Me interviewing Larry Page
Credit: RoseWrites head added to Black and white background photo by wonderlane on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic | Larry Page photo by Steve Jurvetson on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
It's funny, but when Facebook put together a Year in Review page for me, it prompted me to mull over 2014 - writing online for a living.
 
Looking back, I see some red flags that were never fully explained. 
 
I've been writing for InfoBarrel most of the year. During this time, Squidoo sold out to HubPages (but announced it mid-August). Prior to that, there were some clues that something wasn't right.
 
I enjoy being direct and asking the original source for answers. So, here it goes. 

When You Sell A Domain, Like a Home

You don't automatically get to keep the family inside

House for sale by owner
Credit: Images_of_Money (TaxRebate.org.uk on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

First Strange Thing I Noticed

In July 2014, I noticed a "Tracking Code Mismatch" notification on my Google Analytics dashboard which stated:

Tracking Code Mismatch

Tracking code on page www(dot)squidoo(dot)com does not match property
SousababySquidoo's tracking ID UA-8 digit number-1.

Missing Tracking Code
At least 351 pages are missing valid tracking code for property
SousababySquidoo.

I reported it to Squidoo's Gil Hildebrand July 16th, 2014.

The funny thing is, I didn't have 351 pages (I deleted about 50 of them since I began writing on InfoBarrel).

I tried to find the original notification on Google Analytics, but it appears that there is a 180-day limit on archived notices?
 
The only one I could still find was this one (shown in the screenshot next).
 
I never changed my Google Analytics tracking ID on Squidoo (or on InfoBarrel) and I find it strange that 351 lenses were cited in the first notice and then later only 301.
 
My thoughts? As I stated in my article Squidoo's September Earnings Update and What You're Not Told, it sure looks like all of my Squidoo work from early spring/summer was being saved or prepared "somewhere" for the automatic transfer to HubPages before the August 15th post by Seth Godin.
 
Wonder what Gil Hildebrand had to say? Not much. His response was:
Sorry about that!
It could be that your Google Analytics ID is setup for Universal Analytics, a new feature set from Google. Unfortunately the Squidoo tracker does not yet support Universal Analytics, which might explain the error you received.
I can't seem to find a way to downgrade a Google Analytics account once it has been upgraded to Universal. Unfortunately it looks like the only way to proceed is to create a new tracking ID and avoid upgrading to Universal on it.
Please give this a try and let me know if it helps. Sorry for the trouble.
Bottom line: I asked my IT guy to help me and we went through the GA instructions again. It turned out, I was already upgraded to Universal Analytics. In fact, there was no "button" for me to push to upgrade to it again either.
 
Author's note: I find it interesting that Gil wrote sorry twice in his response to me. The SquidTeam was never remorseful in the past whenever I reported anything odd to them.

So, I Wonder How This Happened?

And precisely how did it get resolved?

Missing Tracking Code Notification
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved
Stealing
Credit: bigcityal on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Second Unexplained Line of Reasoning

When it was first announced in InfoBarrel's forum that Squidoo is Moving to HubPages, someone who later identified herself as Marisa Wright in my article Why on Earth Is Any Squid Filing a DMCA With Google? wrote the following:

Would you agree that you assigned publishing rights to Squidoo? Would you agree that publishing rights have a value? That's what they have sold to Hubpages. You assigned those rights to Squidoo so they own them and they can legally sell them. They didn't sell your articles per se.[1]

Yet, in another article[2] about my work and cited in Want to Leave HubPages? How to Get All of Your Earnings, she stated: 

Squidoo had the legal right to sell their business to HubPages, which included their articles.

And Barbara Kay in HubPages forum[3] stated:

After paying money for the Squidoo lenses...

Paul Edmondson forgot to deny paying for them in the following post[4] (shown as a screenshot).

Marisa Wright to Paul Edmondson (he forgets to deny paying for content)
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Proof is Right On HubPages

In the article titled Seth Godin's Failed Squidoo Site Sells Out to HubPages,[5] I found more proof that this was indeed a sale of user information and content (without the permission of authors).

Addendum April 24th, 2015:

The author of the article referenced above confirmed that money was involved in this business transaction. S/he asked a high ranking staff member of HubPages. And the answer was "yes."

Note: I sense that the article I've referenced above may become inaccessible in the near future.

Oddly, It's Hard to Find Squidoo's TOS Now

Squidoo Terms of Service
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

I Never Joined HubPages

And Squidoo assured me (and you) of the following:

As stated in the removed copy of Squidoo's Terms of Service:[6]

  • We don't ever sell your email address...
  • We're also committed to keeping your lenses and identity protected from others off the site...
  • We will NEVER, however, disclose personally identifying information, except as specifically authorized by you...

Well, somehow HubPages obtained my email address, identity, and 293 of my articles without my permission (and in spite of my numerous public protests).

Third Strange Fact

I've had at least half a dozen people tell me "your work is still on HubPages, you know" or "I can't believe they've kept your work on HubPages" and that kind of thing.
 
I'd like to know too.
 
I haven't been notified that there is any earnings tallied for me either.
 
Everyone knows that HubPages and Squidoo have identical statements in their terms of use. They acknowledge they do not own the content. Yet, somehow, HubPages has found a way to keep my content on their site for months - without asking me or without even offering to pay me.
 
20090104_MG_2116Credit: Joshin Yamada on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 GenericAnd yeah, I know the big push to "follow a link" and enter a verification code. But why do I need to indulge further into this illegal transaction?
 
Yes, it's illegal to sell something (content) that you don't own. But it's also illegal for Paul Edmondson et al. to buy that content and even worse, try to profit from it. I detail the legalities with footnotes in my article Why on Earth Is Any Squid Filing a DMCA With Google?
 
My sense is that Paul Edmondson and his lawyers knew this risk - but counted on few (if any) lawsuits. Overall, even with a few legal settlements, they thought they'd profit. And I have to admit, the shills have done a good job of convincing many writers to go along with this deal.
 
But the gig is up. I'm asking you Larry Page to do the right thing. I've already asked Level 3 Communications and no one is responding. I think it's time that writers retained the right to their work.
 
For what we have here is a tangled mess of words and clauses that has stripped me of my rights as an author (and others). For someone else to profit from my identity and my work (or anyone that is deceased, for that matter) is clearly deceptive and unconscionable.

Addendum: February 8th, 2015

Why is my identity and my work STILL on HubPages?

Feb. 8th, 2015 HubPages is STILL posting my identity, profile, avatar, and content!
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

I've Filed the Following

An IC3 report, which I talk you through step-by-step in my article HubPages is Publicly Posting My Content Without My Permission (Part 1). (You would need to file prior to February 15th, 2015).

I wrote an open letter to Mr. Brian Britton, General Manager of Level 3 Communications - the ISP for HubPages.

I let the Google removals team know the situation but was informed the following:

If you pursue legal action against this site that results in the removal of the offending material, our search results will display this change after we next crawl the site. If the webmaster makes these changes and you need us to expedite the removal of the cached copy, please submit your request using our webpage removal request tool at http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/removals.

So, I complained to Consumer Affairs[7] and provided links and screenshot proof (some of which is publicly posted). The status of my complaint states, "This review is waiting for a response from the company." There have been 4014 views and 21 people have found my review helpful as of February 8th, 2015.

My Consumer Affairs Complaint Status

Note: A minimum of a 1-star rating is required

Feb. 8th, 2015 My Consumer Affairs Complaint Status
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

From Sue Adams (via HubPages)

Subject: "Stop it already" (Is this best practices?)

Email from Sue Adams on HubPages Company Letterhead
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved