It was a tough morning today, I alternated between crying and trying not to cry. In the scheme of things, this is fairly small, but still.
A few years ago I wrote several articles for eHow.com, which is owned by Demand Media. I was paid a modest weekly amount and expected to churn out 10 articles a week. After cranking out 70 articles, I and another writer complained. We proposed paying us per article instead of a flat rate because to make the rate be better than minimum wage, you really had to whip out the how-to article in half-hour – and that was REALLY tough. The company’s response? They let both of us go (and kept the non-complainers).
The upside of all of this was I would get royalties (hooray) on each article, depending on how many people viewed it. So for a few years, I was getting a bit of cash deposited into my PayPal Account from Demand Media (I’m talking $25 – $40 a month, but still, it adds up).
A year and a half ago, I got a letter from Demand Media stating they were ending the royalty program. I could get a one time payout (a modest amount) and leave the articles up on their site or take them elsewhere. I chose to take the payout and figured I could still enjoy the whoo hoo factor of having my by-line out there.
Imagine my surprise / dismay / rage / betrayal today when I happened to look up one of my old articles and there, instead of my byline, was someone else’s. Apparently this other writer (who goes by the moniker “Brainiac” – really??) had “updated” the article this past May and now his or her byline is on MY article. I looked through the article, it’s still mine – I’m not even sure what the heck Brainiac changed. I’m sure in the piece of paper I signed I gave up the rights to my articles, but this is still wrong.
I felt as if I’d been stabbed in the heart by some thief’s pen. Yes, I’ve written a complaint to eHow. Their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m not feeling very zen about this at all.