I have written quite a bit about why I don’t like to rely on free websites, especially to make money online.
When you attempt to build a business on a free platform that you do not control, you are exposing yourself and your business to SIGNIFICANT continuity risks. Not only can you not control all the decisions made on your behalf, but you don’t own anything at the end of the day. Invaluable time and effort can be lost in just a matter of moments.
Yesterday I received an email from ehow.com, a content directory which was recently impacted by Google’s Farmer update to its search algorithm. I have copied and pasted the email below for your reference. But basically in a nutshell, they are removing all previously submitted and accepted user generated content to their website.
This drastic and sudden change in ehow’s policy affects me in two ways.
1) I have countless articles on ehow spanning various topics. Each of these articles provide a quality back link to the relevant websites they promote.
I know that many people feel that these platforms shouldn’t be used for marketing purposes, but I agree with that statement only if the content is mediocre and solely meant to generate quality back links to the website being promoted. I strongly believe this was not the case with my articles. Each article provides solid, genuine value to the reader.
2) I will no longer make an additional $450-550 per month. Ehow had a program where writers submitted keyword targeted articles that ehow would monetize through advertisement. Ehow would then share the revenues from the advertisement with the writer.
I had several of these articles that generated between $450 to $550 per month for me on a consistent basis. Like all good things in life I suppose, these had to come to an end after all. I will no longer make money online through ehow’s advertisement sharing program, also referred to as the Writers Compensation Program (WCP) which the email talks about further.
I supposed it could have been worst. Whereas I am crying about a mere $500 per month, there are writers out there who are loosing thousands per month.
We want to personally thank you for the time spent writing articles for eHow.com and helping contribute to the growth of our site. As a valued writer who’s written articles for eHow, you know we’re a site that is focused on excellence and delivering the best possible experience to our readers. As eHow.com continues to evolve and become a leading destination of trusted information, we are working hard to ensure all content is professionally created and editorially vetted.
As you might remember, we stopped accepting user-submitted articles in April 2010. At the same time, we also closed the Writers Compensation Program (WCP) to new participants and stopped accepting articles through that program as well. Though we stopped accepting user-generated articles, we kept legacy articles that had been previously submitted and published online so that readers could continue to find and enjoy that information, and participants who opted into the WCP could continue earning money for their work.
After much consideration, eHow has decided to close the WCP and remove user-generated articles from the site. We’re doing this because these articles were not vetted through our current editorial process, which includes professional fact checking and copy editing. Your article(s) will be taken down from eHow.com this month. If you are opted into the WCP you will receive final payment for earnings through May 5, 2011, during the regular monthly payment schedule in early June. Even though your articles will no longer appear on eHow.com, you retain all ownership of your articles for use on other websites.
We appreciate the time you’ve spent writing articles for our site and want to make it easy for you to have a record of your contributions. You’ll have an opportunity to retrieve your articles from us between May 17th and May 31st, if you wish to retain them for your records. Further details for article retrieval will be shared through your writer’s console.
We truly value your contributions to eHow and know that the site would not be what it is today without people like you. Thank you again and please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have.
This email didn’t make me happy, and it sure reminded me why I don’t like to rely on free websites for anything I do. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, using free websites as a medium posses significant going concerns for your projects.
Have you been impacted by similar decisions out of your control? Let’s hear about your experiences. What did you change after that experience? How did you react to it?
I wonder why I haven’t heard much action taken against such platforms. Why is it OK for them to benefit from our work for as long as they want or can, and then kick us to the curb when fate turns its back on them? Bottom line, think twice before investing your sweat on free websites.
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