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