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.