Saturday, May 30, 2015

Crazy Ass HubPages Logic

Paul Edmondson Explains Similarities Between Importing and Posting Content
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 reserved (Note: You can click to enlarge cartoon)

The other day, I got into quite the brouhaha with a fellow Canadian who vehemently defends HubPages in the Squidoo "deal."

During the discussion, I stated how deceptive it is that HubPages is tallying registered users. Their Terms of Use (TOU) says, "You may not remove Author Content from the Service." I also pointed out that holding hostage someone's content/earnings and FORCING him or her to join HubPages (to obtain it) is highly unethical, deceptive, and illegal.

Yet I'm amazed to read the same line over and over. Logic that sounds like these comments:

"HubPages didn't acquire Squidoo, it only acquired the rights to transfer and host the webpages from that site." ~ colorfulone (formerly Tipi on Squidoo)

"...not the rights to the articles so much as the right to host them." ~ Stephen Parkin

What's this? A new law? 

One that supersedes the fact that both Squidoo and HubPages made it clear that authors own their content?

What the h*ll else am I going to do with a domain?
Paint it?
Take it to lunch?

The only reason (I can see) for stating authors own their content is to absolve HubPages from having to file DMCA NOIs.

As I mentioned in the comments section of Why on Earth Is Any Squid Filing a DMCA With Google:

"When you buy a domain, the content needs to be either your own or someone's you obtained the permission from to host. The Squidoo domain and its URLs are simply addresses. The act of IMPORTING content (that clearly isn't owned by Seth Godin or Paul Edmondson) is taking (stealing) content (unless each author granted them permission). I did not."

And the craziest argument I've heard is one from Dancingqueen (aka Marisa Wright) who tried this line to justify my profile being posted on HubPages: 

"It is your account because it was created on your behalf."

Without missing I beat, I had to state the obvious:

"I suppose the next manipulation that HubPages will come up with is this: Not only did we create a profile on your behalf, we decided to keep the money your work is earning - since we knew you'd donate it to us anyways."

Other Phrases That Bother Me 

When members of HubPages start to raise concerns about their content or earnings, I often read responses such as these:

"...which you agreed to when you created your account." ~ Matthew Meyer

"You own your content, but you give HubPages rights when you post on HubPages to modify it." ~ Paul Edmondson

Someone named jodijoyous asked Paul Edmondson: "Huh? Are you saying that you can - and will - modify our words regardless of whether we consent? Please clarify."

Paul Edmondson never answered her back.

Well, guess what former Squidoo authors? We did NOT post our content or create our own accounts, did we? Therefore, none of us can be held to the ridiculous HubPages Terms of Use.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Do These Authors Know Who Is Making Money From Their Work?

One thing I know for sure: whistleblowers are always bullied. The Squidoo-HubPages deal was both unethical and unlawful. I've written and documented proof about it since August 16th, 2014.

After my blog post Chronicling How HubPages Has Bullied Me, I found out that two more people gave my Consumer Affairs complaint a "helpful" vote. Note: Click image to enlarge.
Consumer Affairs Complaint Status Against HubPages May 28 2015
And after AstroGremlin commented that he never joined HubPages but his work is on there (making money solely for HubPages), I started to look for others who might not know their identity and content is being used in this manner.

Here are three profiles that I'm fairly certain are posted on HubPages without the authors' consent. HubPages has placed their ads on their work and is collecting all the money from ad share revenue, Amazon, and eBay. Note: You can click to enlarge.
Former Squidoo Authors Who May Not Know Their Work is On HubPages
Another person, Ddraig on InfoBarrel left me the following comment (click to enlarge) on my article HubPages is Breaking the Law:
Ddraig confirms HubPages took her work without her consent
To make life easier for these four people (and any others who might eventually find out), here is what you can do:

You can reference my complaint REFERENCE NO: 61039505 (which I submitted to the Federal Trade Commission on April 9th, 2015). I also wrote an open letter to the FTC. Feel free to reference me, Rose Webster, if you wish.

You can make a free phone call to the California State Attorney General's Whistleblower Hotline at: 1-800-952-5225.

If you are not personally affected by this situation, but would like to let the FTC know how you feel about it, you can file a comment. The FTC requests feedback from the public regarding proposed settlements.

I sincerely hope this helps everyone affected. As writers and content creators, we need to retain our rights online because if we allow our identities and content to be sold and bought, we have nothing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Chronicling How HubPages Has Bullied Me

HubPages Cartoon About Bullying RoseWrites (aka sousababy)
Satirical cartoon of Paul Edmondson as he explains how his shills have bullied me. Created May 26th, 2015 by RoseWrites / All rights reserved (Note: You can click to enlarge cartoon)

The day after Seth Godin announced HubPages was acquiring key content from Squidoo, I wrote Can Squidoo Do This? I'm pleased to see it's currently ranked 75th on InfoBarrel's Top 100.

Soon there ended up being six pages worth of discussion about it in InfoBarrel's forum post Squidoo is Moving to HubPages. It was within that forum thread that I learned how desperate HubPages was for us to all agree to "click a link" and "enter a code" (even those who already had an existing HubPages account).

Notably, Dancingqueen (who later revealed herself as Marisa Wright) ended up addressing many concerns.

TanoCalvenoa asked, "I wonder though if they're not moved (if the "transfer" button wasn't clicked), if the lenses [articles] will be deleted and just disappear?"

Marisa Wright (aka Dancingqueen) stated: "They won't be deleted, but when the site closes down the site closes down - so they will disappear."

Further along, she asked: "Would people prefer that Squidoo did what Helium, and many others did - just close down and let all your articles disappear?"

To which I replied: "Actually yes, I would prefer that. My work is not Seth's to sell. And, for the entire time that my lenses are online, I am also earning money for Squidoo (I didn't have an affiliate account like I do now). Foolishly, I split 50 - 50 with Squidoo (since I liked the idea of half benefiting charity)."

On some of my articles, I had to delete comments that were abusive, unfortunately.

In my November 9th, 2014 article Want to Leave HubPages? How to Get All of Your Earnings, both "Intheknow" (Barbara Kay on HubPages) and "Ernie" [who isn't really Ernie, but who purchased the profile on the condition he wouldn't post anything] decided to bully me in my comments section. By far, this "Ernie" person was the worst (and I had to delete a comment).

Who knows who he really is, but he's from Stockholm, Sweden. And impersonating someone to deceive (known as spoofing) and use this fake identity to cyberbully is illegal.

December 7th, 2014, I received the following email from Sue Adams. You can click it to enlarge. The subject line: Stop it already.

Bullying email from Sue Adams (HubPages) demanding I "Stop it already"

Then, near the end of April, an author on HubPages (who had my email address ever since our Squidoo days) successfully managed to pull InfoBarrel (and their other sites) offline. Why? Because I took a screenshot of the portion where it states "money changed hands" in the Squidoo-HubPages deal.

Unfortunately, this cost the writing platform I love too much. InfoBarrel issued the statement: "While we did comply with the request, we felt that the DMCA [NOI] itself was invalid and should have fallen under fair use."

Since then, I've decided to blog about the facts instead. That way, HubPages cannot punish other writers and the InfoBarrel platform because I am exposing the truth.

On May 20th, 2015, I was met with some pseudo-threats from someone I used to follow, a fellow Canadian. I was shocked that he repeated the same mantras I've read for months:

"You are unwilling to actually log in..., If you logged in you can delete all of your Lenses (now Hubs)..., Paul says you need to login..., Rose, I suggest you log on and remove your work yourself."

I think I've been told to "click the link" or "log on" about a dozen times now.

So, to clear up any doubts, there are sane, logical reasons why I refuse to "just login and delete my work" and they are as follows:

My blog post, Telling the Truth: When Shills Try to Make You Look Bad, also touches on this.

1) I reported that first email from HubPages as a phishing attempt.
Why? Squidoo HQ members were made aware of my wishes (as were hundreds of writers). Squidoo also promised to never, ever sell our email addresses.

2) I am one of the few to have fully read the HubPages Terms of Use. And, I didn't join since it states: Author content cannot be removed from the Service and that HubPages requires current tax information (including SSNs and perhaps passport info) PRIOR to issuing any earnings.

3) I do not trust their records or statistics. Just reading through their forum is enough to tell me they do not keep accurate records. How can I trust that I will receive my deserved share of Amazon or eBay royalties either?

So the fact that Paul Edmondson is trying to belittle me through others - who have even gone as far to say that my case would require "the US equivalent of our [Canadian] Supreme Court" is pretty vile.

Monday, May 25, 2015

InfoBarrel: Rewards Writers and Pays the Most

Samuel L. Jackson and Admin avatar on InfoBarrel (Serious Cat aka SRS Cat)
Photo of Samuel L. Jackson: Cliff (nostri-imago on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic | SRS Cat (Serious Cat) courtesy of InfoBarrel

Recently, I encountered another person who questioned the viability of InfoBarrel. His words were: "InfoBarrel may pay better for now [over HubPages], but what chance do they have of running a profitable business in the long run paying out at the rates you claim."

First of all, InfoBarrel has been around since 2008. They have been running a highly efficient writing platform for over seven years. The two gentlemen who run it, Ryan McKenzie and Kevin Hinton, probably work over 80 hours a week each.

I've even contacted Ryan on weekends after midnight and as early as 6:30 in the morning (and he's responded every time). I could not be more impressed with how they handle their online business.

They address everything with writers. There is nothing hidden. You can even write about your earnings if you wish.

Yes, the 90% ad share revenue is not merely a "claim." If I write enough to earn 31 points (or more) per month and submit just five articles to the editorial calendar = 90% ad share.

In fact, the first article you post will automatically garner 75% ad share. No, you don't have to submit 10 - 20 or more "free" articles to InfoBarrel and then apply for AdSense [like on HubPages] to collect your deserved percentage of ad share revenue.

They even hold monthly contests that earn cash bonuses of $100, $50, and $25. My friend TanoCalvenoa recently earned both 90% ad share revenue and a cool $100 for his efforts.

One myth I'd like to dispel is the belief that you cannot delete your articles on InfoBarrel. This is completely false. In fact, you can do so yourself. JadeDragon (an amazing InfoBarrel author) stated, "Save the article as a draft. Go to your drafts and hit "delete." The two-step process may be to prevent accidental deletions."

Admin (aka SRS Cat) also chimed in with this: "Just send Admin a private message with the exact URL you want removed. Thanks."

In InfoBarrel's forum, a new member recently asked: "What do you like about InfoBarrel that HubPages (or any other competitor) doesn't have?" And numerous authors chimed in with their responses.

What keeps people away from InfoBarrel? The rejection they may face when they first submit their work. My work was rejected at first - even for using English awkwardly (even though I've lived in Canada all my life).

Other platforms don't care what you write, as long as you are making them money. What happens is those who produce shoddy work get the impression they are "just fine" and do not need to improve. When they face a few denials on InfoBarrel, they automatically get upset and leave.

Some people cannot handle being wrong or understand that there is always room for improvement. I feel that the majority of writers (on other platforms) can't handle rejection. Hence, why I wrote The InfoBarrel Advantage (With Ryan McKenzie) Bonus: Sneak Preview of InfoBarrel Version 4.0.

Oh and one more reason that InfoBarrel has less traffic (right now) than another large platform: looks like our readers differ in how they spend their time. Also, InfoBarrel doesn't violate Google's Webmaster Guidelines the way HubPages does.

Note: Click on the image below to enlarge.

InfoBarrel Audience Demographics Compared to HubPages (Source Alexa)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Telling the Truth: When Shills Try to Make You Look Bad

Hotel California
California Hotel | Credit: Sonny Abesamis (eneva) on flickr / CC-by-2.0 | Text added by RoseWrites

My friend Jonathan Nielsen has been the cornerstone in helping me expose the truth about the Squidoo-HubPages deal.

He clearly recognizes the difference between narcissism and psychopathy and can recognize a shill a mile away. I've always been astounded at the number of silent observers who are too afraid to speak up (in any workplace or social environment).

More disturbing is the amount of bashing I've been experiencing online for simply telling the truth. Sure, I joke about it too - that's called satire. And satire is legal in Canada and the US.

The last couple of days has been tiresome for me. Well, honestly, the last eight months have been a huge financial and emotional drain for me.

I keep hitting the same wall over and over again with people who are defending the HubPages side of the so-called Squidoo acquisition.

I am constantly being told: "you can take your content down off HubPages."

This is outrageous. Why? Because it's akin to this:

Suppose I import all of your articles to InfoBarrel (without your permission) and stick InfoBarrel's ads on them.

Then I email you that I have them (a "do not reply" email). And the only way you can access your own content is to join InfoBarrel (permanently, you can never remove your author content). That way, I can keep on tallying the number of "registered users" on InfoBarrel to look like I have the biggest platform.

If you already have an InfoBarrel account, I make you "follow a link" and enter a "code." Eventually, I can pair this up with your tax information (which I will require first before you receive any money for the ads I place on your work - and for your share of the Amazon and eBay royalties as well).

Hmm, as for four years worth of your comments on another platform? I'm going to have a link point back to InfoBarrel from each one that will read: "Sign in or sign up and post using an InfoBarrel account."That way, people will think that YOU endorse InfoBarrel (and have been on it for years and years).

Oh and I might set up a phony Pinterest account too. Gotta keep these backlinks going, you know. Those automated ones (that aren't editorially placed or vouched for) well, who cares if they violate Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

For that matter, who cares that our photos don't require Alt tags. And even though this is all a violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines, we actually allow duplicate photo descriptions and titles too.

I never wanted to be associated with HubPages or have my online work remotely connected to this unethical site, therefore, to hold my content and rightful earnings hostage until I join HubPages is both ridiculous and unlawful.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

My Thoughts About "Free The Nipple"

Intro photo: Kady and I together (with boobs drawn on my white blouse) / All rights reserved

I'm a mom in my 40s and I breastfed for a few years. Since I'm fairly sociable, I breastfed in public. I usually had a blanket draped over my shoulder the whole time.

But, there were a few times my baby inadvertently pulled or kicked the blanket or my shirt just enough to expose my breast. A few times, my nipple popped out too.

And I'm just going to say it: whenever such a mishap occurred, I'd look up and some guy would be staring directly at my boob.

As much as I'd like to think that men and women have similar reactions to each others' body parts, I don't think it's true. Perhaps it's not even possible.

I've seen men mesmerized by a woman's breast. It's almost as though they are hypnotized. Some cannot even continue with a normal conversation if a woman's nipple makes an appearance within the vicinity.

Yet, if I saw any part of a guy's junk exposed, I think I'd be somewhat shocked (not turned on). And I am attracted to men. A well-dressed man who looks me in the eye and actually listens to what I am saying is a turn on.

Can this reaction men have to our breasts (and nipples) be "fixed" somehow by showing them more?

Hmm, I'm not totally convinced.

Yet I admire these women who are trying to change the way women's bodies have been objectified.

The problem I have is this: I have a hard enough time getting men to respect me in this world or (when I wasn't a writer) pay me the same wage as my male counterparts. I feel that by intentionally exposing my breasts might have the opposite effect.

And I'm just going to say it: I feel like I would be helping some pervert "get his jollies" without the guy really understanding the deeper issue. I'm not so sure every person is capable of comprehending the message of equality these women are sending.

To the ladies who are freeing their nipples I say "good for you." Perhaps in time, your efforts will pay off.

But I guess I've been struggling for too long, hoping to be granted the same opportunities as men, proving that I am just as capable as a man, that I'm unable to fully participate in this cause. I totally respect and admire you, but I think I'll keep my shirt on.

Explaining the HubPages Business Model

Once you examine the HubPages Terms of Use in detail, it's completely understandable why Robin Edmondson would want to invest time and resources into programs like HubPro and Editor's Choice.

Instead of removing low quality content from the site, it's far more enticing to "tweak" content that gets the most traffic.

Especially if you get to keep 100% of anything that content earns (ad share, Amazon, and eBay royalties).

What could be better than profiting off the backs of others and their hard work?

So when "active" authors are baffled why HubPages ignores the content they flag, I say to them this:

"HubPages needs to split the profits with you, right? The pages that you flag (that do not get removed) are probably pages that HubPages keeps 100% of the revenue from."

In my article HubPages: The Truth Behind Editor's Choice, I go into greater detail about why the HubPages domain is lousy.

But conservatively speaking (and based on their biased statistics), I came up with a couple of diagrams that might help you understand the scope of how HubPages makes most of their money.

In this first pie chart, I estimated that half of all the "registered" users on HubPages were "inactive" by HubPages standards. Marina Lazarevi, Product and Quality Manager of HubPages, stated: "The reality is, the EC opt-out rate is only 3%."

And I believe she's being truthful.

Especially in light of the fact that the majority of the pages on HubPages are by "inactive" users or those producing low-quality work or those who are completely unaware that they need to opt-out.

Here's my pie chart to illustrate the 3% who opted-out of Editor's Choice:

Next, let's take a look at Paul Edmondson's logic. He stated: "...the top 19% of hubs by quality account for 30% of traffic" and also "We've actually edited 20% of traffic from search engines."

Sure, I believe him.

So, let's apply that logic to another diagram. This time, I divided those getting paid and those not getting paid on HubPages. It's easy to see how much content should probably be removed from HubPages, but isn't.

Instead, I think HubPages has been dying to get their hands on the "abandoned" content (or in my case) the content they imported without permission from Squidoo authors.

This is the business model you never hear about. The one that you need to know and the one that is bound to fail. As more "active" authors leave the site, the HubPages domain becomes more tarnished.

It's funny how greed eventually catches up with people, isn't it?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Paul Edmondson, CEO of HubPages, Tells CNBC What Google Should Do

Yeah, what Google did wrong.

Two days ago, Ari Levy of CNBC interviewed Paul Edmondson for a piece titled Google's 'phantom' algorithm update hits websites.

And just like Paul Edmondson has been doing all along, he expresses bewilderment and cites the acquisition of Squidoo as part of the problem.

Because, Squidoo 'had too much spam.'

Gee, I wrote on Squidoo, I made it publicly known I did NOT want my work imported to HubPages, and yet Paul Edmondson is STILL keeping my identity, profile, and 277 of my articles on his site.

But of course, he made sure to remove the link to InfoBarrel (his competitor) in my profile.

Nope, Edmondson doesn't feel he owes me (and others) a thing.


Because I was told my articles from Squidoo "would disappear" (which is exactly what I wanted). So when I received the email from HubPages September 13th, 2014 stating my lenses [articles] had been imported, I reported that email to Google for phishing.

Phishing since Squidoo promised to never, ever sell our email.
Phishing since I was told to "follow a link" and input a "code."
Phishing because HubPages demanded my "current tax information."

Bad enough it was in an email - but it also carried over to InfoBarrel's forum.

I never gave HubPages my email.
I never had any intention of being associated with HubPages.

Yet, every comment I ever made on Squidoo (and others, like Steve Kaye) provide a link back to HubPages. Comments which predate the Squidoo-HubPages deal.

Gee, I think that violates Webmaster Tools guidelines about link schemes which includes "using automated programs or services to create links to your site."

Or what about this example: one day I discover a phony Pinterest account with my former sousababy name and my content on it.

An account I never set up.

Whoa, that must qualify as an "automated service designed to create links." These certainly weren't "editorially placed" or "vouched for" by me (or others in the same shoes).

But, Paul Edmondson continues to block me on Google Plus, the site admins ignore the flagging of my own profile on his site, and his shills continue to try to discredit me. Robin Edmondson is also pretty good at intimidating writers.

Perhaps Google and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are taking a good hard look at HubPages.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Why HubPages Is Worse Than Scrapers

Today, I thought I'd post a couple of cartoons to illustrate why I feel HubPages is worse than your garden variety scraper out there.

And then there's HubPages:

Monday, May 11, 2015

Paul Edmondson Blames Site-Wide HubPages Traffic Loss on Google (What About Himself?)

I just finished reading Paul Edmondson's explanation of why HubPages lost 22 percent of their traffic on May 3rd, 2015. He seems completely clueless. To him, it's all Google's fault. 

Nothing could be further from the truth, in my mind.

Strange how some former Squidoo authors have forgotten how unfair the Squidoo-HubPages deal was to those of us who had no intention of being associated with HubPages.

Yet, one of the biggest cheerleaders from Squidoo (who turned out to be a bandwidth thief) has been gushing over everything HubPages does. I did a double take when s/he stated this in the HubPages forum thread Squidoo is Gone, Gone, Gone:

"HubPages didn't acquire Squidoo, it only acquired the rights to transfer and host the webpages from that site."

Really? Then why did people need to make a decision? 

Just a reminder, former Squidoo authors had to:

Click on a transfer button on their dashboard or respond to an email, follow some link, and input a "code." An email I reported for phishing. [And it really wasn't a choice since our deserved portion of the ad share was withheld if we didn't comply].

Those on holidays, sick, offline, or too busy with other obligations (from August 15th - 29th) were shocked to find their work imported to HubPages (along with their identity and profile) without their consent.

Without their consent.

Seems that some Hubbers only fully understand "without my consent" when HubPages does something to them (like edit their work without their consent).

I think Google understands (now, after numerous writers, not just myself) have complained about HubPages and how egregiously unfair and deceptive the Edmondson's business practices have been.

Do I hate Hubbers? Not at all. 

It's not the writers at fault here.

Lastly, I found yet another important piece of evidence that points to HubPages proceeding with their "agenda" long before Seth Godin made any announcement. In that same forum thread Squidoo is Gone, Gone, Gone, toptengamer stated

"One odd thing about the Squidoo transition, that I just realized, is that many of my best performing Squidoo articles were redirected months before they moved to HubPages."

Months before they moved to HubPages.

Hmm, could the grand plan that Paul Edmondson had be finally unravelling?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Forum Trolls with Their Own Agenda

Ah yes, anyone who has written online for over six months can probably relate to this. 

You ask a reasonable, innocent question in a forum and find yourself on the receiving end of a huge backlash.

As annoying as forum spam is, (I think) trolls and shills are much more detrimental to online community at large.

And for one simple reason: they are highly effective at quieting people who have similar concerns.

No one wants to get bullied or bashed online, right? People will do anything to avoid confrontation - especially online, where if you aren't seen as overwhelmingly nice you might lose a follower or someone who might purchase something from your website or business.

But guess what just happened to me in the Blogger forum?

I searched for any info (already posted) about "bloggers with the same pen name" and nothing came up. So, I decided to ask my question in the forum and here is what happened:

ME: "A few days ago, I created my own blog. At first I tried to use my pen name RoseWrites, but I received the prompt it was "already taken." Naturally, I was curious. So, I tried to view it at rosewrites (dot) blogspot (dot) com but I received the prompt:

"This blog is open to invited readers only. It doesn't look like you have been invited to read this blog. If you think this is a mistake, you might want to contact the blog author and request an invitation."  

I am a wee bit concerned about someone impersonating me online. I'm pretty sure it's rare, but I know it does happen. My newly created blogger blog is (and I'm happy with it). I'd just like some reassurance that I'm not being impersonated on the aforementioned blog.

Thank you in advance."

A couple of forum people chimed in stating the obvious. That someone (likely named Rose) who likes to write just happened to pick that blog name.

I totally "get" that and so I responded. 

ME: "Oh, I'm 99.999% convinced that this person is probably called Rose and likes to write too. It's just that I've had problems with stalkers, content scrapers, and someone impersonating me in the past. I was hoping someone at Google could simply "reassure" me that I'm not being impersonated. 

Could someone please tell me how to "contact the blog author" or verify that this person is not using a photo of me (or scraped versions of my content, etc)?

I'm sure it's rare, but I seem to be a magnet for these types. Just want some reassurance, that's all. I only have one gmail account (if that helps to know)."

Then things got ugly and someone I'd rather not identify kept poking me (I'll refer to him or her as "AGENDA T"):

AGENDA T: "Rose,  If "rosewrites" is private, it's unlikely that anybody here can help you by reading blog content.  A private blog is readable only by the members, that is the purpose of private blogs.

And I can understand your concern  about impersonation - but how would one "impersonate" somebody, in a blog that is not visible?  Impersonation, to have any meaning, has to be visible to people who supposedly know the victim.  If I impersonate somebody who I will never meet - and I will never meet anybody who might know the victim - is that really impersonation?

Also, if the blog were to impersonate you, what would you do about it?  How would you prove impersonation, to a judge or jury, if nobody can read the blog?"

ME: "Dear  Agenda T,

Respectfully, I have reported profiles myself to Google that were impersonating people, Sir David Attenborough (to name just one). There ARE ways to report such cases on Google Plus.

So no, to impersonate someone does NOT "have to be visible to people who know the victim" at all.

In case you've been living under a rock, content theft, spun content, etc. is rampant online. It's extremely easy to steal someone's photo, spin their content, and post it on a "private" blog with Google's AdSense ads etc. and make money solely from their identity and content.

I have not (yet) monetized my blog (since I just started it). But, if someone were to have a blog begun called "Agenda T(dot)blogspot (dot) com" when YOU first started out (and you had used that name online for years), I think you might be equally as curious.

To answer your questions: "if the blog were to impersonate you, what would you do about it?  How would you prove impersonation, to a judge or jury, if nobody can read the blog?"

I would report it to Google, who knows my gmail address has been unchanged for several years, along with my Google Analytics information.

All I'm asking is for someone from Google to "check" it.

The prompt I received also included this quote "you might want to contact the blog author." Sooo, to make a short story long, perhaps someone can point me to how I can "contact the blog author" then?

Thanks in advance to Google or anyone who can help me,


AGENDA T: "If you want to "contact the author", you have to find their contact.

Blogger supports anonymity, and they won't violate that right that the owner has.  Try research.  If you're truly determined, you may find a contact point.

Agenda T put 3 links to his content here (which I won't show).

I really don't think someone from Google is just going to "check" it, if it is private.  Have you ever heard of the term "bootstrapping"?

You: Your honor, I need a court order for Google to "check" this private blog, and see if they are impersonating me.

Judge: Can you prove that they are impersonating you, to justify the order?

You: No, that's why I need the court order.

That is "bootstrapping".  You can't prove that they are impersonating you, so the judge isn't going to give you a court order to violate their right to privacy.  And Google isn't going to violate their right, either.

And what are you going to do, about the impersonators, who are using private hosting services in Cayman Islands, Germany, or Switzerland?  Are you curious about this one blog, because you really think that it's impersonating you - or because it is hosted on Blogger, where you happen to publish?  Or maybe you hope - against all odds - that the current owner might be willing to give you the blog, so you can use your "pen name"?"

ME: "Hey  Agenda T,

Your anger towards me is unwarranted.

If someone is profiting from my identity and content, I believe that is against the law.

If this blogger has nothing to hide, then why not (at least) allow me to introduce myself (not to join his or her blog) but just to be assured that s/he is not using my likeness, identity, or content. And vice-versa.

Perhaps this person would ALSO appreciate knowing that I have no intention of impersonating him or her online?

I once had mail sent to me that belonged to another person with my name (and she had my mail). After we finally connected, we laughed and gave each other our mail back.

Miraculously, neither of us opened each others' mail. (Snail mail, as in letters). Something like that is unheard of in the online world, I know.

I will hold out for more helpful responses, thanks for trying.


AGENDA T: "I'm not angry at you.

I am pointing out though that the person who owns the blog has a private blog - and the only mistake that person made was to pick a blog name which corresponds with your chosen pen name.

Now, Blogger has a privacy policy - and the owner of the blog is entitled to privacy.

Agenda T put another link to his work here.

I can understand your alarm, at possible impersonation.
  • I don't think that the fact that the blog uses your chosen pen name entitles you to claim impersonation - or, seriously, that it suggests impersonation.
  • I don't think that Blogger Policy Review, or Google Security, personnel are likely to just "check" the blog - nor if they do, they would be unlikely to identify anything that concerns you, and would also be within their scope of authority to take action - even if there is anything in there that concerns you.
  • With the blog being private, I don't see how anything other than search engines would be involved, in creating an impersonation threat.
  • I checked Google, Internet Archive (aka Wayback Machine), and Yahoo - and I'm not seeing any hits on "rosewrites (dot) blogspot (dot) com".  I don't think the blog has been indexed.
Now I've been chasing hackers, impersonators, porn, and spammers, for a few years.  I do have experience with all of this.  Unfortunately, the details that I would share with you exceed the scope of this forum.  I do not believe that "blogspot (dot) com" should be the limit of your concern - if impersonation is a concern.

I would like to discuss this with you - just not in this forum.  I'll point out a post which I recently published.

Agenda T put another link to his work here.

That was one very interesting episode which I experienced, in a supra Blogger investigation.  If that interests you, my contact point is indicated in there.

I look forward to hearing from you - just not here."

Then someone else chimed in with this: "Hi Rose, You can visit Someone is impersonating me on Blogger for more details."

ME: "Hi Agenda T, 

See here's the thing: You are making assumptions that simply don't exist. For example, "this person's only mistake" and in your previous response you almost accused me of "hoping the current owner would give me their blog so I could use my pen name."

My question was simply to ascertain that this person was not impersonating me (and making a profit from my identity and/or content). That's all. 

Furthermore, you fail to realize that there is no "evil" intent on my part (and most likely) on this private blog owner's part. 

But the "private" thing, naturally, bothers me a bit. And your defensive reaction with a bunch of links to YOUR content, well, doesn't sit well with me. And then, for some reason, you launched into a court room battle? Extremely odd.

Just to clarify:

a) Nowhere did I make an "accusation" of impersonation (in fact, that is precisely why my forum question is worded "Blogger With Same Pen Name" and not "Someone is impersonating me on Blogger" (which is probably the best answer, so far). 

So your statement: "I don't think that the fact that the blog uses your chosen pen name entitles you to claim impersonation - or, seriously, that it suggests impersonation" is anything but alarmist and accusatory.

b) In my world, if people have the same name, they CAN help each other by directing queries to the proper source. 

In the hospitals I worked in, two doctors shared the same name and we often had patients call the "wrong" doctor. Finally, we figured out a way to give them an option on our phone service to connect with the right doctor (and s/he did the same thing). 

Confusion solved. Everyone happy.

c) Lastly, I thanked you for your effort to help me, yet you continued to link spam this forum. The purpose of a forum is so that others (not just me) can benefit from any answers provided. 

It bothers me (and perhaps others) that you "would like to discuss this with me - just not in this forum" and you continue to "point out a post which you recently published" etc. 

Why the secrecy? I'm not special. 

Every blogger with this valid concern might like to hear your answer. So, instead of spamming this forum, why not just state your case to help us all?

I have no intention of reading any of your posts or "connecting with you privately" - I've been in the online world long enough to know better.

As for TBwiz, for now, I have chosen your response the "best answer" yet I'm not accusing anyone of impersonation - just would like a little reassurance. 

My guess is this: 

If enough people come forward with similar worries about "private" blogs, Blogger admins will eventually look into some form of verification (perhaps email addresses, ISP, photo, and/or content) should be proof enough (without a "court battle"). 

I don't want others with the same concern to be "put off" by what Agenda T has said (which is, in my mind, a form of bullying and forum spamming).

Thank you everyone for reading my forum post, intended to help others too (not just me),


Thursday, May 7, 2015

What's the Best UGC Revenue-Sharing Site? InfoBarrel

The most recent 1-month Quantcast graphs for HubPages and InfoBarrel.

I peruse the HubPages forum fairly regularly. Today was particularly amusing. 

First, an author made mention in the HubPages forum that his article had been "edited by an unknown party." He mentioned, "The body of the text also appears to have been edited heavily." And further along he confirmed traffic "appears to be down by 50% right now."

That seems about right, according to the information I collected about the "new" Editor's Choice program. And yet again, this author wasn't consulted prior to these major edits by ?

Compare this "policy" to InfoBarrel:

a) InfoBarrel has human editors. They might suggest an edit, but they won't rewrite your work.
b) InfoBarrel site owner, Ryan McKenzie, knows what it takes to write a viral article. He wrote one himself. And not a fad diet or a trashy booze article, either. It's called 22 Habits of Unhappy People.

I cannot find any evidence that the Edmondsons or their "mystery editors" have written a viral Hub. This might explain why they do not understand the personal, intimate connection writers form with their work. I mean real writers (not content spinners and plagiarists).

Later, I read a post about Amazon sales. The OP (and others) wanted to know more information about returned items. He mentioned that on Squidoo, they "let us know right away what sold. Why does HP [HubPages] keep this info secret?"

Indeed, why is that? 

Amazon refuses to inform me what my fair share of royalties are too (from my 277 articles illegally posted on HubPages). And of course, HubPages isn't going to come clean (even though my email address is exactly the same as it was on Squidoo).

The answer from Matthew Meyer (HubPages Staff) was: "Amazon sales report will display sales that occurred during your share of impressions. If it occurred during the HubPages share if [of] impressions, then it will not be on that report."

That didn't really answer the "why does HubPages keep this info secret" part, does it.

Today, an author who writes on both HubPages and InfoBarrel wanted more info too. He (or she) mentioned having "a lot of products that didn't ship" and naturally s/he "wanted to know why." So far, this goes unanswered.

But the glaring problem that still exists on HubPages is the lack of social sharing buttons. As I mentioned in my blog post yesterday, Marina Lazarevic, Product and Quality Manager for HubPages, made clear that this was not an oversight. They chose to exclude these buttons from mobile and tablets. 

At one point, yesterday, Lazarevic appeased an author by promising to "reconsider" this decision. 

However, today she was firm in her response to him, stating"When I said we would consider it, I didn't mean it would happen that day." And she added they "plan to consider social buttons on mobile for Q3 of this year. Our Q2 (April-June) schedule is already packed with other projects."

Oh what might those projects be? Selling HubPages? Could that explain why you are retiring HubPages Video? Less storage space for a buyer to worry about, right?

But hey, I learned one more thing today that might point to a possible advantage for scrapers and content "buyers." There seems to be an unnatural delay for featured Hubs to appear on authors' profile pages - but even more disturbing - until the NoIndex code on these articles is removed.

If you are looking for a new site to write on, InfoBarrel has been my writing home for 15 months. I routinely earn 90% of the ad share by maintaining 31 or more points per month. Not only is traffic soaring on InfoBarrel, but the new version 4.0 of InfoBarrel is due out in the next couple of months.

Take a peek at where author information and social sharing buttons will be located:

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

HubPages in Its Death Throes?

Three days ago, HubPages experienced its lowest amount of unique traffic in almost two years. 

At first glance, it seemed to coincide with the impact of Google's mobile-friendly algorithm. But Paul Edmondson stated: "It looks like Panda to me." He mentioned talking to other large sites and sending messages to Google. 

Edmondson added, "The general feedback is this update is still rolling out."

Yet, yesterday (May 5th, 2015), Barry Schwartz confirmed it was not Panda. He speculated it could be some other type of update and reminded us of when Hummingbird launched prior Google's official announcement.

What struck me as odd is the uptick in traffic when HubPages decided to implement two major changes to Hubs [articles]:

With Hub Design, the word is that the social media share buttons are absent on mobile devices and PCs unless you zoom out (to 1100 pixels). Naturally, there was a huge uproar in the HubPages forum from Hubbers [authors]. 

Marina Lazarevic, Product and Quality Manager for HubPages, countered: "The vast majority of our desktop readers have screen sizes 1100 px or wider. Mobile and tablet browser[s] have built-in sharing buttons so we chose to exclude buttons from these devices."


Can you make it any easier for scrapers? 

Not only does HubPages fail to post the publish date on articles, but they also do not implement any means of disabling copy and paste.

Incredible isn't it.

The excuse given in the HubPages FAQ states"While it is possible to eliminate a users ability to copy text via JavaScript, this most impacts readers and has the effect of breaking the reader experience." Then more blah, blah. And finally, "A more technically proficient person could simply disable JavaScript or view the page source."

I'm not buying it.

As for the decision to disable rich snippets, I cannot be sure, but I firmly believe that all of this points to HubPages catering to scrapers and identity thieves. Especially in light of the sudden surge in traffic that HubPages is experiencing now - at the detriment of its authors.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Can I Advise Peeps When to Use the Plural Form of "Advice"?

Don't ever put an "s" on the end of "advice" unless you are referring to a formal notice of a financial transaction. For example, "Cheques and remittance advices were listed as per the purchase ledger."

Otherwise, the word "advices" doesn't exist in everyday English language.

It's a telltale sign that a writer isn't a native English speaker, I suppose. And hey, there is nothing wrong with learning the English language. In other languages, there is a plural form of the word "advice."

But I've seen dozens of forum posts and comments like this:

"Thanks friend for your advices..."
"I'll be sure to take all this great advices..."
"I hope someone can give me advices on when to..."

I found some excellent advice (pun intended) in the Wordreference forum. Dmitry suggested adding the word "piece" which allows an "s" at the end." His examples: "One piece of advice...", "Two pieces of advice..." and so on.

Does that help?

Monday, May 4, 2015

First Zujava, Soon HubPages

I never signed up for Zujava or HubPages, but I am seeing a similar trend.

The cheaters are being flushed out online. And I say good, finally.

I just checked out the HubPages forum and found out precisely why Zujava lost its Amazon account.

It was because the site violated rule number 27 in the Associates Program Participation Requirements which states:

"You will not artificially generate clicks or impressions on your site or create Sessions on the Amazon Site, whether by way of a robot or software program or otherwise."

Writer Fox stated that "cookie stuffing" was the reason. What this meant was anyone reading a Zujava article had a cookie automatically installed on his or her computer (without knowing it).

The cookie embedded Zujava's affliate Amazon code (the site owner's code). What happened is this: if the visitor bought something from Amazon (within a month), Zujava's site owner pocketed the commission.

So what does this have to do with HubPages?

Well, in case you haven't heard, HubPages traffic has nosedived. It's even lower than on Christmas day 2014. My guess is that the Federal Trade Commission is looking into the complaints that have arisen from me (and others).

Importing an author's profile, identity, and content is NOT the same as an author who voluntarily posts their work on HubPages. Therefore, HubPages Terms of Use cannot apply to those who never clicked that green button on their Squidoo dashboard or followed a link in that first email from HubPages.

An email that I reported for phishing.

Why? Because HubPages requires authors to surrender their current SSN (tax information) prior to issuing their deserved share of earnings. Oddly, the IRS made it clear two years ago that HubPages does not need to collect tax information (HubPages does not issue tax forms of any kind) yet HubPages "still requires it."