- Books, Literature, and Writing
What Happened to WebAnswers?
Don't Blame the Writers
The Need for Explanation--The writers on WebAnswers began asking Google AdSense and the management of WebAnswers about what was going on. This quandary peaked in October 2015 when it became difficult for anyone to gain access to the website.
Coincidentally, earnings for writers suddenly disappeared on October 1, 2015. Although by then, earnings had trickled down to a small fraction of what they used to be in the heyday of WebAnswers, when it was still managed by its original creators and owners, the writers still enjoyed the fellowship that came from helping people out, being acknowledged by fellow writers, and earning a few bucks a day.
The "is it down" website started to be consulted by writers on a daily basis to find out any information about why WebAnswers was down so often. People who had Facebook accounts were able to post comments on "is it down" that shed a little light on what was going on. Also, WebAnswers had one owner who generously communicated with the writers. That owner explained that a new server was being installed.
Patiently, the writers waited for the new server to operate correctly and get them back on track. But by mid-November 2015, that never happened. There were no earnings for writers from Google AdSense. The WebAnswers site was down most of the time. When it wasn't, it was hard to post answers and maneuver around the site.
Rumors Start Flying--This quandary, plus the fact that AdSense refused to tell the writers what was going on, led writers to start researching the Internet for information that they themselves could use to draw their own conclusions, because WebAnswers management also had become mute.
On the "is it down" site, WebAnswers writers discovered a posting that gave some of them a believable explanation, leading to the theory that Adsense had dropped WebAnswers, thereby making it impossible for writers to earn any money, which all depended on advertising placed next to the answers.
If AdSense, without explaining anything to the writers, really had severed relations with WebAnswers, this might explain what was going on. The posting on "is it down" suggested that WebAnswers had failed to make an adjustment to the website that AdSense requested, regarding a cookies requirement that was legally required in Europe and America.
There are other theories going around as well, connected with the other website owned by the owners of WebAnswers, called Huge Domains, which apparently accounts for 99% of all the owners' efforts, attention, and income, and which has stimulated angry comments on the Internet concerning violation of federal law, threatened class-action lawsuits, and charges of unfairness through attempts to monopolize allegedly trademarked domain names.
But these are just rumors. No one knows whom to blame. At least it's obvious that the writers did love WebAnswers and they for sure are not the ones at fault.
The Silent Treatment--When things go wrong, the best people who are at their best in a crisis, will try to resolve matters without blaming anyone. However, it's hard not to get mad when neither AdSense or WebAnswers management are responding to questions of the writers. AdSense is especially cold toward writers' attempts to find out what's going on, acting like it's a situation of confidentiality, almost like a lawyer-client relationship, or in this case, a more apt analogy might be psychiatrist-patient confidentiality.
Meanwhile, the fair selling price of WebAnswers, along with its Google page ranking, have plummeted. There are rumors that the site might be bought by writers. There's a dreamy hope that maybe it could be brought back to a level where more than one writer is capable of purchasing the website.
Since part of the problem all along has been the rift between owners who basically are business people looking for profit, and writers who are basically intellectuals looking for recognition, then hiring competent technical people who also are the rare breed who care about serious writing, might be the answer to getting the website back to where it was prior to 2011.
Little is known of the ancient history of WebAnswers back in those days. The site was founded in 2002 and grew to an incredible level of popularity not only due to the quality of writers it attracted, but also due to the respect Google AdSense had for the site.
But it was bought from the original owners who created it and managed it in such a way that Google respected the site. WebAnswers used to have a very high page ranking on word searches. This, in the business world, made it into a desirable site for advertisers, which in turn resulted in frequent monthly payouts of hundreds of dollars to the best writers.
Now, however, the tragedy is that writers who come from backgrounds in the professions, who are serious about the task of writing, are given the "silent treatment" by both WebAnswers and AdSense management. Thus, the task of reviving WebAnswers will have to await some stroke of luck to get it back on track.