eZineArticles.com

Could be hazardous to your good name.

A few months ago, I read a blog post by some A-list pro blogger that briefly discussed eZineArticles.com as a place to publish articles and generate hits for your site. The idea was that the articles contained a byline with links and people who read them would come back to your site to read more. The result: more hits.

I dug deeply into my well of content and found a handful of articles I didn’t mind republishing. I formatted them as required and submitted them to eZineArticles.com, after setting up an account as an author. A bunch of the articles were bounced back because they read like blog posts. But I successfully argued that they did provide useful information in my somewhat conversational and bloggish writing style. All five articles were published on the eZine Articles site.

First Surprise: Anyone Can Republish!

What I didn’t realize at first was that anyone who sets up a publisher relationship with eZineArticles.com could republish my work, as long as it was republished exactly as written and included my byline, bio, and links. I discovered this when an article I wrote about flying at sunrise was picked up by a Web site with content about cruising.

After a few e-mails went back and forth between me and the site owner and eZineArticles support staff, I realized what I’d missed by not reading the fine print — I was basically granting a very broad set of rights to eZineArticles.com. But the site that had used the piece was a high quality site and I didn’t mind my recycled work appearing there. And the eZineArticles folks assured me that publishers had to meet certain requirements to use the work.

Second Surprise: Hot Sex?

But I wasn’t very happy when I traced a link to one of my Antelope Canyon photos article to a Blogger blog with the words “hot-sex” in its domain name. Although the site didn’t appear to contain any porn, I didn’t want my content — or name! — associated with it. So I wrote to eZineArticles support to complain.

Today, I found the same article used on a site with “nurse-fetish” in the domain name. Now I was pissed. I wrote again to the eZineArticles staff.

eZineArticles.com Responds

My new message crossed their response to the first one in the ether. In their response, they told me that if I didn’t want my work on a specific site, it was my responsibility to contact the owner of that site and ask him to remove it.

Ever try to contact the owner of a Blogger blog? It’s not possible if they don’t want to make it possible.

I replied that their response was completely unsatisfactory and that I would be deleting all of my articles from their site.

And then I did.

Lessons Learned

I am certainly not desperate enough to be published or to get hits by releasing my work on a site that allows distribution without prior approval by the author. Frankly, I don’t think any author should be that desperate.

eZineArticles.com obviously doesn’t give a damn about its authors if it won’t work to prevent this kind of activity with an author’s work. Any author who publishes with them deserves whatever shit he gets — including his name spread around on sites of questionable quality and purpose.

From now on, I will publish my work electronically in only three places:

  • Here, on this site, where my work is covered by a copyright notice that helps protect my work from misuse.
  • On the sites of publishers who pay me for my efforts and protect our copyrights.
  • On the sites of other bloggers who have asked me to guest author for them and will protect our copyrights.

I’m angry about this, but I know it’s my own fault. I was conned, first by the pro blogger who pushed eZineArticles.com and then by eZineArticles.com itself. I don’t understand why anyone would allow their work to be reproduced in a way that they cannot control. Could they all be as stupid as I was when I signed up?

As for the “hot-sex” and “nurse-fetish” sites, I wonder how the other female eZineArticles authors feel about their work — and their names — appearing there.

19 thoughts on “eZineArticles.com

  1. Sadly, none of this is surprising to me. I’ve been noticing an uptick in the number of spam bloggers using Ezinearticles.com to grab content. I would definitely advise anyone who wants their work to be distributed to avoid the site and, instead, use Creative Commons Licensing or another form of copyleft.

    EzineAritcles is just plain suicide.

  2. What I don’t understand is why some authors have supposedly written THOUSANDS of articles there. Are these people that desperate to get published? With thousands of articles, you can build a great personal Web site. Why risk getting your content splashed all over low-quality spam sites?

  3. Maria: I think it is all a short-sighted attempt at building up Google Juice. The article and content is secondary to shooting the link out there and if spammers pick it up, so much the better.

    I personally view EzineArticle as a spam operation. Users spam articles into the system to get the content picked up by other spammers on the flip side and get their link shot out all over the Web.

    A true win-win for everyone involved, if you don’t mind some spam with your meal.

  4. This comes as a surprised to as I’ve always been told to write and submit articles to article directories for extra traffic.

    I’m not that sensitive about my articles though I don’t want my articles associated with drugs, sex or gambling.

    I have a few submitted at EzineArticles so I need to go check on them.

  5. Jonathan, in thinking about this some more, I don’t think I’d mind so much if the article was something I’d whipped up in a few minutes, didn’t care much about, and didn’t put my name on. In other words, some low quality dreck published under a pseudonym. Then I’d get the benefit of the Google Juice without getting dirty (so to speak).

    I’m just wondering if I could write something like that and get it both published and picked up. It would be a good experiment when I’m done with the project I’m working on now.

  6. I think you may miss the point of ezinearticles. I have found it useful but not for the reasons you suggest, and I don’t follow your approach.

    There are two main benefits, and I’ve seen both. First, people may find your writing on the ezinearticles site and follow your links to you, creating business for you. Second, having your article on a prominent site like this, with relevant links back to your site, creates link value. The excessive spam content on these sites is probably reducing the value, but it still has some benefit. One of my articles has been viewed over 15,000 times and my web site analytics show that it has referred actual business — people paying me to handle their speeding tickets.

    A key problem is that it sounds like you’re submitting the same content you’ve written somewhere else. That’s not going to help you much, as search engines tend to prefer unique content, and may penalize “duplicate content.” Thus, your articles won’t be seen much and you won’t get much link value from them.

    As for your content showing up on other sites, that’s not the fault of ezinearticles. You own the copyright to your content and they don’t have the power to stop others from reusing it. That’s your problem, and in my opinion at least, you’re wasting your time by worrying about it. The spam sites that are republishing your content are seen by very few people and in the long run will probably disappear.

  7. Albany, I don’t agree with you about ezinearticles. ezinearticles LICENSES this work to others, thus legally allowing them to republish my work without my approval. Then, when it gets out there, it’s MY responsibility to track down the owner of a site with a porn name and ask for my work to be removed. Sorry, that just doesn’t fly with me. I write for a living and I’m extremely particular about where my work appears. ezinearticles doesn’t care at all. I don’t need that kind of help.

  8. Couldn’t anyone take any of your published content at any time from anywhere, say from this blog right here, republish it on their objectionable site with your name and headline, and make it so hard for you to get it taken down that you would just have to give up and let it stay? I don’t see how the potential end result can be differentiated between publishing your articles on ezinearticles.com or on aneclecticmind.com.

    I’m not asking this just to be provocative. I’m considering submitting to ezinearticles.

  9. Toby, if they did, they would be infringing my copyright. That’s illegal.

    Ezinearticles gives anyone the right to republish your work. In other words, they can do it legally. I have no recourse to get the work offline. I cannot sue.

    I really cannot see any benefit for an established author or consultant or “expert” to publish their work on ezinearticles.com given their complete failure to check “publisher” sites for appropriateness before allowing them to publish. They screen the authors, they screen the content, but they don’t seem to screen the publishers.

    I worked hard to get where I am and I don’t need my name brought down by association with questionable sites desperate for content.

    Why not simply build relationships with popular blogs that will publish your work? In many instances, they’ll even pay you for it.

    Whatever you decide, good luck!

  10. As an ezine author myself, I do agree with you on certain points – I don’t appreciate my work placed on spam sites – and often on these spam sites they remove my links and place junk links inside of them.

    I think ezine should have publishers submit the site they are going to re-publish onto approved before they are allowed to even see they “ezine publisher” link. They should adhere to the guidelines to republish with original links or risk being removed from publisher status. Authors should have the ability to rank publishers or send reports to ezine on bad publishers. The public articles should not have a “ezine publisher link”. Bottom line is ezine could control the spam if they wanted to.

    Nonetheless, write quality articles for my site, and then cut them down and respin them for ezinearticles so not to get duplicate content. I am one of the top authors in the wedding category and have over 90,000 views on my articles. One article alone sent over 2,000 visitors to my site. For traffic purposes it is a great tool.

  11. You make it sound as if EzineArticles purposely distributed the articles to these porn/spam sites. They did not, and do not do such activities on purpose. They merely publish on their own website. Porn/spam operations who grab the content do so on their own doing, and it would be no different then if they stole it from your own blog or site. Most publish their articles thru the service for backtraffic to their own site, and it works very well for many. The ‘real’ spammers out there simply want a piece of the traffic, and it is unfortunately they exploit such services.

  12. Didn’t realize I made it sound that way, Ray. Funny that no one else picked up on that. Hmm.

    I don’t like their business model. They allow anyone who supposedly agree with their policies to republish my work. I believe I should have the right to say which sites my work should appear on. I also believe authors should be able to blacklist sites, with the review of eZineArticles staff.

    Yes, it is different when spammers use articles from eZine Articles. eZine articles gives permission and by submitting to them, I give permission, too. When they steal from my site, there’s no permission. It’s unquestionably copyright infringement and I clearly have the right to issue DMCA and take-down notices.

    I was only a part of eZine Articles for a month or so. I only had 5 articles online. But finding those articles on sites with porn names — and finding that eZine Articles was unwilling to contact the site publisher to get them off — was enough for me to realize that I don’t need the kind of exposure eZine Articles offers.

    Evidently, I’m not as desperate for exposure as some of the other authors obviously are. I can get enough exposure on my own.

    I’ve made my decision and explained why. I believe professional writers who care about where their work appears should avoid distributors like eZine Articles.

  13. I think your missing the point of how EA and sites like it are used though. Authors publish works because the EA site itself is ranked high on the web over all. This means google will usually direct you to the site itself if your name or related material is being looked for. Thus people get themselves on top of google quickly using the site, which brings them back traffic, and everyone wins!, Yay!

    I have noticed the spam exploits you refer to, and you are correct. And again, it’s really unfortunate this has become a problem. But EA does not actively seek out ‘distributors’ as you seem to be thinking. They don’t have to, google does all the work. The fine print is to protect their own butt. In the sue happy world we live in, can you blame them? In FACT.. Their terms of service also RESRTICT how many articles can be used per year per domain, reprinted on a site (25). So you are miss understanding what it is ment for. It’s really.. hey, this is a great article! And I can legally copy it on my site to show others. But only a sample. At least that is how it is meant to work. But most of these porn sites breaks those terms of service. So efforts are in fact made to close them down. Not at an authors request but because they hurt everyone, EA and us authors. The problems is, they pop back up as fast as you can close them down. So yes, the spam sites will exploit it’s traffic. And I blame the search engines for being poisoned by the spammers who steal anything that is ‘popular’, and try and divert traffic from search engines to porn operations.

    But I also ask, really, just how much of a problem is it? People with common sense know such pages are just another form of spam, and will find another link, usually several others of the material are available. (and will be lower than EA itself) I really don’t think people make the type of association to your material to the domain it is in, like you think, unless you happen to write about porn, hehe. Else,frankly it is out of place. And I think most people understand that. (It’s kind of like finding an article about Hair Product, in a Brothel… Do you think, gosh, the author of this article about hair products, must be a pervert?)

  14. No, I understand the point of EA. But it’s simply not for me. I’m not that desperate to get my work in front of people and I really don’t like the complete lack of support by the EA staff on this matter. Seeing my name on nurse-xxx.com and other porn-related sites really rubbed me the wrong way. And EA simply didn’t seem to care. Well, they don’t need me. They have folks like you who are more tolerant of the situation.

    Whatever.

  15. This has happened to me numerous times. Not only that, it seems that the publishers then find your site and re-publish articles that you did not even put on ezinearticles.com.

    I don’t have the time (or want to put in the time) to fight the republication of articles. Most of the blogs that they are on are on auto-pilot so you do not even get a response.

    I still use ezine but do not post articles that are also posted on my site. It generates hits and adds some nice back-linkage.

    Richard

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