There is an interesting blogpost by David Gaughran here https://davidgaughran.com/2019/09/05/black-hat-riddle-scamming-amazon-self-publishing/
Frustrated by the multiple forms of bad-faith tactics deployed by authors, he is looking for new ways to cope. He poses the issues like this:
“Scamming and cheating hasn’t stopped just because fewer people are speaking about it – in many ways it is worse than ever, but the dangers of highlighting it today are such that many voices have retreated from the discussion. I’m not criticizing anyone who that applies to; it also applies to me, quite frankly. There are so many things going on right now that I would love to be explicit about, because there are really dangerous currents going on under the surface, and some particularly nasty people operating, worse than those that have come before, engaging in even more insidious practices. And the community can’t police itself like it used to.”
The heart of the problem is that Amazon enforces its terms of service very sporadically. Problems and bad behaviour festers and then Amazon might do some sort of blanket clampdown and then let the same issue fester again.
The personal cost in terms of time and emotion and money of calling out the authors acting in bad faith can be significant. So Gaughran is proposing doing something else instead:
“All this got me thinking: wouldn’t it be great if we could do this all the time? I don’t mean cross-promote, that’s old hat, but exclusively focus on lifting up good people and skipping over those who engage in tawdry practices. We might not be able to end scammers and ban black hats, we might not be able to confront the sleazy internet marketer types directly, but maybe we could stop inviting them to our parties? Maybe we could stop exposing our audiences to these people?”
I have my doubts about that. It sounds too much like creating the kind of mutual support networks that end up excluding people. As we’ve seen, even well intentioned groups can create difficult situations for others, often fuelled by a belief that they are the ‘good guys’. Having said that, without any other recourse, it is hard to see what else these authors should be doing.