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HubPages is Breaking the Law

This article has been generously donated to InfoBarrel for Charities.
By Edited Sep 5, 2016 4 12
Post Shared Publicly on Google Plus (Twice)
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

By now, I thought someone from HubPages would claim importing my content from Squidoo was a mistake, glitch, or oversight.

Guess not.

I've tried numerous ways to let both Squidoo and HubPages executives know of my wishes beginning with an article I wrote August 16th, 2o14 (the day after Seth Godin made his announcement).

Many of you know that I also filed an IC3 report the day after I received the first email from HubPages (shown further along). I didn't open it immediately. I knew the law had been broken as soon as I read the subject line.

Publicly Posted For Hundreds of Writers and Squidoo Execs to See

Remember Corey Brown, COO and co-founder of Squidoo? Shown above is the post where TanoCalvenoa publicly reminds him of my intentions. And where it becomes clear that the previous 60-days worth of ad share revenue will not be paid out (unless writers agree to transfer their work to HubPages). Brown states in brackets only "Amazon and eBay royalties."

Whoa, Locked Out of My Account

I Tried to Delete it August 31st, 2014

Remember, Squidoo Promised Us

"We don't ever sell your email address"

Squidoo's TOS Promised NOT to Sell Our Identity or Email
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Law Broken

Just a reminder, Squidoo's Terms of Service (TOS) has been taken offline, it stated: 

"As a Lensmaster [writer], you will be able to incorporate various forms of content into your Lenses [articles]. Squidoo does not claim ownership of the content you place on your Lens [article]. The content will be owned by you or a third party from whom you got permission to post the content."

HubPages has an almost identical statement in their Terms of Use (TOU)[1] which states:
"HubPages does not claim ownership of your Hub [Article] content or author content. Such content will be owned by you or a third party from whom you got permission to post the content."
Addendum April 23rd, 2015: 

A HubPages article, Seth Godin's Failed Squidoo Site Sells Out to HubPages,[5] 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.

Copyright Infringement

You cannot sell content that you don't own. And in California (where HubPages is located) you cannot buy such content from a third party (Squidoo). The only way it would be legal is if HubPages negotiated a price with each author (content owner).

Unfortunately, I (and other writers) were lied to about what would happen to our content if we did not want to move our work to HubPages. We were told, "they will disappear."

That is precisely what I (and others) expected to happen.

Based on the subject line of that first email I received from HubPages, I knew the law had been broken. So I filed an IC3 report. HubPages has NEVER asked for my permission to host my avatar (identity), profile information, or content (which includes photos and videos).

It was a number of weeks later that I opened that email and reported it to Google as part of a phishing attempt.

My reasons are based on the fact that HubPages refused to allow Squidoo authors to transfer their Squidoo articles to their existing HubPages account. [Many Squidoo authors already had a HubPages account prior to August 2014].

HubPages was firm that a "link" needed to be clicked on and a 9-digit "code" entered. I also received some of the nastiest comments on my articles (and in the InfoBarrel forum) from shills who practically demanded that I "click the link."

August 21st, 2014

We Were Assured Our Articles Would "Disappear"

HubPages Marisa Wright in InfoBarrel's Forum
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

September 13th, 2014

The First Email I Received From HubPages:

The First Email I Received From HubPages Dated September 13, 2014
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Read the Fine Print in HubPages TOU

Especially Under "Account Closure and Inactivity"

Euro and Magnify Glass
Credit: Images Money on flickr (TaxRebate.org.uk) / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

"Inactive" or Dead Authors = 100% Profit

HubPages TOU states:

"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;

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."

Squidoo Did Not Require Tax Information

Matthew Meyer of HubPages Wrote this Forum Post[2]

Matthew Meyerposted 11 months ago RE: Squidoo does not require tax registration for collecting royalties
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

HubPages Requires Your Tax Information

To Get Paid (Even Though They Do Not Need It)

It's fairly easy to connect the dots here. 

An author enters a 9-digit numeric code that records the user's full name, address, and possibly date of birth. [I never joined HubPages, so I don't know if they ask for DOB].

Later, when you reach your $50 minimum threshold payout, HubPages requires your Social Security Number (SSN) or Social Insurance Number (SIN). That SSN or SIN gets paired up with your 9-digit code for ?

HubPages requires this tax information even though they do NOT issue a tax form (of any kind). PayPal takes care of that (once you reach a certain number of transactions or earnings).

Your tax information and user information is recorded by HubPages and BINGO! Your identity is ripe and ready for an "accidental" or "sophisticated hack." Congrats, you are among the millions who have (or will have) their identity and/or tax refund stolen.

Think I'm exaggerating? KrebsonSecurity just published an eye-opening article titled Sign Up at irs.gov Before Crooks Do It For You.[4] If HubPages thinks that somehow the tax laws are going to change (to become more lax), they are grossly mistaken.

This is why I never joined HubPages and made it known publicly that I did not want my work imported to this platform. It's also why I reported HubPages to Google for phishing.

A Closer Look at HubPages Own TOU

Your Lawyer Will Likely Find These Discrepancies

Key Points (For Legal Purposes) in HubPages Terms of Use
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

But I NEVER Posted Anything on HubPages

Many Former Squidoo Members Didn't Either![3]

Paul Edmondson's Statement Regarding Copyright
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

The Nitty Gritty

According to HubPages Own Terms of Use

There were a few clues that led me to believe that Squidoo content was transferred to HubPages early in 2014. I compiled my proof in Dear Larry Page and Paul Edmondson

However, I (and others) are NOT held to HubPages Terms of Use because:

a) I am not a HubPages author. According to HubPages TOU, an author is "a person that creates an account on the Service." [I never created an account - nor did many of you from Squidoo].

b) "You must register with HubPages and create an Author account..." [Again, I never registered with HubPages nor created an Author account]. 

The fact that HubPages is posting my identity (avatar) and former pen name screams "identity theft" to me.

This next passage from the HubPages TOU made me laugh:

"You may only use Hub [article] content to which you have the necessary rights, including (but not limited to) intellectual property rights regarding copyright, trademark, and trade secrets. This means, among other things, that you must have permission to use third party content from the content owners."

Paul and Seth Discuss Permission from Content Owners (Authors) Cartoon
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Proof My Identity and Content

Has Been Earning Money for HubPages

I received the following email from HubPages on February 21st, 2015 which confirms my work (and HubPages advertisements) have been viewed 10,000 times.

Writer Fox (a HubPages author) stated in HubPages forum that "a page view is worth about 1/2 cent."

Therefore, 10,000 views x 1/2 cent = $50.00.

Unfortunately, HubPages internally allocates both Amazon and eBay sales. They have NOT provided me with any information whatsoever about my sales revenue. All of my 277 articles that are posted (illegally) on HubPages have Amazon products featured for purchase (many also have eBay items for sale).

It might require a court order and internal audit of some kind to produce a "trusted" account of my withheld sales revenue.

I fully intended to post my work on InfoBarrel.

HubPages Owes Me At Least $50

And Amazon and eBay Sales Revenue

Email Confirmation From HubPages 10,000 Views
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Law Broken

The email above is proof that HubPages is profiting from my content. Content that they never had permission to use.

In the state of California, this act results in an even harsher penalty. Remember, in HubPages own TOU it states: "These terms will be governed by the laws of California without regard to its conflict of law provisions."

I am in the process of seeking legal action against HubPages. I feel many former Squidoo authors also have grounds for a lawsuit.

More importantly, online authors need to retain control over their work and identity.

We have nothing without it.

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

All of My Former Squidoo Articles

State "All Rights Reserved" in the Intro Section

All Rights Reserved*
Credit: Paul Gallo on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic


Mar 25, 2015 1:28pm
This nails it, and is the reason your efforts in fighting this and exposing what is going on are so important:

"More importantly, online authors need to retain control over their work and identity. We have nothing without it."

I will definitely be "sharing this important information with other writers online." Thanks so much for all that you're doing.
Mar 25, 2015 10:34pm
Thank you so much for dropping by and commenting Jonathan.

I think many people are starting to see "right through" this deal. And it's comical, really, what has been happening with their attempts to "edit" content (that they don't own). Robin Edmondson actually admitted publicly: "...some of the accounts we are editing are abandoned."

The Edmondson's get to keep 100% of any revenue from "inactive" (aka abandoned) accounts, which is why they don't care about dedicated writers (who they have to share 60/40 of the ad share revenue with). It also explains why flagged content doesn't get removed on that site.
Mar 26, 2015 2:36am
Oh geez, I hit "spam" button on this instead of reply, I am so sorry! (In my head I was thinking I was hitting a "quote" button as the forum as I wanted to highlight that last paragraph you wrote in your comment)

What I was going to say was the priorities seem all messed up on that site. You would think if they had the time to mess with these "good" hubs they would focus on the low quality and/or flagged content first which is probably dragging the site down.

That EC program should not be "opt out", but typical of what many businesses do - they place the burden on the consumer (or user). The problem with this is though, is HP does not own the copyright as you noted Rose. Light edits I could see (typos, punctuation, etc), but what they are doing goes far beyond that...just wrong.

There is just so many things wrong with this situation.
Mar 26, 2015 2:37am
(Oh it looks like since I replied the "flagged" notation disappeared :).
Mar 26, 2015 2:43am
HA, that's good. I'd be so hurt if you (especially) reported me for spam. I try ever so hard not to be spammy. (So much so that HubPages won't unfeature or remove my work - dang!)

It's become the most ridiculous (but entertaining) sideshow over in their forum. But you can tell now who has some measure of decency and integrity (and who doesn't).

Their greed and lack of ethics will eventually bring down the site.

Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting Leigh. It means so much to me.

Mar 26, 2015 3:03am
I was relieved it went away because there was no way to "undo" it on the button itself.

I meant to mention this too which was in the news this week (it is not related to HP, but it is related in terms of how some businesses are treating people's data as a commodity to buy and sell) http://www.pcworld.com/article/2901028/radioshack-puts-customers-personal-data-up-for-sale-in-bankruptcy-auction.html

"As Bloomberg points out, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has argued that selling the data would be illegal under state law. Texas doesn’t allow companies to sell personal information in a way the violates their own privacy policies."
Mar 26, 2015 3:10am
Good point. Every expert in the field I've come across says "don't ever give out your SSN (or SIN) online." Your identity is your future.

Thanks for contributing to my articles Leigh.
Mar 27, 2015 4:49am
Rose, I had no idea about this, so searched for my Squidoo name and yep, right there is my old username Bestbuyguide and my top performing Squidoo lenses.
I am horrified that I worked on those and someone else just got to sell them and others profit whilst I get nothing..
Mar 28, 2015 8:22am
It's appalling, isn't it?

The manipulation is that "Squidoo is part of HubPages" - but HubPages Terms of Use is different in some key ways (which they are trying to enforce) such as:

a) In order to get paid, you need to surrender your tax information.
b) HubPages states they can edit (modify) your content (without your consent).
c) Squidoo transfers "had a choice" which is false. You were automatically "part" of this deal if you didn't delete your work by August 29th (thereby forfeiting your previous 60-days ad share revenue).
d) If you were unaware that Squidoo "sold out," your work was imported to HubPages without your knowledge. NEVER did HubPages ask for permission to host our work.
e) If after 6 months, your earnings (which they've NEVER notified me of) are not claimed, hasn't changed, or you haven't responded to their email attempts (?) to contact you - they KEEP it all. Squidoo rolled your earnings over until you claimed it or made the minimum threshold - looks like HubPages just keeps it all. They obviously have my email but NO ONE has tried to contact me about permission to host my work or the money my work is making for HubPages.
I sincerely hope more Squidoo people will file a suit.
The good news is, within 1 week, HubPages has LOST 1200 authors. The truth travels fast.

Thank you so much for dropping by, I hope there will be a court order/investigation that provides some sort of justice for former Squidoo authors.
Mar 29, 2015 11:16pm
This is very much a nightmare. Its a good thing I was upset at the news of the Squidoo transfer or else I would've hit that big button. Glad I didn't.

The terms of getting paid is ridiculous. Not every written piece submitted and approved is going to be a sparkling diamond. As I now know, my lenses were diamonds yet remained viewable on Squidoo.

The mistakes within the articles weren't brought to light till I brought them over to IB. I didn't get an email of any kind about the Squidoo transfer till I signed in and saw the news for myself.
Mar 30, 2015 11:47am
Sorry, meant to say weren't. My lenses weren't diamonds yet remained viewable on Squidoo.
Mar 30, 2015 3:56pm
Yeah, emails weren't sent out to everyone (evidently).

There was a lot of junk on Squidoo that was in tier 1. And HQ members certainly had their "favourites."

I think your writing is excellent.

Since I began on InfoBarrel, I've been trying to improve. I am certain the approval process here helped me immensely.

There was some kind of "algo" glitch and some strange linking going on at Squidoo (which I reported). Most of it fell on deaf ears though.

Glad you are on InfoBarrel.

Thank you for dropping by and commenting Browna86.

Take good care,

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  1. "Section 6. PROPRIETARY RIGHTS; CONTENT OWNERSHIP." HubPages Terms of Use. 24/03/2015 <Web >
  2. "Competition with Squidoo." HubPages Forum. 24/03/2015 <Web >
  3. Paul Edmondson "HubPro Edits - Paul Edmondson Responds to Marcy Goodfleisch." HubPages Forum. 26/03/2015 <Web >
  4. "Sign Up at irs.gov Before Crooks Do It For You." Krebs on Security. 30/03/2015 <Web >
  5. Writer Fox "Seth Godin's Failed Squidoo Site Sells Out to HubPages." HubPages. 20/04/2015 <Web >

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