Saturday, January 23, 2010

Moving Forward: eHow Responds By Redirecting UK Articles

eHow UK Site Impacted Earnings - Redirects Articles Home

eHow has taken action to move forward.  They redirected the UK articles to the US articles supposedly as of January 21.  While I think it is interesting an entire day went by without the action being reported, I am glad something has finally changed.  I do still have some suspicions that are actually fueled in part by the way eHow has fixed the situation.  As much as I wish I knew programming, I don't.  I do find it interesting that they could remedy the UK situation by simply redirecting our articles.  To me, this means that the intent with the UK site was clearly one of gathering views and making free money.  eHow made a lot of money in the past half year by diverting viewers to their free mirror site.  They clearly did NOT pay or compensate us in any way for any action over the past five or six months while using articles and lying about the real impact of the UK site.

If the solution to this UK situation is simply redirecting the UK articles back to the US articles then eHow absolutely had full awareness that the UK site set up unfair and direct competition.  For members who supported eHow through this entire UK site charade, I just wonder if they realize what eHow UK did to members, them included. The multi-million dollar company built by community members made a mirror website with our content, without our permission, likely violating intellectual property laws, and then has the audacity to make a statement about communityI wonder what an intellectual properties lawyer or online copyright law attorney thinks about this blatant misuse of content.  One thing is certain. Online content writers need to learn about copyright law, including how to report plagiarism when bloggers and scrapers use content without permission.  The internet should not be a place without morality.  I am going to read up on copyright law and suggest go to the library, search online, or read some books about copyright law and licensing.  

Rich Says eHow Did Not Deceive Members - Can't We All Just Get Along

I am not a lawyer. I want to know what rights, if any, were actually violated in the process of them using my eHow articles on a cloned UK site then covering it up and not paying members for it.  Rich, eHow's Community Manager commented:

"Look, everyone will have their own thoughts.  However, I think few folks are really caught up in the fact that we intentionally tried to "deceive" our members, and that's not true.  And, I'm being honest about this. I just need to butt in when I read such things because that was definitely not our intention.  Our commitment is to our community and it's a team effort to tie up any loose ends that may have been over looked.  You can't change things if everyone keeps having that mentality of "you vs me."  If you want eHow to be the best site possible and a site that you can be proud of, then we need to work together, collaboratively, to make that happen.  -Rich"

If the eHow community is going to move forward from this UK fiasco, eHow is going to have to make some kind of concession that they made a mistake. Although I suspect they legally cannot do that without admitting some sort of fault that can land them in hotter water. The community is asking for compensation*.  Some people are talking about lawsuits.  eHow "solved" the problem with a simple redirect of our articles. When Google crawls the site again it will read all the new code further directing it away from the UK site.

What then was the purpose of the UK site.  Where do we go from here?  If they can direct the UK back to the US then didn't they have to first direct the readers to the UK?

(update:  eHow admits fault and compensates writers, sort of)


Anonymous said...

JP, this goes much deeper than any of the cheerleaders on the forum can fathom. And as some have claimed to be "secret forum moderators," it's easy to guess which members they are.

Saying "thank you" to eHow is tantamount to thanking an abuser for not beating their victim anymore. But when the victim doesn't know what the abuser might still have up their sleeve, of course they will tread carefully. That's the true idea behind eHow's "secret payment algorithm." Keep the peasants ignorant, and they'll fall in line every time.

You have been and continue to be a voice of reason in this issue. I hope you'll keep fighting. The conflict of interest aspect to this case has not ended.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure it is that simple but I am concerned that in the forums ehow is presenting themselves as the victim. I wrote a long post out of anger and it was deleted and probably rightfully so. Ehow's playground. I am not anti EHOW but I think they can do MUCH better and NEED to make some changes. One is to stop dissing members and start listening to members they consider antagonistic.

JP said...

I am not anti-eHOw either. However, I am dumbfounded by the deletion of all of the posts on the "solution" thread, including the one that I included here from Rich.

It is censorship at its best, really. They have shaped the forum thread to look like we all rally around them and are so grateful that they stopped directing traffic away from our articles. I think they got caught with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar.

I believe that it will take an effort to keep this issue in the front. People will want to forget, they will want to "move on" and stop arguing. I am tired of having people claim drama while participating, especially after reading Rich's response about it. I will not cheer for wrongdoing.

Tammy Frost said...

I honestly don't know what to think now. I conveniently had no article views and no earnings for Jan. 24th. This seems to be really messed up. I thought my earnings would double or triple. YIKES....What are we going to do? Thanks everyone for sharing your information. I am in total confusion and I am not even a real blonde lol.

Lisa said...

Did you ever notice that your search results are mostly US websites? UK web surfers see mostly UK results. This is how search engines work, directing readers to local resources first. Creating a UK site allows them to double their readership by creating an "in" with English-speaking Europeans. I believe the US Content was used as space fillers, so the site would be useful to readers.

I don't see what good can come from wasting your time in a struggle. Focus on writing more, focus on writing well. Diversify your writing so that you're not so dependent upon one website and so caught up in the silly politics. Good Luck.

JP said...

@Lisa Logic would conclude we should not have seen our results then with the UK extension, but we did. Some folks could only find their writing as I am not against them creating a UK site. I think it's fantastic.

Let me clarify.

Writers like me struggle against something that was wrong because other writers won't speak up at all. Fortunately, I am not dependent on eHow for my income and do write for several other places. However, I do agree that we should always write more and write well.

Gina said...

Wow, JP. I didn't realize the problem was that embedded. I thought when they moved me over to Demand Studios, it was just a consolidation effort. Made sense to me.

But I didn't realize this was a problem, too. No wonder so many people were so vehemently upset.

I haven't written any articles for eHow lately because I don't have expertise in any of the topics they're requesting.

Wow. Glad I decided to move over to Info Barrel.

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