Tapping a Pencil
Credit: Rennett Stowe on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Before You Go to HubPages

Consider what you are giving away

Yesterday, around 5 pm on Friday, August 15th, 2014, Seth Godin announced that "HubPages is acquiring key content from Squidoo."[1]

Guess who owns that key content? Writers (not Squidoo). It states that in their own Terms of Service[2] (TOS):

The content: who owns it?

As a Lensmaster, you will be able to incorporate various forms of Content into your Lenses. Squidoo does not claim ownership of the Content you place on your Lens. The Content will be owned by you or a third party from whom you got permission to post the content.
 
Warning: As soon as you accept a "forced" transfer of your work to HubPages, you are a willing participant. Therefore, I am writing this to give you time to think about the facts (and potential legalities) before you decide how your content should be profited from and by whom.
 
I am a writer.
Credit: David Turnbull on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

What is Ethical and Fair

Writers on Squidoo deserve to be paid any (and all) monies earned from their lenses. They deserve and are legally entitled to be paid right up until the last day that their content is posted online (or Squidoo's last day online).

By deleting a Squidoo account before September, writers will lose both July's (and almost all of) August's earnings. This is theft - writers will have earned money for Squidoo for these two months will not be paid it unless they agree to a forced transfer of their work.

Thousands of high quality pages (which do not belong to Squidoo) are part of the "sale" of Squidoo to HubPages. Our work is NOT Squidoo's to sell. Our content should not be bartered (without our express permission first) in this entire transaction.

We own our work.

How much will Seth Godin and associated parties make from selling our content to HubPages?

Exactly. No one knows.

It Gets Worse

Reading through the fine print (and cleverly worded FAQ[3] page) I discovered a few more "potential" problems you should be aware of:

Squidoo states: "We do have some partners that send us small payments late, and those, along with payments below the threshold [of $25], will be donated to the Acumen Fund."

Now I ask you fellow (or former) lensmasters:

  • Why would "some partners" even bother to pay on time now? They know Squidoo is selling out.
  • What exactly is a "small" payment ($100, $3, $500, $1,000)?
  • When did we (as lensmasters) agree that anything under $25 was to be donated (allegedly) to the Acumen Fund?
  • What exactly is deemed the "highest rated" and "most useful" content? Content that makes the most money for the writing platform [HubPages, Squidoo] or for the writer (who owns it)? 

Wonder why the push to "set up" your HubPages account?

As soon as you are a willing participant in this grand plan, you'll lose any legal recourse to get your content back. And Squidoo will stand to make even more money from your work.

I'm certain the timing (Friday at 5 pm, last two weeks of August) was intentional.

With the flurry of people on holidays, preparing their kids for back-to-school, Seth Godin with the HubPages executives are sitting back waiting to see "how many" lensmasters take the bait.

In jurisprudence, this looks like coercion

while under duress. Sadly, rms works for Squidoo:

Squidoo and HubPages Comments Section
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

My August 18th, 2014 Squidoo Payout Statement

Hmmm, if everyone is owed $20, how much does the Acumen Fund (which Seth Godin is an advisor for) get?

Screenshot of sousababy's money held in reserve
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Don't Throw Your Pearls

Seth Godin seems to feel he is acting in the lensmasters' best interests.

Really?

Oh, I think that when the payment threshold was moved to $25, Seth Godin knew exactly what he was going to do.

If every writer has $5 or $10 or $24.99 "donated" to the Acumen Fund (or wherever), that will add up to a lot of money.

Oh and do you think that HubPages pays writers more?

No.

WritingCredit: Alan Cleaver on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.o GenericInfoBarrel does. In fact, with InfoBarrel, writers can earn even more than 75% revenue share. With contests, writers can earn bonuses ($100, $50, $25).

Plus, each article submitted to InfoBarrel's editorial calendar increases your ad share for the next month by 1% (to a maximum of 5%). 

How Points Work on InfoBarrel

There is no lensrank system on InfoBarrel. Article scores are determined by InfoBarrel's own algorithm (and human editors read the work submitted).

  1. You get 1 point for an article which scores 41 or higher (which is 500 or more words).
  2. You get 2 points for an article which scores 41 or higher (which is 800 or more words).
  3. You get 5 points for an article which scores 41 or higher (which is 1000 or more words).

And Wow, There are Bonus Percentages

  1. If you achieve more than 30 points, you get 85% of the Adsense Share.
  2. If you achiever more than 20 points, you get 80% of the Adsense Share.

So, you can even make 90% Ad Share

By submitting 5 articles in the month to the editorial calendar (remember, they need to "fit" the topic you submit them to - or they won't count), you can increase your ad share to a maximum of 5% more.

What about Amazon?

Oh I almost forgot, you earn 100% of your Amazon revenue (whatever percentage Amazon permits) when you use plain Amazon text links in your article on InfoBarrel.

Addendum August 16th, 2014: claudslewis explained in the comments below: 

If you use the Amazon modules on IB you do share a small percentage of earnings through them. The way this works is that the modules show the writer's ID 75% to 90% of the time and the rest is with IB's ID. If you use plain Amazon text links you get 100%.

InfoBarrel uses your author ID 75 to 90% of the time and 10 to 25% is with InfoBarrel's ID when you use the Amazon Product module. Just make sure that your affiliate code is in your settings on InfoBarrel (in your advertising profile).

Want to Learn More About InfoBarrel?

I highly recommend classicalgeek's article A Newbie's Guide to Publishing on InfoBarrel.

DebW07's article titled How to Get Featured on The Homepage of InfoBarrel.

My comparison of the two platforms (this is a 100% charity article): InfoBarrel Or Squidoo | Why I Prefer InfoBarrel.

InfoBarrel is Getting a Complete Overhaul

InfoBarrels admin avatar (in a tux)Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrelOn July 11th, 2014 InfoBarrel's admin, affectionately known as Mr. Serious White Cat (shown at right) posted Exciting News about InfoBarrel V4.0.

Wondering about article scores? I did too.

These are only shown to authors (the public doesn't see them). They appear as a number in a box at the end of your article's title. So far, almost all of my articles start out with a score between 60 and 66 (in green) and increase with social sharing and interaction. On February 20th, 2013, InfoBarrel's admin posted Introducing Scoring For Articles

Oh my, Bonnie and Seth visited me (and others)

After 4 yrs on Squidoo, I know who dropped by. Thanks!

Google Analytics screenshot showing Mentor, New York, Orlando (multiple visits)
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

August 19th, 2014 at 7:35 pm ET

Bonnie Diczhazy emailed me the following:

Rose,

Thanks for your feedback, and of course, our hope is that people will find exactly the right platform to put their work going forward.

Here are the updated FAQ's too [URL].

A screenshot of the notable changes are shown next.

Screenshot of Revised FAQ (Squidoo and HubPages)
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Final Thoughts

I want to thank everyone who visited and shared this article. I firmly believe that without bringing these issues to light, that this may never have been rectified. I also discovered on Seth's Blog Squidthanks that he wrote: 

Last week, we announced HubPages is acquiring the key assets of Squidoo and HugDug.

I never contributed to HugDug, but I did a search of the original announcement and the word HugDug never came up. A friend of mine (formerly on Squidoo) just deleted all of his HugDug articles.

Only time will tell if Squidoo has actually ended their relationship with content owners - the writers - on a good note.

My final response to Bonnie Diczhazy?

Wise, but too bad this wasn't addressed sooner.

Author's note: In the back of my mind I wonder if that big green transfer button was clicked on enough times for Seth et al. to secure the deal with HubPages (of course, we'll never know the details). I reported unethical practices on Squidoo numerous times - unfortunately, most of these reports were met with indifference or worse.

I have chosen to no longer visit, share, like or support any work that contains URLs with the domain names Squidoo, HugDug or HubPages (or anything related to these sites). I am in the process of deleting all such pins from my Pinterest boards.

Both Seth Godin and Paul Edmondson knew Squidoo's Terms of Service. They both knew the content belongs to each individual writer. They caused much grief, unrest, and needless worry to hundreds of honest writers. There's no "good note" for me.

A Screenshot of the Newly Revised FAQ

Newly revised FAQ Squidoo and HubPages
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Data (aka Content) not moved until September

Therefore, it must be okay to close accounts Aug. 31st

Based on commentary in InfoBarrel's forum thread, I felt it wise to add another screenshot of the newly revised Squidoo and HubPages Transition FAQ (shown above).

Since I will be on vacation soon (up until about 11 pm ET August 31st, 2014). I plan to leave my Squidoo account "as is" and delete everything by midnight on August 31st, 2014.

That way, I can collect my share of earnings (my maximum earnings) that I split 50 - 50 with Squidoo for all of July and August 2014. Of course, my earnings are held in trust by other parties right now, I understand.

Since it states that "your data will be moved automatically to HubPages in September" (remember your data includes your content - which you own).  It stands to reason that lensmasters can delete everything on August 31st, 2014 by midnight ET.

What will you be doing with your content on Squidoo?

Addendum October 27th, 2014

You can file an IC3 report (free of charge, without a lawyer). By doing so, you may get some or all of your deserved income back and no longer be "held to" any Terms of Use at HubPages. I have provided screenshot proof and pertinent links and quotes in my article Regret Your HubPages-Squidoo Transfer or Content Deletion? Help to Get Your Earnings Back.

My latest article, Is HubPages Hanging Squids Out to Dry? takes a look at how Google's Panda, Penguin, and Pirate updates may be impacting HubPages.

Will you be boycotting domain names with Squidoo, HupPages and HugDug too? Are you going to publish your work elsewhere or on your own blog/sites? Let me know in the comments below. Take good care, Rose