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Helium.com Complaints & Reviews - Online fraud

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Helium.com

Posted:    Migel

Online fraud

Complaint Rating:  68 % with 44 votes
Contact information:
Helium.com
United States
helium.com
I knew there were many internet scams out there but I never expected to encounter one of this type. At first glance it seemed to on the up and up with many helpful people encouraging others to write their butts off and also to rate as much as possible. I soon realized that things weren't what they seemed.

I found out some stewards (who were touted as mere members volunteering to do free work for Helium) were paid to push any new rules changes which Helium came up with. If anyone complained the paid cheerleaders would naysay any complaints and talk up the new changes. Some of the paid volunteers are downright arrogant and rude to members calling them malcontents and other names. This was to quell any dissent from members and it works well on some.

But not for me obviously. I emailed Barbara Whitlock, one of CEO Mark Ranalli's main cronies, many times and was lied to on a regular basis about the status of the stewards. After exposing the truth about the steward program and causing Barbara to admit the truth about them getting paid some who weren't getting paid were very hurt and dismayed to learn the deception. I also informed the members about the special rating system the sub-stewards and stewards were permitted to use allowing them to rate in all channels, not just the ones they wrote in like the common members have to use.

The rating system is faulty anyway but allowing some to rate in any channel they choose can skew the rating of regular articles, marketplace articles, and contest entries. This could explain the numerous complaints by members about the rating system. How all of this works is a secret of course. A trade secret according to the cheerleaders. In fact, almost anything important to the members is a secret.

Now a member has to have enough 'quality rates' to have a rating star at the end of the month or the money your articles have earned will go to someone else on the site. Coincidentally, many seem to lose their rating star right before pay out time and lose all the money they have worked for the entire month. And besides, not one person, steward, staff, Barbara, Rex, or anyone else on the site can define a quality rate. Believe me, many have asked. So you see, they are asking members to do something which no one on Helium can define in order to collect their money.

I caused Barbara and Mark to admit their untruthfulness so they banned me and kept my 109 articles which are still making money for them. They are not required to prove I violated the user agreement so they can steal my work and make money from doing so. Pretty neat set up wouldn't you say. There's no telling how many other members have had their articles stolen by these despicable people.

There are some great people trapped on this site who are afraid to speak up about the problems because they have hundreds if not thousands of articles on here they could lose. It is a type of extortion by Helium, holding the writers articles hostage in case they decide to speak out about the corruption on the site. These are bad people running this site with no sense of loyalty to their writers. Stay away from this site.
Comments United States Online Scams
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 6th of Mar, 2009 by   capruzzese 0 Votes
I agree I have something to the tune of 254 articles trapped on helium.com and much money that they will not disburse and when I asked them why they blocked me I did not get a straight answer. In their user agreement it does not state that they can withhold our earnings and I am really disappointed. Perhaps we should consider a class action law suit against helium to get our rights and money back. What do you say? I am tired of being pushed around and having my work stolen.
 25th of Mar, 2009 by   catladyxtreme 0 Votes
I have to admit at first I thought this site was on the up and up as well until a few days ago. I had been a member for about 4 months, had contributed quite a lot of material to the site, then right out of the blue my account was frozen due to what they called a T.O.S. infraction.
What that infraction was I can't say because even after I contacted them they wouldn't clarify what the issue actually was.
So now I have about 100 articles on their site that are earning them money and I have no access to.
I now understand why they insist that you don't add anything to your articles that might attributed them to you.
They say it is a matter of fairness for rating but now I am starting to think it is their way of hanging on to material even when they decide to rid themselves of the author.
Shame on you Helium...
 1st of Apr, 2009 by   rockstar 0 Votes
I agree. Helium is a scam. I logged into the site about a couple of weeks back to request payment. It was above their $25 threshold limit and found that they had blocked my IP address. Apparently, they have blocked all writers from India.

So, Helium is not just a scam, but racist too.

If anyone is thinking of joining and writing for Helium, please do not because Helium is a scam. You will not be paid. You will not be able to delete your articles. And you will not be able to get your articles published elsewhere where you could have got paid well and also retained full rights.

So, yes, Helium is a scam and I request people not to write for this site.
 16th of Apr, 2009 by   David Arthur Walters 0 Votes
Helium is a scam and is IMO engaged in systematic copyright infringement - take a look at the folks behind it, members of the tech elite, including high powered lawyers and "Internet democracy" hypesters. David Arthur Walters (Authorsden).
 12th of Jun, 2009 by   proud to be asian 0 Votes
I thought helium.com is so great... and I've got freelance writing jobs just pointing my would-be clients to my work. Now, I've received an email telling me they're gonna give me a month to copy all my articles...since Helium will only be open to Native English Speakers.

There's a huge difference between speaking and writing. A person may speak well, but it doesn't mean he or she can write better.

I bet Asians can write at par with their level...or even better. I wonder why they're blocking ipAdds all of a sudden. Maybe, they can't afford to pay anymore and found a very good excuse, especially when many writers on that sites are - located outside the U.S.
 13th of Jul, 2009 by   Markcon 0 Votes
I agree absolutely. Helium.com is a cheat company and they have eaten up monies which are legitimately due to hundreds of writers. To add fuel to the fire, they have even stopped answering e-mails.

Some lousy fellow wakes up after several months and says payments issues are being sorted out. Wonder whether they have employed a snail to do their jobs.

So disgusting and frustrating. A collective action from all the affected writers should teach them a lesson.
 4th of Aug, 2009 by   RevRex 0 Votes
I disagree for many reasons.

1. The User Agreement that must be accepted is very clear that any article written can remain on Helium indefinitely, with non-exclusive rights to the content by Helium. Helium is also clear that they can also be posted on other sites that don't require exclusive rights. The writer holds the actual copyright to the article.

2. In early November, 2007, when the steward program began, the five then six stewards were indeed given a token payment. This is rather like giving a person a nickel raise, when they are making well above minimum wage. There is a difference, though. These people were putting in many hours a week at the task, up to 30 or 40. Clearly they didn't do it for the pay, they did it to help, and the pay was just a way of saying "thank you". Except for Senior Stewards, no stewards get even token pay now. In fact, they make more by increased visibility, and the tools they have to work with make the job far easier. That is probably one reason there are more stewards now, and many more volunteering.

3. The pay was never talked about, but it wasn't secret. I won't even go into "making" the CEO or at the time Community Leader divulge secret information. That just reeks of conspiracy theories.

4. The rating engine is the best on the web. It has faults. Helium has admitted this many times, and it is continually getting better. However, for someone to actually influence rating in their favor takes so much effort that it isn't worth it, frankly. If a person had the time to rate many thousands of articles a month, they could conceivably change the outcome of their own articles, provided they also knew who wrote the other articles (and they aren't allowed to rate their own).

5. Helium has proven time and again that they listen to the members. As much as it irks the minority, they tend to go with the majority on issues.

6. How to make money is clearly spelled out on Helium. The Help Guide, the boards, the zones, the articles written about this, and the assistance offered by the stewards all go toward this goal. Writers do make money on the site. Over a million dollars has already been paid out, and the income is gradually increasing.

These are just a few reasons.

Yes, I'm speaking as a steward, however I've never declined to help someone on the site, to make money. That said, I know that for any successful company, there will be malcontents. To name a few companies that deal with this frequently: Microsoft, Apple, Dell, Time-Life, Kodak, Sanyo, and the list goes on endlessly. The more successful, the more people who will complain. People seldom hear from those who don't complain, after all, it is more likely for a complaint to be registered than for a compliment to be posted, by between 10 and 100 times.

If you've had a bad experience, I'm sorry. There are generally ways to make the experience better. Finger pointing doesn't work. When a person does that, there are 4 fingers pointing right back at them.

Rex
 5th of Aug, 2009 by   Walters, David Arthur 0 Votes
Dear Mr or Ms RevRex:

You have identified yourself as a Helium steward. I am unable to locate you at Helium.com Would you please provide your full name if it is not RevRex and a link to your Helium profile? I understand that Helium TOS requires non-fictitious identities absent special permission.

Thank you,

David Arthur Walters
 5th of Aug, 2009 by   Walters, David Arthur 0 Votes
Dear Proud to Be Asian,

I sympathize with your perspective. You may be interested in the following permitted excerpt from HeliumSagas:

Helium’s English Is Not Good Enough
By HE™


[Text quoted below is excerpted from an imperious email issued by Helium.com to its writers outside of the United States. Helium.com is the product of an Internet publishing company whose trademark is Helium™. Parenthetical comments are provided by a former Helium Head whose trademark is HE™]


“As you may be aware, Helium recently changed its policy about accepting contributions from every country around the world. Helium.com instituted this policy as a result of careful consideration of its members and its publishing partners.”


[Every Helium.com participant was not aware of this new policy until frustrated members posted it in blogs. The email was originally sent to participants in foreign countries where English is not the native language, although English speakers in those countries may speak English better than many Brits, Americans, Canadians, et cetera. We suppose they will have to move to English speaking countries if they want to contribute to the enterprise, or at least set up virtual addresses in those countries. However that might be, Helium.com did not ask its members to consider whether or not English speakers from foreign countries where English is not the native language should be discriminated against. Its policies are simply “instituted” i.e. dictated or imperiously handed down. Helium.com is not a writers’ community, cooperative, or “open” WEB2.0 social network as its administrators occasionally imply. Quite to the contrary: even constructive criticism is routinely deleted from its site. There was even less consideration of the will of its members in reaching this dictatorial decision on linguistics than there is consideration paid for content pursuant to Helium’s perpetually changing, non-negotiable, “take it or leave it”, invalid adhesion contract. The great majority of writers receive no consideration whatsoever for their “contributions” because, regardless of the quality of their work, they never reach the $25 payout threshold. The fact of the matter is that Helium Exchange Inc is a Delaware corporation, registered to do business in the State of Massachusetts, whose sole interest is produce a profit for its owners. Its ability to do so is naturally based on its financial resources, its business plan and organization structure, and the abilities of its officers, directors and employees. It is obviously wasting its financial resources on a business plan quite similar to the plans of many other Internet publishing companies that have dismally failed their investors and the writing community because of their closed, hierarchical structure and lack of consideration for and underutilization of the intellectual capital they believe they can inconsiderately exploit for content.]

David Arthur Walters
 5th of Aug, 2009 by   Walters, David Arthur +1 Votes
Dear Proud to Be Asian,

This may be more to your point in re non-English speaking countries (where fluent English might very well be spoken).

“Since our goal is to become the top-quality content site on the web, we realize that, as a US-based company, we cannot accept writers from countries where English is not the primary language. It has put those writers at a disadvantage in rating and getting the most from writing on Helium. To prevent frustrations from all writers and to limit staff time spent trying to accommodate non-English-speaking writers, we have decided to stop accepting submissions from locations that may have a negative impact on the quality of our site.”

[English is not the official language of the United States, and Spanish is rapidly becoming its main competitor as the first or primary language of many Americans. In some regions, such as in South Florida, Spanish is the primary language of the majority of residents; but this does not mean that Spanish speakers speak no English or broken English at best – incidentally, popular novels and nonfiction accounts have been written in broken English. In fact, many Spanish speakers are fluent in both languages, and they may have to be fluent in both languages to be employable in a bilingual culture. Likewise, there are many residents of foreign countries whose primary language is English although non-English may be the lingua franca of that country – of course English is often the common language used as a medium of communication where several languages are spoken. Helium’s new policy definitely discriminates against writers based on their native language, country of origin, and place of residence, and effectively eliminates many fine writers of English. It cannot be said that the policy was designed for the convenience of the writing community, so that “bad English” could be gotten rid of and writers could more easily rate each others work according to the incestuous rating system in place, for no vote was taken. Helium™ advertises itself as the “face of the publishing revolution” where “great writing rises to the top, ” and is “the first true meritocracy in the publishing industry.” It was touted in a March 1, 2007 New York Times podcast as a budding organizer of “citizen journalism, ” “separating wheat from chaff, providing some hierarchy of value to the booming, buzzing confusion out there.” To that end it relies on the magic of “Web2.0 tools, ” which turn out to be, when carefully examined, an incestuous writer-rating and -ranking system employing a traditional scalar consensual method that has little scientific merit except to create a “buzz” and provide a great deal of user-generated “content, ” the overwhelming bulk of which is unpaid for – only participating writers are allowed to rate contributions to topics the corporate administrators and their minions believe will be of interest to real publishers, who are expected, in turn, to buy some of the content on the cheap, saving them the cost of hiring professional writers; a pittance of the fees paid, after Helium’s cut, will be remitted to the few lucky writers who make the grade by furiously rating other writers when submitting hundreds of articles. Eliminating bad English certainly will not change the fact that its rating system is virtually useless in terms of winnowing out quality writing, or, for that matter, the sort of writing that readers – who are not allowed to rate at Helium – may want to read.]

David Arthur Walters
 6th of Sep, 2009 by   Dycha +2 Votes
Thank you for spreading the word. This site is a scam. I intend to write another article about it shortly. I would like to add that in addition to scamming writers, the site publishes material without the benefit of editing it. This is dangerous and foolhardy. A fourth grader could publish medical advice on that site. It's a virtual time bomb, in my humble opinion. I'm just waiting for some poor individual to take faulty medical or dietary advice and end up sick of dead. I am signing my correct name to this post.

Helen Dycha
 16th of Sep, 2009 by   Dycha +1 Votes
The US military has said and done some things that still make us scratch our heads. On that list is the cover up of UFO sightings. Reports from educated respectable people have said that they have seen something in the sky. Our government is quick to disprove any incident. They tell us stories of what it could have been. At times they have even changed their statements, confusing anyone who tunes in. The question remains, why would our government cover up UFO sightings? There are plenty of reasons, many obvious.

Military Degree ProgramsEarn your degree 100% online while remaining part of the US military.Military.Search-Schools.comAlien EncountersThere are Four Kinds - Sighting Evidence, Contact & Abductionwww.thefourthkind.netUFO and Alien SightingFirst Kind Alien Sighting Videos & Stories. Share your experience.fourthkindencounters.blogspot.comWhat I find more scary than anything is the fact that it is not just America covering up UFO sightings. The entire world is trying to hide any notion that aliens do exist. We are told story after story trying to explain those little saucers and mysterious crop circles. The stories are at best ridiculous. I do not like the idea of my government hiding information like that. Humans have to keep advancing. We learn from our surroundings; it is how we came this far. If we do not have all the information how can we keep moving forward? There's a select few who know the entire truth, things we can only fathom. The government believes that only those select few should know the truth because then the whole situation is handled, at least for the time being. This is a bad move on man kinds part. Imagine if all the scientists were studying alien corpses and broken ships that the government may or may not have. We would be able to solve this mystery much faster in hopes of traveling to distant planets and meeting distant creatures.

Check out this lovely grammar folks. This is an excerpt from an article rated #1. Real quality.
 16th of Sep, 2009 by   Dycha +1 Votes
For the love of God, Helium - get an editor. This is reprehensible.
 24th of Sep, 2009 by   Smac 0 Votes
Yes it is official Helium is a sham, a scam and another word that begins with S but would be inappropriate - I have lost only 18 articles and started off like most of you, feeling it was a good idea, it was only recently I saw things were a little strange - the same names cropping up as contest winners, really poor articles getting into top rated spots etc. But then I asked a genuine question could you please remove a couple of my non paying articles - this was met with a frosty response - then I found myself locked out - queried that heard no reply - reregistered asked a similiar question in the 'community' forum my thread was subsequently deleted! I was once again locked out - and after querying that - got this rather sinister reply from a guy called Jim Logan -
"Your thread was removed from the forums because your account was deleted and you were no longer a member of our community. You have been actively harrassing and attempting to cause problems on our site."
Eh? Harrassing, attempting to cause problems? The only problem I have is that Helium are now publishing my articles under someone elses name! And by the way that is illegal.
I intend to take this further, because controvening copyright law is frowned on, at least where I live. May be I will actually win some of my earnings back, afterall Helium is recieving 5 cent a word for every word I have written! And it looks like they are accruing a lot of money from x helium writers - (Hell!ium shouldn't there be a fork in their logo)
S.
 6th of Oct, 2009 by   TDY 0 Votes
These people are terrible scam artists. I only hope that people look at this post before submitting anything to these disgusting vultures. THEY ARE THIEVES!!!
 8th of Oct, 2009 by   Proud to be Asian is Back! 0 Votes
Dear David Arthur Walters

I have completely forgotten about this thread until I accidentally came across it today. I am greatly overwhelmed by the length of your response to the short comment I have written. Thanks for that effort.

Let me just tell you then that I used to write for Helium, before I decided to join this legit and reputable freelancing site that pays out money each work week. I used to give my prospective clients links to my helium articles so they can see sample of my works. I just used Helium to showcase my writing skills.. and did it pay off?

In one month's time, I got my $25 dollar payout from helium.com which was sent to my paypal account. That's the only payment I've got for more than 100 contents I've added. It really doesn't matter if those were removed. I just opened a blogger account where all those can be re-posted.

Why don't I care much? In just a year, I've earned more than $5, 000 doing professional freelance writing ( copy writing, SEO writing, article writing, blog writing, technical writing, script writing, social media marketing, and many more ). I'm currently writing 500 word article at a rate of $15 per hour x 40 hours per week ( and this is just for one project )... and I have 3 more.

So... in the end.. I didn't lose from being removed from Helium due to my location ( Asia )... I think I actually gained more. Now, I don't even need any free content sites where I can showcase my works. My freelance portfolio is solid enough for me to put up my own site and making sure they are ranking on top pages in search engines.

My question is: Why do my native English speaking clients ( US, UK, Australia ) trusts someone who's surely a non-native speaker when I can have a negative impact on their business for being a non-native speaker?

Truly,

Proud to Be Asian
 14th of Oct, 2009 by   studiousscribe 0 Votes
Dear Proud to be Asian,

Since your English is impeccable, it is impossible for you to have a "negative" impact on anyone's business. Your writing speaks for itself. I have taught English as a Second Language for a number of years, and I can assure you that many of my students spoke better English than did native speakers.
The truly awful thing about Helium is the garbage that they publish on that site! It's abysmal. The very idea that they would prohibit non-native speakers and then allow the most assinine content on the web is ludicrous. Much of the grammar is so awful it would make a third-grader cringe. And the content is equally horrendous.
I'm very glad that things worked out for you, and wish you continue success.
 20th of Oct, 2009 by   Bonnie Blackie 0 Votes
In order to earn from your articles, you have to rate articles and maintain at least one rating star. In order to be able to rate at all, you have to provide an article. If you don't rate, you don't earn.

I have contributed five articles but hadn't rated recently, so I didn't have my star. When I went to rate, however, all the site told me was that I couldn't rate, until I provided an article.

I can only assume from this, that articles have a limited time in which they can be used as clearance for rating other articles. After this time, new articles have to be published.

It's not clear how often, or how many, ratings have to be undertaken to maintain one star. No notification is given that you are going to lose your star if you don't rate within a certain period of time.

A one star rating is vital to make any money at all, and these are genuinely miniscule amounts - In two years, I earned $3, in spite of all my articles being rated very highly in the listings. Of course, I couldn't get paid, because it was under minimum $25.

Even my pitiful $3 have now disappeared from my account. I have a lifetime balance of 0.00, while Helium have benefited from my articles for two years.

So, please, take note that if you do not write or rate within time limits unspecified by Helium, they WILL take all earnings already accrued, as well as any further earnings on your articles.

My advice would be to avoid Helium like the plague.
 31st of Oct, 2009 by   Peter Johns Helium 0 Votes
With all due respect, speaking purely from my own experiences on Helium (in reference to the original posting), I disagree with a couple of points. People aren't "trapped"; you have every right to copy and paste your articles elsewhere - for example, at Associated Content. I've done so with no problem. You can't remove your articles from Helium (and this is clearly stated in the user agreement when you sign up), but again you can copy and paste your articles elsewhere, so you may earn money through those same articles elsewhere if you choose.

I've been writing for Helium for a couple of years now and I've never had a problem with the rating system. I've gone to zero rating stars a couple of times (because I was lazy about rating - it's not that difficult) - and my income did stop - but I've never lost any money that was already in my account. If you need an explanation about rating stars, just go to this url address:
http://help.helium.com/stars-and-badges

My name is Peter Johns (I'm not a steward), I'm an ordinary writer, and I had been writing on and off for a couple of years, not making a lot, when all of a sudden one of my articles went viral. I made over a $1, 000 in 24 hours and that's where the true test was for me: when payday came, would Helium actually pay me all that money? I have to say, I was skeptical because I had only made around $200.00 at that point.

Payday came, and boy what a payday it was. Helium came through with flying colors. They sent me the payment in multiple chunks, all in one day (I guess they do it that way because of some of the restrictions imposed by paypal) and I was able to pay for my first root canal.

I was also very skeptical at first, but I promise you, from what I have experienced, Helium has as sound a business model as any business I've ever been involved with.

I'm an ordinary guy of average intelligence; the kind of success I enjoyed through Helium is an experience I would never trade for anything.

Take a look at the article if you want; it's nothing special. It just goes to show that when you merge an average guy with a brilliant business model, the sky's the limit!

http://www.helium.com/items/887146-credit-cards-dirty-little-secrets
 1st of Nov, 2009 by   quantum-man 0 Votes
For those stating that Helium is a fraud, I would say that you are horribly wrong. I've been there for over two years and have been paid every time I requested it---in excess of six hundred dollars US. This site is a godsend, and they've also never withheld my ability to repost my articles to other sites, The site stewards have also been there to help me whenever I needed it. People---stop your bitching!!!

For those trying to start trouble, you are your own worst self-inflictors. Some of these comments are absurd to say the least, and sound more like a bunch of failed writers, who couldn't even make it on an online site! Get a crying towel, take a valium...and take a writing course. What a bunch of pantie-waists!

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