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eHow.com / Demand Media Complaints & Reviews - Misleading Business Practices

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eHow.com / Demand Media

Posted:    Fed up with eHow Demand Media

Misleading Business Practices

Complaint Rating:  62 % with 26 votes
Contact information:
Demand Media,
United States
eHow and its owner, Demand Media, are fraudulently scamming their writers and the public by using dubious tactics to inflate the amount of content they have on their sites by:

1. Cloning articles and apparently not paying writers for the cloned versions, even though the writers own the copyrights,

2. Creating more than 2 million (to date) pages of just comments, that have no value to readers when separated from their associated articles,

3. Reinstating articles that authors have deleted, which writers are supposed to be able to do. This causes duplicate content and suspected plagiarism issues for the writers when they re-publish on other sites,

4. Arbitrarily deleting articles by residual income writers and replacing them with pre-paid equivalent articles,

5. Manipulating page content on UK cloned articles to rank higher than the originals that writers are paid for, and apparently keeping all profits for themselves in direct conflict with a written promise on the UK site that they will pay for the "usefulness" of such content. At least we think so. This is documented on http://crunchydata.com

6. They also refuse to answer direct questions from the writers.

7. And they maintain a chronically technically-buggy site that frequently prevents writers from editing and deleting their own articles AND causes frequent payment issues.

Many people have invested months, even years, in trusting this company, and they stay because it's extremely difficult to delete their articles and re-establish traffic to them elsewhere, once eHow 'traps' the articles by re-directing their URLs and/or re-writing the content and keeping that high search-engine rank that the original author earned.

It appears that Demand Media may be using some of these tactics to make its sites appear larger and more valuable before they offer stock to the public.

Suggestion: Avoid eHow and Demand Media at all costs, or at least visit their forums and search online blogs before investing your time in them, to see what people with experience think.

If you have been victimized by eHow / Demand Media, write to the BBB, post your own experience to complaintsboard, and look for other places to help expose them.
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 3rd of Jan, 2010 by   harry_palm69 -1 Votes
mmm, cloning is bad, mmkay
 3rd of Jan, 2010 by   CharleyHorse -1 Votes
Why not just pull all your articles from the site and move on? Honestly, if all the "user-contributed" garbage were to disappear off eHow tomorrow, it would be a much better site.

Just move on. Shut up and move on.

"Writers?"
 13th of Jan, 2010 by   EX-EHOW.COM Writer +1 Votes
I was a rather new writer with eHow.com and didn't care for the vague language in their terms, so posted only about 30 articles there to see what happened.

I won't go into the details, but highly suspected eHow.com was not paying for all qualified views. Some articles had 100+ views and zero earnings--others with same amount of views had different earnings. No answers were given as to why when I asked about this.

NOW, we learn our articles were posted to the UK website without our knowledge, even though writers retain copyright of their work. eHow.com admits to having done this and further states writers were NOT compensated for UK views of their articles. They also state they will NOT be compensating writers in the future. The writing forum is buzzing like a mad hornets nest--eHow.com is about to flop if the other writers delete all their articles and close their writing profiles down at eHow.com.

The only "peace offering" served up from eHow.com is that they stated they will remove our articles, though this could take several weeks. I find this insulting, illegal and in breach of the terms of the agreement.

Whether they could or couldn't publish elsewhere is beside the point. They cannot publish anywhere without compensating for qualified views as per contract.

My best advice to all writers: Avoid eHow.com and look elsewhere. Be sure to read the TOS agreements carefully and don't get trapped again by unethical businesses like eHow.com.

I do hope they get whatever Karma decides to dish out!
 13th of Jan, 2010 by   current-ehowwriter 0 Votes
To ex-ehow.comwriter - eHow does NOT pay per views.
It states in the TOS they have the right to post our articles anywhere they wish. Now they are taking down the 'cloned' UK articles, which they didn't HAVE to do.
No problem here - I earn a bit of money from eHow, which grows each and every month. I know writers there that pay their mortgage with monies earned!
Stickin' with eHow (happily)!
 13th of Jan, 2010 by   Fed Up ehow writer +1 Votes
to current-ehowwriter - you likely could be earning a lot more if ehow was not cloning your articles without your consent. It is content theft straight up. More discussion at http://innovativepassiveincome.com I've got my articles backed up, but I've built lots of backlinks that I don't want to give to ehow if I pull my work.
 13th of Jan, 2010 by   JessNess +1 Votes
eHow was created to screw writers over and they did just that. They understood that not many writers would neither read the TOU nor, if they read the TOU, many wouldn't understand it.

Now the writers are upset because eHow is doing exactly what their TOU said they could do (no matter how immoral it seems). eHow clearly stated that they had the right to do whatever they wanted with your article posted on their site and that includes not compensating writers + posting articles anywhere they please.

Of course, eHow stuck their foot up their "alley way" when they were not clear (or lied) to the writers about the purpose of the eHow UK site. It is clear that they used that site mainly to gain profit and link authority. Otherwise, why flood a specific site (in this case eHow UK for UK members) with stuff from the main site (eHow US articles)?

What does this all mean?
READ THE FREAKING TOU AND UNDERSTAND IT BEFORE YOU START SUBMITTING ARTICLES!
Ask questions to people who may know if you don't understand, I'm sure there is a large forum with a whole lot of lawyers somewhere online. Remember google is your friend (or is it Bing?).
 18th of Jan, 2010 by   Rich Noguchi 0 Votes
eHow.com and Demand Media do not engage in fraudulent practices regarding our content, metrics or community of members. Our community is our most important asset, and we strive to provide the best experience possible, at all times. Below, we have addressed each of the seven claims made in the previous posting to deliver the facts and clear any confusion. As always, let us know if you have any questions.

1) eHow.com reserves the right to repost member-submitted content on other Demand Media websites. The Terms of Use published on eHow.com -- which each member agrees to when he or she registers -- clearly gives eHow this right. Separately, the Writers Compensation Program (“WCP”) allows members who elect to participate in the WCP to earn money for posting articles to eHow.com. It’s in eHow’s best interest to keep participants in the WCP happy by paying them well so that they continue to engage with and contribute to eHow.com. Recently we launched eHow.co.uk, and we do not currently have in place a system to pay members for the articles hosted on eHow.co.uk. Therefore, we are removing all member-submitted articles from eHow’s UK website.

2) Our members are passionate about topics that interest them and they are eager to share their knowledge and experiences with one another, often through comments. We will continue to support an environment that enables them to do so.

3) This claim is unclear. Please clarify and we will be more than happy to respond.

4) Articles that do not meet eHow.com’s quality standards are removed, as we want to provide the community with accurate information, as well as a great experience. In order to provide a consistent user experience, we direct visitors coming to deleted articles to content that matches our designated standards and addresses their topic of interest.

5) eHow has not manipulated page content nor has the capability to determine where articles hosted on eHow.co.uk appear in search engine results, and there is no evidence to support these claims. Again, we do reserve the right to republish content on our related websites. Our community management team has been closely listening to our members’ feedback regarding the UK website. Since we are unable to pay members for their articles hosted on eHow.co.uk, we are quickly removing them.

6) Our community is of chief importance to us. We have a dedicated community management team that is consistently interacting with users each day to ensure that all questions are answered and concerns are promptly addressed.

7) The eHow team is constantly monitoring the site, and listening to member feedback, to locate and resolve any technical difficulties. We strive to provide our members with the best possible user experience. We encourage you to reach out to our community managers at eHow.com any time you have questions about or issues with the website.

Best Regards,
Rich Noguchi
eHow Community Manager
 24th of Jan, 2010 by   Amy L 0 Votes
I have written with ehow.com for two years and have over 650 articles on site. There have been website problems, but I do not see that it was more then any other website would have that was of similar sites. Personally, I do not feel scammed or taken advantage of. Ehow has made it possible for me to share my thoughts, ideas, and know how, while earning a decent passive income. It is true that I did not understand everything within the tos the first time I read them. So as I would with any other contract that I might sign, I found out what it said before I signed. As a content writer, I feel I have so many choices to put my writing that if I do not agree with the site terms I can easily find another place to put it. Ehow is where I choose to write for. While I am giving ehow a lot of use with my content, they are also giving me a lot by providing me a place to put my content that ranks so high in the search engines.
 17th of Feb, 2010 by   WriterGig 0 Votes
I have been an eHow community member for 2.5 years and have never known the company to have misleading business practices. On the contrary, they truly care about member concerns and feedback. They also pay their writers fairly and on time, month after month.
 18th of Feb, 2010 by   Fed up with eHow Demand Media 0 Votes
Rich, with all due respect, you are lying again. I know jobs are scarce these days, but that's no excuse.
1. You don't have a payment system in place because you never intended to pay for the use of those articles. The site you call eHow UK is not, and never was, in the UK. It is located on a server in Washington state. Fortunately, you cannot comment here that you have an office in the UK to imply that the site is located there, and then delete my follow up questions as you did on the eHow forum.

Yes, your TOS say you can use our content worldwide. But NOWHERE does it say you can defraud us and use our content without compensation. Demand Media mirrored the eHow site with the intent of inflating the appearance of its Internet real estate without paying the people who allowed you to do that. Just because you think you covered yourselves in the TOS, doesn't make it right. You hurt a lot of people. WE HAVE PROOF.

2. Of course you support and encourage comments. Because then you can separate those comments from the articles they are associated with and monetize them without paying writers anything! More free money for eHow and Demand Media! WE HAVE PROOF.

3. I deleted several of my own articles from your site, as did my son, and as did many other writers, and you republished them without our knowledge or consent. WE HAVE PROOF.

4. Really? You delete articles that don't meet your standards? Then why do you still have articles about making money with Neobux? Why do you replace high-earning residual pay articles with shockingly similar prepaid articles time after time? WE HAVE PROOF.

5. Actually, Rich, there is proof of eHow manipulating SEO to make at least one non-paying so-called "UK" article rank higher than its paying original.

6. No, actually your "dedicated management team" is two people and a few "secret moderators" who quickly delete questions and comments they are uncomfortable with and ban members who dare to challenge them. Again, Rich, WE HAVE PROOF.

7. All anyone has to do to find out who is telling the truth here is to spend a little time on the eHow forum.

I rest my case. For now.
 11th of Mar, 2010 by   THE PREACHER +1 Votes
I think this piece was more then being fair.
 11th of Mar, 2010 by   THE PREACHER +1 Votes
Ehoiw cloned my articles onto their UK site - without my permission.
Ehow pocketed every cent off money earned from my articles, every cent.
Ehow has deleted some my articles with no explanation.
Ehow has redirected my deleted URL's to its DS writers articles.
Ehow placed my profile on its UK site WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.
Ehow refuses to remove my profile from its UK site even after I have repeatedly asked.
Ehow refuses to allow me access to my UK profile, so I can not even edit my private information that is there for all to see.
Ehow promised a generous compensation for steakling my articles and placing them on the UK site.
Whow gave me exactly .60 cents compensation for 1401 articles, does this make any sense to anyone with half a brain?
Ehow still refuses to answer months of never ending questions concerning their questionable actions in reguard to the UK site.
Ehow recently stated that a hand picked number of ehow writers would now be making $80 per article, yet they refuse to tell us who these writers are. Why? Because they are in fact not even ehow writers, they are DS writers. So why did ehow state they were ehow writers? So they could put the story out there and the UK and Canadian press would run with it, and they did. No ehow writer makes $80 per article, shame on you, ehow, you are indeed a scam.
 11th of Mar, 2010 by   THE PREACHER +1 Votes
A QUESTION OF TRUST


Can ehow the company be trusted? I think this is a fair question well worth talking about. And I am addressing this to all you UK and Canadian writers.

The simple answer is, ehow can not be trusted. I do not say that simply because I am a disgruntled writer, because I am. Ehow manager Rich - when asked point blank about their new global venture told the ehow writers that the company had no plans to expand anywhere but into the UK. Now, as press releases have shown, that was an untruth, they also expanded into Canada, and are about to expand into even more countries. Yes, this may at first appear to be great news for you writers in the UK as well as in Canada, but remember what ehow told it's U.S. writers. This is important, because what they do to us today, they will do to you tomorrow.

Rich, the ehow community manager also promised every single U.S. writer a generous compensation for all those articles they cloned onto the UK site - without a single writers permission. Has ehow followed through on its promise? No, they have not. In fact, not a single penny has been paid to a single U.S. writer as a result of ehow stealing the use of their articles. And why is this important to you writers in the UK and Canada? Because it goes back to the issue of trust. We all were promised a generous compensation, and most received under $10, and many more under $2 - and none of this money had anything to do with compensating us for money lost from the their of our articles.

Ehow explained the generous compensation was for the value of our articles at the time they were on the UK site and not for compensation due to lost earnings from those articles. Now, not only are we talking about an issue of trust, but also an issue of moral judgment. Of course our articles were not worth much, when ehow cloned them onto another site, the URL's became ineffective, the articles dropped like an anchor off the search engines. During the cloning scandal, ehow raking in huge amounts of money off ads that were placed on our articles, and pocketed every penny those ads made, and have basically said to the U.S. writers, sorry, get over it and move on. This is nothing short of Robinhood in reverse, in this case, ehow plays the role of Robinhood, and takes from the poor and gives to the rich, ITSELF. Drop it and write more articles and stop demanding answers to your questions the ehow cheer leaders keep saying. Ehow cheerleaders, by the way, it is believed get a little something in their earnings for harrassing anyone who is not friendly to ehow. Right, keep pushing out more articles so Ehow the Esow can continue to grow and get fatter while paying its writers pennies for their hard work. You have been warned, this is exactly what you can expect, no respect.

Please, read my post coming soon on here, DO THE EHOW SWEEPS GIVE YOU THE CREEPS, because as sure as I am typing this out, your articles will be deleted. Not all at once, they select certain one's that seem to match up with DS articles, delete them, then pocket the money they earn from redirecting your old URL links to DS articles. They swear up and down they do not do this, that all deleted articles do not fit ehow guidelines. Really, articles that in many cases have been up and live for 1 to 2 years or more? Top earning articles from top ehow writers, really? Again, we are talking about trust, and the facts just don't back up ehow's claims.

Yet once again the issue of moral judgment comes into play. Surprise, surprise, guess what many ehow writers began to notice as well as question? Many of their deleted articles were quickly rewritten and republished weeks later by a DS writer. That's right, DS writers were being assigned to rewrite articles ehow deleted. Why? Glad you asked. U.S. writers write articles under a different pay system then what UK and Canadian writers will be under.. Here in the states, ehow pays its ehow writers by a secret payment system it refuses to disclose to the writers, and the writers continue to earn off their articles for as long as ehow keeps the articles in its library. DS writers are paid differently. They are usually paid up front per article, much like you will be. So by deleting ehow writers articles, they break the chain of month after month payments to those writers. They simply turn around and ask a DS writer to rework the deleted article for a small fee. Ehow insists this practice does not go on, but in fact, it does on a regular basis.

I know many still will want to write for ehow, after all, you have all read those stories proclaiming ehow pays its top writers $80 per article, right. Once again we are getting into the issues of what is morally right and can ehow be trusted. You see, ehow put their heads together and came up with a brilliant plan. Let's put out the idea that ehow's top writers are now making $80 an article. We can feed the story to the UK and Canadian press, they will run with it, it will buy us tons of free press, and get UK and Canadian writers foaming at the mouth to sign up and want to make that kind of money. Ask yourselves, whats wrong with that picture? Hint - it's all a lie. Not one UK or Canadian writer will make $80 an article. Why do I know this? Because U.S. ehow writers saw the story and began asking, which one's of us are now making $80 per article and how can we sign up to make that much? Ehow's answer, sorry, it was bad communication, we never meant to imply that ehow writers were being paid $80 per article, what we meant to say was DS writers who also display their articles on ehow, they will now be paid $80 per article.

You read correctly, ehow has now invented the art of the $80 scam. You are all being scammed into thinking you have a chance at making $80 per article, and I am telling you, not in your wildest dreams. It just won't happen. Ehow has now not only lied to its U.S. writers, but also to every person in the UK and Canada. And they know it.

So what can UK and Canadian writers expect to make? Here is how ehow worked their magic back here in the states. At first earning will be damn good, I suspect, . Earnings were almost too good when they started out here. But as time goes on, almost everyone will find they have suddenly dropped to the base $3 an article mark. Ask yourselves, is making $3 per article not the same as working in a sweat shop?

Again, it comes down to what is morally right and an issue of trust. And in every single instance, ehow has come up way short.
 5th of Apr, 2010 by   mrsha +1 Votes
ehow did it again and sold out to Demand. I guess I'm done after 2 1/2 years. Just this time last year demand took back over 300 of my articles. So in good faith I built them up again, and low and behold they are CLOSING! And I'm down $3/day already this month. Something smells here. Let's go elsewhere and post our writing where we will be paid fairly and know how we make money!!
 27th of Jun, 2010 by   conphlikt +1 Votes
READ THE TERMS OF SERVICE. They can do whatever they want w/ your articles, that's why they're paying you. What??? You think they're paying you just to hold your work in an archive and never release it? This is flat out stupid. Besides, yall aren't even real writers, or you'd be writing somewhere else besides eHow. I've been writing for eHow forever, and they have no shady business dealings. If you want to choose where your articles are published, stop writing for a place that EXPLICITLY SAYS they will use your articles where they want, and get a real writing job.
eHow and Demand are basically GIVING money away, and people still manager to find BS to complain about.
 13th of Aug, 2010 by   thomasrosquin -1 Votes
I have been trying to contact ehow though their system and while my queries say resolved I cannot find any answers to my questions.

I have made about $50 in revenue by there are 2 distinct points where my payments were neither completed or carried over to the next month. They simply disappeared?
 1st of Sep, 2010 by   monicslynn +1 Votes
I write short articles for Demand Media but steer clear of the "revenue share" program altogether b/c I read the Terms of Service and didn't trust it. There's zero transparency, so I figured it wasn't worth the risk.

Writing for Demand Media is a fine exercise to keep my writing skills up while I take some time off to start a family, but I'm fully aware that I'm being paid about 20% of what I used to make as a professional writer, which is less than minimum wage in my state, and that they completely own whatever I submit, but it was an informed decision on my part.

I have trouble sympathizing with anyone who didn't read the TOS or take the time to really investigate the site before investing their time. It is what it is. Plenty of college students take unpaid internships to get experience, I see it as the same sort of thing.
 5th of Oct, 2010 by   klip -1 Votes
I wrote only one $15 article for eHhow. The editor asked for two small clarifications. I made them. The next editor rejected the the story, as not being on topic. (It was, or could be made so by adding one word to the title). They rejected the story. Did not pay me. They posted the article as I wrote it without my byline. They stated on site that there is a way to dispute an editor's rejection but after spending half and hour trying to figure out how, or should I say eHow, I decided I had already spent close to five hours finding a topic, researching, writing, and trying to find appropriate photographs for a measly $15 bucks (until recently I made $40 an hour as a copywriter) and this certainly wasn't worth my time. I already had ethical concerns about adding to the mountain of mostly junk they publish in order to sell ads. Now, I have concerns about the ethics of the company.
 16th of Apr, 2011 by   OnlineWriter 0 Votes
It's better to have your own website if you really like to write and earn online. In this way, your efforts will not go to waste! No one will send you an email that your articles were already removed or are going to be removed from the site that you had applied for. Writing takes time so try to write and publish them in your own website. You can simply apply and add various advertisements to it then earn as much as you can as an online profit.
 5th of May, 2011 by   limeywriter 0 Votes
I have written over 1200 published articles for Demand Media, and believe after that much experience I hold a balanced view. There a lot of dissenters out there these day regarding DM and their policies, and I have to say that as every day goes by, I find DM a company that through its actions become less and less relevant as a respectful place for freelance writers to work. Is all the content written for DM useless twoddle just to promote hits for ehow, and the like? No, many articles are well written, offering solid information. The problem is, there are so many articles offering the same advice/guidance (I myself wondered why there were so many articles that needed writing offering very similar info -- the sad answer, I must say, is that yes, it's there to generate hits, even it the majority of it is well written). Even though the majority of articles pay $15, and I'd say the average writer can make about $20 an hour after writing, researching, rewriting, etc., that is still fairly low for decent writers. Also, the appeals process for rejected articles, in my opinion/experience, bends largely towards the editor's point of view over the writer's. I guess perhaps it's harder to get editors than writers so don't upset the editors. I've never once had an rejection overturned, and must now consider the whole process a waste of time. I used to recommend DM to folks who needed extra income; now I wouldn't. I'll hopefully be moving on to better things, and I do feel that a company that treats employees in this respect won't be around in the long term.

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