There has been quite a debate recently on the eHow forums about buying articles to publish on eHow. One very vocal eHow member offered to buy articles from other eHow members, and ran a poll asking how others felt about buying and selling articles on eHow. He suggested that people who buy articles are investing in long-term residual income, and that those who sell them benefit by getting instant cash–a ‘win-win,’ in his book.

One of eHow’s greatest assets is its community spirit, and a move toward buying and selling articles was seen by many as a threat to that spirit. eHow was designed as a “people helping people” site, with writers helping and learning from each other. And in that respect, it has certainly succeeded for many, myself included.

Those who argued against buying articles to publish on eHow noted that an author should be able to stand behind his or her work. They also pointed out that it is difficult to know whether one is buying truly original content, and that the practice carries an inherent risk of unwittingly committing (or being accused of committing) plagiarism. After all, the only way to know for sure that your content is original is to write it yourself.

Another argument against buying articles for eHow is that it potentially allows the buyer to quickly grab desirable titles, making them unavailable in the future for eHow’s community of writers.  All valid points, yet the terms of use on eHow, and an earlier comment in the forums by Rich, one of eHow’s community managers, seemed to indicate that this was an acceptable practice.

The argument seems now to have been decided in favor of eHow’s community of writers by a post from Julie, eHow’s other community leader, earlier today. Julie said in part,

In order to publish on eHow, you must attest that you are the original author (not simply the copyright owner) of the piece of content you are publishing. Simply put, you sat down, formed your thoughts into words/sentences and completed the entire article on your own.  For those of you that have published material on eHow may remember that you must check a box next to the statement asserting that you are the author of the content before you are able to submit your article for publication.  If your article is flagged for plagiarism and you are not the original author of the work, your article will be removed…”

This statement was met with relief by many of the long-standing eHow members, and was an emotional boost for those who have been hanging in there during the past several weeks of technical glitches that continue to cause widespread publishing and earnings problems for all. Good call, eHow.

Now, if we can just get more of these direct answers to direct questions, such as whether US writers earn residuals on their articles used on eHow UK, and whether and when the technical issues will be resolved…

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