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Demand Media Aims to Sort Out eHow Content Confusion

How Will The Demand Studios Approach Affect Writer Compensation?

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eHow, Demand Media’s most heavily trafficked property, which frequently has how-to articles ranking very well in Google resutls (not to mention videos in YouTube),  just announced a big change to how it provides content. I had a conversation with eHow General Manager Gregory Boudewijn and Stewart Marlborough, the general manager of Demand Studios (the content arm of Demand Media) about what this means for readers, as well as content contributors.

Editor’s Note: For some further background on Demand Media’s controversial content strategy, read iEntry CEO and WebProNews Publisher Rich Ord’s here, and our previous article covering Demand Media CEO Richard Rosenblatt’s panel at SXSW, in which he explained the approach Demand Studios takes.

Do you think the Demand Studios approach is right for eHow? Comment here.

Up until now, eHow has essentially had two ways in which it has gotten its content. One way is from Demand Studios, the somewhat controversial algorithm-meets-human content production machine for Demand Media (CEO Richard Rosenblatt explained more about how this works at SXSW last month). The other way is from eHow’s Writer Compensation Program, which lets writers contribute their own content without being reviewed by a copy editor. These articles aren’t rejected, and the writers aren’t evaluated, whereas the Demand Studios content goes through the process described by Rosenblatt, which I described as exhaustive (copy editors, fact-checking, etc.).

Some commenters took issue with that description, as it’s applied to eHow’s content, and Boudewijn and Marlborough acknowledged that offering these two different brands of content through eHow has been confusing. That is why they have just made the announcement that all eHow content from here on out will only come from the Demand Studios method. "It’s only fair," they tell WebProNews.

Greg Boudewijn - General Manager, eHow - Talks New eHow Content Strategy"We want to make sure there’s continuity in the library," says Boudewijn. "It’s a big change, but we really feel like it’s the right one."

Demand Studios powers the creation of over 100,000 articles per month. Compensation from Demand Studios is more flexible than eHow’s Writer Compensation Program, as you can write articles with a guaranteed, upfront payment and get paid twice a week, the company says.

Writers can also continue writing articles with revenue-sharing agreements similar to what the eHow.com writing community is accustomed to now, the company adds. In addition, writers can be offered the opportunity to write for other websites in the Demand Media family, including LiveStrong.com, Answerbag.com, Trails.com, GolfLink.com, Cracked.com, etc.

For example, if a writer is found to use a comedic twist in various articles that have been published on eHow, or in other places, they may be asked to write something for the company’s comedic site Cracked.

Demand Media gave us the following table, comparing the different aspects of the Writer Compensation Program and the Demand Studios method:

eHow Shares Comparison between Writers Compensation Program and Demand Stuios Content

Boudewijn and Marlborough say they will be communicating with all writers so they are aware of the process, and they are expecting some amount of backlash. "I’m sure we’ll feel some backlash for this but it’s backlash we can accept," says Marlborough.

"Ultimately, we’re running [a] business for the long term, and we set the bar very high," says Boudewijn. "We’d rather be known as a company that sets the bar high."

Some eHow writers will be pre-approved into the Demand Studios fold. Everyone will be invited, they say, but some will already be pre-approved. "We’ve been moderating our member-submitted articles on eHow for over a year now," says Boudewijn. "We definitely rely on community to tell us which content is useful and which isn’t useful."

It should be noted that the Writers Compensation Program isn’t just ending. It’s being closed to new participants, but current members will continue to earn revenue off articles they’ve produced.

Marlborough says the revenue share program is something the company is trying to enhance and expand, but if that doesn’t suit writers, they have other options (see table).

We’ve had comments from readers talking about the removal of articles by Demand/eHow in favor of leaving up similar articles that don’t make the writers as much money (meaning less money Demand would have to pay out). Marlborough says this is just not the case, maintaining that the only reason they would take an article down is for quality standards – if it doesn’t meet them. "We’d never do that for somebody’s article who is making a lot of money," he says. "That’s kind of articles we want."

Do you think eHow is making the right move for its content? For writers? Share your thoughts here.

Demand Media Aims to Sort Out eHow Content Confusion
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  • http://crunchydata.com Kimberly

    Now that Demand Media has gleaned all the inside info they need from writer-owned articles, of course they instituted this change–after having also denied for months that they intended to do so.

    Of course they deleted the evidence of having done so this morning when they wiped out their entire forum history from public visibility…

    Too bad Demand Media doesn’t set the bar high for acting in good faith as they claim to be doing for content writing. The only thing “high” about DM is the way their CEO and managers act.

    • http://www.ehow.com/members/showpup.html Janet Ford

      What are you talking about… ‘gleaned inside info’?

      • Al

        Janet, are you a part of the Ehow Board of Owners or a manager there? From your responses, I strongly doubt you are a writer there. What is motivating you to defend them so strongly, while there are enough proofs against their dirty work?

        • http://fundingtravel.com Banned By eHow

          taken from her profile off eHow….

          ————————

          Location: In a Michigan Snowbank

          My Current Project: Finishing up eHow eBook Project

          My Home Page: http://www.janet-ford.com

          —————————————-

          so yeah she has a stake in eHow, she is finishing a BOOK on writing for eHow…

          oops… bad timing

          • Mitzi

            We all have a stake in eHow. If Janet was a manager or had “inside information” she would have written a different book. If you read her own eHow post yesterday … SHE already said that about her book. I’m sure with the Key word information and many of the Demand people wanting to know tips for writing “How to” style, her book will be more useful than ever.
            Maybe she is defending eHow because many of us think this could be a good move. Time will tell. The people whining and bashing eHow now, are the same people who complain about how bad the publishing tools are (and anything else they can think to complain about). You want change … but you can’t handle change.
            None of us can expect any company to stay the same forever. Serious writers have been asking for a way to have better content for more than a year. The publishing tools have been in overload for that long as well. This has to be better. Since you really have no choice … give it a chance.

          • http://fundingtravel.com Banned By eHow

            I complain about everything that NEEDS to be complained about.

            I predicted the forum erasure and I am 90% sure that ehow will just become a depository of DS material, such as Trails or GolfLink.

            The beauty of eHow was the residual income… 10 bucks is not worth it … I can sell on constant content for many times that….

          • http://www.ehow.com/members/showpup.html Janet Ford

            Mitzi, I agree with you 100%. I really don’t understand why so many are crying foul when the majority of them were the very same folks making major stinks about the very issues this merger may just fix, all in one fell swoop.
            Trust me, I had no inside information. You may find it funny, actually, that when I logged in, just like everyone else that day and read that pop up message, I was FURIOUS and panicked at the same time. Remember, I make a living doing this and pretty much did have all my eggs in one basket so-to-speak. I walked away from the computer to cool down and began reading the forums. Instead of reading the paranoid bits and pieces, I tried hard to really hear the CMs out so I could understand what was going on. Once I did, I became excited by the new possibilities. Seek and ye shall find as they say, right?

          • http://www.ehow.com/members/showpup.html Janet Ford

            LOL… I ‘was’ not just finishing a book about writing for ehow, I was revising an existing ebook I had already written on writing for ehow. I found success there and decided to write an ebook instructing others how they could replicate my success. So if I had a stake in all this, WAS is the keyword here. I can no longer teach others how to get started in writing for ehow if writers are no longer writing from ehow. However, it has been suggested to me that I could tweak my book towards writing about writing for ehow from DS. I don’t know. I’m at the beginning of the DS writing curve myself. So even though I’m now losing book sales due to this merger, I’m still happy Demand Media made this change. It was necessary.

        • http://www.ehow.com/members/showpup.html Janet Ford

          No, I am not on the ‘Ehow Board of Owners’ or a manager but thanks for the giggle. Yes, I am a writer there. I have 560 articles published in my ehow account. I just happen to take writing there more seriously than many. It’s not a hobby or something I am trying out to see if it works. I make a LIVING off my residuals there. I don’t view it as defending them, I’m simply voicing my opinion as well as sharing some facts. I’ve been with ehow since 2007. Their dirty work? Is that what you call the migration to DS? Well, that is your right to do so and believe but I happen to believe differently. I see this as a positive and, as I stated earlier, mutually beneficial to both the writers and Demand Media.

      • http://fundingtravel.com Banned By eHow

        I think she was referring to well paying keywords and popular topics.

        ‘The’rs gold en der keywords’

        • http://www.ehow.com/members/showpup.html Janet Ford

          Okay, that makes sense. I understand some writers work super hard to fish out those golden keywords, I know I do as well. However, many don’t realize that Demand Media works intimately with Google and I’m sure have ways of automatically gathering all those golden goodies without needing to tediously and unethically harvest from their writers. They even have their own SEO experts on staff. I’ve met their senior SEO specialist in person. Trust me, you can toss those worries out the window.

          • http://fundingtravel.com Banned By eHow

            SEO keyword “experts” for user generated content would be useless unless they re-wrote articles… hmm?

            I hope DM is not working TOO CLOSE with Google. If Google were giving out information to DM it might lead to some nasty business practices.

            Janet, I don’t know if you ever ran a website, but a user-created, rev-sharing site would promote the users to create backlinks, driving traffic to finely crafted keyword dense articles. The content creators are the ones driving traffic. I do not believe for one minute, that the rankings of eHow are not due to the traffic driving of the user.

            What DM fails to consider is that a one-off article that a user is paid a flat fee for will not induce traffic driving to the site. You might remember me as JSBST18 on eHow and you and I have discussed the ‘Click Clubs” in the forums there. User created traffic was a HUGE part of the eHow page rank. This WILL fall.

  • Time To LEAVE EHOW

    They’ve totally lost their business advantage now. I’m petitioning Google to depreciate all of their links based on their closed market tactics which are very similar to the Chinese government. Writers are going to be denied the rewards of writing their articles while eHow profits off removing their articles and replacing them with demand studios garbage.

    • http://www.ehow.com/members/showpup.html Janet Ford

      None of what you say makes sense. No offense meant but why do you feel they lost their business advantage? They simply decided to give us a better writing platform, content editors to pre-approve our work versus having to do sweeps that angered everyone who had articles rejected. We are now able to submit re-writes under this platform, even. The writers win and so do the readers. The writers are not being denied anything. We are being given more options for payment as a matter of fact. And who on earth said anything about replacing our work? Our existing work is not being affected by this change at all.

  • Guest

    They deleted the forum history this AM to hide the lies they have been telling the writers for months. Rich the community manager has been saying there was no plans to change the Writers Compensation Program, so is the big change today unplanned?

    The Demand Studios content is generally utter crap compared to the WCP writer work. I’m thinking it goes all down hill from here.

    • http://www.ehow.com/members/showpup.html Janet Ford

      Content quality is dependent on the writer, not the platform. If you take the same writers from one platform and move them to another, how would the content suffer?

      • Jerrie DeRose

        TOUCHE!

  • http://www.ehow.com/members/showpup.html Janet Ford

    It is human nature to often fear change, especially when you have become very comfortable with a certain way of doing things. However, for me, I view change as good in this situation.
    I appreciate the fact that Demand Media is taking the value of the reader into such high regard.
    I have been writing for eHow for over 2 years now. I like the fact our articles will be checked out before going live and we are being held to a higher level of quality. The more our readership trusts Demand Media properties to provide them with the quality content that they are searching for, the more we, as freelance writers, can be proud of the company we work for. Bring on the change! I also greatly appreciate all the positive extras we will be blessed with during this change.
    As for the person who commented that they feared ehow would delete high earning content, that just sounds ridiculous. That is the content ehow wants. They get a cut of that, too, remember. If it is well written, it’s not going to go anywhere. Those articles are the very reason the company exists. If it is poorly written, then I appreciate knowing they will be deleted from the site, earning or not. I’m rather excited by the upcoming changes and look forward to being able to use the DS writing platform. I feel like I’ve been promoted!

    • SS

      Hello Janet, I recognize you from the eHow forums and I know that you are a trusted authority. Do you honestly believe that DM is acting in a way that is mutually beneficial? How can you trust them? I wish I could!

      • http://www.ehow.com/members/showpup.html Janet Ford

        Yes, I do believe they are acting in a mutually beneficial way. We have more choices, a better platform and got an instant ‘in’ to a site many would have been too intimidated to apply for as well as a list of other things. For them, their site can get cleaned up of the poorer content that appeared to be threatening to ruin their reputation and to central their writers into one area. They are at a stage where they no longer need to worry about building content but building their brand. They need writers to be turning out quality content that will make them a trusted resource to do this. Their open door policy was jeopardizing this, IMHO. I had the opportunity to meet many of the staff members and the CEO’s at WeHow 08 and WeHow 09 both. Perhaps meeting them face to face and hearing what they had to say and seeing how they treated us writers like red carpet celebrities & hung on our every word idea, suggestion and even complaint – helps to convince me that they value us and want us happy. I do not believe we were special but rather, just a representation of the ehow writer community as a whole.

        • http://fundingtravel.com jsbst18

          Once again Janet, you are seeing this through rose-tinted specs. And you are wrong. You wrote, “and got an instant ‘in’ to a site many would have been too intimidated to apply for.. .”

          eHow-migrated writers do NOT have full access to DS. They have access only to write how-to articles. How-to articles are but one part of the DS site. I am guessing this limit access to DS is how DM was able to sell to its DS writers the eHow migration. If writers are “too intimidated” to write for DemandStudios, then really, they should not be writing at all.

          You also volunteered the information that you “had the opportunity to meet many of the staff members and the CEO’s at WeHow 08 and WeHow 09 both. [...] and seeing how they treated us writers like red carpet celebrities…”

          I think you have created self-made fantasy about your own importance.

    • Guest

      I think there will be some surprises for some writers if the common conception is that articles will simply be “checked out” before publishing. DS guidelines are very specific. Choosing your own titles doesn’t mean you can write the article in any way you wish.
      I hope it proves successful for everyone involved, but I think there will be some major bumps in the road when people who have been accepted to DS are suddenly required to change their writing style (even if their writing style has proven to be effective in bringing in the dough.) and rewrite articles to meet the Copy Editor’s requests.
      Best wishes… a DS and former eHow writer.

      • http://www.ehow.com/members/showpup.html Janet Ford

        I agree with you that there will be some surprised writers. I’m hoping the majority of them will stick with it, learn the editorial guidelines and style requirements and push forward. I see a lot of potential with this change for those who do. Personally, I’m looking forward to the copy editors looking over my work. I’m hoping those rewrite requests will help me polish my craft. I’m always up for learning and growing as a writer.

  • SS

    I understand the need for change and higher standards. I agree with that. I even understand why eHow/DS wants to have a rapid transition.

    Yet, on the heels of the way they have been running eHow for the past year, it’s really hard for me to trust DS. DS needs to work on it’s communication, honesty and transparency. Do not believe a single word they say until you see it with your own two eyes!

    The people who really need to “raise the bar” are the writers, who continue to use eHow/DS. We need to demand better, more honest treatment.

    I am not a disgruntled writer. I love the site. I just hate the way they operate it at times.

  • Guest

    I’m surprised to learn there are some people who are skeptical of this move. I think it’s a brilliant idea. I see it from the stand point of the company. They have two different eHows and two different payments methods.

    That’s like having one McDonalds that sells only Big Macs and another McDonalds that sells only french fries. It’s logistically redundant. Why not consolidate the two?

    EHow writers under the WCP will have to get used to copy editors critiquing their work. That’s the only major change I see.

    I think the fuss is coming from Demand Studios writers who are worried about more competition for writing assignments. How is this any different than hiring brand new writers who aren’t eHow members at all?

    As for the quality of writing, Demand Studios has already pre-approved the WCP eHow writers it feels meet its writing standards.

    Learn to get used to it.

  • http://glorybug-thebigpicture.blogspot.com/ glorybug

    I am having a hard time understanding why Janet needs to respond to every comment. It’s doubtful that either the recent changes, or anyone’s opinion here will affect her earnings. Her initial comment was very in line with her very public opinion about eHow already. She appears to have many reasons to be very positve about her experience with eHow, but that doesn’t change the fact that other people’s ecperiences have been different.

    I’m glad that she’s been happy with eHow, and is happy about the changes.

    Some people are not, and that’s probably because they are not her, and have not had the experiences with eHow that she has. Pretty simple.

    I am not surprised by this move. Rosenblatt had implied in interviews for months that something like this was in the works. I have written about it on one of my websites http://glorybug-thebigpicture.blogspot.com/ What bothers me, and perhaps other people is that for the last couple of months writers have essentially been stalled regarding questions they had about bugs, glitches, the UK thing, the using our photos to link to other people’s articles thing, publishing…. you name it. All of those problems are now easily explainable by the fact that they were putting them off because they knew this change was coming. They couldn’t be honest about it because there would be a large exodus of people removing their content if they did.

    I don’t know that I like that…. stringing people along, keeping them in the dark so that they wouldn’t remove their articles and photos. I am one of the people who point-blank asked a couple of times in the last few months whether eHow was planning on changing or eliminating the WCP, and I can now see that their answers were really kind of white lies.

    Some people really just only care about money, and if they can keep making money off a company, they don’t care much what the company does- they’ll defend them all over the place. Then, there are people like myself and others, who do actually care about morals, and even though they can see that they can still make money from the company, it makes them uncomfortable, and makes them question whether they really want to be associated with that,

    From what I have seen/read, it appears that WCP will still be able to make money using the DS platform- the question is- do I want to? Has the company been honest, forthright and above-board in its dealings and with what it has told the WCP writers when asked point-blank? I really don’t know yet.

    • HSSchulte

      I have a hard time understanding why you feel it is your place to decide who can comment and who can not.

  • Kaseys View

    This does make things a lot more clear now. Regarding ehow’s reasons for not fixing all of the glitches and website problems. For the business it’s a smart move, lets just hope that it’s also good for the writers.

  • Beth Lytle

    I no longer write for DS, but I did last year and I loved it. I generated 10 to 15 articles a day and then one day a couple months ago I logged in and BOOM, I had no access. I also had no e-mail or notice, so I thought it was a system glitch. I completed the 10 articles I had checked out and sent DS a note. A few days later, they responded with a “Dear John” letter. After 8 months of writing over 400 articles, I was dropped like a hot potato. Since then, DS has kept me on their mailing list, so I get the updates and information. Today I noticed I could take a satisfaction survey comparing DS to Associated Content, so I did. Btw, I am a featured contributing writer on AC, so it was interesting to do the comparison. I do think DS is a great company, but I think they are making too many changes too fast and though the writers need to keep up, I think everyone is in jeopardy of losing their position as a freelancer through DS. Now I write for eHow on my own and I make good money doing it. Articles that DS rejected and I kept rights to are doing very well on eHow. It will be interesting to see what happens with DS, but I suspect they will be bombing shortly, because writers cannot keep up with the changes.

  • http://www.hsschulte.com Happy eHow Writer

    Writers are NOT being denied profits and DS is NOT gleaning information from our articles. I write for more than 15 websites and eHow is easily my favorite. Now, we are submitting our articles through the DS site instead of the eHow site. That is the only significant change I see. Oh, and the articles will be subjected to editorial review, finally!

  • http://freelancewriterswanted-freebieoffers.blogspot.com/ Tara Swadley

    for the best. Since I spent most of my eHow career mumbling under my breath to people who asked what I do for money “Oh, I write here and there like eHow”, because the content was so absolutely horrendous across more than 50% of the site, I think it’s best for everyone that Demand Studios be a filter now. That I continue to earn off of articles already produced on eHow and don’t have to worry about transferring anything, I’m not too concerned.

    Overall, this is going to eliminate spammers, cut down on writers who can’t form coherent sentences and cut down on the bugs.

    I honestly can’t believe people didn’t see this coming. Did you really think they just let the publishing feature stop working for 9 months or more because they couldn’t figure it out? Naive!

    Janet, I’ll back you up on this any day! And I guarantee anyone that I don’t hold any stake in eHow other than my almost $200 worth of articles – yeah, I’m rolling in dough. I just honestly think if people took the time to look at this objectively instead of getting hurt feelings about being not accepted or having their content deleted they would see that this is better for the site as a whole and better for the writers as well.

    For those transferring to DS because they actually can write – and if you didn’t get auto approved, go apply if you want to continue to write – you will still earn on the same business model as before, you can suggest titles just like you did before, there is no cap on how long you can earn or how much you can earn just like before. The only changes are that you now have the option to write for a flat rate if you really need the cash now and you are logged in to a different system.

    • http://www.ehow.com/members/showpup.html Janet Ford

      I just came back to check to see what others may have had to say on this issue and was shocked by Glorybug’s odd post about me commenting. Didn’t realize I was not permitted to hit that reply link like everyone else. Geesh!

      I agree with you about the positives in this change. It was getting to be a bit much and I’m glad they took this positive step to fix it all in one fell swoop. I do feel badly for those having a rough time with it for whatever reason. For me, personally, I’m happy. And this is even though I had an ebook, targeted to new ehow writers, at stake. I can no longer sell that ebook. So I had something to lose, too. I still think it was a smart move. Bitterness just never tastes good, one either end of things.

      Hope to be seeing you on DS, Tara! :)

    • Guest

      I wrote for demand studios for a year before leaving to write strictly for eHow and that was because self designated titles that demand studios accepted paid a flat rate of $25 before dropping to $5 which was very little compensation for my expertise as an Early Childhood Education Consultant and a Family Support worker. At the time, the only articles that paid a fair price were for those titles generated by Demand studios. Many of the categories that paid more were in the area of technology, engineering, culture, computer technology, and some of the fine arts, few of which were in my area of expertise. Only a small number of articles were included in the revenue sharing option and the competition for those and the higher paying titles was, and is, so stiff that if you cannot stay online as they are added you can hang up getting one. The competition far outweighs the number of article titles available. I did love demand studios editorial staff, the publishing tool, the ability for them to watch out for plaguerized material and the critiquing of my articles. My demand studio articles published on eHow are still there. It is only the lack of fair compensation that I have a grievance about. I was automatically transisitoned back to demand studios from eHow. My articles from eHow will still earn from the writer’s compensation program, which demand studios does not have. And no, you cannot get anything above a flat rate only unless you get lucky enough to tap into a revenue sharing article, of which there are not near enough.

      • http://freelancewriterswanted-freebieoffers.blogspot.com/ Tara

        They’ve changed almost everything that you mentioned. It’s no longer a flat rate fee for suggested titles; it’s hard to get them approved, but if you have unique titles you can put them through to an editor and they become revenue share articles, just like on eHow.

        That’s another problem with this, people keep making assumptions that nothing else changed except the WCP and eHow. LOTS of things changed at eHow and DS when they made this merger. Rather than jumping to conclusions, people need to go read about it.

  • jackie

    I think this is a smart move. Demand Studios has high editorial standards. As a Demand Studios writer, I know that the content will be strong and the writing good.

  • A.D.

    I am an eHow writer who uses the WCP that they are basically discontinuing.

    Although much of what they say are improvements, (a more consistent publishing tool, raising the quality of writing, and options in terms of pay scale and titles) I am concerned about this transition for 3 reasons.

    1. Now they get to own the copy write to everything, so they can change it however they want, use it where ever they want (they’re expanding by cloning articles for sites based in other countries) and it keeps them competitive because now we can’t use the articles on their competition. This means I will no longer be comfortable publishing articles in my professional field, in case I ever want to compile them into a book later on down the line.

    2. Under the old system we could upload any picture, and of course it’s hard for them to monitor whether the person had license to use those photos for commercial use. The new system has a bank of photos and you can’t upload your own. Although it makes sense from a legal standpoint, (protecting themselves legally regarding picture copy write infringement) I’m not sure how certain “how-to” tutorials are going to be useful without photos of each step!

    3. Although the pay scale for residuals is the same, according to eHow, now that we have to learn a new style, find resources, search through a bank of photos to find one that remotely relates to our article but doesn’t actually help the reader, put up with copy editors telling us to rewrite or it’s deleted, it doesn’t seem worth the effort. I was pre-approved, so I may or may not be able to cut the muster when it comes to facing copy editors. But now I’ll have to work twice as hard for the same pay? The way I see it, this is another case of a company handing out pay cuts and pink slipping people during a difficult time in our economy.

    I used to hear that eHow was the best gig for making money writing online. I don’t think that will be the case anymore. If you’re an excellent writer, you’ll find higher paying work elsewhere. If you’re mediocre, you’ll switch to a site with lower standards for less pay. EHow seems to expect the excellent writers to stay and work for low pay. It just doesn’t make sense.

  • http://www.ellefagan.com Elle Fagan

    I have contributed some content, with the thought of developing it as a moneymaker, but keep falling back into using my own site, and private hard copy publishing instead, for just the reasons mentioned in this article.

    It seems easier at first to contribute to someone else’s project – I write and they see that it’s published effectively – and the circulation figures of course would be much higher.

    But then the copyright and quality of content issues arise, and other aspects of writer’s control over their own writing. And added pressures on the writer that source in very arbitrary motives.

    Still I approve of Demand’s spoken goal of upgrading the quality of its articles – they have the power to do so, and if they are telling the truth, the quality of content will be better.

  • Guest

    I am an expert in my field and have had a constant battle with “writers” on eHow. They obviously make derivatives of all of my articles and spilt them back as their own. The public is getting very savvy and is demanding that a writer whom writes about a subject is actually an expert–and by that I mean a published author–not a self-published–but one whom the trades (Simon Schuster, Harper Collins, etc.) has published.

    My prediction

    • Jerrie DeRose

      I just read on one of the on-line newspapers the other day that the federal government is going to be looking into “unpaid” internships because many violate the intent of the law. There have been unpaid interns filing complaints, especially as they don’t even benefit much educationally whether they are doing computer internships, legal internships, or from your perspective, internships for technical and other types of writing. Apparently, many of these unpaid internships keep employers from having to hire staff and therefore increasing their profit margins at the expense of others.

      I also noted that a few of my eHow articles were retitled and rewritten using the same points and steps, but the quality of the writing was very poor. However this was not eHows fault. With so many articles being written and published, eHow could never have kept up with those who wrote and repackaged other author’s work to make money for themselves.

  • http://fundingtravel.com Banned By eHow

    Yes, I was banned by eHow because I posted that I did not believe that the deletion of articles a mere 4 hours after the release of the decision to switch publishing methods was due to the desire of the publisher to retain 100% ad revenues from high yielding articles. It is funny my articles that survived multiple ‘sweeps’ were taken down mere hours after the changeover.

    I mentioned the deletion of all the posts on the forum and that post was deleted.

    eHow deals with it’s cash cows (writers who write for a percentage [who knows how much] of ads) badly

    But, the good news is now that i am BANNED all my content is off eHow and I will repost elsewhere.

    • Guest

      The Mods on eHow have stated that the articles that were removed right before the site was shut down were articles that had been ‘flagged’ by other users/readers, and that some of those flags were months old. they also said the writers should be glad they were allowed to make money off them for a couple extra months. If this is true, sounds to me like whoever’s job it was to keep on top of the flagged articles wasn’t doing their job and should be canned. Not sure I believe that, since I had an article flagged within one day of writing it, and it was yanked, and then put back up 2 days later. Obviously someone was responding pretty quickly there. I know there’s a lot of spammy crap on eHow that needed to be removed even if it was making money, because they were just poorly written, but it doesn’t look good to remove them right before they closed, especially since doing so lowered many people’s approval percentage too low to transfer to DS. What’s funny is that a lot of those spammy articles, even though they are on the eHow site are actually written by DS writers who took their work there when it was rejected by DS, or when they realized they could make more money off spammy articles in the WCP. Many DS writers also had an eHow account, even though they could write how-tos through DS- they liked not having an editor to reject their articles, or to dump an article that was rejected.

  • Guest

    Sorry to bust your all knowing bubble Dave, but Glory as well as many others have expressed that they velieved the WCP would be ending soon. And many of the issues you presented have already been discussed and hashed out. There is NOTHING new under the sun…and frankly I believe you gathered all of your info from different eHowers who have been voacl about what has been going down…put it tigether collectively and posted it on your blog. YOU ARE NOT THE FIRST NOR WILLYOU BE THE LAST. MANY of us saw this coming a mile away. But just because it was anticipated doesn’t mean we have to like it.

    • glorybug

      Yes, I am certainly not the only person who thought they saw very clear signs that this was in the works, because I talked to several people who clearly did as well, and several of us posted about it on our websites way before this one person started their rambling paranoid forum posts about not being able to use eHow to promote their ‘rose delivery service’.

      It will be interesting to see which writers choose to write for DS, and what their experience will be, as well as what other changes may be in store.

      • http://www.innovativepassiveincome.com Guest

        Don’t go attacking other writers man. You were a latecomer to the game and you gleaned your “insights” from other blogs and the forums.

  • http://autotweet.info/ AutoTweet

    Just when I thought I found a good place to write articles and pick up a few links and a little money.

    If the content was so bad why do they always seem to get good google search rankings.

    Anyway, some prolific ‘busybody’ writer just ‘reported’ me for comment spamming his/her article(s). I’ve been having trouble logging in, geting articles to come up and even getting a simple comment submitted so.. a comment got posted 3 times in a row.

    And no – the comment did not have links & it was not one of those ‘good job’ blather comments that a lot of people seem to add – possibly to their friends articles.

    Sounds like a good place to avoid ‘until the dust’ settles.

  • glorybug

    I just looked at your rambling site again, and all I see is three people who comment incorrectly about the eHow changes. They claim the WCP has been shut down (as YOU supposedly said it would be), when it has not been shut down, and they claim that eHow is going to keep their earnings, which is extremely doubtful. I have my share of complaints about how DS/eHow have handled things, but I haven’t heard of them ever stealing writers earnings. What I don’t see is any lucid eHow writers apologizing to you for anything. I do like how you moderate and remove all the comments that you don’t like. If you are so ‘brave’, you shouldn’t be afraid of allowing negative comments on your site, as I see you have removed my comment. I, and many other writers welcome all comments, positive and negative on our sites.

    You sure are obsessed with dog terminology.

  • http://w1z111-campfirecontent.blogspot.com Guest

    I must say that I’m a bit disappointed that Demand Media is now the only way to contribute to eHow. I’d come to like the eHow platform and its WCP. It became like a “game”, to try to find the right combination of topic, keywords, pictures (etc.); that would put an article in the forefront, which meant ‘better-than-average’ revenue sharing.

    I’d also come to like the idea that I retained all copyrights under eHow’s WCP. Now, it seems DM wants to buy its writers off “on the cheap”. They’ll pay an “up-front” fee for articles, then tweak them for SEO (etc.) and glean the big-bucks from them.

    I’ve seen a number of similar sites resort to this kind of thing. Helium.com once paid “revenue shares” on all content submitted there. Now, they only pay writers who maintain a certain site-activity level (i.e., those who maintain a certain number of “stars”, which are only achievable through frequent site participation). Not sure what they do with the revenue they probably still collect from all my articles there. I’ve asked them how they can use my copyrighted content without compensating me, but they have not replied yet; and probably never will.

    As more and more people become involved with online content production and submission, it is easy to understand the need for some restrictions and other measures intended to maintain quality; but I’m still not in favor of any sites that continually change the rules. We’ll have to “wait and see” how eHow and DM fare, going forward.

    • http://fontecodigofonte.wordpress.com/ Maria Coelho

      I think it’s only fair. After all it’s their site, their investment, their business.
      Best regards
      MC

      • Guest

        Yes, MC it is their site, their investment, and their business. But it is the author’s expertise, content, and talent that is making them wealthy. My work deserves more. Magazines and other publications pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for an article. Business should benefit everyone and not just the corporation. But Demand Studios does not seem to get it, or to care. eHow did.

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  • http://www.spacyber.com SpaCyber

    I got burned. I had 2 articles that I wrote and published. I edited one last week or the week before and to this day it is still showing Unavailable on my account and therefore cannot be published. I can’t direct traffic to it nor copy it for my records nor make any money off it in the Writers Compensation Program. I keep getting emails from eHow about how it’s a bug they are aware of and they are working on it. What BS! This is obviously a blatant lie and there has been no explanation as to why they have not made the article available. I should have never been involved with eHow! There are other companies out there to write for.

    • http://www.ehow.com/members/showpup.html Janet Ford

      I’m sorry you’ve had this experience right out of the gate like this. These bugs are honestly happening. I’ve had it happen to mine as well. It is very frustrating. The bugs like this are also part of the reason this merger is happening. The platform at ehow is a dinosaur compared to the one at DS and ehow has a tiny staff for the amount of writers and amount of sudden growth they have experienced over the last two years.

      • jerder

        eHow always fixed the bugs, even if it took a week or more and my articles were then published including pictures accompanying the steps. I just wish eHow could have hired more staff for the technical side of things and developed or purchased a better publishing tool. It would be nice if demand studios had a writer’s compensation program rather than the limited number of articles for revenue sharing. The competition for the revenue sharing articles is huge because they are the only article titles that generate any extra monies for the author, and now that demand studios is picking up a large number of eHow authors, it will be even tougher. Demand studios flat fee does not benefit the writer much, especially with demand studios having all rights to each article.

      • glorybug

        I find it interesting that on the one hand the eHow Mods are claiming that the publishing platform at eHow is like a dinosaur or a 90 man, and that continuing to try to fix all the bugs and glitches were never going to make it healthy, and that DS has a publishing platform that is new and healthy, therefore the reason for shutting down eHow.

        What is interesting is that I have been assured by all of the eHow Mods that the eHow articles from the WCP will remain on the WCP site, will continue to earn, and will be fully editable, including text, resources and photographs. How is it possible that the ‘dinosaur’ is too old, therefore the need to switch to DS, if it’s going to be healthy enough to allow writers to continue to edit their old articles? Certainly, if there are more bugs and glitches, they aren’t going to waste time and money fixing them… so how can they seem so certain that we will be able to continue editing our articles in the future? If the system was really that trashed, you’d think they’d shut the whole thing down when they moved eHow to DS.

      • http://fundingtravel.com jsbst18

        Janet, “sudden growth [...] over the last two years.” — two years is anything but sudden.

        The so called “bugs” are not the reason user submissions are no longer being accepted on eHow’s site. If you read the article above your posting, you would have realize that the new terms are due to DemandMedia’s desire for continuity in the website’s content. This means that the company thinks there is a large difference in the quality of the work generated by DS and eHow members. And eHow content is, to be nice, not up to par with the DS content.

        As for eHow’s submission system being a dinosaur, ah, this is true. eHow is older than DS, but the submission system at eHow is a dinosaur that has been reborn many times. It should have adapted more than it did in the 8 months in which I have been submitting articles. The condition of the submission software is the fault of the parent company.

        Janet, are you going to buy shares in the DemandMedia IPO?

  • jerder

    The thing I do not like about demand studios, and the reason I quit writing articles for them in 2008, is because the author has to give up ALL rights to the piece, allowing demand studios to reap in big profits over time. They paid a flat rate for author generated titles and articles of $25.00 with no revenue sharing or a writer’s compensation program like eHow had. Then, after revamping the sight self generated titles and articles were most often paid only a flat rate of $5.00. My articles on eHow generated a tidy sum over two years and allowed me to provide information for families, adults, and parents across a wide spectrum. Thank heavens articles already written and published on eHow in the past will still be included in a writer’s compensation program and I have the rights to the articles. The article titles and subsequent articles for demand studios that are generated by demand studios will typically pay a higher flat fee with some3 articles being tagged for revenue sharing which will pay extra over time depending on how much they generate for demand studios. Sadly many of the titles are geared more to technology, engineering, building, and electronics and there are not too many who have expertise in that field. I will probably write the occasional article for deman studios for titles categories and titles they are looking for, but I will never write self generated titles for a $5.00 flat fee and give up all the rights to those articles. I hope demand studios will develop some kind of writer compensation program but do not hold out hope of that happening any time soon. I will save my talents and expertise to write more articles for associatedcontent.com, helium.com, buksia.com, ezine.com and others where the pay is better and there is still a writer’s compensation program. I am going to truly miss writing for eHow exclusively though. I loved the site and all that it offered in the way of forums, writer’s compensation, the home page, contests on specific topics that offered extra pay if selected for the eHow home page, the option of joining various writer’s groups and reading and rating other articles. Other eHow authors read and ranked my articles, also, which was invaluable for crtiquing and improving my writing.

  • Guest

    Janet I’m sorry aren’t you the one who posted your ehow ebook was going to crap now???
    You didn’t seem very happy a few days ago, did you have a change of heart? My hats off to you for sticking to ehow for so long, I know you are a reputable writer on ehow.

    • http://www.janet-ford.com Janet Ford

      Yes, I did. I was heartsick over the work and time I’d put into revising my popular ehow ebook as it is aimed mostly towards new ehow writers. That does not mean that I view this change as a negative. Sure, I’m taking a hit in that sense but I still feel this migration is a positive change for ehow and I also view it as a positive for me as a writer of ehow content. I will likely be revising the ebook to be marketed as a ebook for those writing how-to style articles as the way I wrote this revision was to remove some of the ‘click here’ and ‘you’ll see this on this screen’ stuff due to the constant changes of the ehow site. I wanted it more ‘evergreen’, content wise so I feel it will still be of use to many people. Just got to do some more work to it is all.

  • http://alrady.blogspot.com DARLA

    As usual the WAY ehow has done things leaves more questions than answers, and a lot of angst for some writers. I missed the “invitation” by 1%. I could probably apply and come in through the front door which for many is preferable. Going through the front door means you have more choices and options as a writer. It seems title choices are a hang up for many writers.

    ONE POSITIVE THING I SEE… if they start holding the feet to the fire for ALL the writers, then we will no longer have the war between users, ( members) and contributing writers, (editors). I have seen writing that has been flagged over and over for both platforms. Good riddance. HAVE every article inspected. Sweeps helped but did not totally clean up the “messes” on ehow. Articles by DS were not swept along with ehow member articles. ALL should have been done.

    Going forward at least the articles will be more standardized. What will happen for DS is anyone’s guess. Many writers are leaving and those writers were also readers. I suppose that DS will step up the advertising. My guess is that the social will die down for a while and then possibly grow again as DS rewards interaction on the site. It remains to be seen if ehow is interested in maintaining the social.

  • http://www.demandstudiosreview.com Demand Studios Writer

    The switch over seems to have come out without too many hitches. Most seem to be happy with the change from what I’ve seen. But you can’t please everyone of course. I found out about Demand Studios from the website Demand Studios Review and have had a positive experience so far. I recommend it to others.

  • http://w1z111-campfirecontent.blogspot.com Charlie Hare

    I have been contributing articles at eHow.com for several years. At one point, I had over 120 articles published there, then eHow began their weeding out process. First, they eliminated all but 95 of my articles; then they changed their payment plan.

    I did not meet their “cut-off” metrics, but I already had been “approved” to write at Demand Studios, so I decided to continue there. DS Terms of Use clearly explain that DS gets to keep all copyrights, and payment for most articles is a one-time shot. There are still “Revenue Sharing” opportunities, which can pay more over a period of time, but the copyright issue is not a welcome change for me as a writer.

    Although I do write some at DS/DM, I am not nearly as “excited” about it as I was with the eHow.com “Writer’s Compensation” system. Clearly, the DS/DM writing opportunity is nowhere near as inviting now, and my guess is that they will experience many rejects and rewrites to get to the level of quality they seem to be seeking. Top quality writers will likely shy away from DS/
    DM, because the earnings potential just is not lucrative enough any more.

    I expect many other similar sites will follow suit, going forward…for a variety of reasons. And, perhaps doing so will help to clean up some of the “duplicate content” that is out there. But I am not convinced the quality of content is really going to get much better if sites are not willing to pay for it. Of course, there are many places across the globe where people are willing to work for much less than I might be willing for, and that might or might not prove to be a good thing. Time will tell, I guess. Meanwhile, I am disappointed with DS/DM; but I’m sure they don’t much care about what I think.