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Squidoo Authors Who Migrated to HubPages: Here Are Your Choices

By Edited Nov 14, 2015 5 12

Squidoo Moderation Grace Period to End

January 15th, 2015 at 12 noon PT

Deciding Which Door to Choose 2
Credit: Vic (hang in there) on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

The Real Reason

HubPages Wanted Us

On August 15th, Seth Godin announced in a post (Friday around 5 pm) that "HubPages is acquiring key content from Squidoo."

The following day, I published Can Squidoo-HubPages Do This? which is currently ranked at the 71st position on InfoBarrel's Top 100.

A few days later, I left a comment on Ashley Zeckman's article[1] on Search Engine Watch to summarize what we knew at the time. I posted simply as "Rose."

It has taken me months to figure out exactly what had transpired in this transaction. Both Squidoo and HubPages have identical statements in their terms of use - they do not own the content.

Why HubPages Wanted You to Join Cartoon
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

How Did Our Work Get Sold?

When Squidoo Didn't Own it?

Because we were held hostage to our final share of the ad pool and were promised (among other things) permanent 301 redirects. Even worse, if you were busy, away, offline, or dead - your user information, identity (avatar), profile page and content was automatically moved without your consent. That is, if HubPages wanted it.

I never clicked a green button on my dashboard and I never "followed a link" and entered a 10-digit number in that first email I received on September 13th, 2014 from HubPages. I was shocked that my permission was never sought throughout this entire ordeal. I never joined HubPages.

I ended up reporting HubPages to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) within 24 hours of receiving that email (and I'm not the only one). I've also reported it as "part of a phishing" email to Google.

Don't you wonder what that link and verification code were for? It seems to be a secret - just like those Hubber and Hub Scores which I firmly believe are for a third party. 

TanoCalvenoa Deleted His Lenses

Aug. 20th, 2014, But Check This Out

TanoCalvenoa's Profile Transferred Without Any Lenses (Articles)
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

So What?

At first you might not think these comments with links matter. But if you are trying to establish your own blog or online presence elsewhere, these links compete with that (and drown out) every new link to your other online efforts.

How To Check:

All I did was Google "TanoCalvenoa on HubPages" and hundreds of these links showed up.

Why Did Those With a HubPages Account

Need to Follow A Link and Enter a 10-Digit Code?

First Email from HubPages Reported for "Phishing"
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Some Key Choices You Have Now

If you wish to remain on HubPages [and you joined willingly], you need to be mindful of their payout policies. A few things to keep in mind are:

1) You acknowledge and agree that HubPages may change the revenue share with you or any third-party at any time, at HubPages’ sole discretion.

2) NEW: You acknowledge and agree that you will not publicly disclose your payments or earned balance (including any subcomponents thereof) from the HubPages Earnings Program without prior written consent of HubPages.

3) You have "uncollected payments" for a period of greater than six (6) months, you forfeit the entire amount of an earned balance in your account.

This is important, since I've seen this advice in their forum:

"...walk away from HubPages and don't even think about the work you've left here. It will go on earning, albeit slowly. One day you'll get an email that you've been paid by the HubPages Earnings Program, then you can go and close that account down, and ditto for the others."[4]

The kicker is, if you leave it for six months plus a day, HubPages keeps it all. So if you don't think you'll reach $50 in six months, what happens?

If I remove an article do I still receive its earnings? Marisa Wright Answers
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Squidoo Never Asked for Income Tax Info

Nor Does InfoBarrel

This alarmed me the most. According to HubPages, you need to provide them with your current tax information or you don't get paid.

Why?

As spelled out in HubPages: To Report Or Not To Report?, if your account isn't active (or maintained), HubPages keeps all of your earnings.

I found this clause particularly worrisome:

The entire amount of an earned balance will be permanently forfeited by you if:

Your account has expired tax information that is greater than six (6) months beyond the date of such expiration.[2]

This is making it far too easy for identity thieves (or those who sell or buy peoples' user information) to use your tax information (e.g. Social Security number) to secure a job or a tax refund. 

And think about it. If someone uses your tax info to get a job, the IRS will assume you failed to report all of your income.

Conversely, if someone else uses your info to file a tax refund before you do, the IRS will assume that you already received your refund.

I'm sure there are other unlawful ways that your user identification and tax information could be used and the Federal Trade Commission recently issued an eye-opening post titled Tax-Related Identity Theft.[3]

Most people writing online do not make enough money from any one platform to even require income tax return slips. Income can simply be reported via your formal payout notices or online receipt of payments from PayPal.

Credit Card Theft
Credit: Don Hankins on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

You Want to Remove Your Hubs?

Here's the thing. HubPages appears to be a paradise for plagiarists and scrapers. I've read numerous complaints in several forums about this.

If you pull your former Squidoo work off of HubPages, you'll lose that 301 redirect which is the only way Google can verify that you created the work first.

HubPages will tell you the same thing:

"If the article has been copied or used in some way by others, then the 301 redirect is MORE important, not less.  

The 301 redirect tells Google that your article on HubPages was published originally on Squidoo, long before this thief decided to copy it. 

Move that article somewhere else (e.g. your own blog), Google doesn't have a trail to follow any more. Google will think you've copied the article FROM the thief, because your publish date is more recent. Therefore you're ensuring the thief's version of the article gets priority in the search engine results."[4]

Screenshot

Marisa Wright Explains Advantages of Redirect
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Another Option

When I looked at the situation from every angle, I feel that for the vast majority of former Squidoo authors, you are better off cutting your losses. Should you stay on HubPages, you'll be kept on a hamster's wheel in order to keep your earnings. Slip up and you've lost all of your earnings.

Not to mention the constant struggle to fight off plagiarists and scrapers.

Your online efforts elsewhere will always be in competition with your HubPages comments.

Right now, Hubbers earn 60% of the ad share - but that could change anytime. Here on InfoBarrel, I earn 90% by creating only seven articles a month. InfoBarrel has editors and the date of publish is clearly displayed on our pages.

Since user information and content was sold and bought without the express permission of each content holder (author) first, federal and state laws were broken.

Here is where you have some recourse. 

I've read several times (in various forums) that former Squids are "waiting for last payout," but did you know you might be reimbursed for your losses by filing an IC3 report (before February 15th, 2015).

And by filing a free complaint[7] with Consumer Affairs, you might also be able to take back what was never legal to be sold in the first place - without your express permission.

Lack of money is the root of all evil - George Bernard Shaw
Credit: Miran Rijavec on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Found This Interesting

You Might Find This Useful

While I was trying to find out if the family of Naiza Oclares knew that HubPages has her identity, profile, and content (and are making money off of it), I discovered that someone also set up a phony Pinterest account. Someone did this to me (and I've since found others too).

How To Check:

All I did was Google: naizalm(dot)hubpages(dot)com pinterest 

What Your Author Content/Work Is Worth

I also let another writer know that when I Googled her name, 10 pages came up. Interestingly enough Worth Of Web Calculator stated her profile page had an estimated worth of $2,424.

I advised her (since she told me she would be leaving HubPages) that she might wish to pursue having her author content removed AND be reimbursed that amount from HubPages.

When I checked out Naiza's profile, it stated her profile's estimated worth was $2,028.[5]

Well, that would explain why HubPages is keeping the profile, identity, and content of a dead author (or those unaware of what has happened) on their platform.

I'm Unsure How Accurate This "Calculator" Is

I was glad that another writer actually posted the question in HubPages forum with a link to this site. But when I check on her thread, I found out her question had been removed.[6]

She later told me, "I put my post back in without the link, just name of site. LOL! I wonder how long it will last now."

I wonder why HubPages removed this information that anyone can access online.

I can't guarantee anything, but I feel you could include that information in any formal complaint you might make to the IC3 or Consumer Affairs (or your own lawyer).

In Closing

Whatever you choose to do, I wish you the best.

I, for one, cannot support the work of anything with HubPages in the domain. And, I feel it is likely that the law will finally catch up with Paul Edmondson et al. I predict that within the year, HubPages will be forced to shut down permanently.

Thank you for sharing this important information, I hope it helps some of you.

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Comments

Jan 11, 2015 10:17pm
WriterJoanne
I can't see it lasting either. Glad to be done with it.

Your articles have been really helpful. There are other problems with HP, like a huge drop in traffic.

I also can't see it lasting much longer.
Jan 11, 2015 11:12pm
RoseWrites
Dear Joanne,

Thank you so much for your kind words and feedback.

I was checking Quantcast every so often and when traffic didn't pick up on HubPages prior to Christmas, I doubted January would be any better.

I think it's horrible how former Squids have been treated and lied to throughout this ordeal. And now, some (most) of the screenshot proof I kept has become impossible to find online.

Now, even when I DO get my content off their site - scrapers and plagiarists will have already had a field day with it. Fortunately, I always wrote the date I created my work at the end of my intros. Still, I don't know if Google will believe me or not when (or if) I ever do try to repost it here on InfoBarrel.

The damage has been done. And I publicly protested, documented, and videotaped my efforts to delete my Squidoo account/content August 31st, 2014. I couldn't - Squidoo locked us out of our work (but not the buying public) even though Corey Brown stated that transfers wouldn't happen until Sept. 2nd.

Rather than try to salvage our content - I feel it's best to go after some compensation for having our user information/content sold without our express permission first. It is clearly documented publicly (even on HubPages) that "money changed hands."

What Seth Godin did was illegal (selling our user info and content) - but it was also illegal for Paul Edmondson et al. to conceal, receive, buy, and/or withhold from the [content] owner any property [user information, articles] that they know has been stolen.

There are certainly plenty of reasons I wouldn't trust HubPages with my tax information - nor that my Amazon or eBay revenue was accurate.

Anyways, soon enough this will all be over.

Thank you once again for your support.

Warmly,

Rose
Jan 12, 2015 6:40am
LeighGoessl
Rose, sorry to hear people are having trouble with all this, I've been reading your articles but not commenting since I never was a member of Squidoo or HP (the latter I signed up for and decided within 5 minutes it was not for me) and had nothing to add.

Although, I was just reading your concern about proving you own the content. One thing that has helped me is the WayBack Machine archives (dozens of mine were stolen from Helium.com and I'm still finding tons of articles that are mine after running PL checks).

If you have the original links to your pieces, you can plug it into the WayBack archives and pull up a crawled page showing your name and the date stamp. I have used WayBack to prove to Google in DMCA filings I am the copyright holder, not the thieves (I explain why I have that link instead of a live one). Although, with your legal situation, it's maybe better to leave as is for now. I just wanted to mention it.
Jan 12, 2015 7:00am
RoseWrites
Dear Leigh,

I appreciate your concern and for taking the time to read and comment - esp. since this issue doesn't affect you.

In this case, the WayBackMachine was hacked. I posted my findings on Google Plus October 11th, 2014: https://plus.google.com/u/0/107889574670988423996/posts/haZtq9JVBC9

Unless you are referring to a different WayBack archives (which I'd love to know about)?

I'll have to wait and see what the lawyers recommend in my case. Out of 293 articles, there were definitely some I poured my heart and soul into - so I'll see what I can work with and use after this ordeal is over.

It's a sad thing to find "scraper" and "spinning" software for sale online. This illegal business of plagiarism and content (and identity) theft is preventing some of the most important ideas from being shared online.

Thanks again for dropping by and caring enough to comment, it means more than you know.

Fondly,

Rose



Jan 12, 2015 7:31am
LeighGoessl
This is the same archives site. While it's been an excellent help, the one drawback I've had with this site is the search function is terrible, in my experience you really need an exact URL. I learned this the hard way with Helium.com's closure (they announced it last May - we had 6 months to get our content), I had deleted dozens of articles without saving the URL (I had the text already on my hard drive) thinking I could just search it (if needed to prove it was mine) in the archives.

Around June or July I found a few articles of mine were stolen and the archives search feature wasn't working, so I lost that content to thieves.

I agree, it is sad so many writers are dealing with this...part of my morning routine includes DMCAs.

I hope you can get your content back. This must be so frustrating!
Jan 12, 2015 7:44am
RoseWrites
Oh I saved and backed up every Squidoo article as I went - so yeah, I have the exact URL of each one. I'm just not 100% sure Google will trust the WayBackMachine.

Every time I read over something I wrote a year ago, I end up changing it a bit anyways. I've just been creating fresh content for InfoBarrel since this all happened - but I DO miss my recipes that I created on Squidoo.

Thanks once again Leigh, you are ever so helpful and such a positive person here on InfoBarrel.

Take good care,

Rose

Jan 12, 2015 12:19pm
TanoCalvenoa
Lots of good info here. I feel sorry for all the victims of HubPages' theft, absurd terms of service, etc. And that includes me, as their site claims I used to be on HubPages (I never was) and has my comments from Squidoo with my username that I use here on InfoBarrel plus other places online. What a headache this has been, and although I'm not in favor of any of the good and honest people who are on HubPages being harmed by all this, I don't see how HubPages can do anything other than come crashing down in flames.
Jan 12, 2015 2:31pm
RoseWrites
Yes, there are people here on InfoBarrel that are also on HubPages right now that I highly respect. And, I know they'd never be "in favor" of posting the work of anyone who protested this (or profit from the work of a deceased person).

It's not the writers fault that Paul Edmondson broke the law - and continues to do so by making money from content that he doesn't own (and never had the legal right to buy).

I would just like to see that HubPages Terms of Use is found unenforceable and anyone wishing to leave gets all of their deserved earnings.

The laws of California are stricter than in other areas of the world - and I think some of the more brazen shills have forgotten about this.

We need to be able to remove our author content and see that our identities online are more protected. I hope people aren't giving out their tax information to Hubpages because I fear what that could be used for.

Thanks again for all your help and support throughout this ordeal Jonathan, you've helped me prove many things.

Rose
Jan 12, 2015 8:35pm
HLesley
I found this very interesting, Rose. I put a couple of articles on Hub Pages and then realized that I wouldn't earn anything until I qualified for an AdSense account. HP recommends not applying for the account until you have written a minimum of 20 articles.

Of course, when you apply there is no guarantee that your application will be accepted, so you run the risk of fruitlessly donating a whole bunch of free articles to the site. This whole approach feels quite "scammy" to me.
Jan 12, 2015 9:22pm
RoseWrites
Completely agree with you HLesley.

And the fact that HubPages has complete control over the way Amazon and eBay earnings are dispensed bothers me too. How can anyone trust them?

Furthermore, HubPages never asked my permission to post my identity, profile info (in which they removed the link to my current work on here), and 293 of my articles on THEIR website, with THEIR ads. All the while they are collecting money from 100% of my blood, sweat, and tears. UNLESS, of course, I give them even more . . like my current tax information???

No one from HubPages has since sent informed me that any earnings are waiting for me. Because, "account inactivity" = 100% profit for them. I NEVER joined HubPages so how on earth can they hold me to their Terms of Use??

A few clauses in their Terms of Use strikes me as illegal.

I just can't see this site lasting the year.

Thank you so much for dropping by and commenting, I truly appreciate it.

Take good care,

Rose
Jan 12, 2015 9:10pm
Browna86
I really enjoyed your articles ever since I first came here. It is odd that nothing has been done about this and odd that HP is still running especially with that tricky ToS stuff about earnings and other stuff. No results turned up on HP except for my comments on past Squid articles.

Checked pinterest just in case and fortunately the only result that surfaced was on a Squid lens about Pinterest. Its a real mess nonetheless. So glad someone is keeping up with this.

Thanks again for your wonderful articles; and cartoons.
Jan 12, 2015 9:27pm
RoseWrites
Awe, gee thanks Browna86, you have no idea how much your support has meant from day 1.

In reflecting back on all of this, it just seemed to good to be true that we were told (something like):

"Check out HubPages, see if you like it and if you don't you can always remove your Squidoo work from there."

But then Corey Brown states "You'll need to check with HubPages on how to delete your account."

User information was what they were after and since I read a lot about identity theft, I'm truly unnerved about that.
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Bibliography

  1. Ashley Zeckman "Seth Godin’s Squidoo Acquired by HubPages." Search Engine Watch. 19/08/2014. 11/01/2015 <Web >
  2. "HubPages Terms of Use." HubPages. 11/01/2015 <Web >
  3. "Tax-Related Identity Theft." FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION. 11/01/2015 <Web >
  4. "If I remove an article do I still receive its earnings?." HubPages. 11/01/2015 <Web >
  5. "How much is naizalm.hubpages.com worth?." Worth Of Web Calculator. 11/01/2015 <Web >
  6. "How much is our site worth, including sites like HP, Wizzley,?." HubPages Forum. 11/01/2015 <Web >
  7. "Top 10 Complaints and Reviews about HubPages.com." Consumer Affairs. 11/01/2015 <Web >

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