It's a funny situation to be sure, but remember that somebody was trying to sell that book, and their software screwed up in a way that just shouldn't happen, preventing them from making that sale.
The company I worked for did this, if not before anybody else did, than at least very nearly so:
> Then came the "phantom listers" - agencies with software that spiders through the listings of legitimate on line book dealers looking for titles with few (or no) copies listed in Amazon. They then list them at inflated prices.
There is so much potential out there.
But they're the only people selling a new copy, so its not a feedback loop as in OP. So whats going on there?
I used to work for a company making software for Amazon vendors and don't think Amazon cares that much, but lots of vendors believe it is true.
I haven't seen these kind of things recently, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong.
I noticed one today on Amazon UK,"Der Alpha Jet" jumped from £16 to £1964.73 as sold by Amazon itself.
But after removing all the additional parameters, I get EUR57
we've added google authentication to prevent people from hosting nasty stuff. the amount of moderation requests was simply overwhelming :(
Technically, not really: Source: Working in Banking Ops where red flags that should but don't exist in a system get raised by it. A single @23 million transaction is unlikely to bankrupt any bank but if approved by the CC system will probably be approved (a huge credit limit, or more commonly, internally approved balance/one-off credit) has to be there) then denied internally causing all sorts of trouble.
Transactions of $Xbns are commonplace in banking (non credit card, bank transfer) and credit card systems are certainly built for transactions of $100mns, though, as stated above, it would be immediately alerted probably to the bank's head of operations.
But, I've seen technology/operations mistakes that have had $100mns impact before. Usually a bit more obscure than buying something on Amazon.
A payment that (if the rumour is true) actually cleared through:
> Rumor has it that tech millionaire Victor Shvetsky purchased a business jet for $52 million on this card [American Express Centurion]
That was nice of them
"What a steal!
By John Taylor Kesler on April 25, 2011, Format: Paperback
I was fortunate enough to buy this at the bargain price of $19,087,354 there must have been a sale because the next day it was listed at $23M. I was very pleased to find upon arrival that the book contained very useful information, however to be honest I was expecting a few more pictures for the price paid. I highly recommend this to all my associates, I have many acquaintances with children in only the best private schools who will be buying several copies. If the price has you worried, ask yourself the American question: "can you really put a price on good education?""
If the negative reviews are mostly whiny,emotional rants without any valid solid arguments, then the book is most definitely worth it. A case in point:
Somewhat surprisingly, the median review score is 5, and if you look at median scores for products, the skew is very much left. So, the data pretty much backs up your observation!
This works surprisingly well for any product on Amazon.
Another thing that is really annoying is people buying wrong product and leaving angry reviews. Whose mistake is it if I buy a product thinking it is water proof, when the description of the product says in bold letters that it isn't waterproof? I feel sorry for the sellers who get idiotic/unfair reviews and they can do nothing about it
But if you still want to address this problem, just allow the buyer to say it is for someone else and allow them to put the recipient's email. If I buy something for you, I put your email, and Amazon could allow you to review the item instead of me reviewing it.
Steam does something similar in having the humour moderation so that things don't get moderated as useful just because they're funny.
if there had been more money spent on hosting than on books we might have avoided this situation.
1. Get dirty cash from drug sales, prostitution, etc and buy amazon.com giftcards in shops in US
2. Input the codes into various amazon buyer account(s)
3. Buy the book(s) from these account(s)
4. Amazon takes a cut and pays clean money into authors bank account.
Losing ~20% is not too bad when clean money from a reputable source arrives in your bank account, if you are reselling lets say hard drives or phones.
One could also buy amazon.com giftcards with cash in shops in US (no questions asked) then sell them on localbitcoins.com (go check it out > https://localbitcoins.com/buy-bitcoins-online/usd/amazon-gif...) for bitcoins losing about 20-30% in fees to get bitcoin.
Once you have bitcoin....
I used to have Play.com vouchers through my credit card and wanted to buy a new camera, only the listings were from dodgy sellers and £100 more than Amazon. I did think about listing an item, then buying it myself to convert it to cash.
but if you look on amazon for products in the 500-1000 range such as electronics (where amazon only takes 6-8% commission) there are plenty of examples of 3rd parties SOMEHOW selling new electronics below amazon itself!
These guys are willing to lose 6-8% on lets say a hard drive and another few % to undercut Amazon from whom they would buy in first place
There's really no way to understand someone's business model by only looking at their price.
So any cash-based business is good. Restaurants, car washes, pawn shops, bars/clubs, etc. These types of businesses can make thousands per day gross and are relatively easy to run with low capital down. That's going to be far superior than shipping hundreds of overpriced hard drives per week via e-commerce and hoping to god no one traces back all these credit cards back to you or your pals.
You can learn the basics of accounting and laundering over a weekend if you had to and learn just enough to avoid being flagged by the IRS. Hell, some accountants specialize in these kinds of things.
I also think that you need to accept some level of risk here and that you'll be dealing with audits periodically. Auditing isn't some scary process, more than likely you'll be dinged for more taxes and not be put in jail. You'll come out ahead, especially when you consider outsourcing laundering is very expensive, something like 50-70% and depending on how it comes back to you, that money is also taxable, so another 25% lost on what's left. Running your own business means you only lose that 25% and some overhead.
There is an enormous financial black hole that is just as vulnerable to inspection as simply depositing $1,000,000 in cash in your account. The whole point of money laundering is not only to legitimize the output, it's to make the sources untraceable and arguably viable as well.
The components of a transaction, particularly for the sales of goods, cannot simply appear out of nowhere, or they've done absolutely nothing in the way of money laundering. The people who will ever care about this (the ones who money laundering is constructed to fool) aren't so naive, and if you're selling 100,000 hard drives to justify your income, they're going to ask where you got the hard drives, and demand a financial trail.
Cash businesses that have little variable costs outside of manpower (such as carwashes, laundrymats, even some small restaurants, or selling small crafts on Etsy) are absolutely lucrative tools for money laundering, and can only really get caught if put under heavy scrutiny (e.g. car wash with 10 cars over the week claims revenue of $100,000). As are casinos, and Vegas was built on money laundering -- there are few checks on how much you spend, so whether you spent $1,000,000 in unexplained cash to leave with $950,000 in legitimate winnings, or $10 in legitimate cash to leave with $950,000 in legitimate winnings, it's almost impossible to prove.
There are many, many financial vehicles that are used for money laundering, including life insurance. Selling hard drives on Amazon is not one of them.