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HubPages and Squidoo: 8 Lies You've Been Told

By Edited Apr 22, 2015 5 6

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave...

when first we practice to deceive." ~ Walter Scott

Entangled
Credit: Will on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Get Out Now

with your $ and content

I've been amazed at how long Squidoo and HubPages executives have managed to convince authors that everything during this "business" transaction has been in our best interests.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

And it appears that HubPages is becoming desperate to retain their top content providers (who probably rake in the largest revenue) for the site and perhaps for Google AdSense as well.

It's not about the writers.

It was never about your rights or respect for your work.

They don't care.

And it's time we faced the facts.

The illegal deal that Seth Godin et al. struck with Paul Edmondson et al. has been a poignant example of manufacturing consent.

By manufacturing consent I mean these two businessmen have purposely aligned or concealed information and released it in such a manner - at different times - that writers (and perhaps even Google) approves of it.

I want to sit you all down with a coffee and walk you through the reality of our situation online as writers. If you follow my work, you know that I always provide footnotes and/or screenshot proof.

Lie Number One

A post authored by Seth Godin August 15th, 2014 where he states: "Squidoo is moving the best of its content to HubPages."[1]

FACT: That content never belonged to Squidoo. A URL is simply an address. To import "data" is to take content (belonging to another party) and move it elsewhere.

Squidoo did this both with and without the consent of authors. The latter is theft.

Lie Number Two

We don't ever sell your email address...

We will NEVER, however, disclose personally identifying information, except as specifically authorized by you or in the good faith belief that such action is reasonably necessary to comply with the law, legal process, to enforce these Terms of Service, or under any of the other circumstances set forth in our privacy policy.[2]

FACT: Squidoo sold user information to HubPages[3] (including email addresses). Suspiciously, their Terms of Service (TOS) is now missing from the existing domain and copies I found online had been hacked.

Screenshot Proof

Squidoo TOS about protecting privacy
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Numerous Times the WayBackMachine

returned a page like this when I looked for the TOS

Squidoo TOS on WayBackMachine was hacked
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Confirmed on HubPages

A HubPages article, Seth Godin's Failed Squidoo Site Sells Out to HubPages,[3] by Writer Fox confirmed that money was involved in this business transaction.

Sadly, authors on Squidoo had their user information sold and bought by HubPages without their prior permission or consent.

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

Lie Number Three

Corey Brown stated in his post Reminder: HubPages Opt Out Deadline is Tomorrow:[4]

"We want to make it clear that even after tomorrow’s deadline, you will have complete access to your Dashboard..."

FACT: You did NOT have "complete access" - I could not delete my entire account and I could not delete my content from Squidoo. I videotaped my effort as proof. The public, on the other hand, had full access to our articles - and could see ads, buy Amazon or eBay products while we were prevented from deleting our work or closing our accounts.

Attempt to Close My Account/Delete My Work

Lie Number Four

Corey Brown's last line of his September 11th, 2014 post An Update on September Earnings stated:[5]

"In other words, any revenue generated by lenses will be paid for as long as they remain live on Squidoo."

FACT: You did not receive all your deserved income unless you agreed to the transfer of your content to HubPages. If you deleted your articles on or before August 29th, 2014, you forfeited your previous 60-day share of ad pool revenue. The only thing you were entitled to receive was Amazon or eBay royalties during that time frame.

Lie Number Five

Corey Brown clearly reassured writers that HubPages "will give all Featured lenses a minimum of a four-month grace period before HubPages’ rules and TOS will be applied" in his post titled Important Update on the HubPages Transition.[6]

FACT: I've found numerous complaints by former Squidoo writers who are now finding their work on HubPages has been unfeatured. See screenshot proof next.

Note: At the bottom of this article, scroll

through "Media" and click to view these enlarged

HubPages Forum complaints about unfeatured work
Credit: RoseWrites

Lie Number Six

Corey Brown stated in the comments section of Reminder: HubPages Opt Out Deadline is Tomorrow that your profile and user information would not transfer unless it "has at least 1 featured lens."

FACT: TanoCalvenoa confirmed in my article Want to Leave HubPages? How to Get All of Your Earnings:

"...after deleting all my lenses in the second half of August they only paid me half (approximately) of what they owed me, and then they transferred my account with no lenses/articles to HubPages!"

Lie Number Seven

I saw it posted numerous times that we, as writers, cannot launch a class action suit against Squidoo and/or HubPages. This is false. Both Squidoo and HubPages have broken the law. Their former Terms of Service/Use will be found unenforceable for numerous reasons.

HubPages violated state law and their own Terms of Use[7] which states: 

"18. GOVERNING LAW: These Terms will be governed by the laws of the State of California without regard to its conflict of law provisions."

FACT: California's receiving stolen property law[8] (Penal Code 496), imposes harsh criminal penalties on people who: buy, receive, conceal, sell, or withhold from the owner any property that they know has been stolen.

I reported HubPages to the IC3 within 24 hours of finding an email (still unopened) in my inbox on Septemeber 13th, 2014 with the subject line: "sousababy: Your Lenses Have Been Imported!"

The IC3 is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).[9] You don't need a lawyer to file an IC3 report, it's free, and you can claim losses. There is a scroll down menu to indicate "when you first realized you were defrauded after the incident" and the choices range from "within 1 week" to "within 6 months."

So, you still have time to claim losses - up until February 15th, 2015. (I wouldn't wait that long though).

Many People Were Blindsided

"I did not know what else to do so allowed the transfer."

Stephen Parkin comment on Google Plus
Credit: RoseWrites

Lie Number Eight

FALSE: We have no legal recourse as writers. Going to small claims court (individually) would be more costly than it's worth or a waste of time to get our meager earnings back.

FACT: Consumer Affairs[10] provides the opportunity to submit a public complaint (which HubPages cannot have removed). There is a check box you can tick if you wish to have a lawyer contact you.

Consumer Affairs is an independent Web-based consumer news and resource center. They are a sounding board for complaints about businesses and/or products. If your complaint has legal merit, a class action suit can be filed on behalf of consumers. Complaints and reviews may be published, shared with the news media and reviewed by attorneys at no cost to you.

Since their founding, hundreds of class action suits have been filed on behalf of consumers.[11]

I filed a complaint with Consumer Affairs and I await a lawyer's response.

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Comments

Nov 17, 2014 3:47pm
TanoCalvenoa
This is all so clear. Really well-written!
Nov 17, 2014 4:02pm
RoseWrites
Thanks Jonathan, I was hoping you'd think so. In the next day or so I hope to be hearing from a lawyer with Consumer Affairs.

Everyone on HubPages needs to realize that it wasn't JUST Seth Godin et al. that broke the law, Paul Edmondson et al. did too. (The laws of California are stricter than other places - I highly doubt he even consulted a lawyer at all).

Oh and even weirder, it seems that not only has Squidoo's Terms of Service been removed from their site, but the archived copies were hacked. A newer copy on the Internet Archive WayBackMachine has their Privacy Policy (no. 7) completely taken out and replaced by something else. I believe this was intentional.

Something's fishy.

And for the last few days now, YieldBuild (a company Paul Edmondson founded with Jay Reitz and Paul Deeds) has "been down."

But the red flag (in every case of a business closing that I've researched) has been any change in payment policies. RE: Now it's a Terms of Use violation to disclose earnings. So, if a HubPages writer is "caught" I suppose their earnings are withheld and HubPages gets to keep it all?

I just hope more people on HubPages complain to Consumer Affairs and/or the IC3 (it's free).
Nov 19, 2014 1:27am
aesta1
Hi Rose, this is now a lot clearer to me. I think I should follow up announcements in HP. Most of my new writing are on my websites. I just kept the Squidoo ones in HP.
Nov 19, 2014 3:07pm
RoseWrites
Glad you found this helpful. My other articles are more to read through, so I wanted to just highlight the key points. Thanks for dropping by and commenting.
Nov 30, 2014 6:54pm
rainykua
It's good to know that when online writers have been cheated, we can actually do something about it. We're not as helpless as I used to think. Thanks for sharing this!
Dec 1, 2014 1:32pm
RoseWrites
Yes, there ARE laws that protect our identity and our content. I think it's important that we do not allow ourselves to be "used" in a manner that we do not consent to. Part of any contract is full disclosure (esp. when asked specifics). Former Squidoo writers were kept in the dark and ignored when valid concerns were raised.

Thank you so much for dropping by and commenting.
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Bibliography

  1. Seth Godin "Squidoo and HubPages." Squidoo. 15/08/2014. 16/11/2014 <Web >
  2. "Squidoo Terms of Service." Internet Archive. 16/11/2014 <Web >
  3. Writer Fox "Seth Godin's Failed Squidoo Site Sells Out to HubPages." HubPages. 16/11/2014 <Web >
  4. Corey Brown "Reminder: HubPages Opt Out Deadline is Tomorrow." Squidoo. 28/08/2014. 16/11/2014 <Web >
  5. Corey Brown "An Update on September Earnings." Squidoo. 11/09/2014. 16/11/2014 <Web >
  6. Corey Brown "Important Update on the HubPages Transition." Squidoo. 22/08/2014. 16/11/2014 <Web >
  7. "HUBPAGES TERMS OF USE." HubPages. 17/11/2014 <Web >
  8. "CAL. PEN CODE ยง 496 : California Code - Section 496." FindLaw For Legal Professionals. 17/11/2014 <Web >
  9. "Filing a Complaint with the IC3." Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). 17/11/2014 <Web >
  10. "Consumer Affairs Homepage ." Consumer Affairs. 17/11/2014 <Web >
  11. "Consumer Affairs FAQ." Consumer Affairs. 17/11/2014 <Web >

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