My latest novel to appear on Scribd is the mystery, Null_Pointer. Recently it got selected as a featured document. Overnight, I had over 500 views and almost as many users who were now following me.
At first glance I was thrilled. Literally an overnight success. But when I actually started looking at the users who were now following me, I saw that nearly all of them were false users. Clearly the work of a script kiddie who had found a way to scam the system and add thousands of users to Scribd.
It’s a shame that the site lets users be created without having to fill out a bot-halting captcha. Because it’s not exactly rocket science to build a script to automatically generate users and subscribe them other users as followers. Ironically, I tried to send a message to one of these suspected bot users and was forced to get through a captcha.
So now I have over 700 followers on Scribd and I can no longer use that as a metric to judge how popular my novel is. About the only statistic on Scribd that I can reliably use now is the number of downloads and the human readable comments, of course.
I have just received an email from Kathleen Fitzgerald Manager, Content & Marketing for Scribd, Inc., in which she assures me that Scribd is not under a user bot attack.