A few weeks ago I signed up for the new service called Blasty which promised to help authors “blast” websites which were sharing pirated copies of their books. If you’re anything like me you’ve probably searched for those sites and found loads of torrents and such. Trying to get in touch with the site owners is always impossible though, and it’s not like they’d give a flying f**k about some indie author who has no legal clout anyway.
In short, it was easy to find pirated, illegal copies of our books that were being shared around the internet but there was no way to really stop it happening.
I expect them to start charging for their service soon but I signed up to their beta version which was free and, well, let’s take a look at the results from the past couple of months.
First, how does it work? Click the images to see bigger versions…
As you can see here, it’s as easy as clicking a button, adding a link from Amazon to your book (and a thumbnail if you like) and that’s it.
Next, just click “Check Google Now” and the Blasty system will find, and analyse, various terms like “X book, X author, PDF, Free, Torrent, Audiobook” etc and bring up the list of possible targets.
You can see from the list that one of the links seems fine to me, so I “whitelisted” it. One of the links is illegal so I’ve already “blasted” it and the system is working to have it removed. The second one in the list WAS sharing an illegal version of Wolf’s Head a few weeks ago but Blasty did their thing and the site has been removed completely from WordPress.
So is it worth it? Well, I never paid anything but the screenshots show I’ve already blasted 305 sites/links that were sharing my books illegally. You try removing just ONE of those links by yourself and it will soon become clear Blasty kicks ass! Let me be clear – you don’t need to check every site Blasty finds yourself. Some of them are clearly torrent sites from their visible address so you just need to hit the “blast” button on those. It is NOT a time consuming process at all. Yes, you need to manually review a few links but it’s not very often.
Presumably Google keeps track of all the people sharing blasted content too.
One disclaimer – I have no idea if any of those sites were really sharing my book or if they were scam sites just looking for people to sign up so they could take them for a ride in some way. Probably a LOT of them were. But I’m quite sure many of the links blasted were sharing torrents with my work for free.
Kindle versions of my books arent expensive at all, ranging from 99p to £2.99 so I’m not sure why anyone who enjoys my work would want to rip me off by taking it for nothing when it’s all cheap anyway. Hell, sign up for my email list and not only do you get a free short story I’ve written just for subscribers (I even paid my usual designers to make up a nice cover for it),
but you also get regular chances to win signed paperbacks or audiobook downloads! I’ve literally just given away an entire signed collection of my paperbacks to someone as part of a giveaway. So I do try and reward my readers as much as possible. No need to rip me off!
Anyway, to sum up, if you’re an author, you need to sign up for Blasty. Do it now while it’s still free because I’m sure they’ll be charging for the service soon and rightly so.
What are you waiting for, do it!