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HubPages: To Report Or Not To Report?

By 3 6

Paul Might Need Help to Get the Plank Out

Eyeball With Plank of Wood (created using Pixlr)
Credit: Eyeball by Sam Bald on flickr | Plank of Wood by Sharon Mollerus on flickr (Both are Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Well, this is rather amusing.

In a HubPages forum thread titled To report or not to report?[1] some Hubbers have decided to flag 20 Hubs (articles) a day in an effort to clean up the site.

As virtuous as it sounds, I doubt it will work as planned.
 
My reasons?
 
Because HubPages will most likely ignore any "report" if the page in question is making them a profit. Sound familiar? Yeah, I think Squidoo did the same thing.
 
The same spammers I discovered on Squidoo are now on HubPages. Oh, I'm sure HubPages already had their own garden variety spammers before the Squidoo writers were forced onto the platform. I'm not bashing former lensmasters.
 
In fact, as bad as Seth Godin might have seemed, I think you'll be even more disgusted by what I discovered about how your permanent author content is being used by HubPages.
 
Beware though, you might become angry when you learn that the only way to close your account was to forfeit your online identity and persona. I'll explain and provide screenshot proof.

Account Inactivity = 100% Profit

Take a good look at the terms of use[2] on HubPages. It states the following (with my thoughts italicized after each point):

In the event of Inactivity, the entire amount of an Earned Balance in Your account will be permanently forfeit by You (and You hereby waive any claim relating to the dispute of such payment and disclaim any and all interest in such funds). "Inactivity" means that any of the following have occurred:

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

Does this mean that if, for example, $100, $1000, or more is waiting for you for over 6 months that HubPages gets to keep it - yes!

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

I never joined HubPages and I've never given them my tax information - nor will I. Does this mean HubPages gets to keep all the money from my articles? So far, they have. My reasons for not providing HubPages with my tax information are obvious - I don't trust them.

Addendum January 9th, 2015: According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), an identity thief may use your Social Security number to get a job or a tax refund. If someone uses your SSN to get a job, IRS records will show you failed to report all your income. Or, if someone uses your SSN to file a tax refund before you do, the IRS might think you already received your refund. The list goes on.[6]

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

Again, if you haven't collected your payments before 6 months is up - HubPages keeps it. 

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.

I never gave HubPages my email address - nor did hundreds of former Squidoo writers. Yet somehow, they emailed me September 13th, 2014. Does this mean that HubPages will attempt to contact me again? They haven't yet. Although Paul Edmondson and HubPages have blocked my ability to email them via Google Plus.

Screenshot Proof

Account Inactivity in the Terms of Use for HubPages
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

September 13th, 2014

The first emails I received from HubPages

First email from HubPages Sept. 13th, 2014
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Who Sold Our User Info to HubPages?

Of course, it had to be Squidoo

I know, some people wanted their "link juice" and willingly accepted the deal that Seth Godin made with Paul Edmondson.

But it wasn't legal, nor was it in accordance with Squidoo's terms of service[3] that stated:

a) Squidoo does not own the content. [HubPages terms of use states same].

b) Squidoo will never sell your email address and will not disclose personally identifying info unless specifically authorized by you...

c) Squidoo will keep your lenses [articles] and identity protected from others off the site.

The legalities are documented in my Dear Google, HubPages Is Posting My Content and I Need to File 293 DMCA Notices and Want to Leave HubPages? How to Get All of Your Earnings articles but here's the gist:

HubPages is held to the governing laws of the state of California and according to Penal Code 496:

It is against the law to buy, conceal, receive, withhold from the owner, or sell any property that they know has been stolen.[4]

And no, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

User Information Was Sold and Bought

As detailed in my Dear Larry Page and Paul Edmondson article, this must have been going on behind the scenes for months before Seth Godin's August 15th, 2014 announcement and subsequent email the following week.

My proof? Google Analytics issued a "high priority issue" prompt early summer 2014 which stated that at least 351 pages were missing valid tracking codes for my property known as SousababySquidoo.

I never changed my tracking code and furthermore, I deleted about 50 pages with the intent of putting them (in due time) on InfoBarrel, this writing platform.

My theory: In early spring/summer 351 of my articles were moved or saved or "prepped" for a redirect to HubPages.

Oh But Author Content Was More Valuable

You might think (as I did) how appalling it was that content was sold without anyone ever asking permission from the content owners first.

None of us saw a cent of what was paid for our work.

But it seemed that our content didn't matter that much in the end.

Sure, we could remove our content and collect our "final pay" from Squidoo - but did you know that your author content can never be removed? Yeah, the screenshot proof is provided in my Dear Pinterest, HubPages Stole My Work and Identity article.

Wonder why?

So that every comment you ever made on Squidoo will remain as a separate link online with the blurb (which sounds incredibly spammy to me):

"Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages account."

Gee, I wonder if Google also finds that spammy?

Why Look For A Speck of Dust?

The writers aren't the main spammers online

Veterinarian
Credit: Maj. Guy Hayes (Army Medicine on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

The Proof

My friend TanoCalvenoa left his Squidoo account intact but deleted all of his articles August 20th, 2014. He was hoping to collect all of his deserved earnings that Squidoo owed him.
 
Oh but HubPages somehow obtained his email and he was forced to "follow a link" and enter a 10-digit "verification code" just to close the account that HE NEVER WANTED on HubPages in the first place.
 
Well, that forced sign up to HubPages resulted in eight pages worth of Google entries with the line "Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages account" with TanoCalvenoa's identity appearing in the line above it and his commentary (which only appeared on Squidoo).
 
The result? Now that TanoCalvenoa has created an online persona - it would appear that he endorses and uses the HubPages platform himself.
 
Is this not deceptive and completely inaccurate? Furthermore, doesn't about a hundred Google hits like this drown out his blogging efforts and his writings here on InfoBarrel?

Screenshot Proof

TanoCalvenoa's comments with HubPages sign up line
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Another Example

Notice that comment dates go back years

How Steve Kaye's "Author Content" is used by HubPages
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Welcome to HubPages

California Hotel
Credit: Sonny Abesamis on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

So, Consider How Many Comments

You made on Squidoo that now include that phrase

If you are trying to break out on your own with a blog or writing on InfoBarrel or elsewhere, can you imagine how branded you already are to the outside reader that assumes you have a HubPages account?

I mean, how else could you have commented on someone's Hub?

Outside readers will naturally assume that you "signed in to post using your HubPages account." 

Feel silly?

Don't, the truth was kept from you all along. For in Corey Brown's post he stated: "You'll have to check with HubPages on how to delete your account."

Do you think Squidoo knew that "Author Content" (user information) could not be removed once sold to HubPages?

By Posting Author Content on HubPages

You may not remove your Author Content from HP

HubPages Terms of Use "You may not remove Author Content"
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

The Power Of Words

Oh but hey, Paul Edmondson!

Some of us (many, most) from Squidoo never posted our own author content.

Seth Godin sold it to you without our express permission first. So your terms of use which states "By posting Author Content . . . You may not remove your Author Content from the Service" cannot be binding.

If the gavel is bigger does it mean more justice?
Credit: Martin Bowling on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

It's Not Too Late to Take Back What Is Yours

Before February 15th, 2015, you can file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center and claim losses. It's free and I talk you through the IC3 form step-by-step.

You can add to the Consumer Affairs complaints about HubPages[5] where both TanoCalvenoa and I provide additional screenshot proof.  

If Consumer Affairs determines that our complaints have legal merit, a class action suit may be forthcoming. Complaints are published, shared with the news media, and reviewed by attorneys at no cost to you (us). 

Notably, hundreds of class action suits have been filed on behalf of consumers via Consumer Affairs.

The bulk of the screenshot proof you might wish to reference in your complaint can be found in my HubPages and Squidoo: 8 Lies You've Been Told and Want to Leave HubPages? How to Get All of Your Earnings articles.

Author's note: At the end of my articles, scroll through the Media section until you find the screenshot proof you need for your complaint. By clicking on them, you can reference the URL of each screenshot.

Thank you for sharing this important information with other writers online.

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Comments

Jan 8, 2015 1:47pm
TanoCalvenoa
It's unbelievably annoying to me that they lied and said that Squidoo accounts with no lenses would be deleted - and that now on HubPages it has my username on comments, and if you try to go to an account with my username it says that this user no longer exists on HubPages - creating the very false impression that I was ever on HubPages.
Jan 8, 2015 2:01pm
RoseWrites
Yes, and anyone who follows your blog or articles here on InfoBarrel (or anywhere else) who looks up TanoCalvenoa will be inudated with hundreds of Google entires that have TanoCalvenoa on one line and "Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages account."

It truly makes it seem that you endorse HubPages and/or were an account holder.

And now, your own online efforts as TanoCalvenoa are in competition with hundreds of those links - which were merely your comments on Squidoo.

I think this is atrocious.

Thank you so much for dropping by and commenting (and sharing). It means more than you know.

Warmly,

Rose
Jan 10, 2015 9:55pm
Browna86
I didn't think of it that way. I deleted all articles including my account within 16 hours of reading the sell out news. Then when I read one of Rose's articles on Squidoo content being on HP even when the blinky green button wasn't pressed I went to do a web search on Squidoo username to see what turned up.

The main two results were to my online portfolio and to HP - which mainly were comments to other's Squid articles. Still surprised that nothing has been done.
Jan 11, 2015 11:29pm
RoseWrites
I'm surprised too that nothing has been done. It was only a matter of time before people would find out their Squidoo comments became online links to HubPages with that deceptive line.

And to blame writers for Google's manual penalty - well, ah, I doubt that's the whole truth.
Jan 10, 2015 9:57pm
Browna86
Another interesting article and that bit about earnings was exactly what I read that helped me decide not to go to HP. Thanks for keeping us up to date.
Jan 11, 2015 11:30pm
RoseWrites
You are most welcome.

And I'm so glad you found InfoBarrel.

Take good care,
Rose
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Bibliography

  1. "To report or not to report?." HubPages Forum. 7/01/2015 <Web >
  2. "HubPages Terms of Use." HubPages. 7/01/2015 <Web >
  3. "Squidoo Terms of Service (TOS)." Internet Archive WayBackMachine. 7/01/2015 <Web >
  4. "California Penal Code Section 496." law.onecle.com California Attorney Resources. 7/01/2015 <Web >
  5. "Top 10 Complaints and Reviews about HubPages.com." Consumer Affairs. 8/01/2015 <Web >
  6. "Tax-Related Identity Theft." Federal Trade Commission | Consumer Information. 8/01/2015 <Web >

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