A Members Brush and Lessons Learned

Yes, we still keep our eyes and ears to the ground to hear what others are saying about us, both positive and negative. This post by Geoff from Cincinnati caught my attention today: My Brush with EzineArticles Death

It’s weird that he makes a comment about our market strength and then in the very next paragraph slams the basis for why I think we have market strength: “If there is any downside to EzineArticles, it is their strict usage guidelines and submission requirements.”

There is another point Geoff made that’s worth repeating: Never rely on us to be your article backup service provider…ie: Always keep a local copy on your own hard drive of every single article you submit to us. No, you shouldn’t have to worry about this with the insane redundancy that we’ve invested in (server-wise), but it’s just good business sense to have backups of your articles.

I didn’t go digging further to figure out who Geoff was (EzineArticles membership wise) as usually we don’t seek to advance relationships with affiliate marketers due to the lack of original quality content that usually spews from this segment of the market (sad, but too true)… and just in case Geoff does read this blog entry: Thank you for only sending in quality and ORIGINAL articles that you have the exclusive rights to the content. :-)

25 Comments »


1

Chris,

I think you might be overreacting when you refer to that comment as a “slam.” His post was actually a gushing testimonial, citing traffic stats that would make any reader rush to get an EzineArticles author account.

His only quibbles about the site were to do with idiosyncrasies that come with human-edited sites: the presumed “crackdown” on funky author names and such.

I agree with you that the among the biggest value of EzineArticles is the credibility resulting from guidelines and requirements. Those affect me because I like to do a lot of bolding that gets my articles dinged for resubmission from time to time. I might get *miffed* and mutter when I see the “needs attention” notice in my inbox, but my reaction could hardly translate into a “slam.”

And, although I don’t know Geoff at all, I would characterize his post as being in the same spirit.

:-)

Comment provided October 25, 2007 at 1:07 PM

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2

Hi Chris

Something else strikes me about the blog post in question:

The guy sure does mention the name EzineArticles alot, and even posts some content from your site in the form of your editorial guidelines……trying to pick up some your traffic perhaps?

Jeff

Comment provided October 25, 2007 at 3:00 PM

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3
Geoff writes:

Hi Chris-

Just to clarify my intentions behind the following statement…

‚¬“If there is any downside to EzineArticles, it is their strict usage guidelines and submission requirements.‚¬

I was not attacking the values of your organization. Rather, I was making the point that one could invest significant time into their articles or account, only to have them deleted or suspended by the editors. Since authors have only a small voice in the editing process, I would consider this a risk or “downside” to an otherwise great resource.

As for my background with EzineArticles, I am happy to share that all 60 of articles are indeed original compositions. According to my account stats, they have resulted in over 45,000 page views for EzineArticles and have been published on other sites some 400 times.

I can understand the frustrations you may have with the influx of poor content from affiliate marketers. Personally, I believe that 1 captivating article is worth more than 100 sub-standard submissions. Thus, I focus on submitting quality content that will benefit both of our interests.

Thank you for maintaining the high standards at EzineArticles. While I did run into a small snafu with my account, I appreciate that the matter was resolved quickly. Rest assured that all of my submissions have only the best of intentions, and hopefully I will not run into any more problems in the future.

-Geoff

Comment provided October 25, 2007 at 3:36 PM

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4

Hi Chris!

I thought you would give us an explanation. Why the author’s account was suspended? Why his author name was rejected after he had used it for some time?

Sometimes an editor suddenly discovers a mistake (according to his/her point of view) and suspends an account or rejects an already approved article. It happens! I saw it happening to me, without explanation.

However the general aspect is good. EzineArticles.com works well, besides a few problems. They are natural in a huge organization.

Comment provided October 25, 2007 at 4:50 PM

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5

He did say this near to the end:

“EzineArticles is a great website, and I actually appreciate their stringent policies. It keeps the quality of the website and its content valuable for everyone. I was also very impressed with how quickly they addressed my issue, especially since it could have been quite costly for me.”

And I do take the point of keeping a backup of all articles submitted…

Thanks for sharing.

Comment provided October 25, 2007 at 5:33 PM

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6
Edward Weiss writes:

With a site as big as EzineArticles, you have to have guidelines, quality controls, whatever you want to call them to keep things in line.

Especially when you have thousands of members like this site does.

I’ve posted over 250 articles and have really never had a problem here so I must be doing something right. :)

Comment provided October 25, 2007 at 6:32 PM

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7

Unexplained problems and mistakes do happen and this is not the authors’ fault.
I had an article considered problematic after 4 months it was published. The reason it came back is still a mystery to me. It was re-approved of course, but the fact was quite strange.

Comment provided October 25, 2007 at 6:47 PM

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8

Geoff,

Thanks for commenting… I did take a peek at your account and looks like you hit a few home run articles that achieved a break-out page view rate vs. the standard 20-250 page views per article per year rate that we see on average.

Christina,

I can’t share what Geoff did specifically because it’s not public information… and this is the same reason I didn’t out Geoff with his handful of author names in his account.

All,

And yes, sometimes even our editors make mistakes.. heck, daily they make small mistakes and that’s why we have a dedicated quality control team and member support people to identify the mistakes and hopefully correct the ones we can.

We take deleting a members account very seriously and usually with much historical data to support the decisions… there is no easy “kill” switch and thus membership termination decisions are done with great caution. If you’re ‘on the up’, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Comment provided October 25, 2007 at 6:52 PM

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9
Lance Winslow writes:

Regarding the EzineArticles as a back up to save your articles. Well, that is one of the many sub-reasons that I use EzineArticles.com exclusively. And not long ago when my computer crashed, I am sure glad all my articles are safe here.

Comment provided October 25, 2007 at 10:31 PM

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10
Fran Civile writes:

This author praises EzineArticles while also
describing the strict rules governing publication
as a “downside”… a little like double speak…

I would say that the extended description of the problem
he encountered regarding his pen name, including the possible
financial consequences he might suffer is partly for dramatic effect for writing an interesting article.
The concluding philosophical remarks with a mixture of praise and criticism for EzineArticles should lead the reader to confirm the opinion he/she already has of EzineArticles.

As for me, I kick myself (again) for being lazy about writing articles!

Fran

Comment provided October 25, 2007 at 11:34 PM

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11

Everyone has to be very careful when saying whatever in the Internet because everything is registered and can easily be found.

Geoff should not condemn EA’s guidelines and team for having his account suspended, especially because we cannot see how guilty he was in this case.

Comment provided October 26, 2007 at 4:10 AM

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12
Vern writes:

Hi Chris,

I think Geoff has got a point
on the editors not being able to
specifically determine the cause
of the errors.

I’m not going to cause a flaming
discussion but in my experience,
sometimes I do get errors in my
article submission and it was perhaps
an overload of italics.. I kinda like
styling my articles …

{and no – they are not to bold
or emphasize my keywords.)

..so to make the long story longer ->

I think it really depends on the editor
because sometimes I get a specific flag
on what I did wrong and sometimes I
get a “general error”.

Strange but true.

Casey and Abby can testify for this.

Just a suggestion to include this feature:

– an additional editorial comment
on what went wrong during article
review

– feature to highlight which paragraph
or portion in article for the error.

Hope this helps,
Vern

Comment provided October 26, 2007 at 5:14 AM

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13

Like Fran I don’t write enough but even with my small amount of articles, I’ve had one come back with ‘issues’ but without a clear indication of ‘which’ issue.. just a referral back to the author guidelines.

After reading through a couple times, I still couldn’t pick up the issue, so had to email a couple times back and forth to finally get to the bottom of it. Not a complaint. Just an observation. I like Vern’s:

“Just a suggestion to include this feature:

– an additional editorial comment
on what went wrong during article
review

– feature to highlight which paragraph
or portion in article for the error.”

If this was done everyyyy time with problem articles, it would facilitate faster, easier correction and less load on the support staff with the backing and forthing to clarify exactly what’s wrong….

Comment provided October 26, 2007 at 7:25 AM

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14

I agree with Angela. The editors shall specify what exactly is wrong with an article when they find a mistake.

Thinking further about the case we were examining here I have to say that Geoff didn’t have the right to expose EA’s rules with irony, since he was not innocent. Even if he was, what he did was quite offensive.

On the other hand I think that an account shall never be suddenly suspended only because an editor suspects (or even finds proves) that an author is wrong in any point.

EzineArticles shall ask the author to correct the mistake or advise him or her that his account has to be suspended for some reason, some time before suspending the account, because the author may be innocent and because a sudden suspension can cause a big damage to any business, as Geoff emphasized.

Comment provided October 26, 2007 at 11:26 AM

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15

Geoff had every right to expose EA’s rules with irony.

I didn’t find his blog entry offensive at all.

We are not setup to deliver a highly personalized experience as we’d have to hire 50 more people to deliver the kind of experience you’re talking about Christina.

EzineArticles is setup to be an “operationally efficient” firm (read the book on the Discipline of Market Leaders) and while this allows us to manage tens of thousands of transactions monthly with a high degree of efficiency & speed, it does not allow us to give each author a high degree of personalized attention.

Some authors (less than 1-2%) are extremely evil by nature…and I’m certain it doesn’t surprise them when they find their account terminated or articles deleted. It’s a game to them.

Comment provided October 26, 2007 at 11:39 AM

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16

Angela & Vern,

A thought for everyone to ponder: Many times we (our editors) are vague or ambiguous ON PURPOSE.

If we narrowed or highlighted the exact issue in many cases, it would help those who are trying to game us — to begin to unravel & map our secret systems that are designed to identify the ‘gamers’.

It’s an unfortunate reality.

We’ll consider your thoughts further and I’m sure in the future we’ll be able to help authors identify things “that won’t harm us if we identify them bluntly” but will help the author fix the problem faster.

Other times we know that our vagueness is a penalty for the person who writes sloppy work or doesn’t check his/her work before submitting it.

Comment provided October 26, 2007 at 11:46 AM

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17

Chris, I still think that Geoff should not condemn EA’s rules with irony. He didn’t have the right to judge them this way and give to his readers the impression that these rules are absurd and he was a victim, without explaining the whole story!

And I still think that EzineArticles shall inform the authors before suspending their account that this is going to happen and give them a chance to correct the existent mistakes.

However, I understand that you cannot be so specific with the mistakes you find in some articles.
At least we agree in this point!

Comment provided October 26, 2007 at 12:19 PM

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18

“Some authors (less than 1-2%) are extremely evil by nature!and I’m certain it doesn’t surprise them when they find their account terminated or articles deleted. It’s a game to them.”

“Many times we (our editors) are vague or ambiguous ON PURPOSE.

If we narrowed or highlighted the exact issue in many cases, it would help those who are trying to game us ‚¬€ to begin to unravel & map our secret systems that are designed to identify the ‚¬gamers’.”

Naive, I’m sure, but I wasn’t even considering the ‘gaming’ aspect! ;-) I think of it as a simple exchange: ‘write about what you know or what interests you or what you have benefited from, giving value and getting some traffic, exposure and yes, some opt-ins/sales in return’.

I usually can’t wrap my head around the manipulation of the system part… maybe that’s why I didn’t get that as an element of the ‘vague or ambiguous’ issue until I read the above excerpts…

Comment provided October 26, 2007 at 12:25 PM

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19
Lance Winslow writes:

Hmmm? Well, I must say that this is a very interesting thread to read and listen to all the great authors here explain their points of view. It appears we all agree that EzineArticles is an awesome Online Author Community with Top Writers who care.

Comment provided October 27, 2007 at 1:28 PM

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20

Hi Lance!

The general conclusion of our discussion was that a few things have to change, so that everyone will feel better.
This is a general concept that can be applied in any case.
The authors have to be informed a few days before that their account will be suspended and have a last chance to correct their mistakes.

And that everyone shall pay attention and think if it is really correct to declare something in public, since here in the Internet where we are, everything is registered. You cannot simply say whatever you wish about another site without being noticed. So, be careful with what you say! Your opinion shall not be offensive and ironic against other sites if you want to be a nice member of our community ‚¬€ you have to respect the others. Your accusations are not made only to your circle of friends.

Comment provided October 27, 2007 at 3:27 PM

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21
Lance Winslow writes:

Christina,

Yes, that makes sense. Also, I was thinking about this thread that: “often those who have been disrespected want revenge.”

So, whether or not suspending the account was a sign of disrespect, most likely it was not, but the individual thought it was, felt as such and took his keyboard out to write about it, have his last word or say about this matter.

Indeed, Chris noted this as a purposeful sign of disrespect to EzineArticles when this gentleman wrote about it. The EzineArticles Team, when the closing of the account was declared it a righteous act on EA’s part; the right thing to do. So, EzineArticles feels disrespected and wishes to set the record straight.

So, now that we have seen both sides to the issue, I would like to say that Chaos and Controversy, creates attention, viewership and actually everyone wins. This Blog has more traffic, so does the other blog with the complaint, everyone gets to say their opinion, humans just love to do that, and all parties had their last word. Everyone wins and the rest of the human sage is to be continued, repeated and the sound and fury never ends?

Comment provided October 27, 2007 at 3:39 PM

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22

Yes, this it true.
Sometimes a conflict can bring light and solutions because the despised problems come to the surface.

Comment provided October 27, 2007 at 3:50 PM

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23
Lance Winslow writes:

Yes, it’s all good, I am happy to say. EzineArticles has rules and that is a good thing. Heck, I do not always like the rules either, but they are the rules. I often write opinion articles that get kicked back, oh about one per week or so. That is about 1:50 or 1:100 depending on the week. I get aggitated and ask the editor to defend their position, then later end up re-writing the article in question or deleting it. It’s just the way it is. In the end I think we all have something here that we can be proud of and something that we have built together, so, it’s all good.

Comment provided October 27, 2007 at 4:05 PM

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24
Bill writes:

Being new I watch everything I write. Dose the stress ever go away. I put lots of time into my articles and would feel insulted if one were to be rejected. Otherwise I love this place.

Comment provided November 3, 2007 at 7:58 PM

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25

Bill,

It’s great that you feel anxiety and stress because this tells us that you care very deeply about the quality of your articles.

With that said, sometimes (in 99% of EzineArticles rejections) rejection are not personal…and sometimes they are the result of editor incompetence (we’re training newbie editors all the time), value conflicts (if you write about topics that we’ve made stands on), or simple error. That’s why we have a member support team that answers emails to field questions about rejections and why we have a 2nd human who does quality control on every article approval.

Comment provided November 5, 2007 at 8:17 AM

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