimited, but I certainly have become aware of how utterly worthless product reviews on Amazon have become.

So many items (including books) are filled with barely-disguised paid reviews, sometimes dozens with as few as one or two words changed. I no longer feel safe buying a product on Amazon based on a rating or reviews without extensive research, and I NEVER buy or even borrow (through KU) a book without checking it against Goodreads, where sometimes the ratings are wildly different, even with a high number of reviews and ratings on both sites.

The marketplaces of the internet rely heavily on a certain level of trust, particularly when we can’t see and handle a product in person before committing to it, and if that trust is betrayed, those markets will implode.

David Gaughran

On Friday, a book jumped to the #1 spot on Amazon, out of nowhere; it quickly became obvious that the author had used a clickfarm to gatecrash the charts.

The Kindle Store is officially broken.

This is not the first time this has happened and Amazon’s continued inaction is increasingly baffling. Last Sunday, a clickfarmed title also hit #1 in the Kindle Store. And Amazon took no action.

Over the last six weeks, one particularly brazen author has put four separate titles in the Top 10, and Amazon did nothing whatsoever. There are many such examples.

I wrote at the start of June about how scammers were taking over Amazon’s free charts. That post led to a phone conversation with KDP’s Executive Customer Relations.

Repeated assurances were given that the entire leadership team at Amazon was taking the scammer problem very seriously indeed. But it was also stressed that the…

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Crossing No Man’s Land: Why I’ve Waited My Whole Life For Wonder Woman

Even if movies and/or superhero films are of no interest to you, give this a read. I’ve read plenty of reviews of the Wonder Woman, but Heidi is one of my favorite authors, and I feel like she captured something at once beautiful and painful (mostly regarding it taking this long for a film like this to exist) about her experience of seeing it.

Because of the TS I can’t go see movies in a theater, but I’m going to try and find a drive-in so I can see it on the big screen.

The Amazon Iowan

This blog will contain spoilers. It also has GIFs. If that is a problem for you, here is a link to an image-free version.


I have waited my entire life for the Wonder Woman movie.

I didn’t read the comics, and I only somewhat saw the television show, even though I was the right age and generation to have grown up watching it. I suspect something else was on during the time she aired and I was overruled, not allowed to see. I didn’t have a huge draw to her at the time, though, so I didn’t push. I was highly aware of Wonder Woman, though. I always knew who she was. Like Princess Leia in Star Wars, in the world of super heroes, Wonder Woman was the girl. There was only one. Oh, there were others, sort of, but she was the one, the best one, the…

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Guidelines for Safe(er) Erotic Modeling

After the topic came up on a favorite podcast of mine, I wanted to lay out my thoughts on precautions and guidelines to consider when you’re looking to model for sensual/erotic/BDSM/nude work, particularly if it’s a TFP (trade for pics) shoot.

While there are plenty of artists out there who do this sort of thing for the art, there are also a shit ton of skeevy folk (mostly, but not exclusively men) who are shooting for their own personal spank-bank, the power trip, or worse.

Participating in this type of shoot can be empower and fulfilling, but it can also leave one feeling awful, or be downright dangerous. So with that in mind, here are some guidelines to consider:

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I’m Still Here, But “BarkingShaman” Isn’t – Here’s Why

I wrote my first entry for this blog ten years, four months, and ten days ago. That first entry was titled “Welcome to Notes from a Barking Shaman” and touched on the odd contradictions that have, and continue, to make up my life. I was in the midst of my cycle of death and rebirth ordeals, our puppy Lilu was just ten weeks old, and earlier that day I had finalized plans to give a presentation on Tourette Syndrome for an elementary school a few hours away.

My life today looks at once radically different and remarkably similar to the one I was living when I sat down to pen that brief introduction to my new blog.

Among the differences, which you may have noticed already, is that as of last night this website and blog are no longer called “BarkingShaman.com” and “Notes From A Barking Shaman” respectively. The change has been a long time coming, and in keeping with the best traditions of this blog, I want to take some time to address why those changes have been made.

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If You Think PWDs Don’t Experience Mocking (and worse) Regularly, You Just Might Be Experiencing Ableist Privilege

Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globes has reignited the perpetually-smoldering conversation about President-Elect Trump’s mockery of Serge Kovaleski, a Washington Post reporter with arthrogryposis, who had disagreed publicly with the then-candidate.

The most common refrain I hear on (my admittedly liberal) social media about the President-Elect’s shameful mimicry is some variation on:

I don’t understand how this wasn’t the end of [Trump’s candidacy]

It is a sentiment that speaks volumes about the privilege of the people expressing it.

For starters, the idea that these people are experiencing such a colossal failure of empathy that they believe mockery of people with disabilities is somehow an outre idea in American culture, really pisses me off. I have heard/seen this posted or brought up in conversation by people I admire, people I consider friends or family, and frankly people who have shaky ground under their feet if they are going to take Mr Trump to task for his behavior.

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