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HubPages is Publicly Posting My Content Without My Permission (Part 1)

By Edited Oct 27, 2014 2 5

Saturday evening September 13th, 2014

Out of the blue, this showed up in my email inbox

Screenshot of my inbox Sept. 13th, 2014
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Appalling isn't it?

What do you think?

Well, I must admit, I thought HubPages would try to contact me first to obtain my permission before publicly posting my work (with their ads) on them.

I guess not - perhaps they feel the law doesn't apply to them.

As you know, Squidoo announced this transfer was going to happen without ever asking once if writers even wanted their content on HubPages.

I'm shocked at how many people have just gone along with it. I have a theory as to why: they want their "link juice." And from reporting numerous people on Squidoo over the years, there was a lot of blackhat linking schemes going on and manipulation of the lensrank system on there.

My reports were mostly ignored, though. So I began writing on InfoBarrel and haven't looked back since.

Screenshot (for legal purposes)

HubPages Terms of Use
Credit: RoseWrites

Things You Should Know

Why I didn't want my work on HP

According to HubPages own Term of Use[1] (see screenshot above), they state:

HubPages does not claim ownership of Your Hub Content or Author Content. Such content will be owned by You or a third party from whom You got permission to post the content. 

Right, I own my content and never once gave my permission to HubPages to use it. Yet HubPages also states:

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, to reproduce, publicly display, publicly perform, distribute, modify, adapt and publish the Hub Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting Your Hub on or in connection with the Service.

Here's the thing: I never posted anything on HubPages. Therefore, I never granted HubPages a worldwide, royalty-free, blah blah blah for any "commercially reasonable time."

Inactivity on HubPages

Did you know you forfeit your earnings?

I find it odd that HubPages will keep all of your earnings if your balance hasn't changed for over 6 months or if you haven't collected your earnings in over 6 months.

I had to laugh at condition d) shown below that states: "You have not responded to attempts to contact you..."

HA!

HubPages failed to contact me to ask my permission to publicly display my content, though. So I can't see them making an effort to contact me (or you) to say, "You have money here that belongs to you, do you want it? Or can we just keep it?"

HubPages Keeps Your Money

If there's no change to your balance in over 6 months

Inactivity on HP means they keep your money
Credit: RoseWrites

Oh and It Gets Worse

Did you know that HubPages also states:

In the event that the Agreement is terminated by You (pursuant to HubPages’ receipt of Your written termination notice) 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).

How Can This Be Legal?

Account Closure and Inactivity on HubPages Terms of Use
Credit: RoseWrites

One More Thing

HubPages can change the payment terms anytime

Yeah, they state:

HubPages reserves the right to modify the Impression program and/or HubPages Earnings program, including without limitation the percentage share or payment structure, at any time in its sole discretion.

and further along:

By using the Impression services, You acknowledge and agree that HubPages will not be responsible for, and will not be obligated in any manner to repay You for, any lost earnings.

Here's Your Proof

General Section of HubPages Terms of Use
Credit: RoseWrites

So, I Decided to File a Complaint with the

Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

I felt it wise to take screenshots of it to help others who may wish to do the same. 

The information that you must provide in order to launch a complaint to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)[2] are: first and last name, age, gender, address, city, country, zip code / route, phone number, and email address.

Part 1

IC3 complaint part 1
Credit: RoseWrites
Part 2 of IC3 Complaint
Credit: RoseWrites
Part 3 IC3 Complaint
Credit: RoseWrites
Part 4 IC3 Complaint
Credit: RoseWrites
Part 5a of IC3 Complaint
Credit: RoseWrites

Here is What I Submitted

For Description of the Incident

Dear IC3 committee,

I joined Squidoo August 3rd, 2010. 
 
In January 2014, I decided to write primarily for InfoBarrel. As such, I left a message on my Squidoo profile page dated January 25th, 2014 (see attached screenshot). The archived webpage can be found at: web(dot) archive(dot)org.[3]
 
I became aware of Seth Godin's announcement[4] that "HubPages was acquiring key content from Squidoo" on August 15th, 2014 (after a friend informed me).
 
I wrote a number of articles protesting this, since I was never asked for permission to move my content. In one of my articles I even addressed Corey Brown personally (since my Google Analytics revealed he has read my articles from Winchester, Virginia). So I wrote him the following (publicly) in my article Squidoo's HubPages Opt Out Deadline and What is Wrong With It dated August 28th, 2014:
 
"Therefore, Mr. Corey Brown, I'm instructing you to not alter lens URLs or my account with any redirect or transfer prep whatsoever. I plan to delete my entire account on August 31st at midnight (since my lenses will still be shown publicly until at least Sept. 2nd and still earning money for Squidoo)."
 
My articles (which members of Squidoo HQ have also read) include:
Can Squidoo Do This?
Sorry Seth Godin | Did I Make a Ruckus?
Squidoo's HubPages Opt Out Deadline and What is Wrong With It
How to File a DMCA Copyright Complaint to Google About Squidoo
Squidoo's September Earnings Update and What You're Not Told
 
I had a friend of mine inform Squidoo HQ on a post titled Important Update on the HubPages Transition[5] (since Squidoo decided to ban people who were against this transaction). See attached screenshot proof too.
 
At midnight on August 31st, 2014 I videotaped my attempt to delete my entire account on Squidoo. I even tried to just edit out my content (since Squidoo removed the delete buttons and left the edit button). However, nothing worked and I was denied any access to my content. I've been filing DCMA reports with Google for every article I've put elsewhere in the meantime so that I do not face duplicate content issues/penalties.
 
Here's my YouTube video attempt.[6] I made my video public with the following description: Video documentation of my attempt to delete my entire Squidoo account on August 31st, 2014 at just before midnight ET and proof that Squidoo continues to publicly display my work (including a photo belonging to a third party). Notably, the public can still purchase items on Amazon and they can still view ads on my Squidoo articles.
 
On September 13th, 2014, I found the following emails in my Gmail inbox (which I am hesitant to open). See attached screenshot.

Attachment 1

Notice to fellow writers on Squidoo
Credit: RoseWrites

Attachment 2

TanoCalvenoa tells Corey Brown about sousababy's intentions
Credit: RoseWrites

My videotaped attempt to delete account

Squidoo August 31st at midnight - Sept 1, 2014

I've Never Commented on HubPages

Yet they awarded me a "Commenter Accolade"?

HubPages stole 100 articles of mine (at least)
Credit: RoseWrites

Notice that HubPages Editor wrote: "sousababy: You have published 100 Hubs!" (underlined in red) when I never have published anything (ever) on HubPages.

Part 5 b of IC3 Complaint
Credit: RoseWrites
Part 5 c of IC3 Complaint
Credit: RoseWrites
Part 6 of IC3 Complaint
Credit: RoseWrites

Hi Corey, thanks for reading my work

Corey Brown reads this article
Credit: RoseWrites

September 15th, 2014

People think I'm on HubPages but I'm not

HubPages people think I'm on HubPages (and I'm not)
Credit: RoseWrites

Reminders that Squidoo was well aware of my intentions to delete my account on August 31st, 2014 and my public plea to Corey Brown to not alter my URLs (with redirects or transfer prep) or my account.

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Comments

Sep 14, 2014 10:12am
RoseWrites
Addendum: I put "HubPages Inc." instead of just "HubPages" on the complaint form (but I'm sure either one is fine). I found another IP address for HubPages: 66.211.109.23 (so I listed both). A different phone number was also found for the owner (so I included this one): 5106527505. And lastly, the shortest time frame (from the drop down menu) for "How much time has passed since you determined you were victimized?" was "less than 1 week" (so I used it). BTW, the maximum time frame was 6 months, I believe.
Sep 15, 2014 9:11am
TanoCalvenoa
I knew when they first made the announcement that they were trying to give people as little choice or options in the matter as possible, and also confiscating (stealing) earnings owed to writers, which has already happened to me. My payout given a few days ago was about half of what it was supposed to be. They have tried to frame it as - "Not deleting your Squidoo lenses by August 29th equals full consent for us to transfer them to (and publicly display them on) HubPages."
Sep 15, 2014 10:39am
RoseWrites
Yes and they insisted numerous times that lenses wouldn't be moved until Sept. 2nd.

Yet they never responded (or they banned or deleted comments from) anyone who wanted to delete their work/account on August 31st at midnight (to remain eligible for everything - ad pool, Amazon, eBay, and ?$ from some partners).

Squidoo (Corey Brown) kept citing "you will be paid as per usual" or "attributable revenue" if you deleted anything in August (which meant you forfeited your ad pool earnings and ?$ for the previous pay period of 60 days (plus most of August). This is where people, like you, were led astray.

I don't recall reading in the TOS that Squidoo could ever deny me access to my work or my account - in order to close it. (This is like a bank keeping peoples' money).

I actually thought that HubPages would at least ask me my permission first before they posted 100 or so of my articles (with their ads place on them). So I was shocked that they broke the law. Now I need to file DCMA for every article of mine they've stolen so I don't have a duplicate content issue elsewhere.
Sep 15, 2014 6:52pm
Browna86
HubPages earnings info was too complex for me plus there were a lot of individuals that advised against going to them based on the information you just mentioned. I managed to find this place thanks to an article shared on the Squidoo forums that directed me here.

At the moment I have two articles and have earned more here in the short-run when compared to Squidoo which ran on some weird delayed earnings bit. Glad you're sticking it out and keeping us informed as we patiently wait to see if they hold up their end in regards to the payment issue mentioned in another article.
Sep 16, 2014 4:45am
RoseWrites
Yeah, I am really leery of HubPages. Their Terms of Use is hugely unfair to anyone who wishes to leave their platform - good luck getting paid everything you feel you're entitled to.

Right from the get go, I made it known publicly that I didn't want my content moved (I never gave my permission). I made sure that Squidoo HQ (Corey Brown) knew my wishes (and it's posted publicly too).

I never clicked the transfer button on my Squidoo dashboard, nor any link on HubPages (nor opened any emails from HubPages). The first email I received from HubPages was September 13th, 2014 with the subject line: sousababy Your Lenses Have Been Imported! (HA, as if announcing it in an email makes it legal somehow??)

I refuse to open these emails from HubPages and "click some link" in order to gain rightful access to my content. I will not "add" to their Alexa ranking via this form of paid traffic or this form of click fraud.

Still, I'm surprised that HubPages would just post my content with their ads without my permission first. Squidoo and HubPages have the same TOS statement: they do not claim ownership of Your Content or Author Content. Such content will be owned by You or a third party from whom You got permission to post the content.

The arrogance of this "business" transaction is appalling, really. Seth Godin et al. and Paul Edmondson cannot claim "we didn't know the content belonged to the writers" so I'm shocked that they'd take this gamble and break the law outright.

I patiently await what the IC3 decides. [BTW, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C)].

If anyone else is in the same boat as I am - reporting this crime to the IC3 is FREE (you do not need to pay a lawyer or anyone to proceed).
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Bibliography

  1. "HUBPAGES TERMS OF USE." HubPages. 13/09/2014 <Web >
  2. "Filing a Complaint with the IC3." Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). 13/09/2014 <Web >
  3. "http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/sousababy." Wayback Machine Internet Archive. 13/09/2014 <Web >
  4. Seth Godin "Squidoo and HubPages." Squidoo. 15/08/2014. 13/09/2014 <Web >
  5. Corey Brown "Important Update on the HubPages Transition." Squidoo. 22/08/2014. 13/09/2014 <Web >
  6. Rose Webster (aka RoseWrites on InfoBarrel) "Squidoo August 31 and Sept 1, 2014 ." YouTube. 13/09/2014 <Web >

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