It's Only a Matter of When (Not If)

Your Identity Will Be Sold

phishing | Uploaded on August 15th, 2010
Credit: Edwind Richzendy Contrera on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

It Makes Sense Now

Ever since Seth Godin illegally sold user information and content to Paul Edmondson, I had a hunch that user information was the key asset HubPages was after.

At first, it seemed generous of Seth Godin to have his team prepare lenses [articles] for permanent redirects to HubPages. The majority of authors seemed pleased - their 'link juice' would remain.

Or so they thought.

But then articles became unfeatured in November and December (before the promised 4-month grace period). And some redirects didn't work. There seemed to be a lot of glitches on HubPages.

Sadly, former Squidoo writers found out the hard way that they were lied to numerous times.

Well, your articles are the least of your worries. I'll explain and provide proof and references.

The Phishing Email

Throughout this entire 'business' transaction, no one was ever asked their permission if they wanted their work moved to HubPages. It was a done deal. In fact, as I proved in my Dear Larry Page and Paul Edmondson article, former Squidoo work was prepped for this move in the spring/early summer of 2014.

The first email I received from HubPages was a shocker. I couldn't believe they just automatically imported my profile, identity, and work without asking my permission first. Especially since their Terms of Use (TOU)[1] clearly states:


These terms, together with the HubPages Privacy Policy and any other agreements incorporated by reference in these terms or entered into between You and HubPages in connection with Your registration as a Author, constitute the entire agreement between You and HubPages..."

It also states "By posting" twice in their TOU:

"By posting Hub Content on the Service, You grant HubPages a worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license, for as long as Your Hub is displayed on HubPages and for a commercially reasonable time thereafter blah, blah, blah

"By posting Author Content on the Service...blah, blah, blah"

So, doesn't that mean that I personally need to 'register' or sign up as an author? Well, I didn't. Furthermore, I never posted anything on HubPages, ever. In fact, I ended up reporting that first email from HubPages to Google for phishing.

First Email From HubPages

"Your Lenses Have Been Imported!"

Remember this line? "We are thrilled to have your join our community." I NEVER joined. And unless you did too, this was the beginning of an elaborate phishing scheme.

Oh and don't forget, in order to receive your share of the ad pool from Squidoo, you had no choice but to agree to this transfer.

Those of you who were away, dead, or offline had no choice either. If you didn't press that big green button on your Squidoo dashboard or click on a link and enter some 'verification' code, HubPages imported your work anyways. They immediately posted your identity, profile and work publicly with their ads on them.

Remember with HubPages, no response = consent. [Same thing happens with rape]. This was clearly the Edmondson's mantra when Aneegma's work was 'edited' to death without her consent. Yeah, Robin Edmondson said Aneegma didn't respond to three emails, so they just went ahead and destroyed her work.

Nice policy, eh.

Google Knows I Reported This Email

Reported First Email From HubPages to Google For Phishing
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Nope, No One is Responding to Me

And Paul Edmondson Blocked Me Completely

One of My Public Attempts to Contact Those Involved (of Several Attempts)
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Oh, But Paul Edmondson Will Continue to

Display My Profile, Identity, and 277 of My Articles

March 3rd, 2015 HubPages is STILL posting my identity, profile, and 277 of my articles
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel
Email From HubPages My Work Has Been Viewed 10,000 Times
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

And I Received Notification From HubPages

that: "Your Hubs have been viewed 10,000 times!"

Wow, gee thanks Paul Edmondson. I guess that means your ads on my work has also been viewed 10,000 times.

I tried to ask around what 10,000 views might be worth to another platform (since in reality, InfoBarrel deserves those views).

And again, no one publicly responded to me.

Displaying ads on 277 articles, viewed 10,000 times, worth?
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel
Writer Fox Explained the Value of Each View on HubPages
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Thankfully, Writer Fox Knows the Value

In a forum thread titled How much is worth?, Writer Fox provided me with the equation I was looking for.

And this sounds about right (for HubPages):

"A page view is worth about 1/2 cent."[2]

So, the simple math is 10,000 views x 1/2 cent = $50.00 [and I have no idea what my Amazon or eBay sales revenue might be on HubPages, since I never joined the site].

My guess is that everyone who reaches 10,000 views receives this automated email message. And, I would imagine that means we've all met the $50 minimum payout threshold (by HubPages standards).

Now, Here's Where the Phishing Comes In

I'll bet plenty of people want their $50.00 payout from HubPages. But wait, did you know that you need to be an "active" member?

If you are deemed "inactive" you lose ALL of your earnings. According to HubPages TOU, "inactivity" includes ANY of the following four scenarios: 

"a) There has been no change to Your Earned Balance for a period of greater than six (6) months

b) Your account has expired tax information that is greater than six (6) months beyond the date of such expiration

c) You have uncollected payments or unaccepted payments by the payment company into your account for a period of greater than six (6) months or

d) You have not responded to attempts to contact You at the primary email address listed in the contact information in Your account for a period of six (6) months from the date of the first attempt to contact You for which no response has been received."

Okay, so that might mean that you don't get your money UNLESS you surrender your SSN first to HubPages.

It also means that if you haven't collected your payment before 6 months is up, it belongs to HubPages. Does that mean if you do not make $50 within 6 months time, HubPages does not roll that money over until you do? 

You have not responded to attempts (notice the plural "attempts") to contact you. But then all of a sudden it states "for 6 months from the date of the first attempt to contact you..." For me, their first attempt was September 13th, 2014 (with that phishing email).

That first email had a link to click on and a "verification code" to enter. No one who already was on HubPages could simply use their existing account. Hmm, sure looks like your name and your SSN is all that HubPages needs to sell your identity.

So, I  wonder if by or before March 13th, 2015 HubPages might actually be brazen enough to keep my $50.00? I've been trying to contact Paul Edmondson but he's been blocking me.

Oh and am I willing to give up my tax information to HubPages? Absolutely not.

And you shouldn't either.

I asked on Google Plus but no one answered me. So I decided to ask in a forum thread here on InfoBarrel titled Some Peeps in HubPages Feel IB Doesn't Delete Articles.[3]

Finally, Someone Answered My Question

Forum Thread on InfoBarrel "Some Peeps in HubPages Feel IB Doesn't Delete Articles"
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Someone in HubPages Forum Knew Too

Due to a 2013 IRS policy change, HubPages no longer sends Form 1099-MISC
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Okay, so if the IRS had a policy change with regards to HubPages[4] a couple of years ago, why does HubPages STILL require your SSN?

In a hard-hitting February 10th, 2015 CNN Money article by Jose Pagliery titled Hackers are stealing your tax refund, here are some sobering facts:[5]

  • Over 6.5 million SSN were stolen last year (it's projected to be higher this year)
  • SSNs each sell for $3 - $5 (when sold as a package with names or other information)
  • Once a fraudster has your name and SSN, he can file a tax refund and have your money deposited into any bank account. Or worse, he will use an almost untraceable prepaid debit card.
  • This year, the IRS has limited the number of tax refunds it will issue to a single prepaid debit card. And, they've come up with a few more ways to find the thieves.
  • But the people who sell bulk packages of SSNs sell them to many thieves at once. These criminals know that IRS refunds are issued on a first come, first served basis. They work quickly.

Next, let's look at Google's own definition of phishing and what we should do about it.[6]

Screenshot of Google's 'About Phishing' Page

Google Help "About Phishing" Page
Credit: Screenshot by RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Questionable Behaviour by HubPages

Step back and let these facts sink in:

1) HubPages did not allow Squidoo users who already had a HubPages account to simply transfer their work to it.

2) The bulk transfer of articles required a link to be clicked on and a 'code' to be entered.

3) HubPages has ignored my numerous public complaints to remove my profile page and content, even though they are fully aware of my wishes. Again, this points to a bulk purchase of user information

4) HubPages has made it a condition of being paid that you surrender your SSN. I do not know if they also ask for your date of birth too. But, I'm certain they get your name and SSN (and that is all an identity thief needs).

5) I followed Google's protocol and reported the first email from HubPages for phishing. I did not reply to it. So, will HubPages deem that to mean they "tried" to contact me? Even though Paul Edmondson has blocked my public attempts to notify him? And what about those 10,000 views? Will Paul Edmondson make good on paying me $50 or will he demand my tax information first?

Lastly, do you feel you can trust HubPages?

This next comment[7] made me wonder if they are gearing up to 'take the money and run.'

A Little Shadowy Around the $50 Plateau

Projected earnings and finalized earnings are a little shadowy around the $50 plateau
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel