Thursday, August 20, 2015

Paul Edmondson: "It's in Section 6 of the TOS" (but he forgot something)

Today I checked out an amusing HubPages forum thread started by Robin Edmondson. Here's the gist:

HubPages has finally found a way to edit any content on their site (whether or not they have authors' consent).

But it is so much more than that, I'll explain:

HubPages keeps all earnings of "inactive" users pie chart
Pie Chart illustration by RoseWrites created May 17th, 2015. Based on statistics provided by Marina Lazarevi (3% opt-out rate), Paul Edmondson (edited 20% of traffic), and the low percentage of flagged content being taken off the site (success rates are  0 - 48 percent).

As noted in my explanation of the HubPages business model, there is a huge chunk of content on the site that:

1) Authors have no idea is there, like these folks.

2) Authors do not receive any compensation for (no AdShare, Amazon or eBay revenue) because of these four clauses (deemed "Inactivity") in the HubPages Terms of Use:

a) If there has been no change to your "earned balance" for over six (6) months. [So, if you have $500 sitting in your account for 6 months plus one day, HubPages can keep it. I guess they don't roll it over.]

b) Your account has expired tax information that is greater that six (6) months beyond the date of expiration. [Extremely odd, since HubPages has no reason to collect SSNs].

c) You have uncollected payments or unaccepted payments by the payment company into your account for a period greater than six (6) months. [Again, if you try to collect your money after 6 months, it is NOT rolled over. HubPages keeps it.]

d) You have not responded to attempts to contact you at the primary email address for six (6) months from the date of first attempt to contact you (for which no response has been received).

But what if Paul Edmondson refuses to acknowledge MY attempts to contact him?

3) HubPages has (at best) skewed their data about reader satisfaction. As I detailed in a previous post, a score between 50 and 80 is "good" (not 24 to 29). More importantly, a TQM Journal study by Kai Christensen and Jacob Eskildsen concluded:

"The Net Promoter Score is a very poor predictor of both customer loyalty and customer satisfaction."

4) As janderson99 pointed out, "Will HP provide compensation if traffic falls?" [I'm sure the answer is "no."]

And it's telling that Paul Edmondson replies to janderson99 with this line:

"Our goal is to treat Hubbers with respect . . ." HA. I guess respect doesn't come naturally for Paul Edmondson and his team – so they've made it a goal now (something they'll achieve in the future).

But Paul Edmondson Forgot a Crucial Fact

After people complained (naturally) about "editors" being able to tweak their work (without their consent), Paul Edmondson chimed in with this:

"Hubbers do own their content and can take it down at anytime. It's also important to remember when content is posted on HubPages that it may be modified as part of our service." [Don't forget kids, if you remove content, you forfeit any and all of your earnings too].

Hey Paul, did you forget? You IMPORTED work from Squidoo without obtaining the consent of all authors beforehand. So, in reality, any former content owner from Squidoo that did NOT agree to the transfer of his or her work, who was unaware (or dead) is NOT held to your ridiculous TOS. (Click to enlarge cartoon).

Satirical Cartoon of Paul Edmondson Justifying His Importation of Content Without Authors' Consent
Satirical cartoon of Paul Edmondson as he explains why he didn't need content owners' permission and the similarities between "importing" and "posting." Created May 30th, 2015 by RoseWrites / All rights (and lefts) reserved

I'm looking forward to the day that the Federal Trade Commission puts a stop to this.

Why Dealing With Scrapers is Better Than Dealing With HubPages
Cartoon created by RoseWrites May 13th, 2015 / All rights reserved

Why dealing with HubPages is worse than dealing with scrapers cartoon
Cartoon created by RoseWrites May 13th, 2015 / All rights reserved

Author's note: I wonder if Vic Dillinger and others can find anything libelous in this post? The only opinionated phrase I wrote was "your ridiculous TOS." Everything else is based on fact.


  1. I didn't see anything libelous--I'm pretty sure it's okay to call an asshole an "asshole". Or to reference something that is ridiculous as "ridiculous". Fun read. The stick figures always amuse me.

    1. Glad you checked this one out Vic I highly respect your opinion. Take good care, Rose

  2. You mean you have to actually cash out your balance rather than have it sent to the designated account automatically? Probably a weird question but had to ask.

    Though on another note, wouldn't the collection of such information deem the writers as employees as opposed to just users?

    1. Dear Topaz Blu,

      I'm not certain how it "works" on HubPages, since I never joined the site (RE: cash out before they keep your earnings). But they also won't payout until you've made $50 on there.

      I get the sense that their NEW clause (RE:people cannot disclose their earnings) that HubPages might be paying some people (and not others) citing one of these four reasons. Imagine being denied your rightful earnings because you will not submit your tax information to them?

      No one should be handing over their SSN to HubPages (unless they are "employees" – of which there are 25 that work there).

      And the IRS determined years ago that HubPages does NOT need to collect tax info (SSNs) from writers who contributed to the site. Yet they STILL keep it in their Terms of Use.

      I look forward to the day they finally shut down.

      Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting.

      You always make my day,