Thursday, February 11, 2010

eHow Compensates Writers for UK Articles with a Slap in the Face

eHow "Compensates" Writers for Using Articles on eHow UK Site

The "generous compensation" eHow paid for article misuse is in January earnings.  eHow decided to compensate content writers for the misuse of their articles on the eHow UK site.  A small group of eHow members kept pressure over months until eHow was forced to admit that they used member articles on a cloned-mirrored-money-stealing-traffic-pilfering eHow UK website.

I am almost at a loss for words, but as a writer, there is something to say.  This is ridiculous.  The eHow compensation payment is a slap in the face, especially because eHow was caught lying after they were caught in ass-covering lies after six months of diverting member articles to the eHow UK site. Rich, eHow's community manager lied to members, telling them that eHow UK had nothing to do with their decreased views, earnings, and even went as far as telling people to "write better articles."  I am not the only one who thinks this stung. Even tried and true members call the eHow compensation a slap in the face.

eHow's General Manager Admitted UK Articles Impacted Earnings

If you read the transcript of eHow's official response to the UK deal or you watched eHow's video response, you know that eHow did admit that the UK site impacted earnings for over six months.  Their admission that the UK site affected earnings for six months means that they were caught inflating their true size (and possibly worth since the idea of an IPO has been whispered).  They stole, misguided, and misled their members who are full of work and stay-at-home moms and dads, retired and disabled people, students, freelance writers, and those who needed to supplement their income and trusted eHow.  Not only did they admit eHow UK hurt earnings, but Greg, eHow's general manager said, "we’ve gone back and we’ve generously estimated uh those earnings."  Straight from the GMs mouth.

Did eHow Compensate to Avoid Copyright Lawsuit Violations?
From what I have seen on the forums, eHow "generously" compensated content writers with about two days worth of earnings.  This was supposed to be for six months of use.  The eHow compensation for the UK article fiasco is pathetic, plus is potentially muddies member-lawsuits against eHow. There are some people who are saying that accepting the UK article compensation forfeits the right to sue under alleged copyright violations and contractual violations by eHow.  The payment is not easy to reject though since eHow very slickly lumped the compensation with January earnings.  The compensation was NOT sent as an independent amount, and it didn't state "here's the money we owe you for stealing your views, money, articles, and lying to you for months -- thanks for your contribution to our bottom line."  I do not know what the law says about the right to sue and the need to refuse the small compensation because eHow pays through Paypal, an automated acceptance of earnings.    You don't get to accept or reject this pathetic little slap of a compensation effort.  If anyone knows whether or not the assessment of lawsuit information is correct, please comment below. Perhaps only a lawyer can answer.

Were eHow UK Articles Removed or Redirected?

To top it off, eHow has not removed the articles from the UK site as they said they would.  Rich (community manager) made a statement that the articles were removed from the UK site. The truth is that eHow said they were going to redirect UK articles back to the US .com site.  It seems that if the solution was so easy as to apply a redirect that eHow should have know

I am dumbfounded by eHow's greed.  It's not that I expected a large amount, but their choice of compensation is just wrong.  I think they would have done better telling us all to bugger off than throwing this small amount at us and having the nerve to call it generous compensation.  My compensation was $11.  I can only imagine how newer members feel about either not getting any compensation or only receiving pennies.


After discussing the compensation issue with other eHow memebers, I have been asked to show some interesting data by an eHow member.  CWilliams was an avid eHow writer making payout almost immediately and going strong until the eHow UK disaster hit.  Posting her thoughts in the eHow forums almost got her banned because of a new rule that says members cannot post earnings. This is the first time I have ever heard that rule. eHow makes it up as they go, encouraging earnings posts when they want to look good.  Since the earnings post relates to the low ball eHow compensation, suddenly posting earnings is against the rules.  Go figure.

"With 3 articles(out of 48) that make $660.60, there is no way that 6 months of damages, and compensation for use of my work equaled $9.19. I want everyone that does write, or is considering writing for eHow, to see that while my figures might look great they are not the norm. I have actually had pms asking me why I bother to say anything at all because I make so much."

Now, here is another place that I have a problem.  People are getting reprimanded for speaking up.  No one should write this person saying shut up because she makes money anyhow.  This is NOT the point.  Feeling like the compensation was a slap in the face comes from the devaluing of our writing and the illogical means for coming up with compensation.  How does two days of earnings compensate for six months of the eHow UK diverted views and lost earnings? That accountant should be fired.

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Tammy Frost said...

My compensation was also a slap in the face, $2 for six months and then I conveniently had a decrease of $2 in my daily earnings. I can't believe this crap. Thanks for writing this post.

Emily said...

I am so glad I only have a few articles over there. The stories are horrible! What I don't understand is why some people stay and continue to write for them when all they have done is lie and steal from their writers. I guess they have their reasons but as for everyone who is upset something needs to be done!

Maria said...

The amount of traffic on the UK site compared to the USA site is minuscule, therefore I'd expect any decrease in earnings to be minuscule as well.

The normal fluctuation of online income/ Google adsense payments/ traffic/ page rankings/ advertising revenue and other factors can easily explain the ebb and flow of eHow earning amounts that vary from day to day and month to month.

JP said...

@Maria - But, I don't understand that logic. If a website is expanding their service to cover more readers (presumably a goal of the eHow UK), then they should bring in more income. We are not talking about one site versus another, but both sites COMBINED. If you have your regular traffic, plus extra from
the UK then you should have earned more. This entire UK venture should net everyone more earnings.

The UK situation is no different than someone copying an article w/o asking then putting it on a blog. You have a 50/50 chance whether the person is going to pick to read yours or the stolen one on the blog. Those odds lose money which is why we go after content theft. I am not even talking about intent here just the result.

I don't think anyone is saying that the internet does not fluctuate. It also fluctuates when people use the articles inappropriately. eHow has ADMITTED this thing impacted earnings. I'd say you got about 10% of your monthly earnings for compensation. But, this happened over many months. If you lost more than two days worth of earnings over six months doesn't it make sense the compensation should be higher?

Kimberly said...

JP, I agree with you re: fluctuations. When eHow manipulated SEO on articles (provable, BTW) to favor the fake UK site, they did it for a reason.

Losses may not all be due to the fake UK site, though, it's true. Losses may also be due to eHow squeezing out residual writers in favor of their pre-paid articles. Or by devaluing residual articles that compete with their gardening site.

But any way you look at it, it's unfair competition and bad faith.

WriterGig's book was true when she first published it, so I can understand why she and a few others are hesitant to believe what is happening. Especially when eHow compensates them more generously than they do others. eHow used to be a good place to write for residual income. But it's not true any more.

Unfortunately, eHow changed the rules in their favor in the middle of the game without telling anyone, and they have seriously hurt a lot of people in the process. People who did nothing to deserve being defrauded by a company they trusted, and they must be held accountable.

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