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The eHow Fiasco

Well the buzz the last couple of weeks has been all about eHow and how they stole traffic from their own site and sent it to their cloned version where they didn't pay the content providers anything. 

What can you expect from a site that has repeatedly done similar things on a smaller scale for most of 2009? We Writers Compensation Program (WCP) writers watched all year as eHow regularly tweaked its site, with the results pretty much always favoring articles that eHow bought outright and did not have to pay residuals on, as they pay on our WCP articles. 

With the ongoing "sweeps" came more interesting changes: many WCP writers complained that their highest earning articles were deleted (for somehow not meeting the site guidelines) AND the links to those articles now went directly to a bought article on the same topic. Most deleted articles were linked to generic "content" pages -- pages with lists of articles on similar topics -- to avoid having dead links. We could understand the need to avoid dead links. We WCP writers certainly understand the need to clean up the site and get rid of poor quality content. But there were a couple of things many of us couldn't understand. First, why some deleted articles linked to a generic page, and others (always the high paying articles it seems) linked to a specific article of the same or very similar title that eHow had payed for up front, no residuals due. The other problem is we kept noticing content that wasn't that bad was leaving the site while content that was horrible and some even bordering on pornographic remained on the site. Hmmm. Never have understood the way they decided what should stay and what should go.

Questions are often not answered at all, ever. Other times the questions are answered months after they are asked, and in the vaguest terms possible. If you think for a moment and piece everything together you start to see a pattern of misleading writers, ignoring writers, playing favorites with writers, and possibly lying to writers. You see a pattern of maximizing eHow earnings at the expense of the WCP writers who helped build the site. Understand that eHow WCP writers are supremely loyal for the most part. We loved eHow, beyond the usual (usual?) love for a site you write at and work with. These people would have gone to bat for eHow over almost anything. But it seems we were duped.

So the word of the day? Disillusioned.

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