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.
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.
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.