Monday, January 23, 2012

Quitting Squidoo for Violating my Terms of Service


The Error message reads: "Whoops! No publishing allowed. This lens is currently locked for a violation of our Terms of Service, as per the email we sent you. You're welcome to a) Grab your content and take it elsewhere, if you'd rather not continue with Squidoo or b) Review your content and make edits here in the Workshop to improve the lens. But you won't be able to Publish the lens live until you can demonstrate that the violation has been addressed. Thanks."
I wrote this how-to lens on autographing books for authors almost four years ago. Squidoo decided three days before Christmas 2011 (when book sales spike) that my article was  -- pick one, your guess, they won't tell, shhhh -- pornographic; contained profanity; spammy (guess too many copies of Lifeliner in my pic); something they couldn't support cause, you know, authors autographing books for readers is so ... well, words fail me; a "doorway" lens  to affiliate programs like promoting authors autographing their own books; unoriginal (all those hours I spent writing and polishing was just, well, meh); article spinning (whatever the heck that is, but if I don't know what it means then I must've done it, eh?); and plagiarism.

I've been down the false accusation of plagiarism road with Squidoo before.

They sent a nice note saying sorry, it was a "false positive" after I found the plagiarist of my article that they blocked last May. They wrote that they would greenlight it so it wouldn't happen again, but they didn't think to greenlight the author, namely me. They seem to have a default stance that Squidoo authors plagiarize and so no point telling Squidoo authors when their work is plagiarized, just cut out the articles. Some site.

Squidoo also wrote in their email to me dated 22 December 2011: "We aim to support high-quality, original and useful lifestyle content that real readers will be glad to land on."

Yes I can see how comments like these most recent ones would mean readers were not glad to land on it:
"i like this.." Oct 24, 2010 5:14 pm
"I will release my first book and it is all about my experiences as a mystery shopper. I found this site very informative and I am so excited to sign my book to someone who will really appreciate it. Thanks for the signing guides and more power" MysterySh0pper, Dec 11, 2010 6:32 am
"Thanks for the ideas....my first book signing is coming up in a few days!! http://map-thenovel.com" nitronarc, Feb 21, 2011 9:23 pm
"A lens about how to autograph a book: now I've seen it all! I am impressed with the research you did! (I've never had to autograph a book, but I have had to autograph the CD copy of an ebook!)" TravelingRae, Jun 18, 2011 12:16 am
This week, after I finished revising my novel and finally had the energy to deal with this company and do their work for them, I searched for plagiarized words from my autographing article, and it looks like it was copied elsewhere then possibly taken down or made invisible. Although Google shows other sites as having plagiarized my article, the sites themselves no longer show it, as far as I can tell.

Violations of my copyright are the only thing important to me.

But I can't be bothered yelling at this stupid company again. If it doesn't have the ability to know which writers are original and to see that it had screwed up before with the same writer, it's not worth the effort to tell them. I know I said I was going to take down my Squidoo account last time they blasted me with their spraying figure-out-which-term-you-violated-then-maybe-we'll-talk gun. But didn't. This time I am.

Last time, they only made nice because I blasted them back and reprimanded my copyright violator -- thanks for the help Squidoo in telling me about them and helping me demand they take the plagiarized copy down, not -- but I was mollified. This time, I don't see why again I have to be treated as guilty until innocent. If they default to that position, then they have a problem with their contributors. From telecoms to Squidoo, I've had enough of behemoth companies banging their weight around. I quit. Writers looking for autographing advice -- and my other former Squidoo essays -- can come straight to my own website, thank you very much.
"We're lucky to have you around."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I don't blame you one bit. I've been there for years and haven't tried to sell my book yet, since they've already given me hassles for selling things from Amazon. We can no longer quote customers, so what are we supposed to do, lie?

If I could afford to buy all the stuff on my lenses to give a fair an accurate review I wouldn't be generating content for Squidoo to make money on, now would I?

Now how would I sell my own book if I can't quote customers who bought it? Sheer idiocy.

Glad to see I'm not the only one this has happened to.

Regards,
Nightcat