I have been accused of ‘escalating’ the mess by a fellow KDP forum member because I bothered to read a lot about the LendInk situation, made some logical deductions based on that reading, and then wouldn’t back down from my assessment that there wasn’t anything illegal going on.
First of all, LendInk was not a pirate site. As has been stated by many, it was simply a site where ereader owners could meet each other, and then return to whichever retailer in order to legally loan their purchased ebooks to one another.
If your book wasn’t loanable, then it couldn’t be loaned. People signed up to test that before the site was taken down and found it to be true.
LendInk did have Amazon affiliate links in place, encouraging readers to purchase books that weren’t lendable or listed with lends available. That’s what the affiliate program does: lets people ‘sell’ Amazon products on their own sites.
Hello, I’ve been using the name ‘Scath’ since I signed up for Twitter almost five years ago, and both ‘Gayla Drummond’ and ‘G. L. Drummond’ have been associated with it for that length of time. I even use ‘gldrummond’ as my KDP forum username. I’m also ‘Scath2012’ sometimes (I think for Disqus). [waves at everyone :)]
Why yes, that is my real name. Surprise, surprise, surprise.
Nice detective work.
For some reason, the fact that LendInk’s security certificate was expired causes some people to believe that there was something hinky going on there.
I asked House Hunney to explain security certificates to me, because he handles those for our hosting company. I’ve simplified his explanation as much as possible.
A security certificate is basically an encryption algorithm. It’s unique to the domain name that it’s issued to, and the server that it’s on. Meaning you can’t move that website to a different server without getting a new security certificate, because it’s unique to that combination.
If a certificate is expired, the encryption is still ongoing. It just means that the owner of the site hasn’t paid to renew the certificate, and that the issuing company hasn’t recently verified the owner and site information.
In short, an expired security certificate doesn’t mean anything illegal was going on. The businesses that issue security certificates aren’t worried about anything except verifying that the people purchasing them are who they say they are, and are using them on the site they say they are.
Then there is a mysterious ‘letter of endorsement’ from Amazon that has been mentioned on the KDP forums (that’s the only place I’ve seen it mentioned). The first mention I saw of this letter, I immediately returned to LendInk to look for it.
All I found was the form letter Amazon sent out to inform California affiliates that the affiliate program was being closed down due to the tax disagreement.
Another KDP forum member searched Google archives, and only found the letter about the affiliate program related to LendInk. So far, no one has come forward with a screenshot of this ‘letter of endorsement’, or another archive link that proves this ‘letter of endorsement’ existed and was posted to LendInk. Mr. Porter doesn’t know anything about this mysterious ‘letter of endorsement’ (he was kind enough to respond to an email I sent him last night).
As far as claims of me ‘escalating’ the ‘lynch mob’ out for blood of authors and publishers who did and are still claiming LendInk was doing something wrong, that’s bullshit, people.
I looked at LendInk, drew my own conclusion that nothing illegal was going on by reading the FAQs and comprehending them, and I stood up for what was right. I told people to chill out, that Lendink was a GOOD thing.
I do not know everyone on the internetz. I do not control anyone’s mind but my own. I am responsible only for my own actions, opinions, and words.
I did not issue a public ‘call’ for lists of names of those who decided LendInk was a pirate site. I did state, on the KDP forums, that I would love a list of the pen names of those in that forum so that I do not buy their books, or accidentally promote them-mainly because I don’t want to end up like Mr. Porter, accused of piracy by a bunch of idiots. Nor do I want to line the pockets of any author who purposefully ruins a source of free promotion for authors. Which is what LendInk was.
I did try to logically piece together the puzzle for people who seemed to believe that the whole thing was a big publicity stunt coordinated by Mr. Porter, and who apparently weren’t capable of putting together the fact that LendInk was sold prior to June 6, 2011 to him, so that he was the current owner.
Instead, it was something along the lines of ‘so he sold the site and now he’s trying to make people pay him?’ which I honestly don’t even understand how that bubbled to the damn surface. It doesn’t even make sense.
Also, the governing law for claims against LendInk was listed on the site as ‘the State of Ontario’. I deduced, due to having some experience in selling domain names/websites, that that tiny fragment of information likely hadn’t been changed when the website exchanged hands, due to the fact that shortly after Mr. Porter acquired LendInk, Amazon shut down the affiliate program in California.
Not that it even matters, but whatever. He bought the site, Amazon shut down the affiliate program, and his investment in a money earning proposition was basically worthless, so he moved on to other things like any other person would, and ‘State of Ontario’ didn’t get changed to ‘State of California’. Big freaking whoop.
But you know what?
None of those little burrs under people’s saddle blankets matter, because there wasn’t anything illegal going on with LendInk. They can nitpick about them all they want: THEY DON’T MATTER.
Here’s the thing: People are going to do what they’re going to do.
If you piss someone off, then you’re going to get some backlash. In this case, the backlash is a lot of pissed off readers and other people, some of whom want a list of names of those involved in taking LendInk down and causing so much trouble for Mr. Porter. Some of whom are making such lists and publicly posting them with proof in the form of tweets or Facebook status updates.
You guys chose to do what you did. I’m not responsible for your actions, and I’m not responsible for the resulting reactions of others to your choice.
I am not responsible for your failure to do due diligence before jumping on someone’s bandwagon just because the words ‘ebook’ and ‘piracy’ were uttered.
I neither agree nor disagree with those lists being created. I don’t have any control over them, but I have been aware for years that such lists are made and that authors who ‘behave badly’ end up on them. A lot of people have that same awareness, so there’s a whole group of us who aren’t surprised such a thing has happened as a result of this LendInk controversy.
I am more than likely on some people’s ‘Do Not Buy’ lists for various reasons: because I promote authors they don’t like, or because while I was trying to learn about piracy and make my mind up where I stood on it, I said a few dumb ass things. I’m probably being added to even more lists because I stood up for LendInk.
I only have control over my personal list of authors from whom I won’t buy books from for various reasons, and it is my right to have such a list based on my right to have damn opinions about things and to decide where to spend my book money as a reader.
But I will tell you that each author on my list is on there because of stupid shit like this.
Oh, and I am by no means affiliated with LendInk. I’m just one of the people who bothered to check things out and draw my own conclusions instead of jumping on the ‘Kill LendInk’ bandwagon.
Update: I made a mistake in regards to reading a claim made by one author that s/he was calling out a ‘copycat’ site, lendlnk.com, with a small L instead of an i. I totally misunderstood what the claim was, and apologize for that.
However, lendlnk.com didn’t exist on August 6th, when that author made that claim. It was registered yesterday.
For those who may lack the gift of comprehension: On the records, domain names are in capital letters. In URLs, they’re always lower-case. So yes, this would be the site that author claimed s/he was talking about.
There also seems to be a lot of authorial confusion about the use of cover images on LendInk.com. They don’t seem to realize that when they publish on Amazon, they’re granting Amazon the right to use the uploaded files in basically anyway Amazon sees fit to.
That includes cover images being used for promotional purposes…and Amazon’s affiliate program, which LendInk’s owner was a member of, is a promotional item.
You don’t have the right to require Amazon affiliates to request your permission to use your cover images, star rating, pricing, and probably blurbs before placing affiliate links/ads on their sites, people. That’s not how affiliate programs work.