Anyone reading this is probably aware by now that eHow recently publicly confirmed it will not pay US writers for the ad revenue their cloned articles on the eHow UK site generate. And eHow said it will delete those article clones.

Fantastic. Now what?

Well, “now what” will probably not be determined in the forums. Member concerns have been brought to light, and eHow’s hand has been forced to some degree. EHow has been called out, and they have finally begun responding. That’s a start.

But friends are fighting with friends now, fingers are being pointed, and names are being called. What a shame for such a great community of collaborators to spend their time and energy hammering this into the ground.

So because I have had a hand in exposing the issues related to eHow’s UK site, I believe it is important to balance that by also stating my opinion that the eHow community of members is among the best on the Internet.

This blog is about earning a residual income by writing online. Spending unproductive time in forums is time that everyone could be applying toward writing and earning that residual income that, let’s face it, we need.

This blog is also about collaborating to advance the online writing community as a whole. Revealing business practices that are potentially harmful to this community is part of that mission, but wallowing in negativity is not.

So whether you are, have been, or want to be part of the great eHow community, please help to keep that spirit alive.

If you have made eHow aware of how their actions have hurt you and what you expect from them, you have helped to give eHow, Demand Media, and other user-generated content sites notice that writers will not accept unfair treatment.

Demand Media and eHow have finally answered our initial calls to action, so let’s take some time to observe whether and how they will honor their stated intentions.

Only eHow and Demand Media know what all the facts are here. Speculating and threatening will not help anyone at this point. So how about we all put this into perspective, take a step back, and remember what makes us so passionate about eHow.

It’s the community. The people. The ones who write to you privately when you don’t know what to do next, and tell you. The ones who have your back on the forum, and who comment on your blog.

EHow is the members who collaborate on the forums and on their own blogs to bring attention to the plight of a missing child, to try to bring her home and protect her with prayers.

EHow is the people who rally around those whose family members are sick or injured.

EHow is a community of people who show they care, time and again.

If you join eHow tomorrow as a new member, and you post on the forum that you need a little help getting started, other members will quickly offer their assistance. I guarantee it.

When I was new to eHow and I was discouraged because I had earned no money after writing several articles, one long-term member helped me to carefully analyze each of my articles and why they might not be earning money. Although the lack of earnings was later said to be a technical glitch, I learned valuable strategies from this member, and from others, that have improved my article writing significantly.

Here are some of the many positive actions I have seen promoted on the eHow forums and the eHow messaging system:

  • Keeping Lindsey Baum, a child missing for more than six months now, fresh in the public’s hearts and prayers.
  • Recruiting members to post holiday greetings to a child with cancer.
  • Throwing virtual holiday forum parties for the entire community.
  • Offering helpful, free tools, such as the Earnings Tracker by 17of26, and ebooks/guides by Desolator and David Sarokin.
  • Supporting members whose articles have been plagiarized by others.
  • Coordinating a joint entertainment venture based on a doll that travels from member to member, and whose exploits are documented in the forums and eHow’s official blog.
  • Rallying around a member whose child was badly injured in an accident, to help promote her articles on their own blogs.
  • Generously sharing resources, such as reviewing other residual income opportunities and tips for earning more money.

Some of eHow’s best and brightest are quietly posting their own thoughts on the Internet, asking for us all to remember that eHow is a great community. I vote for honoring that community spirit, respecting those whose opinions are different from our own, and encouraging and helping one another again.

Let’s let the eHow UK Clone Saga play itself out for awhile. Most of us have already lost potential income one way or another through this whole debacle, and we owe it to ourselves to focus on writing and on our families and friendships, while still keeping an eye on the situation.

I challenge everyone reading this to spend time you might have otherwise used posting to the eHow forums, to earn an extra $10 by writing online next week and then donating it to Haiti quake relief.

And I challenge you to thank your friends. Publicly. If you hurt a friend’s feelings, apologize. Save your eHow relationships as you would your articles.

Please, post your comments here about positive actions you have seen from the eHow community. Your email addresses will never be shared, and they don’t have to be addresses you normally use if you are concerned about that.

So who’s first? Dolly?

P.S. Read about one member’s experience with eHow Dolly here. I ran across this today, and it’s a great example of the eHow community spirit.

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