Will You Cash Out Before the Edmondsons?
If you are wondering why HubPages has been making drastic changes to their policies and editorial "process," I have some disturbing (yet plausible) theories.
Ever since Squidoo sold out to HubPages, I've been baffled by some of the flak I've received. This comment made me question how some people were making money:
"Rose, some of us write stuff on the web to make money and not to get featured. Some of us don't even care much if some of the things we write are even read! Some of us don't really care where an article exists either so long as it's making us money."
I must be naive, because I couldn't for the life of me figure out what this person meant. It was later I realized he was talking about the sale of content or websites and anything related to that "industry."
Backtracking a Bit
Strange Policy Decision No. 1
Account Inactivity = 100% Profit
In order to profit the most from dead or inactive authors, HubPages doesn't want you to flag Hubs (articles) in violation. It's also the reason some horrible Hubs are still published. Remember, HubPages also internally allocates all Amazon and eBay revenue.
No one has emailed me from HubPages to let me know how much my work has been earning - nor my eBay and Amazon sales. And would I trust their "reports" anyways? No.
Oh but HubPages covered that in their TOU too, it states:
"Payment shall be calculated and based on records maintained by HubPages...No other data or statistics shall be accepted by HubPages or have any effect with respect to the HubPages Earnings Program."
Even People Who Don't Like Me
Are Scratching Their Heads Wondering WTF?
In the post Editor’s Choice: Now With More Awesome! I scanned through the commentary and couldn't help but notice Paul Edmondson and his staff couldn't come up with anything tangible to sell this new EC program to authors with a brain.
In fact, Writer Fox had the guts to state the obvious. It's detrimental to change URLs. Not only that, numerous authors reported a significant [traffic] decrease in the program, she wrote.
Some people stated that if their subdomains were included, they'd go for it.
Ha! I'll give you one good reason why they don't want subdomains: authorship. You'll understand this point later on.
Boneheaded Decision No. 2
Don't You Think?
Rather than get rid of poor content, Paul Edmondson actually stated:
"If everyone took the Hubs that generate 80% of their traffic and made them EC quality, we would surely surpass this [arbitrary] threshold."
I couldn't help but think what he really meant was: "Keep on tweaking your highest ranked work so scrapers can keep paying us top dollar for it."
When Greed Gets Out of Hand
Seems the Edmondsons are Unstoppable
In the forum thread titled Who messed with my hubs??!! I couldn't help but feel a kinship with the author who discovered someone had edited her work without her prior permission.
I was appalled to read:
"I'm totally unhappy with the edits as they've practically wiped out my entire article and put in their own and the new one has no sign that I wrote it."
If you think this author is exaggerating, just take a peek at the following comments by others.
It's Deja Vu All Over Again
Yeah, this line is definitely worth repeating: "Since you did not receive any communication from her, you did not have her permission and input. This is very unethical on the part of HP staff."
But Robin Edmondson pressed on and at one point stated:
"We will continue to iterate on HubPro. We are putting considerable resources into our editing service and wouldn't be doing so if we weren't fully committed to its importance to the site's future."
Writer Fox was quick to point out:
"Have any of the editors written a Hub which consistently receives 500 views a day? No? Then, they probably don't know how to 'improve' a Hub which is getting that kind of traffic and it is dangerous to turn them loose on the best performing Hubs and let them try."
Who Are These "Editors"?
After Three Unanswered Emails
Robin Feels Someone Else Can Edit It
Now, Do You Feel HubPages
Can Be Trusted With Your Tax Information?
I sure hope not.
And that is one of the reasons I never joined HubPages.
Did you know that HubPages states in their TOU that inactivity includes:
"An account with expired tax information that is greater than six (6) months beyond the date of such expiration."
What that means is "the entire amount of an Earned Balance in Your account will be permanently forfeit by You."
Here's The Truth
HubPages Does Not Need Your SSN
HubPages does not send users a 1099 form of any kind. Payments are made via third party networks (PayPal) and are reported on Form 1099-K. And, all HubPages Earnings Program payments are through PayPal.
Furthermore, eBay reports to the IRS once you have reached $20,000; Amazon at $600 USD (last time I checked).
You still need to report your earnings, of course. You simply add up your earnings from HubPages and report them as another source of income on your return.
If you think I'm being too careful, consider this sobering statistic by Javelin Strategy & Research:
"Consumers whose Social Security numbers are exposed in a data breach are five times more likely to become fraud victims than those who aren't."
The advice from experts is this:
Do not email your social security number to any prospective employer - or to anyone, in general.
If your SSN is a required field, use a taxpayer identification number instead. That way, thieves cannot use it. It is a valid taxpayer ID for tax purposes and business only. You can apply for this number through the IRS.
If someone insists on obtaining your social security number, you should launch a complaint with PrivacyRights(dot)org. NOTE: You do not have to register to file a complaint.
Thank you for sharing this important information with other writers online.