Something Unexpected

Against the recommendation of our management team, I wanted to share with you something we’re currently dealing with internally in regards to our Premium Membership service level.

We’ve been firing an average of 2 Premium members every day now as not being a good match. In some cases, we’ve had to fire members who were Premium, got fired, bought again and then had to be banned from Premium membership. We’ve had members plead to pay any price for speed or to be unbanned. One guy yesterday offered us $36k to accept his articles on top of our Premium membership fee with one exception: He wanted us to accept derivative content. No way!

Key Issue: Our team has been at great odds with ourselves because we want to deliver excellent service to our Premium members, yet a high percentage of our Premium members are not ideal EzineArticles members. We’ve essentially accelerated the speed at which our worst members can submit low value, thin content into our system.

This further frustrates our Premium members because they are getting downgraded (most are at Basic Plus level), having their articles rejected and are being shown the word “NO” more often than they’d ever care to see.

It was my goal, by this time, to have muted the value of Premium membership by delivering Premium speed to all free members … thus, forcing us to find other things of value that we could package into our Premium Membership service level. Unfortunately, we’ve struggled ALL YEAR to deliver on that internal goal. If you only knew what we’ve done to reach this goal, your mouth would drop and hit the floor.

After much internal debate, we’ve determined that the real issue is the need to reject another 10-20% of low value content (from both Premium and non-Premium members) by tightening up our content filters even more. This is not something new – we tighten up quality standards every single month. But the rate of which we’re tightening down is accelerating.

What’s Happening Now:

We had already tightened up our anti-derivative content filters a few weeks ago and that’s currently shaving off 700 articles a day that never make it to our human editors for review.

Our next big pass at curbing low-value content submissions will come in the form of banning certain types of content that are currently in too high of market supply (think “Acai berry” type articles) and other commonly spammed articles with highly derivative content (think penis enlargement, get your ex back, dating articles, some types of finance articles). We’ve been slow to reach this point because we’re looking for ways to allow legitimate good ideal members to submit content on these topics while singling out the gamers who only want to submit really thin low value content.

Know that we’ll communicate in this blog which types of content we’re no longer allowing and we’ll be revisiting our Editorial Guidelines to include more information about the coming changes.

In the past, we’ve grandfathered existing articles in when new quality levels are set, except when a live article is edited, today’s standard is applied to that content. That means we would typically have allowed old articles that would no longer be accepted with today’s standard, to remain live in the site. We’ve reached a point where we can no longer allow that to happen. At risk are articles that are highly derivative based. If you’ve written original articles from your head and didn’t use any software article rewriter, you should have nothing to worry about.

There’s one more major issue that I’ll be sharing about soon in terms of a paradigm-shift that will be made in the coming weeks. Until then, I hope you appreciate the transparency and I’d like to enlist your continued support to help us properly navigate the key issues that will ensure our collective long-term survival together.

137 Comments »


1

Tougher guidelines and more challenges aren’t going to necessarily make a lot of us happy but it is going to be an overall improvement hopefully. If everyone works together to improve the site’s value, every legitimate member wins. I appreciate your honesty Chris and trust your team you do everything necessary for the sake of legitimate members. This site didn’t make it this big by following the crowd.

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 3:54 PM

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2
Jonathan writes:

Hi Chris,

Thanks for being so open with this. I have never dealt with Penis Enlargement or Acai Berry (except to warn people about them), and these two topics certainly seem spammy, but why are dating articles problematic?

Dating is a real issue. I don’t have a dating website myself nor do I write articles on them so I don’t really care about this particular topic, but in some markets the big supply is also due to them being real issues with high demand by a lot of readers.

I’d hate to see real issues get banned from the site just because a lot of people write about them.

Also, what are anti-derivative filters? Does this just mean articles which people copied from other articles on EzineArticles?

Thanks,
Jonathan

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 4:02 PM

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Let me argue the point differently: What’s wrong with Acai Berry or Penis Enlargement? Both are legitimate topics, right?… most likely in high demand, otherwise people wouldn’t be writing about it, right?

Wrong. Most people aren’t writing about it. If they were, we’d have no problem with it. Instead, people are using software to regurgitate the same content over and over again submitting hundreds and then thousands of the same article over and over again. Rehashing the same basic content. That is what we have a problem with.

If you rewrite an article, that is a derivative works.

PLR (Private Label Rights) articles are derivative works and worse, non-exclusive rights content.

We’re saying that we’re not interested in derivative works, nor will we accept non-exclusive rights content.

We don’t want to see the same specific topic of one article turned into 200 articles that say nothing else but what was included in the 1st article.

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Jonathan writes:

Hey Chris,

I totally agree with you that any rewritten, PLR or software generated article should be rejected. This is a good move which will serve us all to continue getting good search engine exposure to our articles.

I too know what it’s like to have your article stolen and placed on another site with no credit to you or to see it simply badly rewritten and submitted to an article directory. It’s an awful feeling.

I am all for totally original articles, and as I said, I am not interested in any of the topics you mentioned.

I just want to make sure we don’t lose real topics with real human interest in which many writers do post original, human created, articles.

That’s all.

Jonathan

p.s. thanks for working hard to keep the site as high quality as it is.

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3
Edwin Patterson writes:

Keep up the good work! I am finding it quite a learning experience, satisfying your guidelines. However, there should always be a top grade system. This simply makes us become better writers, more honest. This is of benefit to the readers as there is an awful lot of one sided business going on in the online business. The people who have found a way to slyly take money out of the pockets of the masses will not like the task of having to be honest and truthful in their marketing. Do not let us get by with low quality business practices, including how we get you to advertise for us. The complete online industry must be cleaned up. You obviously have your standards. How can you be satsified unless you keep them? Please remember, your sevice is very valuable to the average low budget group. We are likely the majority as you know the percentage of people who are the so called gurus. Currently all busines, especially those who have been able to rake in the dough, are having to take a different look at what they are doing. Can you imagine being able to put a million dollars in your bank over a 48 hour period of time? I can not. Edwin Patterson

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 4:11 PM

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4
terryweber writes:

“I was thinking one day and I realized that if I just had somebody behind me all the way to motivate me I could make a big difference. Nobody came along like that so I just became
that person for myself.”
— Unknown

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 4:12 PM

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Ivie S. writes:

Thank you do very much for passing that on, I too had been looking for someone to motivate be for far to long, then one day I looked in the mirror and relized that (she) had been there all along.
kudoos to you too for sharing this. Thanks again for validating me.
Art N Rhythm,
” Building a better world one person at a time”
IAS
the link is my first, happy like a new mom.

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5
Brenda writes:

Standards are always the desired goal which means that the real writers and less scrupulous marketers may have a chance to hone their craft. Good for you!

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 4:16 PM

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6
Meggin McIntosh writes:

I support you in this (and I am not sure what derivative content is! HA! I guess that means i”m not using any).

Thanks for your great service. And I am happy to be a Premium member :)

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 4:16 PM

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7
Robin Hardy writes:

Hey Chris

Good for you! I appreciate the fact you are looking for content value and I think people in general want content and are tired of the spammy stuff! Thank you for creating more value for us to continue to contribute to this site.

Robin :)

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 4:21 PM

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8
Robin Hardy writes:

I agree with Meggin I am not sure what derivative content is, so I must be fine :)

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 4:23 PM

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9
Maryt writes:

I’m glad that I now know what derivative content is and that I’m not guilty.

I appreciate this stance completely and back you, Chris 100%.

I also appreciate being clued in — it helps.

I am disgusted with the articles that say nothing and are the equivalent of puffs of air.

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 4:25 PM

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Bartholomew Craig writes:

Short comment.

Way to go. I also enjoy the help you give to us would-be writers

Bartholomew

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 4:30 PM

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11
Mike writes:

Hello Chris,
I’m all for the changes being made, the tightening up and your own honesty.
With a site such as your’s, it’s an honour to have an article published and I still feel excited when I see the word “approved” in my E-mail!
My problem, and another gentleman agreed with me, is my memory. I forget I’ve written about a certain subject, using the same facts, and of course it’s thrown back at me, quite rightly.
Incidentally, although I did E-mail you about this, I received your lovely mug and most complimentary note. It absolutely made my week. Thank you very much.
Every good wish,
Mike

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 5:00 PM

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Mike,

Members are never penalized for submitting articles they’ve already submitted before. Our system rejects that at the front door and we don’t think less of you for making that mistake. Many do. It’s innocent.

What’s not innocent is when a member submits an article or a derivative of an article that we find a matching article in another members account. This screams to us that either the article was plagiarized by someone, may have been purchased in a private label rights pack, or your ghostwriter should be fired.

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12
Dave Doolin writes:

Good. Make it hard to content accepted. The harder the better in my view.

I see so much crap on the net. Recycled pap is what I call it. It was pap to begin with, it’s still pap, and it will be pap no matter how times it’s “rewritten.”

Your guidelines are so… elegant… that I haven’t yet budgeted the time to sit down and work my way through the first 10 articles I want to write. I have saved ALL the emails, and will go through them carefully.

I do have one question concerning author branding. I really am a polymath. I can write with authority in probably 4 fields. I seem to recall reading one of your guidelines that an author should pick a niche and stay in it. Do I have this right, or am I off base?

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 5:15 PM

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Dave,

Hopefully this article will help: Authors With Multiple Brands – Secrets to Managing Multiple Topics When Writing Articles

You can write about multiple different niche topics. Lots of members do.

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Dave Doolin writes:

Excellent, thanks. This of course leads me to the next issue: how to brand which permutation of my name for which purpose!

I’m calling that a high quality problem.

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13
Ruthan Brodsky writes:

Chris,
I admire your courage to take this on. Yes, in the long run the company will be well grounded and highly respected, and as a result, earn more profit. On the other hand, it’s got to be uncomfortable sometimes playing King Solomon. Just as some things slip thru the cracks, others undeservingly will get stuck in the mire. Good luck and take up some stress relieving activity real quick – or go for a run!

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 5:15 PM

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14
Jeff Persons writes:

I’m with you 100% on the quality issue. If someone wants to manipulate the search engines with hundreds of derivative articles let them find find someplace else to dump that self serving garbage.

I like EzineArticles, EzineArticles is helping me become a better writer. Tightening the guidelines is a good thing. Thanks!

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 5:31 PM

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15
Mike Bayes writes:

This discussion, like so many business model topics really needs to come down to a principles decision.

To my simple thought its this-

Are you in this business to make money, or provide value.

In the long run the right answer is not both, but both can be accomplished.

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 5:36 PM

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16
Thomas Mahar writes:

My compliments. I advise all my correspondents to check EzineArticles for my articles – just as soon they not encounter spam type material or other material of low quality. I conduct a writers’s workshop 10 weeks a year and have advised them to place their work here. Most write fiction, though, which reminds me, it would be great if EzineArticles had sections for short stories, poems and other fictional works.

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 5:59 PM

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Hey Thomas, thanks for the offer, pretty cool. I’ve been posting my fictional stuff under the Arts and Entertainment Section here, and under that main heading is one for Poetry, and although my poetry is not that great, I have been practicing and trying to get better. There are some kick-butt poets at EzineArticles, you should check them out.

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Thomas Mahar writes:

Lance – Thanks for teaching me something new today. I will check it out.

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17

I’m with you, John, and your EzineArticles team.

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 6:34 PM

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18

I’m like Robin and Meggin. I have no idea what derivative content is. Great news for me.

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 6:41 PM

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19
Lori L. Shemek writes:

Hi Chris!

I am so pleased you are upping your promotion of quality articles. This initially will be difficult (loss of $36,000) but the rewards for EzineArticles and for Authors will be highly beneficial.

Thanks so much for taking the risk..we all appreciate it.

Lori L. Shemek

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 7:07 PM

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20
lovie writes:

I agree with your leadership. EzineArticles is the #1 site in article submission and let’s keep it that way. Every internet marketing conference I attend rate EzineArticles as the best article submission site because of the high standards and good quality control measures. Articles should be original, empowering, up lifting, and helpful to the reader.

Please continue your high standards for articles; some of us writers my not thank you now but will thank you later.

To Your Article Marketing Success

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 8:11 PM

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21
Brent Aleshire writes:

Thank you Chris for the upfront communication to your members. I support the efforts of your entire team!

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 8:34 PM

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22
C.A. Perez writes:

Chris,
I applaud and support your efforts. I want to be the best that I can be as an affiliate marketer and as an artilce writer. I believe you can do both. I like your article, Authors With Multiple Brands – Secrets to Managing Multiple Topics When Writing Articles. I have used that method myself.
I promoted a product that didn’t turn out to be what I expected and had to put those articles on hold. Had it not been for the pseudonym, I would have been embarassed by my association with the product.
Carlos
PS: The Zen Master is right: ““Whatever you are FOR, strengthens you. Whatever you are AGAINST, weakens you

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 9:27 PM

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23
John writes:

The fact that so many people are “writing and submitting” articles at such a rapid rate makes me to seriously consider getting a “rewriter” that can “speed things up”…

It just amazes me how one person can produce 20 articles per day.

This alone literally took me out, the small guy without a tiny software known as article rewriter.

Thanks Chris for making the decision to fight against those “evil” authors. lol

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 9:35 PM

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John, please shoot me a personal email and I’ll explain how you can write 10-20 articles a day without cheating or using PLR, AI software, re-writing, or hiring folks from India for $2 per article. We can also talk over the phone so, I can explain it to you. It is hard work, but you can do it if you use my methods and strategies.

Oh, and I am not selling anything, its free. And really that goes to anyone who is a legitimate article author here. I am serious we humans have to stick together and win over the computers. I never liked that Terminator Movie much and we must prevail!

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martin durie writes:

Hi Lance
I would love to know how to write 10-20 articles a day!
1 to 2 per day is about my limit!
I am a mere novice, having had 19 articles published compared to your gargantuan efforts – but I’m willing to learn.
I am a middle aged organic farmer from Suffolk in England – we grow organic wheat, barley, peas etc and have herd of organic Red Poll cattle and also Texel sheep.
I am seriously interested in the quality of food that we eat.
Best wishes
Martin

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Lisa Mason writes:

Hi Martin,

As someone who writes hundreds of articles weekly I can tell you that you are already a step ahead. You are passionate about what you do.

Due to children with certain medical conditions, my family has had to become more conscious of the quality of food we eat and it makes me feel great to see people like yourself in the industry who truly care about the food they provide.

Keep that passion and learn a few techniques to faster writing and you’ll feel like an article writing pro in no time!

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Gerard writes:

Hi Lance,

I’m in agreement that writing 20 articles a day is not that difficult if you merely stick to a functional methodology. My own system involves researching trends within my various niches by using two languages as I am fully bilingual, whilst also able to make reasonable sense of two other languages.

I do however take exception to your derogatory toned comment on “$2 articles from India”. I have seen many articles and engaged with a good few writers from India, and I can vouch that some of them are really good, despite English not being their mother tongue. To the contrary, I have also seen writings from so-called English mother tongue speakers which came across as an insult to the language with regards to grammar and sentence construction.

Could I suggest that your future comments along similar lines, distinguish and/or acknowledge that we cannot put all people in the same basket, irrespective of origin. By the way, I am not from India but regard myself as a child of the universe.

[Reply]

Gerard,

Regarding the India “ghost writer” comment. Indeed, I probably should have clarified that. Yes, I have heard the same thing from folks, and have had writers from India email me trying to get work assuming that I’d hire them to write for me. I find the concept of putting your name on someone else’s work “unethical” but then again, I do not do “article marketing” to sell anything being retired and all.

Nevertheless, if someone takes someone else’s work and puts their name it, indicating that they wrote it, well, that’s lying. And if an article marketer is lying to potential buyers, then that is false advertising and misleading marketing. Which, just happens to be illegal. If there is anyone from the FTC reading this board or any hobby writers here who work for the FTC, I’d like you to back me up on this statment please.

In fact, I’d do so far as to say if someone is “claiming” to be an expert due to their consulting or coaching work online, then has ghost writers write articles, well, that is definitely pushing the envelope on ethics in my professional opinion. And I know this for a fact, if they are in the financial services profession it is Illegal as per SEC laws.

Most people do not realize this but some “multi-million dollar” financial producers and broker dealers got into big trouble using PLR stuff. The SEC then made a rule, now in those industries it is against the law.

Actually, I believe that is a good rule and worthy regulation, becauce it is deceptive and I believe if folks are buying ghost written articles here from India for $2 each they are breaking the spirit of the laws our nation has on advertising and marketing. Further, just because it is not being forced today, doesn’t mean it is okay.

Further, I will not fully retract my comment about ghost written articles from India, because it really wasn’t derogatory, and so, you should take it personally. Being a “child of the universe” is cool, but I will not cloud my real-world observations with political correctness. I know very good and well what I am talking about. So, whereas, there are a few really good writers from India that know their English extremely well, you have to be very careful.

Just because someone can write an article that is legible and they are from India, does not mean they are immersed in US culture enough to relate with your reader, enough to pull them in for a click-thru. So, it’s a large topic, which I will now produce 10-articles proving my point as why it is unwise to buy $1-2 articles from India, and if you reply to this comment with any more chastising of my personal character or lecturing, I will produce 20 more articles and they’ll all be up before Halloween, a holiday not celebrated in India, thus Holloween articles for $1-2 a piece might be a dismal idea. See that point. Bring it on Gerard.

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Gerard writes:

You are fully entitled to your opinion and so am I. Please consider this matter closed from my side.

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24
Lisa Mason writes:

Good stuff. I know the team’s been working hard to keep EzineArticles a great place to be!

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 9:55 PM

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25

Chris and Team,

I am very happy with you crack-down on this nonsense. I believe it will help your site. I’ve met so many of the members here by email, and I must say you have some “stand-up” superstars, I mean really “Quality Individuals” and they are REAL, sincere, caring, and serious about their businesses, reputations, and they are using their real names, and do not have a bunch of nonsense trinkets or online garbage they are peddling. They are not selling hype, or junk, they are promoting their businesses the proper way.

If I was still running my franchise company, these are the people that I’d choose as my vendors, they are the people who’d I’d trust, because they are in it for the right reasons and long-term. I really am glad to see what you are doing because, these people are great-people and they are really trying.

Many businesses have suffered in this recession, many small businesses, coaches, consultants, service companies, small product companies have turned to EzineArticles, because quite frankly its the very best there is bar none. And, I believe they can carry your site to the next level and help you stand out in the crowd. That’s where EzineArticles belongs, at the top of the pyramid, and in the leadership role.

I love EzineArticles and I want it to be the best, and if that upsets some folks who are willing to take short-cuts with AI Artificial Intelligent Derivative Articles, or post PLR (albeit ever so slightly modified) content, then that’s just the way it needs to be. After all, anyone who truly wants to join the best, will have to pony up a little and create the content that the readership is looking for.

Now, I realize that there is also a dichotomy here because the dummying down of the average online user is looking for nothing more than “quicky style” articles, and there might be a place for that. But even short and sweat (semi-thin) content needs to be done with care and consideration, and that is clearly not happening in a number of cases (ie. male member enhancement content, which is the example we use in taking about these things – ha ha ha). …But… even with the reality of Internet viewers who are okay with such content, it’s probably not okay for EzineArticles, or what you’ve started here.

EzineArticles is so much more, so much greater, it is something to be proud of and it is the best. I was once a member of a community service club and out motto was; “Expect only the best, work for only the best, and be only the best,” well, that’s why I am here, and why I believe you have so many great members who are currently being over-shadowed by run-away thin articles.

Still, if you started today, and fixed this issue as you are now, I believe that even those “thinnies” would come back to the table and increase the work they produce, spend more time, or money to do that, because they know who is best, that is why they are here after all. And for those who write great articles, all those wonderful folks I’ve mentioned above, I bet they also will feel more inclinded to write more articles than ever before and pay the low price of $19.95 for a premium membership, once you’ve looked over at least 50 of their articles and found them all to be at or above your high-standards.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on this, and I’ve thought about it a lot for a long time, as I’ve also noted the changes over the last 18 months or so.

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 10:21 PM

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26
Willox Perez writes:

That is what makes you the best and being the best requires making the difficult but right decision :) Keep up the good work guys. It is for the benefit of everyone!

Comment provided October 20, 2009 at 11:36 PM

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27
Zack Lim writes:

Hi Chris,

It is good know that your team is going to do more things to make EzineArticles better than before. I agree with the points that you have listed on the blog post.

I will be on the same boat with you and your team :)

Zack

Comment provided October 21, 2009 at 1:52 AM

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28
Rebecca writes:

You know what would be really good: a star rating system for authors.

The best authors are rated 5 stars, and down from there.
The rating could be based on a number of different factors including quality, quantity (to an extent), article views, # published, resource box CTR etc etc.

If the system was in place and worked well, without encouraging spam, then it would encourage people to attain quality.

Comment provided October 21, 2009 at 2:49 AM

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Rating systems are easily faked…and even though our current rating system does have some spam protection built-in, it’s not enough to be reliable.

In addition, here’s another major reason why we can’t use the star rating system: End users often rate an article based on how they feel about the TOPIC, not the quality of the article or the quality of the author. Example: If you’re against Obama, you might rate a “pro-Obama” article as a single star, even if the article was a high quality one.

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Rebecca writes:

I didnt mean a rating system that relies on the reader.
I meant one that depends on factors within your end – ie quality of articles written and other statistical factors – not how the articles are rated by users.

In other words, a “trust” rating that is determined by you.

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I’ve been thinking about this concept of your Rebecca since you mentioned it, and trying to determine the metric to use. My thoughts are if it was a number of components that went into it, it would not discriminate those who are foreign writers, since the list of where these articles come from is highly dispersed around the globe. It really wouldn’t be a bad idea.

The editors could decide after the first fifty articles otherwise the author would simply have a no-rating yet. And once rated the author could re-apply for a new rating based on the following 100 articles if they wanted too, with the chance to be upgraded or even unfortunately downgraded.

Any thoughts on something of that nature?

Still, it seems to be the titles that bring people into the site from the search engines so, in reality even if an author was low-rated, they still brought the reader in, and if the writer was too low-rated then the reader would click-out sooner?

Another issue, an unfortunate one is that Good Titles with bad articles actually produce more income in AdSense revenue perhaps, because the reader didn’t find what they were looking for so they click on an Ad to leave or click on a catchy AdSense Ad title. Thus, revenue is generated either way.

Of course, this is a problem because that reader may never come back to EzineArticles to read a good article in the future if they recognize EzineArticles to have crappy articles.

The rating system that you propose by the Editors here, might cause many less-than-decent authors to not participate, which is a good thing, as they detract from the site’s reputation. Any thoughts on my comments, I think this is an interesting concept you have here.

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Rebecca writes:

I think if a large number of factors went into the rating scheme, then it would cancel out only one factor dominating someone’s rating – eg their # of article views. And therefore it would minimize the risk of anyone gaming the system.

Consider it a much scaled down, and much less complicated version of Google’s page rank for websites… now there’s a challenge for Chris ;)

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Yes, this makes sense. I know today we have membership levels, it would be like that only on a scale of 1-100 only using 1-10 scale with decimal points rating. Is this what you are thinking?

It could be based on the editors review of a handful of their first 50-articles. Spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, informational content, value to reader, length, number of article views during the period of let’s say one month averaging over the number of articles. It would be a small form on a clip board or online and the reviewer could do it in about 10-15 minutes by just quickly reading, scanning and observing. Also go visit the websites of the links involved looking for excessive hype, splash pages, relevance, etc.

I mean this wouldn’t be that hard to do really. Is this kind of what you are thinking here?

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Rebecca writes:

Something like that – I havent really thought about it in detail because Chris has mentioned that it would take quite a lot of resources to get something like that going and importantly, to program it so spammers don’t game it.

Ultimately, top writers could eventually get priviliges like super fast approval times etc etc, but with a catch – it should take ALOT to become a top 10/10 author.

Well thats my idea, I wont hold my breath waiting for it to happen :P

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Yes, I see now where you are thinking, and my thought was to solve the productivity and time issue would be only to rate those EzineArticle authors with 50 or more articles, interestingly enough, I have been to all the websites and author pages of every author here on the top three pages just to get ideas about how to improve my own article quality and efficiency, also to look at other perspectives and to learn things. I am amazed at the level of expertise some of the authors here have, unbelievable real-world long-term industry experience, they are so worthy, and deserve not to be drown out in their categories, I sure wish we could somehow figure out a way to have these “top rated” authors in each category, perhaps a link to an additional page with the top 20 by your rating system in each. That would allow for both marketers and superstars of humanity and industry equal chance since there are a lot of different goals being achieved here with authors who think a lot differently about what they are doing. Your rating system would also help people that use this directory to “get information” so that would be nice a nice tool.

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29
Jan Bear writes:

Way to protect the brand, folks. If you don’t have readers, the site means nothing for anybody. And if the good stuff is so buried in slop that nobody can find it, then everybody loses.

Tough choices, but congratulations on having the courage to make them.

And that’s even if I’m among those not making the cut.

Comment provided October 21, 2009 at 3:59 AM

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Jan, thank you for saying in so little words what it took me 600 words to say! You are right.

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30
Ann Musico writes:

I really appreciate the quality and integrity your post and the site demonstrates. In all honesty, I also am not sure what derivative content is and I am assuming that’s a good thing as well. I appreciate your efforts to maintain a quality site and I applaud your honesty and openness in sharing these issues with us all.

Comment provided October 21, 2009 at 5:52 AM

[Reply]

Yes, Ann you are right, it is a very good thing you don’t have to know what that is, by the way, I like your style and I am going to subscribe to your articles here.

[Reply]

31
Ryan writes:

Thank-you. Thank-you. I’m hoping that I won’t see an article on the first page of recently published articles an article that was like the one I saw about 2 months ago.
It was an article about Las Vegas that said the same exact thing 4 different ways in 4 paragraphs.

P.S. – What happens when someone uses 5 words for their anchor text in the resource box when your Author’s TOS states you can only use 3? Are they slipups from your editors?

Comment provided October 21, 2009 at 11:59 AM

[Reply]

Ryan,

Up to 5 words are allowed in anchored text link ONLY when the article is really high quality. The guidelines allow only 3, but our Editors have the freedom to allow up to 5 if they can prove it was a high value article.

Also note that the 3 word anchored text rule didn’t go into effect until May 20th 2008.

[Reply]

Ryan writes:

So trying for a 5 word anchor text (long tail keyword) can be a clue as to whether or not your editors deem the articles you write are in fact quality articles?

[Reply]

It would tell us that you may care more about SEO than writing a high quality article.

[Reply]

Ryan writes:

Personally, i have tried but I could never write an article that followed the internet marketer mantra of keywords and long tail keywords. My writing was so disjointed that I gave up. I also couldn’t use an article spinner because I use a Mac and I won’t put a Microsoft product on it for something that hasn’t yet convinced me that it works. Some of the examples that they’ve shown in their videos were so stupid.

With regards to saying that I may care more about SEO than writing a high quality article: I haven’t even tried to use a 5 word anchor text since the last time I tried. What I meant was that it was a clue to the quality of my article. As it stands now you have no feedback whatsoever as to the quality of articles submitted.

Now a rating system may be faked if it were made available to everyone but for those who aspire to write better articles it might be helpful if the editor could give us this feedback when accepting an article. This would be private between the author and the editor. I would also make it clear that it would be arbitrary and there would be no recourse to change it. This also would not have an effect on future article submissions. I just want some kind of feedback so that I can gauge my progress.

[Reply]

32
Ethan writes:

Chris, and team:

Re: “In the past, we’ve grandfathered existing articles in when new quality levels are set, except when a live article is edited, today’s standard is applied to that content. That means we would typically have allowed old articles that would no longer be accepted with today’s standard, to remain live in the site. We’ve reached a point where we can no longer allow that to happen.”

It’s problematic to expect article authors to *retroactively* go back through hundreds of articles submitted in good faith that were reviewed by a human editor and approved. Think about that for a moment — every article that’s “live” on the EzineArticles system was reviewed by an actual person, in addition to whatever automated content filters are in place.

You’re asking authors to comb through articles that have already been submitted in an effort to make them conform to rules that are constantly changing, somewhat arbitrary, and subject to being confusion — so confusing, in fact, that your *OWN* paid staff members once deemed such content as acceptable.

Guess how I create my articles? I use a speech recognition software and “talk” about my topics. I’m sure a lot of other people do this too. You’ve got to have a system in place that gives authors the confidence of knowing that when an article is submitted and accepted, that it’s “accepted” — not subject to having to be reviewed 3, 6, or even 12 months later because the rules changed. Under that type of *retroactive* system, NO article is safe, NO author will be spared… you’re robbing authors of a degree of certainty that they need to continue having confidence in their EzineArticles submissions.

I’m 100% committed to following the letter and the spirit of the rules, but you’re introducing a variable that casts a shadow of doubt.

Tighten up the front door — make it bulletproof and exceptionally hard for articles to be accepted — fine! But once an article is accepted, it’s EXTREMELY frustrating to have this lingering cloud hanging over one’s head — wondering if we’ll be asked to review all of our articles and make them more “unique” or “meaningful” or whatever nebulous standard is being promoted. How can we really know what EzineArticles wants when the article passed the content filters and also was approved by a human editor?

Please reconsider the *retroactive* element of what you’re proposing.

Respectfully,
Ethan

Comment provided October 21, 2009 at 12:15 PM

[Reply]

Christopher M. Knight writes:

Ethan,

Since day one, the only thing that was ever said about how long you could expect an article to remain live was 6 months.

Obviously it’s in our best interests to let all high quality articles to remain live as long as possible.

It’s true: Members who are suspended are often asked to comb through their articles and manually remove specific types of articles before we may reconsider reinstatement.

I keep hearing the disappointment that an article our own staff accepted is no longer acceptable. I can see how this is very frustrating for our members… Every day we become smarter than we were the day before. Most of the recent issues were very difficult for humans to pick up on and are requiring software solutions that we’re investing heavily in.

Rhetorical: If a person games our system on purpose and plays by our rules of the day, surely they should not be surprised when the rules change and their articles disappeared because their intent was to game the system. They played the game. We changed the game. This isn’t something new. It changes constantly.

I think it’s great that you use audio to create your articles. :-)

The authors who can live in certainty are the ones who produce original high value, high quality exclusive rights articles.

Take any short-cuts around that and it shouldn’t be a surprise to have uncertainty about how long an accepted article will remain.

[Reply]

33
Tristan Perry writes:

As I said on the other article, congratulations on being so unprofessional.

These sorts of comments should not be openly bragged about, especially mentioning a very private/sensitive conversation you had with one of your members.

As before, I’m all for EzineArticles cutting down on the rubbish articles. But I’m not happy that EzineArticles think they can go around making unprofessional statements (and unfounded statements; e.g. your .info comment)

You are a private site so fair enough, I just think that some of these statements are a bit “bully”-esque.

Comment provided October 21, 2009 at 1:32 PM

[Reply]

Gosh, that is an interesting way to look at it. But I see it differently. You see, exposing a bribe, cheater, or steroid user, jury tamperer, or corrupt politician isn’t really unprofessional, it is more like Transparency, something that we all are for. In this case, someone broke the rules, was kicked off, re-applied under a false name or under their own name hoping no one would notice. Thus being disreputable, then after caught they said,

“Oh, well, you caught me didn’t you, but hey, we are all professionals here (wink, wink), suppose I paid you, hmm, let’s say $36,000 to look the other way? You see, it’s already costing me nearly $100 per day: $2 to buy articles from India and then I have to run them through my derivative AI software to make them into 5-20 articles each, then I have to pay two people to sit at a desk, sign in under different names and post all these g-darn articles. So, let me just pay you the $36,000 per year and send them to you in bulk and we both make money, okay (wink, wink) and since the rules don’t apply to me, where do I mail the check or which paypal account should I wire it too?”

Exposing that sort of non-sense is not unprofessional, it shows that EzineArticles cannot be bought off so cheap, so either the gentleman (loosely used) better raise the price substantially, or buy the company, if not, he needs to take a hike. And it looks like EzineArticles, Chris Knight, has chosen the high-road here and his staff puked at the whole idea, personally, it just goes to show you, that cheaters will do anything.

We have cheaters in government, politics, sports, business, NGOs, community non-profit groups, academia, science, military, police, legal profession, judicial system, and it is a real problem with kids cheating in school, as that is where it seems to begin. Deception, and cheating are human traits unfortunately, but ones we can do without. That’s how I see it, and EzineArticles has spoken, and we will see if their words are indeed followed by action, I believe they will be.

[Reply]

Thanks Lance.

Our days here internally are consumed for the past several months with stopping certain types of articles and it’s taken us off our path to truly help ideal EzineArticles expert authors to advance. More tough decisions must be made so we can make the gray areas more black/white and move into happier/positive blog posts designed to help people convert their expertise into [media] exposure and high-value traffic back to their website (original core mission).

[Reply]

34
angelas writes:

I am in favor of trying to level the playing field a little. I see the same author with thousands…no lie….of the same articles. And there is no way you can talk about a purple striped female cow a thousand ways with each one being unique.

However, even though I do write all my own article, no spinning, no outsourcing, I have been told that my articles are not up to snuff. And I spend hours researching on my topic.

So, as far as the line “If you’ve written original articles from your head and didn’t use any software article rewriter, you should have nothing to worry about.” I will have to beg the differ.

Comment provided October 21, 2009 at 2:09 PM

[Reply]

I’ll clarify:

We’re seeking a meatier quality article and not one purely designed to attract a click.

Many write with only that single purpose in mind…and they do so because it works…but often at the cost of quality and therefore we’re at odds with that type of article.

Generalization: It’s ok to have an end-goal to attract a click with your articles, but if you’re skimming the 250-399 word count range with content that offers very little in real unique tips or value… this is where the challenge is.

[Reply]

35
terryweber writes:

All you have to do in EzinesArticles.com to get the attention (clicks) of your audience (your readers) is use your unique, God-given ability to write the very best and most creative, original articles you can. Your aim should be to “come alongside” your reader and in your own small way help the reader of your article(s): learn, understand, or be entertained.

Readers who visit EzineArticles.com want to feel the time spent reading your thoughts (articles) is time well spent and perhaps even life changing for them.

You need to understand, what you write has a way of demonstrating to your readers how much you care about them. They will sort of “read between the lines” and then appreciate that you cared enough about them to spend your valuable time and talent to share your wisdom with as many people as you can here – in EzinesArticles.com.

Comment provided October 21, 2009 at 3:30 PM

[Reply]

WELL SAID! I concur.

[Reply]

36
Bobby Stiawan writes:

Hi! I’m Bobby. I’m from Indonesia. I’m a new comer on online business. My experienced is on website building. I’m very interesting on “Make Money Online” topic’s.

I just joined into EzineArticles a hours ago. At this time, I must turn around to learn much here from others article to research “How To Write A Good Targeted Market” articles.

I really need more support from all Senior Members.

I’m very appreciated for every advice from you all. Thanking you.

Warmest regards,

Bobby Stiawan

Comment provided October 22, 2009 at 1:04 AM

[Reply]

Bobby, welcome from Indonesia, I think it is just so cool that we can communicate long distance this way, and I bet you find EzineArticles a great place to post your articles. Good to meet you. Email me if you would like to chat.

[Reply]

37
Todd Mac writes:

Is there REALLY that much to write about that is new and fresh. Type in a few keywords and I would bet you would always find some articles on it. What a tough job to read articles all day and say “wow” I never heard/read that before. How many new tips on dating, getting your ex back, how to grow great vegetables, how to make money online, how to cure what ever, do you need?

Comment provided October 22, 2009 at 1:33 AM

[Reply]

Lance Winslow writes:

Good question Todd, but if you want my Ex you can have her? Ha ha ha.

[Reply]

38
Dave Starr writes:

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I write acouple articles here, to help inform folks and help them find my site. Nothing earthshaking, but it works. However I haven’t written in ages now because ezinesrticles has been virtually taken over by the “put up anything” “bum marketing” SEO crowd. I know you guys have worked diligently, but you’ve been fighting a losing battle.

I applaud you taking proactive quality steps and if they actually curb some of the “Article Marketing” spam, I might even start writing again. Thanks.

Comment provided October 22, 2009 at 2:06 AM

[Reply]

39

I only write my articles, and I never used any software to write them. They make no sense anyway.

I admit that I used short articles these days, so it’s time to give more meat.

Franck

Comment provided October 22, 2009 at 8:04 AM

[Reply]

40
June writes:

Right on. This has always been the best directory and it is good to hear that the weeds will be pulled from of the garden.

Comment provided October 22, 2009 at 8:23 AM

[Reply]

41
Herman writes:

Hi Chris,

I sometimes add a uniquely written article to my blog first then submit it to EzineArticles or vice-versa to provide content for both types of visitors however your overzealous editors sometimes suspend my account because they think I’m not the original author..they obviously didn’t check the about page on my blog.

Could you please correct this and unsuspend my account.

Thanks for providing a great service.

Comment provided October 22, 2009 at 8:47 AM

[Reply]

42
Matt Couch writes:

Hi Chris:

I appreciate your stance on articles requiring to be 100% unique. I write on many financial topics and hold a B.S. in Finance from a major institution. Thus, to me, writing on these topics is most interesting. I tend to write on insurance and debt because I am a seasoned vet academically in these subjects.

Thanks for your positive feedback :)

Comment provided October 22, 2009 at 8:56 AM

[Reply]

43
M Petrone writes:

I for one welcome any changes which will make it “harder” for spam articles to be submitted. I have written hundreds of articles, all by hand, and am devastated when I see one of my articles rewritten and submitted to EzineArticles…..

Good Move Guys!
-M Petrone

Comment provided October 22, 2009 at 9:43 AM

[Reply]

Right On, Right on, the votes are coming in loud and clear now, I can sure see by those that there are others who are irked by the “frankenstein” article derivative article peddlers!

[Reply]

44

Chris,

Thank you and all the team for taking this courageous stand which at first may diminish your earnings.

Writing original articles are not difficult just time consuming. I either write about a topic I know a lot about or do research first and then write in my own words, in my own style.

By getting rid of spammy articles you make EzineArticles more valuable for the writers as well as the users of the articles.

Javad

Comment provided October 22, 2009 at 11:06 AM

[Reply]

45
Mike writes:

Now come along, children, come along. I’ve never heard such wingeing and whining in my life. Mr. Knight and the editorial team have decided to tighten up the rules of the game. Even to someone mentally challenged, this must mean better content for the readers and a kick in the pants for us article writers to provide better content. If you write good articles, they’ll be accepted. If you write rubbish, they won’t be. If you have one thrown back at you from time to time, and it happens to all of us on occasion, then accept the fact and learn from it.
So for goodness sake, act like adults and concentrate on writing good articles,

Mike

Comment provided October 22, 2009 at 11:14 AM

[Reply]

46
C.A. Perez writes:

Chris and fellow authors,
I think there is a lack of agreement on assumptions and definitions in this thread.
Before I comment, allow me to state my assumptions:

An author writes for many and varied reasons, some altruistic, some selfish, some a combination. He writes to express himself, to educate, to make money (earn a living), to convince, etc. In the end, either he submits his work for publication or he locks it up in drawer. By definition, the latter can hardly be called an author, except maybe posthumously.

In any case, the author is compensated in money or some other non-monetary gratification. A publisher accepts and publishes an authors’ work for the same reasons that the author writes. He chooses and/or rejects the authors’ work based on self-serving criteria, as does the author submit his work. The criteria for publication vary from publisher to publisher.

The criteria obviously depend on the publishers’ mission statement. Nevertheless, unless the publishers’ assets are unlimited, the publishers’ overriding concern is profit, profit to continue publishing and to make a living.

That is not a bad thing. It is just a fact. I have met many poor authors and I have yet to meet a poor publisher. Many poor authors have altruistic mission statements, consciously or unconsciously.

Just as a SCI-FI author would be foolish to submit his work to a home and garden publisher, so would such a publisher be foolish to accept it. The publishers’ mission statement and policy dictates what is accepted and rejected based on the publishers’ assessment of profitability.

I believe these assumptions are valid online and offline. The only difference that I see is that the online publisher delivers no hard copy to the public. The author receives no up front compensation for his work.

The publishers’ responsibilities to the author are to state, outline, or dictate his mission statement or policy. The authors’ responsibility is to determine if his work fits the publishers’ criteria. If it is mutually beneficial, then both profit. If it is not, then the publisher rejects the authors’ work or the author finds another publisher much like in the offline world.

This whole issue is complicated by the marriage between marketing and article writing. Marketing and writing are not necessarily mutually exclusive. All authors and publishers need both marketing and writing to exist. I am not referring to copywriting. To me that is another form of writing. Copywriting is advertising. It is not article writing.

So what is the emphasis and who determines the emphasis between writing and marketing? Both, the publisher and the author make that determination by choosing to participate in one another’s mission statement.

So what’s the problem? If the EzineArticles directory sets certain policy, either I adhere to it or I find another directory.

Looks simple to me and certainly no different from my experience in the offline world.

Carlos

Comment provided October 22, 2009 at 11:47 AM

[Reply]

Absolutely Carlos.

And since it appears that this “electronic-publisher” as you have stated, appears not to want articles that are PLR content, derivative articles created from software, or re-written content; or articles which are too thin in nature, with no value to the reader, as per their metric [publisher rules] then the article writers who do not want to play cards must go sit a some else’s table.

Well said, and philosophically that’s all it is.

*Perhaps the only issue would be those who feel the rules had changed on them mid-game, after they’d already sat down, placed bets, and cards delt. For those players one could say that their concerns should be addressed after the current game is over, and prior to playing another hand.

Which seems to be the only hang up with certain players who feel slighted, even though in the end it is steal a game under the under the roof of the house, who has been known to throw someone’s butt out for cheating. In old west, they just used a six-shooter. And this game not in the old west, but the modern era of the digital age.

So, I enjoyed your comments. I am with you on that Carlos.

[Reply]

47
Ryan writes:

Chris,
I hope this thread is not dead yet! At the risk of sounding confrontational I don’t mean to be.
I’ve only been submitting article for about a year and only recently have become serious about it. I learn something new everyday and the traffic or lack of it from your directory has been a learning experience. What I have noticed is when I look for the top author’s in an category the way it is presented is the authors are listed by how many articles they have approved at EZA’s. Now, I been through a number of top author’s lists in a few categories and invariably I find some authors either don’t have english as their native language (it’s obvious) or other authors who have outsourced articles from people who don’t have english as their native language (also obvious).
How about having another page where the top authors listed in each category is the top read author in that category? I looked all over your web site for such data and the only thing I find is in the middle of the stack of links under each article was for most read in the last 90 days. It would be so much more useful to me and other authors to know who really are the “top authors” and not the “top submitters”. Please consider having this data congregated in one spot for each category.

Comment provided October 22, 2009 at 12:20 PM

[Reply]

Will consider it Ryan.

Unfortunately, all of the top authors would be gamed and gamed hard by those who would try to replicate their works…causing us to receive more articles that say nothing new.

I do agree that sheer quantity of articles alone is not enough of a quality indicator for our top authors by quantity in each category.

[Reply]

Ryan writes:

I would love to see two columns side by side even on the top authors page. One for how many articles and the other for a score that relates to average views per article. There’d be no gaming involved. Take mine for instance: I have 30 articles with 6045 views.

I don’t know where I would fall in the top articles but I would have a score of (6045/30) which would be 201.5 and someone who had 15000 articles and only 23000 readers would have a score of 1.53. I understand that as time goes on and when a person stops submitting that person will gain a little on his/her score but that would be acceptable.

The other caveat would be what Lance has said about the search engines bringing people to their article because of keywords etc. bringing the score up. When I’m reading other authors works I tend to read more of them if I like them – or I tend to read more of them if I want to figure out what makes people want to read their articles.

If I go to the top authors in a category I scan down the list for the teasers. It’s amazing to see some there only because they’ve written hundreds of articles yet the teasers puzzle me because I know that english is not their first language and I wonder why they are on a top list of anything.

When your “top list” reflects a score of how many readers come to view their articles then I and many other serious article writers would probably find it more useful.

Compare both lists side by side and see which authors will gain the most credibility and you will plainly see who are “gaming the top authors list” now.

[Reply]

Lance Winslow writes:

Ryan,

I was thinking about what you said and so I went to divide by articles by the articles views and came up with this; 8 500 000 / 19 000 = 447.368421

But then I was thinking, well that’s kind of unfair, because I’d been posting articles since 2005 and my articles have had more views simply because of been here longer. But than I thought that, someone who has been here a while might deserve a slightly higher rating anyway, I mean as far as ratings go. Why? Well, because longevity also says something about the authors. However, a new auther that had 200 average, well that’s pretty impressive, so, I wonder if there is a way to take the long-time people and boost them up a % for each 2-years of service? I pounded out a few articles this morning on Rebecca’s concept, once a decent metric was produced and I agree “article” views are important, so that should be a definite component, we really could have something.

Another thought was to have anyone who posted PLR content, or caught using derivative software would just have their pictures removed, thus, they wouldn’t show up in the top authors rankings at all or on the Expert Author’s page. There articles could stay on the site since they’ve already been placed into the search engine, so EzineArticles still gets the benefit, but they would hurt good authors like you, who deserve not to be overshadowed by 5000 articles all on the exact same topic which all look exactly the same; after all, where is the value in that?

[Reply]

Ryan,

Boy is that a good point. I was thinking maybe they need two sections;

“Top Submitters” like you said to replace “Top Authors” and another section which might be “Editors Top Picks or Top Authors”

Or

Leave the “Top Authors” and add another section of “Best Authors of Category”

This way even if someone only had 5-articles in a category, but did not make the 15 listed authors cut-off, they would get credit for their excellent articles. Although I know this adds work, it might be a thought. I see what you are driving at, and the same things irks me a little, when I’ve see what you describe.

One thing to remember too Ryan, is that most of the traffic really does come straight from search engines, so if you have picked your title well and your key words and content nicely, you can still do very well. Also one last point is that many articles here are picked up other places which adds links-2-you, and more traffic from those places whereas poorly written article regardless of why – spelling, punctuation, sentence structure or English as a second language [as in “you can really tell”] will not get picked up.

So, I’m always concerned with the number of times my article is replayed elsewhere, which ezines pick them up, and not merely by the number of hits here on this site, although they are definitely welcomed indeed. Email me for strategizing tactics and we can brain storm if you’d like – BTW that goes for anyone out there.

[Reply]

Ryan writes:

Lance,
Thanks for your input. I appreciate everything you write wherever you add your point of view including the WF. As for more work if you look up to my answer in reply to Chris this would only require a change in software for a new heading and a calculation where they already have the numbers.

[Reply]

Kate writes:

The view count is not always a good indiction of actual views as there are also problems with article marketers buying cheap traffic to game the system and increase their view count – which gets them on the ‘most viewed’ list. There are even article marketer ‘gurus’ teaching people how to hide the traffic source so that EzineArticles doesn’t catch them. It is very discouraging when you play by the rules while others are trying to game EzineArticles. I think that is the biggest issue right now with EzineArticles – and why there is so much garbage getting put on the site.

[Reply]

48

I’ve talked to my attorney, boy he’s a real SOB, but in business I guess what the hell, that’s the kind of lawyer you need. he only cares about winning and making money, you know how those darn Century City LA Westsiders are in the Entertainment Industry.

Anyway we got to talking over lunch yesterday about this Derivative Software and the folks selling it. It seems their advertisements make what a consumer agency might deem to be “unsubstantiated claims” of potential success. And since this article directory site and two others I know of are going to ban the use of it. And others have spent hours purging their directories of it, there is potential monetary damages involved here.

We are considering a Class Action Lawsuit Against the makers of the software for any harm, time lost in using it to create Frankenstein Articles. This is just exploratory right now, but all the pieces seem to be there, and the regulators might like to get some case law on the books with regards to online marketing.

You see, no one should be damaged financially for believing in this stuff, buying it and then finding all your articles have been deleted and you have been banned for using it, especially when someone promised you that if you bought it, it would “drastically” help your business.

Personally, I don’t use the stuff, I see it as cheating really, but that’s just my ethical standards set of my own accord, nevertheless many article marketers may be banned or purged from the online article directories after lots of hard work. So, they will lose money because of all this, even though they tell me when they bought it, that it was perfectly legitimate.

Too, consider that there are lots of parties to name in the lawsuit, my lawyer seemed to be salivating, I just hate it when they do that, but he is actually correct. There are many parties to be potentially named due to all the “sub-sellers” which also are now marketing this stuff with even more promises.

If you’d like to join in on such a lawsuit, let me know, if we have 100 or so people damaged, my attorney says we have an excellent case, and if he decides it’s worthy, he’ll be happy to do the rest with a little stipend to get it going, and at this point, I am upset enough over the whole thing to put some upfront capital into the game.

Comment provided October 23, 2009 at 5:26 AM

[Reply]

49
Mike writes:

This post is confusing. You talked about banning specific topics because they tend to attract spammy derivative articles. Then in the comments you say that you’re really just after derivative articles. Which is it?

Banning specific topics because they attract spammers is a bad precedent. Many of the authors contribute here because the topic has commercial value. Commercial value also attracts the spammers.

There’s no way to know if a topic that’s acceptable today will be banned tomorrow. Given enough time, every topic that has commercial value WILL be targeted by spammers. I’m a bit angry here, but solving the derivative article problem by nuking entire categories is lazy. Find a real solution that’s fair.

Comment provided October 23, 2009 at 11:02 AM

[Reply]

Mike,

Both.

It’s not a precedent.

We have 115,000 articles that mention “ACAI” berry. That’s just absurd as I’d have to hunt awfully hard to find 10 that provided me real value or was written by a real expert on the “Acai” berry.

There are legal issues involved as well that are guiding our decision making. Personally, I have nothing against Acai berry… tried it last month and thought it was cool; but there are patterns playing out here that will be addressed.

All,

If you’re what we call a “niche ambulance chaser”…then you already know by the definition of your business intention that you’re always at risk of being out of favor…so it should not come as a surprise when we act to stop certain types of content.

[Reply]

50
Lance Winslow writes:

I hope other article authors will back me up on a comment that needs to be made. Some topics no-matter how much commercial value they derive should not be allowed. After all, the Porn Online Industry is said to be billions per year, so it obviously has commercial value and yet, it would be disgusting to have that smut here on this site with legitimate folks trying very hard to run their companies and attract a solid clientele and maintain their reputations.

Like was “female clitoral piercings” really do not need to be included, and penis enlargement is just not the right mix really, I hope others would back me up on this, I do not want my articles near that stuff. No legitimate author would.

Additionally, there are articles that not only attract “spammer content” they attract regulators of false-advertising, and I doubt anyone wants to go down that path. Further, many of the types of topics such as Acai Berries and such are attracting folks that market them in such a way that they are making false statements, citing unsubstantiated medical health benefits, and are going to cause problems down the road.

Obviously, there is no way to avoid all the challenges, but mitigating some of them sure makes sense to me. Even thought I like Acai Berry juice as much as the Goji Berry “splash” supplement personally.

I feel really bad for poor EzineArticles, these guys are working hard, and I’ve had Forum Message boards with 10,000 plus posts on them just destroyed by “comment-spammers” with 1000s of hours of time spent creating and maintaining them. So, I am looking at these derivative articles, over-running the system here, ruining it, just like when comment-spammer hackers bust into a message .php forum board.

They’ve got to get control of this, but the article spammers are relentless, I mean it is amazing the lengths they will go to in order to sneak by, game the system, you tighten up a rule and they exploit another one. Meanwhile, EzineArticles is trying to run a business give value to their decent authors for them to benefit and thus provide good content.

Then there are those who come to this blog here, and are angry at EzineArticles, I guess what I’d say Mike, is that EzineArticles is trying to work through this thing, and we all need to be on-board otherwise we all go down together, so hard choices have to be made, no one likes that. And regarding some of the categories being cut, have you looked at some of those categories and all the spam articles in them? It’s amazing, I’ve never seen so many spam articles in my life, how ashame especially for those who had written 10 or so articles and actually sell those products on their websites along with other products.

If that you, if that is your case, I hear you and feel your pain. However, you have to admit that the abundance of nonsense spammy articles in the categories mentioned is literally insane, I mean it really is. Is it lazy to nuke those topics? Hard to say, the competition online for those keywords cannot be won by EzineArticles due to Inernet popularity, so their editors spend a gazillion hours posting wading through article spam to find legitimate articles somewhere within. This takes away from everything else they do, costing huge money, and hurting everyone else due to time.

They must stay efficient and if they go for NO Derivative content, they have to temporarily compete with all the other article directories, until one day Google says; “Bull, we’ve had enough, and de-lists all the directory article sites with spam articles,” then in the end EzineArticles wins, everyone else loses and we authors win, and it’s all good. That’s what’s coming, I am sure you kind of see it too, right?

Comment provided October 23, 2009 at 12:01 PM

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Mike writes:

Smut topics aren’t the only ones that have commercial value.

My particular niche is in the relationships area. Dating. I’ve put 1.5 years of work into my blog on the topic. Lots of work. I’ve spent many hours answering comments posted by real people asking me to help them with their particular personal problem. If I can’t give an answer I’ll research and find a site that does.

EzineArticles has been a wonderful resource for my business. Now it’s about to ban my niche topic.

Chris has often encouraged us to contribute articles on a big scale. Before I commit the time and labor, I need to know that the topic won’t eventually be over run by spammers and get banned by EzineArticles in the future.

Spammers don’t limit themselves to just acai berries and smut. There’s no invisible force field protecting anyone’s niche from getting overrun.

That is the issue for me. How will I know whether an acceptable topic today becomes unacceptable tomorrow. Do I have to specialize in pink elephants that play Mozart on the keyboard? If the topics are whittled down in response to the spammers, the spammers will shape the EzineArticles of the future.

To all ambitious entrepreneurs:

EzineArticles is about to give up the dating niche and many other legit niches because they are profitable and popular. Find a better way to deal with the spammers and you have an opportunity to fill the void left by EzineArticles.

[Reply]

Mike, I am glad you have a good sense of humor about it, and I hear what you are saying on the dating thing. Not sure what the legal issues are there, and I know it’s a “hot topic online” because you can’t even go to the Yahoo or MSN home page without seeing at least 3-5 articles on the topic.

I am sure glad I am not in the dating scene these days, looks crazy to me. I’ve noticed spammers in many topics too, other than the smut garbage or Acai Berries. I did see some consumer cases on a number of the popular topics lately. Fake cancer cures, fake diabetes cures, N1H1 cures?, all sorts of interesting stuff.

I remember the splogger problems I had once, and all the spammers on our Forums, after a while they tried to hit everything. Moving from category to category, is that what you are kind-of saying, that even if they eliminate one category, these guys will continue to another, and another leaving only the Flying Pink Elephants Dancing with Paris Hilton to Michael Jackson’s post mortem CD?

[Reply]

Mike,

We did not say we are going to ban your topic.

We’ve made no hard decisions yet and only hinted at the topics that are spam-heavy by derivative content.

We’re not giving up on the dating niche.

[Reply]

Yeah! Dating is SAVED – Just in time for Friday Night – Alert the Media, a catastrophe has been averted. God, I love this blog!!!! All that stress for nothinng. Poor Mike was getting pretty bummed out there. Glad to see Mike is saved!

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51
Mike writes:

Chris,

I thank you for your responsiveness.

Comment provided October 23, 2009 at 3:03 PM

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52
Ryan writes:

I am resigning myself from this thread because:
1. I get it. What people fail to understand is that Chris wants his business to thrive and not go the way of the dinosaur. He is not talking about getting rid of certain niches – he is talking about those niches having articles that have been spun over and over again from the same base articles without saying anything new. I don’t blame him. If you look at usenet if it’s still around you’ll know that the spammers have taken over and it’s become useless for the most part. I believe Chris wants to give value all around – to the article writers and the article consumer. And to do that he has to clean house. To do that he has to raise his standards once again. BTW, it is his house!
2. This thread could last forever. I don’t know how many times Chris has to say the same thing over and over again before people get it!

My .02 until the next blog post.

Comment provided October 23, 2009 at 3:10 PM

[Reply]

Thanks Ryan, I enjoyed the dialogue and it spured on some ideas for two more articles I wrote. Look forward to the discussion, discourse, dialogue, and debates on the next cool blog topic.

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C.A. Perez writes:

Amen! Amen!

Chris,

You do what you have to do. I think you are doing the right thing. If we don’t like it, we can go somewhere else. So far, I like it.

Lance,

I got two articles out of this discussion myself. And, they are already published!!

Everyone have a GREAT DAY,

Carlos

[Reply]

Carlos, good articles, as a matter of fact, I read a few of them, you know what? You are a helluva great writer. And you explain things so simply too. Excellent job! It pays to participate on these blogs, I am always able to get my time back by coming up with ideas to write about.

[Reply]

C.A. Perez writes:

Lance,

Thank you. Coming from an author of your stature, you have made my day, no, my week.

Carlos

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53
Philip Robinson writes:

As with many other good things on the web, spamming “can be the ruin of many a poor boy”. (The House Of The Rising Sun).
One point we all have to accept is that Chris Knight has all the right in the world, as well as the capability of doing so, to set up whatever rules he wants.

One thing has always come through loud and clear to me whenever I have read any of his articles or posts and that is he cares for his creation and business and will defend it come what may. I am sure most of us would.

From the point of view of an author, we may or not agree, but that is the nature of the beast.

My own position is that I have always had this little bug inside me that detests cheating – of any kind. And I do find article spinning to be cheating. I have tried a few times to spin an article, without much success as I found it absolutely boring and felt uncomfortable with that little voice inside. But that’s me.

Quality always comes at a price and we all recognize that in the world of article directories, EzineArticles is the top quality directory. To get there and to stay there demands a higher price which includes the changes that must be made as the market evolves.

This must, or so I would suggest, take into account your suppliers needs (i.e. authors), your clients needs (readers) and your distribution network (search engines). Your income generation process as well.

The weakest link is authors – the rule of demand based on need, and this becomes a point in favor for EzineArticles.

What I would hope is that the quality of the directory is not only maintained but increased. That whatever rules are set up don’t contradict the writing of original content – be Acia Berries or warts in uncomfortable places. Obviously there is a limit to how much you can say about any given subject, but there isn’t to the individual ways of saying it.

A good author/ezinearticle relationship from my point of view would be: I supply articles on a best effort basis and receive true feedback from the editors and this implies why’s and how to do better and what’s good and what’s bad. Finally the most important bit, a quick response, good or bad. I can live with rejection, but get frustrated with slow communications (waiting drives me nuts).

Part of the problem is that article marketing’s goal is to obtain ranking in the search engines – and it is a bit of a jungle there, not only the beasts and insects, but also the weeds and flora. If writing exceptionally good quality articles would provide exceptionally good results and spamming (and other relatives) brought bad results, authors would be all for it. (Not necessarily all marketeers).

In short – I am for making it tougher on the spammer and fairer for the author.

Comment provided October 23, 2009 at 4:43 PM

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54
M Petrone writes:

While im not against it, if you wanted to see articles/views to establish a quality author for a category that will quickly be useless. It would not be hard for someone to purchase, or redirect uninterested traffic to a few articles, drastically increasing their average view count per article

Also, it would need to be done on a category basis…. Im sure mortgage refinancing articles do not get as many views as an article about many other topics

Just my 2 cents…. I love EzineArticles either way!

Comment provided October 23, 2009 at 6:22 PM

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55
Philip Robinson writes:

I agree with M Petrone – aside from the fact that it would soon be useless and that different subjects hold different interests, there is also the attractor factor of an appealing title.

Comment provided October 23, 2009 at 7:32 PM

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56
Jim writes:

Excellent! How much can be usefully said about acai berries, dating, and so on. The topics have been utterly exhausted and trivialized. The problem is partly human greed and partly the rain of quantity entailed by machines. You are bringing to bear human insight to quality control. The effects cannot but be positive. Keep it up! There is an ocean of utter junk and repetitive material online, without speaking of machine-generated trash.

Comment provided October 24, 2009 at 5:25 PM

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57

I have a concern. I caught someone using direct re-worded phrases out of my articles, phrases that I use often, but have never seen in print and I read a lot. And this “author” is posting those articles here under their name. I think about the time someone is stealing content, spinning it, and re-posting it under their names, is about the time that things have gone too far. And, so we have a huge problem, and no human author is safe anymore from unethical thieves on this site. Until, something is done about this problem and those folks that are using this software illigitimately to hide plagiarism, or using this derivative software to cheat their way to the top, or to make money in this way, then we are allowing folks of low-moral character to run away with the show, steal all our hard work and ruin this website and this company we call EzineArticles. Refusal to do anything about it or attempting to dance with this devil for monied bribes will be the downfall. And if that is the way we let those cards fall, we are no better then the culprits.

Comment provided October 24, 2009 at 10:24 PM

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58
John writes:

Quality is better than Quanity.

Comment provided October 25, 2009 at 5:22 PM

[Reply]

John, if you have to choose one or the other, you could be right. However, if you didn’t have to choose, I’d sure recommend picking BOTH. :-)

[Reply]

John writes:

Hey Lance, I agree!

I personally think you are one of the few authors who have the ability to churn out high quality articles on a daily basis…

LOL I would right to wonder if your brain is turbocharged or something.

[Reply]

59
Sydney writes:

Chris:

There is a reason EzineArticles has a PR of 6 and is #1 on most people’s submission lists: You pay attention to the quality of your product while other article directories come and go. (It amazes me that there are sites that don’t even review submitted articles.)

Keep up the quality (and influence the entire Internet).

Most of us are here to promote our businesses but we can do that only with high-quality articles and if publishers know where to find them. For all of us, please keep up the good work!

Sydney

Comment provided October 25, 2009 at 9:16 PM

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60
Linda Meyer writes:

I have read the above comments with intense interest. My efforts to establish an affiliate marketing business are still in their infancy. I have written and submitted only one article so far. I did not copy it and it received little interest.
Where can I learn how to write a really great article. Where do I hunt for really original content? Everything seems to be rehashed about a million times. I don’t consider my self an expert on anything. I just want to be an affiliate marketer.
I have been unemployed for nearly four years and really could use some help.

Comment provided October 27, 2009 at 11:52 AM

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61
Marc writes:

Linda,

I’ll give you the same advice we give all newbie authors to help them get a great start in Article Marketing:
1. Read the Blog from start to finish.
2. Review all of the FREE training materials.
3. Read all of the Editorial Guidelines.
4. Write and submit. Write and submit. Write and submit. ;-)

Comment provided October 27, 2009 at 12:05 PM

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62
terryweber writes:

To Linda Meyer,
See my comments above and try to do what I say there. All good writing is hard work. Think first about what you want say to your reader that will: help, inform, teach, entertain, cause a smile, or help to solve one or more of his/her problems. You can do this by writing as if you are “in the reader’s shoes” or state of mind. It is not easy, but it can be done. You could instruct by saying (writing): “What if…” several times. Or “suppose” this or that. You can also explain an experience you’ve had (good or bad) and then explain how you handled the situation and suggest the same solution may be used by your reader. Just keep writing, never give up. Think and then write those thoughts down on paper, explain your point of view, do this every day…and you’ll get published!

Comment provided October 27, 2009 at 1:24 PM

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63
Sheila Atwood writes:

Quality counts!

After reading the above comments I have two questions.

My mentor is teaching article marketing. She has said we could post to our blog and then use that blog post as an article on EzineArticles. Is that true?

I can not figure out how to put the hyperlink in the resource box. How is that done?

Sheila

Comment provided October 27, 2009 at 3:51 PM

[Reply]

Sheila,

Yes, of course you can repackage your content:). Chris talks about this in his blog post from yesterday: http://blog.EzineArticles.com/2009/10/repackaging-articles-is-not-derivative-content.html

[Reply]

64
RC Wilson writes:

I’m new to EzineArticles, so new that most of the tightening up that has happened recently really affects my article submissions immediately! I’m glad that you’ve determined to separate the wheat from the chaff, it’s good fro new memebers like myself to know what the standards are and try to uphold those standards.

Comment provided October 28, 2009 at 9:41 PM

[Reply]

65
Ralph J Ramirez writes:

Greetings.. After reading mostly all of the commentaries and skimming thru the shorter ones, it appears that many agree with Mr. Knights position. It also appears that the task of editing and kicking out derivative submissions is going to be an ongoing forever process. There’s no getting around it. Anything that requires the human touch is always a painstaking task but that’s how you separate the quality ones from the quantity. It’s always going to be a big job.
I don’t envy Mr. Knights position, as the Internet grows the job is going to get bigger and bigger. The sooner this is resolved the better for all of us.
I myself feel that to write original freehand articles is so much better than to use article retrieving software, article spinners, and all the other tricks that people employ just to get over. I must admit in the beginning I struggled a lot and I still do. I too am also guilty of using some of these techniques and other people’s ideas etc, tid-bits here and there, but then the guilt started to bother me. What in the world am I doing? The writing isn’t the hard part, it’s the content. I always ask myself what can I say that these people don’t already know.
Since joining EzineArticles I have learned a great deal and I respect and appreciate a good article when I read one.
Higher standards challenge me. Although I have difficulty coming up with fresh ideas about the product I promote, I’ll research and wait until a good idea comes along before I submit.
It’s not easy and I certainly don’t want to repeat myself which often I find myself doing.
I believe by writing to a higher standard is good for you. If you want to market thru articles, we need to continue to improve our skills and really try to say something that everybody hasn’t already heard before.
Some of the EzineArticles guidelines are confusing to me. However, if I were Mr. Knight I would not accept any article that did not tell me something new. Now I know that is a harsh stand but for the love of peat, the other day I read an article ( no names ) but as a Doctor of such, the article was about 255 words, how a guy as such can dish out a line of re-hashed crap like that, is beyond me. That’s just one of your problems. But your right most of these people write to get higher rankings with Google, so they think, and what kills me their really not telling you any thing different nor are they teaching you anything you already don’t know. It’s like that with many topics I see on your list.
If EzineArticles were mine I would have on the submission page in large
RED CAPITAL LETTERS ”WARNING “if this article is not original or if its re-hashed derivative content information, it will not be accepted.” You will be allowed so many rejected submissions for this offense, then after so many, you’re done. I know you have a page with guidelines but it’s not on the submission page. If this were in front of them at that very moment. I would bet that many would think twice. Think of it as a speed limit sign on the highway, we all know we’re not so supposed to speed. Can you imagine if there weren’t any signs? More articles more rules.! Its inevitable.

Comment provided October 29, 2009 at 4:56 PM

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66
Norm writes:

I commend you in your effort and agree with what EzineArticles is trying to do. By taking out the trash and just leaving high value articles it becomes a higher quality site.

It will be interesting to see how the “marketing gurus” try to find a work around this.

Comment provided November 3, 2009 at 1:27 AM

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67
wan writes:

hi bro..can we see some of the derivitive or spunned articles that EzineArticles will not tolerate anymore after this ? examples ?

Comment provided November 16, 2009 at 6:35 AM

[Reply]

Sorry, no.

That’s like asking a search engine to show you examples of websites they won’t tolerate any more for spamming.

[Reply]

68
wan writes:

hmm.. i guess this will be a big challenge to those using BUM Marketing tecnique, but yes … we all must evolve to make the system runs better right ?

Comment provided November 17, 2009 at 7:09 AM

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69
Vonalda writes:

I applaud your efforts to maintain quality! With your volume, I know it must be a difficult task.

It’s everyone’s best interest, really, the marketers and the customers. If EzineArticles continued to accept spammy (derivative, as you call them) articles it seems only a matter of time before Google would slap EzineArticles! And without Google indexing EzineArticles, there’s not a lot of incentive to write them, is there?

We need to clean up our own acts, or, as history shows, regulation (or Google) will come in and clean it up for us.

As with the new FTC guidelines on testimonials – honest marketers working a legitimate business that actually care about his/her customers and are delivering value, have nothing to fear!

You are doing the right thing. Thank you.

Comment provided December 3, 2009 at 4:09 PM

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70
alan tan writes:

Put in some control so low-value content will be removed!

Comment provided January 11, 2010 at 4:06 AM

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71
Joe writes:

This is great news overall and I am not surprised EzineArticles are taking this stance. So many people submit low quality content so it will benefit those that actually put in some effort in the long run.

Comment provided February 14, 2010 at 5:17 AM

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72
Kristi Sayles writes:

I sell a software program that TEACHES you how to create a professional article for article marketing. It does NOT generate content. It does NOT spin articles into new articles. It walks you through the whole process of writing meaty, UNIQUE, professional articles that can make money. I’ve even shown it to Christopher Knight to prove to him that he should have NO problem with people using it to write articles for EzineArticles.com
I think the stricter rules are great.
The way I teach my students to use PLR articles is to
read at least three, put them away, and tell in their own voices, what they learned without looking back at the articles – mixed with their own knowledge and passion for the topic.
The new articles should not remotely resemble another article. They should be uniquely your own.

Comment provided February 22, 2010 at 7:23 PM

[Reply]

Tony Marriott writes:

Hi Kristi,

I’m certainly not knocking any process (person or software) that teaches people to write better articles.

I also admit that I use the ‘read three PLR articles and then write in your own words’ technique.

Unfortunately if you (or at least Chris) want to get rid of ‘derivative content’, especially in ‘high volume article’ subjects then this technique will surely just compound the problem.

Using the Acai example of 15,000 current articles I would be stunned if you could read 3 (or even 30) articles and come up with any new content.

Even if it’s written in the most extreme passion. The words may change but the content will still be the same, and that’s a definition of spun content.

[Reply]

Warwick writes:

Yep, derivative is derivative, whether AI spun, or human spun.

Do some research, develop a point of view, add something novel, and of value. I’ll read it, and thank you for it. Otherwise, I’ll pass it over and your aim of making a couple of bucks is lost in any case.

The problem with real value is that it takes real work.

It’s worth remembering that the Google listing model was developed to follow that of University research, particular academic paper citation. To get a PhD in a decent University, the emphasis is on new research, new findings, new results. If you rehash and regurgitate, at it’s worst it’s plagiarism, even at it’s cleverest, it ought be discerned as having no new value.

For the health of both systems – no new value – No PhD, no Google top ranking. All as it should be.

W

[Reply]

73
Ronald redito writes:

I have seen this coming since I saw those article spinner and rewriter flourished in the market last year. The site’s authority being the best article directory will be tainted if no one will take action.

Comment provided March 2, 2010 at 12:15 PM

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74
John Davis writes:

What I find hard to understand is that a derivative is an article that is rewritten from a previous work. I may be missing something here but there is only a limited number of ways of writing the same information. This means that some articles will appear to be derivatives of other articles. There by these new rules they will be rejected for no fault of the author. That is irrespective of the subject.
Spun articles are easy to spot as the verbs and adjectives don’t read correctly.
This will cause those that operate this way a headache but to the legitimate author it will cause much frustration.
If anyone wants proof of being able to show the same info in a limited number of ways try rewriting an article yourself to make it unique more than ten times. I am not supporting plagiarism just pointing out that two or more articles will be picked up as ‘similar’ through no fault of the author. This will upset the members.

Comment provided March 3, 2010 at 5:33 AM

[Reply]

75

John,

Actually, this is not how our anti-derivative system works.

We’re fine tuned into identifying software written articles while not rejecting human written content; but if you write 20 articles by hand that say nothing new… then this does not add value and I hope our systems catch that kind of rehashing.

Comment provided March 3, 2010 at 11:41 AM

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76
John Davis writes:

Understood now, thank you. If someone is daft enough to rewrite an article that says nothing and is bland they are creating problems. As for article spinners I do not like them. Leave that one there;O)

Comment provided March 3, 2010 at 2:03 PM

[Reply]

77

It is good know that your team is going to do more things to make EzineArticles better than before. I agree with the points that you have listed on the blog post.

Comment provided March 6, 2010 at 3:55 PM

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78
Warwick writes:

Well, I have EzineArticles in high spots in Google, and they are doing me some good, so I’m not about to bite the hand that feeds me (traffic).

Congrats to EzineArticles for having an quality drive whatever, most other articles directories sponsor junk.

My gut feel, having been on EzineArticles for a few years now, is that the quality even here has dropped discernibly. There are articles here which are nothing more than sales letters, although more elegantly couched than on other article directories. By my lights, a sales letter is still a sales letter and not an article.

By the same thinking (of mine), the earlier writer who teaches people to read three articles and then regurgitate those three into a fourth, is also not producing anything new, novel. or of actual value. It’s much harder to prove or catch as deriviative, but is still not much more than spamming the net.

Unless quality control is rigorous, everything eventually becomes spam as people turn to the short term money. Kudos to Chris, but it is a constant battle for a high ideal. Soon, people will be writing articles about buying blue velvet spangled dog collars, and will have millions of competitiors for even the longest of long-tail keywords.

W

Comment provided March 13, 2010 at 7:43 PM

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79
Skinderma Pro writes:

I think it is good that you have waited to get your system right so that you are only blocking low-value material. This will benefit everyone in the long term. Protecting the EzineArticles business is important for everyone… If Google removes you from their index because of low quality spammed junk, everyone suffers.

Comment provided April 7, 2010 at 2:52 AM

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80
Ryan writes:

I am really glad that this is taking place. It is sad to see when spammers use legit websites to clutter the internet. It is nice to see that some online marketers still have morals.

Keep up the good work!!!

Comment provided May 19, 2010 at 2:53 PM

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