Blast It, Again!

Hello SErs! Happy Wednesday to you. I love this mid-week point when you turn the corner toward the weekend, lols. Near the end of September, I posted about a programme I was beta testing. Well, as promised, I have up-to-date information for you, as the programme has now launched. That software is called Blasty. Here is the link to the original post in case you missed it: BLAST IT.

As you will recall, Blastyย discovers illegal download sites for your book(s) and proved quite the eye-opener for me. I had no idea how many hundreds of sites existed for just one of my books, never mind all eight of them!

Around the beginning of this month, Blasty went live, and has three price points:

  • FREE — Receive alerts when suspicious content is found
  • $6.49 per month (reduced from $9.99) — Receive alerts when suspicious content is found. Manually blast offending websites
  • $12.99 per month (reduced from $19.99) —ย Receive alerts when suspicious content is found. Manually blast offending websites. Auto blasts. Email support

With the two paid options, you are free to cancel or downgrade at any time — however, do be warned that you pay yearly.

When the software went live, the prices seemed too steep for me, as I just haven’t had that high a value of book sales as yet. However, with the reduced prices, it begins to feel more attractive. Already, my sales over the last six months equal my total sales for last year, so something has picked up. As with us all, I’m in this for the long haul, and hopefully, book sales will continue to go from strength to strength. And, to my mind, Blasty could be a useful bit of kit to help with that.

Now, I need to say that I am in no way an affiliate for Blasty, and receive no benefit from posting about it here. I simply want to share something that I feel may be helpful to my fellow writers.

Here are the pros and cons as I see them:

The Cons:

  • It can take a while to get your illegal content removed from the offending sites (perhaps up to a week … in fact, some of mine have been waiting since September. They have said they are looking into this).
  • The scanning stage doesn’t always work or can take a looooooong time.
  • You have to enter some sites to review them manually, and this can open you up to viruses.

The Pros:

  • You can auto add all your books from your Amazon author page … how cool is that?
  • You can whitelist URL’s when you set up your account.
  • With the full version, you can set an ‘auto blast’ that will automatically ‘blast’ (remove the illegal content from) obviously offending websites without you having to review them manually.
  • You can create a blacklist of sites that are repeat offenders.
  • If you go for the full version, the email support is great.

Below is a screenshot of what your dashboard might look like. As you can see, it is quite user-friendly.

You will note the 7 rejected Blasts shown in the top right-hand corner. One of these got rejected by the Blasty team, and the other six are from Google rejecting them. This is one of the most frustrating aspects for me because each of these is in clear violation of my copyright. At the moment, I have no way of appealing. The Blasty team say they will have an appeals process in place at some point but there is still no sign of that as yet. I do contact the site host wherever possible to alert them to the DCMA violation, but as far as I am aware, this has never garnered any response or action.

Previously, you had a ‘Check Google Now’ option, and would end up with a search page for each book that looked something like this:

Now, Blasty do the checks automatically for you, and you have a screen that looks like this (instead of the tools and having to check each book). [You can still check each book manually if you want.]

Once Blasty alerts you that a review is needed, you click on the orange ‘Needs Review’ tab, and you get a screen like this:

You can either mark the page as legal, or request a blast, or choose one of the five ‘Ignore’ reasons/options. You can also disagree with a rating, such as when Blasty automatically designates a site as legal or ‘No Infringement Found’ and you can see your content there illegally.

As well as the above abilities, you can also add offending URLs to a blacklist within your Blasty dashboard.

At the time of writing, I had free access to the full version for three weeks as a thank you for my beta testing and feedback. With the lower prices, I shall most likely go with the full option at $12.99 per month. I still have about a week to decide. The value of the auto blast rather than having to do a manual blast on every site is that big issue of having to enter questionable websites in order to instigate the blast manually. That, for me, is worth the extra $6.50 per month — along with the email support because, as we have seen, the programme does still have some hiccups to iron out. Also, as we have seen, they are constantly improving and updating the programme for us at the moment.

I hope you all find this info useful. And I am happy to say that I have now gotten past my shock and horror and feel more positive about writing again ๐Ÿ™‚

Harmony Kent

@harmony_kent / Harmony Kent Author Pages:ย Facebook / Amazon

 

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29 thoughts on “Blast It, Again!

  1. Interesting, Harmony. How does Blasty work exactly. I get the analysis and identification of sites. Once identified what happens to the site? Does it send a DCMA violation notice or a predator drone? Excellent information. Thank you,

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks, Harmony, for the good information. I’ve gone over to Blasty and entered my books… I’ve had the same issues with piracy and it sickens me. Writing for me is my love and it doesn’t end for me until the ‘reaper’ comes. Still, no one likes thievery of their work and time!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve been thinking about Blasty and other similar tools for a while now. I have Google Alerts set to my name, and I often get notifications of pirated copies of my work. Getting them taken down manually is next to impossible, and when I do succeed, I get an alert the next day to virtually the same thing, but on a slightly different site. I’ll be honest, I’ve stopped fighting. But you’ve inspired me to try again. Thanks for the info, Harmz.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’ve been beta-testing Blasty for over a year and up until a couple months ago, I would have agreed that it’s an awesome tool. Like you, Google rejected several of my blasts and Blasty said their hands were tied. This problem that they may fix “sometime in the future” has a ripple effect. Per my publisher, if Amazon finds out the books are free on some sites and Google validated that they’re not guilty of copyright infringement, they could price-match. Then what? Every single one of my books have been pirated on a sickening amount of sites. It’s so discouraging. If it weren’t for my fans, I might be tempted to only write one book per year (sounds good in theory, but who am I kidding?). Authors deserve to make a living. I don’t believe for a second that piracy doesn’t hurt sales. It does! And so do hackers who steal our name for a domain name to setup unscrupulous websites. Yep. Got a few of those too. The whole situation tears my heart out.

    Liked by 5 people

    • All my books are exclusive to Amazon, so this situation could cause real issues there too, despite any copies anywhere else being illegal copies (except for a print book off Createspace). I share your frustration, Sue. Theft truly does hurt sales … Iโ€™ve seen a small upswing since I started blasting. Itโ€™s all really taken the heart out of it, and Iโ€™m fighting to regain that enthusiasm I had previously. Best of luck with everything ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 4 people

      • You too, Harmony. Forget the pirates and hackers and crawl into your writer’s cave where passion ignites and bad things happen to other people. It’s warm and nice in there. We can’t let them win! #writershelpingwriters

        Liked by 4 people

  5. Harmony, this was a great post with great information. My publisher has a team that handles illegal downloads. If I find one, I report it to them and they handle it for me. But I have several indie titles out there and just yesterday I happened on an illegal site with one of my books. It also looks like Blasty would be helpful in finding the sites to report to my publisher. I’m hopping over to Blasty right now to check it out. Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 2 people

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