Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Moral Battle of Writing for eHow.com - Should you Stay or Remove Articles?

Like some other freelance writers, I find myself in a moral battle of writing for eHow.com. The debate over the latest fiasco has pitted many against each other and harsh words are being spewed from all corners of the internet and forums.  What's the debate?  The legal and moral standing of eHow's decision to expand their brand to the UK.  That itself is an excellent idea.  The trouble is that they cloned the US site and filled the UK library with these articles.  eHow is denying that the articles were cloned.  According to Merriam-Webster online clone means "one that appears to be a copy of the original form: duplicate".  I think posting our articles in full sounds like a clone whether their legal speak deems it such or not.  The main issue is about compensation and the loss of earnings and views created by the competitive US versus UK Google rankings.

eHow does own the UK site, but writers did not give up all rights.  eHow has decided to remove the articles from the UK site citing their concern over preserving the community.  I cannot help but believe that somewhere they hung themselves with what appeared to be a legal loop hole. 

The moral battle is deciding whether to continue writing for a company that seems to belittle their members with subtlety and turns a deaf ear often enough to dizzy some of their hardiest supporters.  Do you follow the money or hang up your laptop?  Many folks are so angry that they are deleting all of their articles from the website.  A lot of wriers are starting to write for Info Barrel, a newer content site that has seen a huge spike in members over the past several months because of problems on eHow. For people who have lost trust in eHow and want to write for Info Barrel, I'll be posting information on that site soon with some advice.

An eHow.com review pointed out that eHow has trouble communicating with its members.  There have been many things that I don't agree with since I started writing there.  But, I don't own the company and frankly, eHow's business model is one of secrecy.  They are not upfront about their payment methods and some people call it a scam.  Not me.  I do not believe that eHow is a scam.  But, I don't agree with some of their decisions.

Here's the bottom line:  money is eHow's bottom line.  Not everyone has the ability to pull their articles and this is not what I advise.  As long eHow has their Writer's Compensation Program it is a good place to earn residual income.  Freelance writers should have a diverse portfolio.  There is a lot to learn writing for eHow. I'm not happy about all of the things that have occurred, but legal mistake or legitimate move, they are removing the articles from the UK site.  I doubt there will be rectification of earnings and it is likely only a class action law suit could even attempt to find out the truth behind earnings.

The absolute best thing to do is make yourself stand out as a content and freelance writer.  Whether you decide to remove your articles from eHow because of the UK debacle or stay and ride the wave is ultimately your decision.  It is critically important for you to not be influenced by other people to pull your articles and run.  Don't make a decision in the heat of emotion.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree that it might not be best to pull articles yet. Might as well re-write them, SEO them even better, publish them on a more transparent site like InfoBarrel, and build more backlinks to them.

Then when they age and beat your originals (and clones), you might want to delete them from eHow.

Anonymous said...

I am currently just sitting on the articles I submitted to eHow, hoping they get things straightened out satisfactorily over the long haul.

Susang6 said...

Like many freelance writers at ehow.com, I have invested time and energy into my articles and when the UK cloning came to our attention, I assumed that eHow would do right by us and compensate us.

When I learned the news that this was not the case, I then needed to decide what would be best for my articles and me. After several days of contemplating the situation, I came to my decision.

I have decided to leave my articles on eHow however going forward I will tweak my original content and place my works on several transparent sites. I then will build backlinks to my original works at eHow.com.

I am optimistic that eHow will make this dreadful situation right with the members and will eventually compensate them for their cloned articles in the UK.

I learned a valuable lesson from all of this, and that is that is not wise to place all of your works at one site. It is better to have many article libraries and various sites.

Susan Golis
Freelance Writer
http://www.ehow.com/members/susang6.html

Darla said...

good posting and I agree, cutting and running isn't always the answer. for some it is right. I prefer to give benefit of doubt when possible (even though it is hard). I find myself relating to one half of a sentence written. the third paragraph down... turns a deaf ear often enought to dizzy some of stauchest supports.

that is the total truth.. this last fiasco has this FAN totally confused as to why the heck they could NOT answer this and answer quickly. It has lead me to believe that worse than being a legal looophole it is serious ineptness that has this problem magnified. That is, to quote myself.. "SCARY" that they do not get what is really happening.

JP said...

Thanks for the comments. I am very surprised, surprisingly, that they seem to not know WHAT the issue is with the results.

I agree, Susan, it is not good to put everything in one basket. I am still quite baffled by this whole thing and their lack of understanding.

Anonymous said...

I don't think content writing and writing for ad residuals is a viable self-employment model. I know many of us write for ehow (and similar sites) because we are under- or un-employed, but when I think about the money earned vs time spent on my 500+ ehow articles, I realize I could have made more money selling them outright to DS, or trying to get more hours at my "real" job. And I would have felt more fulfilled had I spent that time writing my novel and short stories instead.

I think "content" writing for residuals is a bad addiction many ehowers, including myself, have. Sure it's easy, and it's exciting to see little dollars and cents roll in everyday, but if you do the math, it adds up to a huge waste of time.

The eHow UK thing has opened my eyes to 2 thing: (1) I spend too much time at the computer reading forums/blogs and avoiding real work, and (2) the only people who can earn a living from sites like ehow, DS, suite101 infobarrel, etc are the OWNERS of those sites.

It's time for me to pound the pavement and look for real work. Good luck to you and other eHow writers who are re-evaluating their writing/life strategies.

JP said...

Interesting that you comment about it being an addiction. I think you're right. There is something very rewarding about seeing earnings on writing, but over half of my articles have earned less than what I could have sold them for outright. I think it's reasonable to be a part-time, work at home, kind of deal.

But, I also agree that I should be spending my time on the poetry I write and finishing my book.

Thanks for the comment!

Tammy Frost said...

Great comments everyone. The ehow forums are so crazy with all this uk stuff. I wish they would just fix the problem already. I also agree that ehow is addicting....But I could also be placing my articles on my help website to make more money in the long run. I will keep checking back to this blog to get updates...The forums are so time consuming at ehow. I have a headache from all the debates and argueing. Thanks for your wonderful blog. I hope you earn a fortune online.

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment. Note: Comment SPAM will NOT be approved.