Case in point: my book In the Mood. Last month in the UK, I sold 16 copies (at 99 cents-- the book in the above-mentioned case is priced at $5.99, which is a lot for an indie). This month it went free, and within a week I've given away 4277 copies. And that's just the UK. Successful freebies on Amazon.com can move a lot more copies than that.
I'm not saying Amazon didn't make a mistake here. I'm just saying the people commenting who react as if the author would have earned thousands of dollars in any event don't know much about how sales and freebies work on Amazon.