Going Through These Things Thrice
Time After Time
Those who have been on the Internet even for under four years, unless comatose, will see the same scams repeat themselves like cabbage.
No matter how one warns another, no matter how many articles are written, people continue to fall for the same trick.
Having been on Hubpages the better part of eleven years, the paradigms have been exposed in so many articles that there should be a category; 'Writing Sites That Rip Off Users", which would be quite busy.
What is so remarkable is that despite the warnings, despite the revelation of the basic pattern, in article after article, people will still tumble into the Scam.
Users who know nothing about the so-called writing site will tout it, defend it, make all sorts of 'guarantees' when they have absolutely no control over the site they are promoting.
It has happened so many times in the same way that one feels trapped in 'Groundhog Day.'
In the early 2000s, there were a slurry of online publishing sites. There were some that paid every month, whether one made 59c or $5.90, or $59.00.
One would always find some 'pimp' logging onto one of those legitimate sites, and inviting users to join another site.
They would post something like; "Hey! Join NAME It's a great site and I earned five times there what I earned here in one month!" and this would be followed by something like http://name.com/1234.
The number is, of course, their reference code; meaning they get paid for every warm body they drag in.
In those ancient days, a lot of people would type name.com into their browser to get an objective view of the site; and if they joined, it was on their own terms so the pimp got nothing.
Sure, some sites were legitimate, and many were not. Some were tottering on failure, and some were created as rip offs.
As bad as this is, what really put the bullet in the head of publishing sites was Google's attempt to destroy paying sites to promote their non-paying Knol.
As mentioned before, one learns of a 'new' publishing site via the introduction made by a user on a site one is a member of.
In a comment at the bottom of an article, for example, the commenter might post an 'invitation' to join another site.
Okay, shrug. One joins the new publishing site, signs the Agreement, (usually without reading it) and goes through whatever 'teething' period there is, and at some point realises it is a scam.
Posting; "I joined NAME and things seemed alright but then, suddenly I was attacked for no reason. I responded and my account was dropped from Writer to Member. On NAME, those who are only Members are not paid for their work. I have forty items on NAME and I can't even delete them."
Suddenly, like cockroaches exposed by the lifting of a rug, attacks are launched on the writer. Attack after Attack after Attack; each attacker insulting the writer and a few posting; "You Broke The Rules!"
Depending on how intelligent you are and your ability to reason, what will be evident, is ...
How would a mere user of a site know why another user was demoted?
There is no announcement; "Attention! We have banned One from posting...."
Normal people don't often make pronouncements about what they don't know.
Cockroaches will infest the comment section, attacking the writer, and touting the site as if ... or... As... They Are Being Paid.
There are people who for no logical reason, however, will Defend a writing site until they are ripped off. Then, they push into the discussion, only to be attacked by others who have not yet been ripped off.
Members of the public, reading the 'debates' might actually join the publishing site believing that they won't be ripped off because they won't break the rules.
The above image is of a 'Judas Goat'. The Goat leads the sheep to the slaughter house.
Many online sites have a handful of Judas Goats who go from site to site, touting the 'slaughter house', and bringing in writing sheep who will be ripped off.
Those Judas Goats, along with a few sheep, will labour to bring in as many warm bodies as they can.
The publishing site, when it is more scam than publishing adopts a particular Ponzi style which always works.
No matter how many times the Ponzi is discussed, no matter how many articles are written, people ALWAYS fall for the Ponzi.
How the Rip Off Works
There is an invitation from the 'satisfied' customer, Judas Goat.
"Join RIPWRITE! www.ripwrite.com/1234 You get paid for Everything! For Items you write! For Likes! Comments! It's a great site. I've been paid Four Times!"
Lamb sees this comment and joins, maybe using Judas Goat's number. Lamb posts and posts, and likes and comments, and reaches the 'redemption' in good time and is Paid!
For the basic tenet of a Ponzi is that Everyone is Paid the 1st Time.
This turns Lamb into a supporter of the site, a defender, and sometimes a Goat. Because if Lamb uses his/her code and brings in ten other users, Lamb will be paid again. If Lamb does not bring in other users. Lamb will NOT be paid that second time.
The owners of the site; in this case; RipWrite, gain more money for ads on their pages, because of their increasing base. The site which has one hundred visitors a day does not earn as much as one have one thousand, nor does the one having one thousand earn as much as those which have ten thousand hits every day.
The money earned is paid to every first time user. The remainder is divided between the owners and shills.
Those who have brought in no other users and/or who live in 3rd and 4th world countries are not paid.
Often, users who are not paid are told it is a glitch, that they will be paid, and so continue to write. The user who is not paid and complains in a public forum will be attacked by Goats and those who are 'always' paid.
If they can be identified, the Owner of the Site which ripped them off will throw them off claiming they have attacked the site, and 'legitimately' stealing their money.
As the site grows larger, more people are not paid. They complain, suffer the consequence until the site disappears and the Owners count the money.
Some sites will capture good work. The owners plagiarize it and publish it on other sites under the name of a dual. The plagiarized work is used to fool advertisers.
A new site begins, with One Hundred excellent posts! Yeah, all of them have been, stolen and plagiarized from the first site. The Goats resume their luring of warm bodies to the new site.
"Join NewWord! It's a Great Site! It pays for articles, it pays for comments!"
New Lambs enter NewWord. They are impressed with the great articles and post their own. That work replaces the plagiarized items so that within a month, those articles have been removed.
The Advertisers see the inrush of new members, see how many hits the site gets, and pays the owners.
The owners pay every one who has joined NewWord that first time, and then, over time, repeats the non-payment process.
What Do You Do?
Let us suppose you join a publishing site. You know nothing about the Owners, nothing about its policy. All you know is that it says it pays you 1c for every 6 views.
You write, you get views, comments, and you earn the redemption and are paid. All you can honestly say is that you were Paid Once.
You continue to write, and it seems more difficult to gain that redemption, so you should be alert that maybe you are writing for a rip off site. You don't know, but be aware.
You see an item on another site in which the writer claims not to have been paid, take it as a warning. Do NOT attack that person. This is because you don't know. You don't control the site. You don't know if that writer was ripped off or not. So stay out of it. You don't control the site. Do not become a Shill. Do not invite people onto a site you don't own. It is simple.
Sure, you can put up your code and bring people in... but be honest...and don't make assumptions.
If you belonged to a site for four months and were paid four times, then say that. No more. Or else you are responsible for other people being ripped off.