Sunday, December 27, 2015

Why I Love Toe Warmers® Brand Boots

I found the perfect winter boots for ladies.

Toe Warmers® are a Canadian brand that are guaranteed to get you through the harshest winter. They are waterproof, made with genuine leather or suede (usually in the upper), and urethane. The fleece lining is incredibly warm and the skid-proof soles are super grippy.

RoseWrites wearing Toe Warmers® brand booties
Wearing my Toe Warmers® booties and ready for winter / © 2015 RoseWrites
Mine have a genuine suede leather upper and a Warmtex™ fleece lining and are "waterproof below the zipper". Click to enlarge image above. NOTE: Quote in grey bubble is from The Friendly Giant (TV Series) created by Bob Homme.

Toe Warmers® are available in men's styles too. At Walking On A Cloud, a famous Canadian shoe store, my man-servant and I tried on several brands of winter boots last year. Remember last winter? According to Sam Colbert of The Star, February was Toronto's coldest month ever.

And this is where we first were sold on the Toe Warmers® brand. Plus, these boots wash up beautifully and last for years. So this year, I thought I'd tout these on my blog (and include an entertaining 1:30 second video). Fortunately, this brand is available on Amazon for an even lower price than what I paid here in Canada.

Last year, I didn't have the gumption to start a blog. I didn't want to bore people with my life. Now I do.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Appealing to Fellow Canadian Ed the Sock

Today was a real blow to my ego. Just as I was feeling empowered to represent writers and charities who were treated unfairly and denied their rightful earnings, a Wikipedia editor removes a supporter's post. 


Apparently, telling the truth and having supporters and charities provide additional proof just isn't enough these days. No, according to "Cyphoidbomb" (a Wikipedia editor):

"... only when mainstream news websites start to care about this petition and write about them from an analytical perspective (i.e. not just press releases) should we care about petitions."

This Wikipedia editor added insults, innuendos, and tried to belittle my (our) petition. In fact, since the Talk:HubPages page can still be edited, I felt it important to include screenshot proof of just a few sentences of Cyphoidbomb's response.

Naturally, I felt Mr. Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia and Wikia deserved to know what happened. So I wrote him the following:

Dear Mr. Wales, 
I want to report an editor who (I believe) has a "conflict of interest" with HubPages, Inc.
In the past (May 2015), I have successfully added facts to the HubPages Wikipedia page – but not without great resistance from "Cyphoidbomb".
Yesterday, a supporter of my petition added factual information about my efforts to the HubPages Wikipedia page. We were both shocked by the insults and innuendos that he or she used on the Talk:HubPages page.
Instead of launching into a back-and-forth debate with this person, I decided to update my petition supporters (and you).
In the meantime, I will take the high road and just work harder to let "mainstream media" know about my petition.
It's a shame that (according to Cyphoidbomb): ONLY when "certain media care about writers and their charities" that Wikipedia will consider including such fact-filled information. (I don't believe that this is YOUR mandate, though).
Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays).

And so, here is where fellow Canadian (and someone I admire greatly) Ed the Sock comes in.

Many of you (actually 3,902) read my piece Bring Back Ed The Sock Please. Below is a screenshot of my stats page (compared to other comedians I wrote about like Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Jon Dore, and the cast of 22 Minutes). Obviously, Ed the Sock rules!

Ed the Sock article on InfoBarrel stats

Well, I recently discovered that Ed helped Work Together For Fun (WTFF) collect 1,000 pairs of socks for homeless people in Calgary, Alberta. In fact, Ed volunteered for it. He told CBC news:

"I saw them on Twitter and volunteered to help because, well, you don't see a lot of charities or anything else that involves themselves with socks."

Well Ed, I'm hoping you can help promote our petition: HubPages' Writers are Entitled to All Earnings and Removal of Their Author Content. I will contact you privately to try and "work something out" with you.

Addendum: I just voted in Ed the Sock's Biggest A-Holes of 2015 poll (you should too).

December 30th, 2015: Ed the Sock's Biggest A-Holes of 2015: The Bottom 5
January 1st, 2016: Ed the Sock's Top 5 Biggest A-Holes of 2015! (NSFW)

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays),


Saturday, December 19, 2015

How to Make a Paw Print Keepsake or Ornament (Only 3 Ingredients)

A few days ago, I saw the simplest way to make a DIY Keepsake Paw Print Ornament. And immediately I knew that it was the perfect, almost no-cost way to give a gift from the heart (or to keep the kids happy during the holidays).

Editor Cat has been nudging me to write a Christmas blog post, so she volunteered to help create this pictorial guide.

Flour, Salt, Food Colouring for Salt Dough Ornaments
Editor Cat grabbed flour, salt, food colouring, cookie cutters, and measuring cup

Salt Dough Paw Print Ornament With Red Ribbon

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups salt
food colouring
1 cup water


In a med-large bowl, mix together flour and salt.

salt dough ingredients reading for mixing to make ornaments
TIP: Add a few drops of food colouring to water first
Add a few drops of food colouring to 1 cup of water. 

Note: the video shows food colouring being added later on, but I found the colour to be more uniform if it is added to the water first.

Add coloured water gradually to flour-salt mixture until a doughy ball begins to form.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth. Then flatten it with your hands.

Salt dough being kneaded to make ornaments

TIP: I used a sheet of wax paper and the side of a glass to roll the dough out. I aimed for dough to be about a 1/3-inch thick.

Easy way to roll out salt dough using wax paper and a glass
Flatten dough by hand or use my wax paper and glass trick / © 2015 RoseWrites

Next, ensure your oven racks are set so that the ornaments will bake in the center and preheat oven to 275 F (135 C).

Pushing cat paw into salt dough to make a keepsake
Editor Cat allowing me to push her paw into salt dough to create a keepsake
© 2015 RoseWrites / All rights reserved 

Editor Cat insisted I gently push her paws into the dough. You could use a round cup to cut out the paw prints or cookie cutters. We tried a few different cookie cutter shapes. 

Using a skewer to create a hold in salt dough for keepsake
Use a cookie cutter, glass, or butter knife to outline paw print and poke a hole

Use a skewer or toothpick (or similar pointy thing) to create a hole for a string (or a nail).

Carefully lift (use a spatula) the paw print shapes onto a parchment paper-lined or foil-lined pan and bake for 10 minutes. Allow the ornaments to cool completely (I propped them up on the sides of forks).

After adding a decorative string, hang your keepsake up on the wall or Christmas tree or place in gift box.

Note: This works well with baby feet too.

Cat Chooses Favorite Salt Dough Paw Print Keepsake
Editor Cat Selects Her Favourite Paw Print Ornament / © 2015 RoseWrites
Editor Cat Puts Paw Print Salt Dough Ornament on Christmas Tree
Editor Cat Puts Paw Print Ornament on Christmas Tree / © 2015 RoseWrites

Wishing You & Yours a Happy Holiday Season. Love, Editor Cat

Friday, November 27, 2015

Bravo Google: The Truth Has Power

I'm thoroughly enjoying how effective my first petition, HubPages' Writers are Entitled to All Earnings and Removal of Their Author Content, has become. And yesterday morning, I posted a YouTube video that reveals we (unofficially) have supporters in the hundreds.

I still haven't heard back from the IT team at about what could be a bug or glitch in my stats graph, though.

Some of you may may recall my November 8th blog post, Contributor by Google: Great Idea, Wrong Business Endorsement. The gist: on page 3 a photo of Paul Edmondson, CEO of HubPages Inc. – the business my petition is targeting – was shown along with three other site owners.

Well, tonight I see that on page 3 of Google's Contributor website information page is Jack Herrick, the founder of wikiHow. Could it be that Google has dropped Paul Edmondson's photo endorsement? I hope so. I'll certainly be checking Google's Contributor page more often.

Jack Herrick now shown on page 3 of Google Contributor page
Google's Contributor website now shows Jack Herrick on page 3 / Fair Use

On another note, I know many of you are too busy to write to the individual charities that Squidoo automatically sent some (or all) of our earnings to. These charities no longer receive a portion of our earnings, instead HubPages keeps it allI've already written to the ones that I donated to but I'm going to start writing to the others on your behalf.

Lastly, I hope all of my American friends and followers had a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday. I'm Canadian, so I celebrated last month.

Remember, the most powerful thing you can do is tell the truth. Honesty is still the best policy.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Online Writers: Get Every Penny You Deserve and Avoid Identity Theft

Recently, I began a petition: HubPages' Writers are Entitled to All Earnings and Removal of Their Author Content. But it's also about sending a clear and strong message to other site owners that writers will no longer tolerate the theft of their work, identities, and earnings.

A tapping pencil image by tomsaint on flickr  (Rennett Stowe) CC-by-2.0 / Text added by RoseWrites using Pixlr Nov. 17, 2015
Photo by Rennett Stowe (tomsaint on flickr) CC-by-2.0 / Text added by RoseWrites

What is even more disturbing, is the requirement to surrender tax information (such as SSNs) in order to receive earnings (as on HubPages). The IRS determined years ago that HubPages does NOT require it; but HubPages will not pay you until you give it to them.

In fact, they keep all of your earnings (including Amazon and eBay royalties). Check out their Terms of Use (deceptively hidden) under "Account Closure and Inactivity."


About 15 million US residents have their identities used fraudulently each year. And sadly, it takes victims hundreds of dollars and years of grief to clear their name once this has happened.

Experts say: do NOT give your tax information (SSN, date of birth, etc.) to anyone online.

But My Sound Reasons Just Aren't "Getting Through" to Some People

My friend Vic Dillinger posted my petition link in the HubPages forum. And I had to laugh at the responses. Incredibly, Marisa Wright seemed to get most of the facts straight, but failed to understand one key thing:

What exactly THEFT is. (Perhaps someone out there who understands can explain it to her?)

I guess stealing identities and content "just ain't what it used to be"

Marisa Wright complaining about why RoseWrites is furious about identity and content theft
Marisa Wright quotes as stated in HubPages forum Nov. 17, 2015

Addendum November 18th, 2015: Thought I'd try an analogy of sorts (shown below) to convey how it feels to have 293 articles (and my identity, videos, and images) stolen and used by HubPages.

Analogy for HubPages Marisa Wright of how it feels to have 293 articles stolen and SSN required
Me having a coffee and trying to explain the situation in layman's terms
© 2015 RoseWrites / All rights reserved (that means don't steal, Marisa)

Oh and one more thing, Marisa Wright also stated (which is entirely false), "I suspect if she'd simply asked for her account to be deleted, they'd have done it. Unfortunately each time she has tried, she's also been demanding payment before the account is deleted, so of course HubPages says no."

FACT: HubPages has completely ignored me, the flagging of my profile, Consumer Affairs, and Paul Edmondson continues to block me on Google Plus. My final pay from Squidoo (and Amazon and eBay royalties) were held in escrow (I've never received a penny). It's ILLEGAL to profit from stolen property Marisa. HubPages is held to the laws of California.

Why you believe that HubPages deserves to profit from my work and identity AND keep my earnings is completely baffling. I wonder if you are a kleptomaniac (seriously).

The payment would be far too low (via HubPages 60/40 split) anyways. The restitution ordered by the FTC will probably be set at InfoBarrel's rate of 75 - 90 percent, for the author. Remember? You told numerous authors our work "would disappear" offline. This is precisely what I expected and wanted to happen.

So, naturally I made it known publicly before the transfer (like here, select "Best" comment) that I was putting my articles on InfoBarrel. Hundreds of writers, including Seth Godin and Bonnie Diczhazy, were aware.

If you want to help curtail this from happening to you (or someone you know) and send a strong message to all site owners, sign my petition and share it (you don't have to donate to it): HubPages' Writers are Entitled to All Earnings and Removal of Their Author Content

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Who Knew Pages Could Be So Unruly? Paul Edmondson's Update on the Site Move

Tonight, I thought I'd see what the latest news is at HubPages, so I browsed their forum.

The first thread I noticed was by Zach Spangler titled My Hubpro experience - Views are now
"... About 10 percent of what they used to be! They removed all relevant pictures, removed 50 percent of my text, and changed almost everything else. My top gaming article is now averaging 40 views a day when it used to get 300 - 400!"

Moving on, I noticed that Paul Edmondson added a post to his Update on the Site Move forum thread. I was amazed at his ability to fit 608 characters into a 3-paragraph blurb that tells you, well, nothing.

Here is what he had to say. I added my thoughts bolded, italicized, and in square brackets:

"I want to give a little update. The site is still moving over and settling in. We are noticing that several pages [How many pages? 3 or closer to 3,000?] are acting like Google lost them.
We've seen a number of pages go through this [How many? 2 or closer to 20,000?], but it eventually gets worked out and the page [A Freudian slip? ONLY one page now?] returns to it's [sic] previous ranking position. [Not their previous ranking positions?]
My best guess is that in Google's massive infrastructure, data hasn't been fully updated to all the places Google uses to serve a query. [Genius, never would have imagined that!]
This is a pretty major move [Really? Perhaps you were obliged then to provide Hubbers with 7 days notice then, Paul – as stated in your Terms of Use.], so I think we just need to give the pages that are straggling some time to get fully processed. We will keep you updated as we see things get processed."

You can't make this stuff up. Click to enlarge.

Paul Edmondson update on site move satirical cartoon "Pages are acting up and straggling"
Satirical cartoon of Paul Edmondson explaining how pages can
"act up" and "straggle" © 2015 RoseWrites / All rights reserved

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Contributor by Google: Great Idea, Wrong Business Endorsement

Three days ago, I received an email from Google AdSense telling me about a new source of revenue for my blog (or website). I was thrilled to learn it meant my readers will see fewer ads on my posts – but I still get paid.

When I selected the types of ads for my blog, I rejected quite a few that annoy me. I will not use any pop-up ads or those that cut into my text. (You guessed it, I barely make any money).

What's more, users can choose to contribute $2, $5, or $10 per month. Apparently, the more they contribute to the program, the less ads they will see. It's an alternate means to help online writers (publishers) focus on creating content without having to worry about too many – or worse, objectionable ads on our pages.

The great thing is that Contributor works on plenty of sites. When readers sign up, they enjoy the "Contributor experience" (aka fewer ads) on my blog and all the other compatible sites

Keep in mind: Contributor only applies to Google ads (and is subject to the same auction bids as any other advertiser). Therefore, Contributor by Google cannot guarantee readers a 100 percent ad-free experience – even on sites that only show Google ads.

Gleefully, I decided to display the Contibutor by Google badge on my blog (above my cat editor). Then, I decided to click on it (I wanted to know what my readers would see, naturally).

And there, three pages down, I see the faces of (I'm guessing) four successful website owners. My jaw dropped open when I saw a photo of Paul Edmondson, the CEO of HubPages included among them. Click image below to enlarge. I am citing "Fair Use" since I am only using one page for recognition and demonstration purposes.

Lean More About Contributor by Google (Page 3) Fair Use
Contributor by Google when "Learn More" is clicked. Photos on page 3. Fair Use

WHY Google? WHY?

There are likely over 26,000 people that are completely disgusted by the unethical, illegal, and deceptive business practices that HubPages has engaged in. Several hundred online writers have witnessed what I have recorded. It is clearly documented in my Consumer Affairs complaint which I invite you to review.

And what about how Paul Edmondson slags Google (even to the FTC)? Remember Paul Edmondson's 2011 post in TechCrunch where he stated:

"Apparently, Google's Panda update has been punitive only to platforms other than Google's."

Paul Edmondson mentions he has "reached out to Google seeking feedback and guidance" but "there has been little response to our inquiries ..." He even mentioned sending personal emails to Matt Cutts, Google's head of web spam.

Paul becomes redundant and continues with:

"It seems that publishing platforms that are not operated by Google are at a distinct disadvantage ..."

More blah bah, and Paul Edmondson ends that post stating:

"Google is not being transparent about their new standards, which prevents platforms like ours from having access to a level playing field ..."

Funny, but Paul Edmondson even mentions having "a responsibility to moderate their [own] content appropriately" which is something that HubPages isn't able to do by my records, by their numerous forum posts, and by elite authors like Vic Dillinger.

Yet, in my experience, Google has made it crystal clear via Webmaster Guidelines what is acceptable and what is not.

Gee, I never even joined HubPages, yet I know the following problems were identified for HubPages:

Six problems the Google has had / will have with HubPages satirical cartoon of Paul Edmondson
Satirical cartoon of Paul Edmondson and  Google violations
and his continued unethical and deceptive business practices
© 2015 RoseWrites / All rights reserved
1) Alt tag violations and duplicate photo titles
2) Rich snippets
3) Ad problems
4) Unnatural links
5) Spam
6) Automated editing of content AND comments (without the prior knowledge and permission of content owners)

My complaint about HubPages with the Federal Trade Commission was accepted on April 9th, 2015. 

And yes, I know that it takes 1 to 3 years (on average) for any form of restitution to be ordered by the FTC.

Clearly, HubPages is breaking the law. And even though I cannot afford to take them to Federal court, doesn't make what they are doing acceptable – even if the majority of writers "went along" with their plan.

I have written over 30 articles and plenty of blog posts about the unethical, deceptive, and illegal practices of HubPages.

My main objectives:

1) To nullify the HubPages Terms of Use so that every author (past and present) can have their author content removed permanently (if they choose) – especially their tax infomation (SSNs, passport info), and date of birth. 

The IRS determined years ago that HubPages does NOT require it. I even updated the Wikipedia HubPages Talk Page to inform the public.

2) Ensure that anyone who closes their account on HubPages (at any time, past or present) receives all of their earnings (including Amazon and eBay royalties) for the entire time HubPages posted their content.

Rationale: No one is held to any contract by a company that breaks the law (and continues to do so). 

Furthermore, HubPages has breached their OWN Terms of Use by:

a) Not providing authors (Hubbers) with 7 days notice of any major changes (like the recent removal of subdomains).

How disgusted am I with HubPages?

Words cannot even express how completely appalled I am with HubPages and Paul Edmondson. He's tried (through numerous shills and trolls) to bash me. I even wrote Chronicling How HubPages Has Bullied Me which I invite you, Google execs, to read.

Does Google Need HubPages THAT Badly?

I sure hope not. My gut tells me that money is the only interest that Google has in HubPages. 

But here's the reality: I am one of thousands of loyal Google readers that know the truth. And I'm vocal (most aren't). The majority is silent.

Do you really want to keep Paul Edmondson's photo up on your brand new shiny "Contributor" program webpage? Because his endorsement will hurt you, I guarantee it.

Here's My Recommendation For Page 3 . . . Click to Enlarge

Google Contributor should use RoseWrites instead of Paul Edmondson as an endorsement
RoseWrites (not Paul Edmondson) should endorse Contributor by Google

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Paul Edmondson: Will HubPages Be Sold?

Recently, Paul Edmondson (CEO of HubPages) announced the end of subdomains. And frankly, I'm surprised that no one has openly asked him if he plans to sell the HubPages domain in the near future.

"They are too scared to ask if HubPages is up for sale soon" satirical drawing of Paul Edmondson by RoseWrites
Satirical cartoon of Paul Edmondson explaining how Hubbers are "too afraid" to ask if HubPages will be up for sale soon and how surprised he is that his TOU is null and void. © 2015 RoseWrites / All rights reserved (Click to enlarge)

The same people keep chiming in (in the HubPages' forum) about how good it will be to have all these "silos" and that the reader is given more information by replacing the author's pen name with a category.

Weird – because the URL probably already contains the topic information. If I'm going to write about an automobile, you can bet that I'll put the name of it in my title (URL).

Oh and it looks like original authors will have less statistical information about their Hubs. Paul Edmondson stated:

"Hubbers will no longer see data about their content consolidated in GSC (Google Search Console), but they can add specific URLs if they choose."


Oddly enough, only a couple of people have made mention of how much traffic they lost when their work underwent "editing" by HubPages or when their work reverted back to the HubPages domain via Editor's Choice.

Yes, now every Hub author is automatically opted-in to the Editor's Choice program.

Earlier this year, I wrote HubPages: The Truth Behind Editor's Choice and found a startling difference between what Paul Edmondson reported and what numerous Hub authors found to be true.

Main points:

  • An average loss of traffic of about 50 percent
  • Loss of income (related to loss of traffic)
  • High bounce rates
  • Loss of link juice from 301 redirects
  • Inability to track the statistics for your entire subdomain
  • Loss of author identity
  • Loss of Google author rank
  • NEW: Loss of having featured Hubs in a given category*

*Interestingly enough, I found out that only "a few Hubs are shown over and over" in some (all?) categories. Because when DrMark1961 inquired, Matt (HubPages' staff) replied:

". . . we do not show all Hubs on a subject, but only those that meet specific criteria."

Gee, I wonder what that "specific criteria" is?

I'm guessing it's the "Editbot-fixed abandoned content" that Robin Edmondson confirmed they keep on the platform. (The Edmondsons don't need to share any revenue with the original author on those).

Will HubPages Be Up For Sale?

I think it's definitely something that might happen. According to Wikipedia, as of December 7th, 2013 (before the importation of Squidoo content with and without authors' consent), HubPages had 73,969 published users.

Those published users, I'm sure, wanted to be paid. And since only "active" Hubbers are eligible to receive their deserved earnings, that meant over 70,000 people have surrendered their tax information to HubPages (who doesn't require it, according to the IRS).

Hmm, that's a "hot database" that I'm sure will command all kinds of attention and bids if HubPages is for sale.

Should Hubbers Try to Get Their Author Content Removed From HubPages?


You can cite how once the law is broken (re: HubPages - Squidoo deal) that any contract you are entered into is null and void. You are not required to uphold any contract with a company that breaks the law.

In a post by Van Thompson titled Laws Concerning Unethical Business Practices & Breaches in Contracts, it states:

"An unethical business practice that is legally prohibited may be a breach of contract, but could also be a legal violation that nullifies all or part of your contract."

Which means: YES, you CAN remove author content from the Service. And YES, you ARE entitled to ALL of your deserved earnings.

1) Cite my Consumer Affairs complaint (which is permanently and publicly available). It has garnered 25,766 views and 46 "helpful" votes to date.

2) You can also reference my complaint (NO: 61039505) which was accepted by the Federal Trade Commission on April 9th, 2015.

3) Call (it's FREE) the California State Attorney General's Whistleblower Hotline at: 1-800-952-5225 and explain the situation to them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Will Google Compromise? Implications of the HubPages' Editbot

Anything automated that is used to trick search engines eventually becomes punishable by Google.

And so it should.

There are plenty of devoted writers and researchers online that are willing (and happy) to produce fresh, updated, relevant, useful content. Really.

Cartoon of how search engines will be fooled by the HubPages' Editbot by RoseWrites
Click to enlarge: Satirical cartoon of how search engines will be fooled by
the edits and tweaks of the new HubPages' Editbot © RoseWrites / All rights reserved 

So, I'm beside myself right now wondering how the HubPages' Edibot can be implemented (without penalty) to tweak ANY content on the HubPages website without the prior approval of original authors.

Software can be implemented that simply notifies an author of "suggested edits" – we already have it.

So why would HubPages need (or want) to use Edibot?

It's clear.

Robin Edmondson stated March 23rd, 2015 in a forum post (since removed), but I kept a screenshot:

"... some of the accounts we are editing are abandoned."

And by "abandoned" she means "inactive."

Inactivity – according to the HubPages Terms of Use means ANY of four conditions. And, here's the kicker: you forfeit any and ALL of your earnings if these apply to you.

1) No change to your earned balance for over six months (so, if you have $100 sitting for 6 months plus a day, HubPages doesn't "roll it over" – they keep it).

2) Your account has expired tax information (even though the IRS made it clear that HubPages does NOT need it). To make matters worse, in this recent InfoBarrel forum thread, I cited proof that one person could not even obtain food stamps "because she filled out tax information" for HubPages and unfortunately "a pay statement needed to be submitted." Sadly, she hadn't even made the minimum $50 payout on HubPages.

And herein lies the proof that Google needs (and I corrected the Wikipedia page) that HubPages' first email to ALL former Squidoo authors qualifies as PHISHING.

That email stated:

"Welcome to HubPages! We are thrilled to have you join our community. We just finished importing ..."

Wait, I didn't join. Do you see how manipulative the wording is? This is phishing. Why? Because further along you must do four things to access YOUR content and collect YOUR deserved earnings.

Yes, both your content and earnings were kept from you, until you permanently joined HubPages.

What? Permanently join?

Yes, also in the HubPages' Terms of Use (as I explained in this InfoBarrel forum thread):

"You may not remove your author content from the Service."

So, you see, not only were Squidoo authors under duress to join HubPages (or forfeit their final pay from Squidoo), but writers had no idea that they needed to permanently join HubPages AND surrender their current tax information (including SSNs) simply to access their own content and earnings.

And those are just two (of the four) conditions that the Edmondsons feel makes an author "inactive."

Back to Edibot and What Google Needs to Consider

On October 12th, 2015, I asked in the AdSense Help Forum if what Matthew Meyer had posted 2 weeks ago in the HubPages forum was true. Oddly, no one responded for a week! So, I asked the follow up question: 

"Can someone from Google (at least) confirm what Matthew Meyer (HubPages' staff) is claiming? RE: "on-going issue with AdSense's servers"

Guess not.

And it's funny, but Matthew Meyer's latest update (25 hours ago) makes NO MENTION of the AdSense servers. He's carefully worded his update which now reads:

"Google is aware of this issue, but, unfortunately, we do not have an ETA for a fix at this time. There is a message on the AdSense association for profiles to warn of this on-going issue. That message will be removed and this forum will be updated when we have more information regarding Google fixing this issue."

Why do I get the feeling that this is more about Edibot and not AdSense servers?

I sincerely hope (as mentioned in my post Can the HubPages' Editbot Fool Google and the Public) that Google will make it a violation of Webmaster Guidelines to create or edit content that wasn't editorially placed or vouched for (or that was artificially changed) without the prior approval of original authors.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

InfoBarrel Author of the Week: JadeDragon (With Vic Dillinger)

This week, I finally tracked down and was able to interview (with Vic Dillinger's help) the elusive JadeDragon on InfoBarrel

Photo by Philip Shoffner on flickr (CC-by-2.0). Images of Vic Dillinger, RoseWrites, and JadeDragon's avatar (all used with permission) added October 11th, 2015 via Pixlr.
Background photo by Philip Shoffner on flickr (CC-by-2.0). Images of Vic
Dillinger, Me (RoseWrites), and JadeDragon (all used with persmission) 2015

And he, my friends, may just be Canada's answer to The Most Interesting Man in the World (from the Dos Equis beer ads). I knew JadeDragon was a Canadian the second he mentioned in an InfoBarrel forum post that Ed the Sock rocks!

Now with all this testosterone in the room, I tried to keep up with Vic and JadeDragon. So I decided to fly everyone out to JadeDragon's favourite nude beach (read on to learn more).

Begin the Beguine

Bruce Lee image and cropped marquee lettering from Enter the Dragon, 1973, Warner Bros, Fair Use; composite with JadeDragon avatar by Vic Dillinger, 2015 "Enter the Jade Dragon"
"Enter the Jade Dragon" (Bruce Lee 1973
Warner Bros image, Fair Use, composite
JadeDragon avatar by Vic Dillinger, 2015)
Vic: Straight up, you gotta explain your InfoBarrel avatar to the peeps.  When I first encountered it, it led me to conclude you were an Asian chick and that was your baby pic.  I now know you’re a Canadian dude and that’s your offspring’s baby pic, so ’splain that, please.

A: Yes, I'm actually a guy.  Jade is, in fact, my oldest daughter, and that was a recent picture when I started using it. Her bright pink jacket pops on the page and it gives me a kinder, gentler look, so I will not be changing the photo. Jade is in Grade 1 now, and yes she is an amazing girl of mixed race.  While no one in my family is Chinese, I've done business in China, where they gave me the name “Da Long” or “Big Dragon”.  [Hmmmm . . . “da long” . . . eh?—Vic
[Rose grins: Told ya, lots of testosterone.]

The words “Jade Dragon” sound good together—they evoke a rock-solid cultural art object in people's minds—and created a unique online identity for me.  I live in British Columbia, source of much of the world’s jade, which is another interesting tie-in to my online identity.  [That particular factoid was unknown to me.  Did you know that, Rosalita?—Vic] [Rose: Nah, I don't keep track of crap like that Vic, I'm in Toronto].

Rose:  JadeDragon, you immediately struck me as someone who gets to the point and who has a sense of humour. For example, in this forum post someone asked about how to avoid "calls to action." You chimed in with, "The rational [sic] is we want people to stick around for the ads, not click off to some other site ASAP.  Also if calls to action were allowed every other article here would be "Click here right now to my junk site."

Also, you have the Number One article on InfoBarrel’sTop 100: World's Top 10 Most Dangerous Airports.

Vic interjects: What’d you do to tweak that particular article so that it bumped the one by IB Originals (which had, I think, around 20 million views) outta the top spot (where it had lived for, like, a year) so suddenly?  Did it go viral overnight or what?

A: Vic has the #2 spot on the Top 100 as I write this and he wants that #1 spot.  [You better believe I do!! I’ve been there a few times before and I want it back!!—Vic]  However, Vic owns more articles on the Top 100 then the next 3 or 4 authors together, so he is doing well enough.

The Top 100 is a list of the top scoring articles under InfoBarrel's quality scoring algorithm. While the actual scoring system is secret, IB Admin was pretty clear about what they are looking for. I simply took several of my top scoring articles and tweaked them according to IB's published guidelines. One day, weeks later, the algorithm was tweaked (I presume, because I did nothing at the time) and one of my articles hit #1. I also suspect that the IB Admin made an adjustment to their top article that knocked it down the list, so maybe it was not so much what I did but what IB Admin did. 

The actual sequence of articles in the Top 20 is not important, reflecting differences in the fraction of a single point as determined by the algorithm.  I can't say that #1 is better than #15 for example, for they all obviously score well against what IB has decided is the ideal combination of factors. 

Rose: Just so our readers don't think the Top 100 is an old boys' club, women are well-represented on the Top 100 too. Since we're comparing junk size: mommymommymommy has a few, LavenderRose and DebW07 have eight, Yindee has a couple, Amerowolf has a few plus the most homepage features (at a whopping 305). Both classicalgeek and I have one on there – there are probably a few more that I'm missing (but you get my drift).

Academics ’n’ Sech

Vic: I read your item on Constant Content about making bank in the realm of extreme couponing by using discount gift cards as a means of cutting purchase costs.  [An Extreme Couponing Tactic Not Often Discussed.And it was useful; those interested in this kind of extreme shopping should definitely check it out.

Free-use clip art; lettering, airbrushing, and composite by Vic Dillinger, 2015 "Will write for Food!"
"Will Write for Food!" (free-use clip art;
lettering, airbrushing, and composite by
Vic Dillinger, 2015)
Is this the sort of thing for which you truly have a passion, or are you writing more (sometimes) to be SEO friendly (versus actually caring about your topics—I’ve prostituted myself many times for money writing about junk I have not one whit of interest in)?

A: I actually have tried many of the things I write about, include extreme couponing. I rarely write about stuff I find boring, because I'm interested in so many things. I like writing, and do it for fun. The money is a fun way to measure success. 

Vic: So, what are your favorite subjects for articles?

A: Travel, interesting history and places, and financial topics.

Rose is back: What is your educational and/or work background? What was your best job? Your worst one?

A: I'm likely unemployable. I've always worked for myself in business, especially real estate and related businesses.  My BSc is in Business Administration, followed by another year or so worth of other legal and real estate related university courses.  

I try to keep learning all the time, including through a Scout-style group where I'm training for youth leadership. I take a global outlook on life and volunteering so, for example, this week I wrote answer keys that will be used worldwide for helping kids earn patches in tents and viruses.
[Vic: “In tents and viruses”?  Can you elaborate on that?] 
[Rose: I think Hannah Gold would know he meant "badges that can be sewn onto a uniform" for patches. The "tents" and "viruses" must be the topics or subjects, I think. But then again, I never made it out of Brownies.]

Writing: Onward and Upward

Q:  Can you tell us what prompted you to start writing?  And I’ve noticed you haven't been as active on InfoBarrel lately, so I checked out your blog Innovative Passive Income. I found it endearing to read that your number one goal is "Being involved with my daughter growing up—I don’t want to miss her childhood like my father missed mine." How is that going?

A: I've long enjoyed writing, which stems from enjoying reading.  I got into writing online, including blogging, as a way to teach myself SEO and online marketing for use in my conventional businesses. You can't really take a class on this ever-evolving field, so the best way to learn is to do. 

The plan worked; for now, when I deploy my knowledge of internet marketing and SEO, I find my business is far ahead of the local competitors. 

Vic: When you gonna get back to writing on IB again?  [I’m on hiatus there until 4.0 kicks in—I’m tired of my layouts looking like amateur night at a high-school yearbook staff meeting.]

A: I've been too busy in my offline businesses for my blog or writing a lot on InfoBarrel lately.  Everyone experienced a drop in income from online articles about the same time as I got super busy offline, actually. Further, I just can't make the kind of money Pat at Smart Passive Income does off his blog.  Well, maybe I could but I'd need to put a lot more effort into my online business hobby to the neglect of my brick-and-mortar businesses.

Winning an IB Contest took a lot of effort, not something I'll try again. That kind of burned me out on creating lots of content at once.

Q: How did you end up on InfoBarrel?

A: I started writing for revenue share on eHow, but was pretty disgusted with how they treated their writers. I started blogging about the eHow debacle. In the process I ended up finding IB, trying it, and recommending IB to my blog followers. I believe I brought over about 75 writers who used my referral link, most of whom did little or nothing unfortunately. 

Globe Trotter

Rose: After I looked at your articles on IB, I came away thinking, ‘Gee, JadeDragon knows about some of the weirdest and wildest places in the world.’ 

Here are just some of the titles:

And yeah, the first thought I had was 'how many nude beaches has this guy been to?'

A: I LOVE travel, culture, history, and the unusual, perhaps because of all the reading I did as a kid.  I've visited 32 UN countries, 49 US States, 19 Mexican States, and all but one Canadian Province. 

My adventures include getting a rental car stuck in the sand in the middle of nowhere in the UAE, circumnavigating the world west to east.

I've been really close but unable to go to some places I really wanted to. I remember staring wistfully through a chain link fence across the border into Iraq from Kuwait during the Gulf War. I would have gone in but the border was just closing for the night and my travel mates were not up for the adventure. We were surrounded by US forces, including hundreds of humvees on flat decks. My cell phone provider did message me "Welcome to Iraq . . .” and something about roaming access.

Chain link fence photo by  Evil Erin on flickr (CC-by-2.0). JadeDragon's avatar used with permission; talk bubble and text by RoseWrites added October 17th, 2015 via Pixlr.
Background image of chain-link fence by Evil Erin on flickr (CC-by-2.0)
JadeDragon avatar (used with permsiion), talk bubble and text by RoseWrites
I also stood on the shores of Newfoundland in February looking with displeasure at the inaccessible French islands of St Pierre and Miquelon. Before driving out there I failed to figure out the ferry was a seasonal service!

Otherwise if I get close to a border I get across it come hell or high water.  I talked my way into Kalimantan (in Indonesia), only on foot, even though I lacked the pre-issued paper visa required at the remote border post (they lack internet to check passports electronically).  I also accidentally drove into Saudi Arabia with no Saudi visa, no multiple entry visa to return to Kuwait, and no Arabic language ability to get out of that no man’s land. Both the Saudis and the Kuwaiti's decided I was not worth detaining for too long and that the crazy Canadian should leave.

Somewhat Inappropriate Questions (entirely voluntary):

Q: So, tell me how many nude beaches have you been to?

A: My best nude beach escapade was linking up with a Chicago lawyer we met in Montego Bay, traveling to  Negril on Christmas Day, and then bluffing our way into the Hedonism Resort by him making up false friends called the Wallabies.  We arranged a guided tour of the resort on the way back to the beach and our friends. [So, I’m guessing the answer to Rose’s question is “one”?—Vic][Rose chimes in: Vic, obviously he lost count.]

Vic: Rose told me in her interview that a great bad girl moment of hers was when she “dated” The Kings (the whole band). [Not TRUE and nice try deleting my words Vic]. Gimme a bad boy moment of yours, preferably one that led to jail time, deportation, or a rash.

Prison photo by Danny Bradury on flickr (CC-by-2.0). Drawing of prison guard, talk bubble and text by RoseWrites added October 16th, 2015 via Pixlr.
Prison photo by Danny Bradury (CC-by-2.0)
Drawing of prison guard, talk bubble and
text by RoseWrites, 2015
A:  No rashes or diseases, and I've never been deported except by the Saudis but I was asking to be let back out of their giant sandbox.  

I did spend time in a Mexican slammer for a crime I did not commit.  I was strip searched, had my belongings and shoelaces taken (in case I tried to hang myself), and interrogated in several languages.  

I ended up cleaning the holding cell for them, getting permission to order pizza for the guards and myself, chilling in the squad room with a lawyer turned detective who spoke perfect English, and eventually having my accuser charged with obstruction, giving false statements, and other Mexican crimes.

[Now THAT’s a feature film right there, kids!!! GREAT stuff!!!—Vic]

Q: Ever go out all day without wearing underwear (and like it)?  [Not that anyone cares, but I never wear skivs; commando only, and I prefer my wimmen that way, too.]

A: [sound of crickets chirping]

Vic: Got any hobbies other than making gourmet grilled-cheese sandwiches shaped like Canada’s Prime Minister?

Vic Dillinger Creation 2015 "Prime Minister McCheese"
"Prime Minister McCheese" (Vic Dillinger, 2015)

A: I build igloos in July and of course I know your second cousin in Toronto, which is only 4,400 km from my home. 

Rose chimes in: Yeah, when I was a server/bartender, I'd say "a table of four Americans is louder than 10 Canadians." They are (generally) louder, more demanding, but they are also more generous.

Q: What is the most daring thing you've ever done in your life?

A: According to a US Marshal, sleeping in my Jeep in Arizona a few miles north of the border, right on a major drug smuggling route. 

Q: What are your thoughts about the "Free the Nipple" campaign? [My thoughts are clear on that subject—as long as I’m the one picking which nipples get to free-range, then I’m good with it.—Vic]

A: Nipples are a cultural thing, and culture varies by time and place. One of my favorite preachers, when asked about makeup (which some conservative Christians condemn), said famously "If the barn needs painting, paint it." In Canada the courts have found that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms includes the freedom of everyone to go topless.  I support everyone's legal freedoms, but if the barn needs a tarp, tarp it!  [I hear ya!—Vic]

Vic: Got any tattoos?

A: Nope, but I own a tattoo parlor.  (Yes, I am serious).  [Oh, the irony!  You should get some ink, though.—Vic]

Q: As a Canadian do you have any sure-fire ways to ways to pluck a Canadian out of a crowd or telltale signs of an American in your midst (besides being asked if you have any tattoos)?

A: Famous Canadian author Pierre Burton once wrote that the defining characteristic of a Canadian was they are NOT an American. Canadians are the ones that refused to rebel in 1776, rebuffed the American attempt to absorb them in 1812-1814, and continue to maintain a distinct culture and lifestyle while 90% of us live within 100 km of the US border. Any Canadian can be easily spotted in a crowd—just look for the person that seems like a very polite American and speaks with what you incorrectly assume is a Midwestern accent. [Except for those Frenchie Québécois—they’re rude as hell!!—Vic]

Ending Notes by Vic Dillinger

JadeDragon has managed to maintain a positive online presence.  He has helped many a newb get rolling.  He is a true veteran of InfoBarrel, still slogging it out with the rest of us for lo’ these many years.  If you have a chance to stop by and check out his material (whether on IB or elsewhere) do it: you may learn something.

The man does know a thing or two about the world so if he gives you some advice, my advice is: “Take it!”

Thanks, JadeDragon, for all you’ve done for InfoBarrel (and I know there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes, unsung things you’ve done to help), and thanks, in general, for being an all-around good guy.

Even if you are a Canadian. [Remember Vic, you are outnumbered here–Rose].

Rose's Windup

Tune in again next week or catch up whenever you want by checking out my Google Collections: InfoBarrel Author of the Week and InfoBarrel Newbie of the Month.

Funding for A Blog for the Underdog is provided (in part) by my earnings on Zazzle (because I didn't want to spam the h*ll outta my blog). To date, I have 237 "slice of life" and humorous products available for purchase in my Sousababy Zazzle store. Need a special design? Contact me there.