An Open Letter to Arianna Huffington On the New Contributor Platform

Huffington Post has launched a new publishing platform. And for part of one day I was allowed, once again to publish my articles on single parenting. And then they discovered my post going viral and they killed my account. I’m still in some odd form of stasis. I’m still ON the platform, but I’m not able to load the platform. I’m guessing the company that admins the program doesn’t have an easy way to suppress authorised users. So today, when I try to load the contributor platform it goes into some broken load/reload sequence and never escapes until I quit the browser.

Here’s what that looks like:

If you go look, my new contributor page is still online: John McElhenney on The Huffington Post. You’ll notice the last four posts, if you try to load them will result in the following screen.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-1-54-49-pm

Okay, so what can be going on here? Why won’t the Huffington Post Blog Team, the divorce editor Brittany Wong, or Arianna herself answer my question about why I would be banned from publishing on the new contributor platform.

Well, the entire idea of “contributor” only holds together if you look at their community statement. Here’s the little part they put in about removing posts from the new platform.

We reserve our right to remove posts that abuse that spirit of community, such as hate speech, anything overtly commercial in nature and posts that we believe may be attempting to mislead the public in some way. There may be other times when we will remove a post that has been flagged by our community for other reasons, including matters of professionalism and taste. We hope and expect those times to be rare and we will not take these decisions lightly. But in building this community, we respect the right of its members to be vocal about their objections. When those objections arise, we will leverage the sound judgement of our editors to determine what is best for the spirit of the space we’re trying to create.

That’s all fine and dandy, but if there is no recourse, no way to ask “What happened?” then they have violated the true spirit of an open community. Apparently the blog team has oversight on the new platform. So if ONE of my posts was flagged, why were all four of them taken down? If I was given publishing credentials, why were they taken away within hours of my first post? If I had a successful post on The Huffington Post why would you suppress that post, especially if there were no clear violations of your trust agreement?

Dear Arianna,

I know you are no longer involved in the day-to-day execution of the Huffington Post. While I applaud your opening the new Contributor Platform, and even your grand gesture in the Statement of Community that surrounds and empowers the new system, I am sorry to say, the lack of transparency is death to openness. An open community means there are channels for communication when things go wrong. If your blog team never responds to a contributor and yet continues to suppress that contributor’s writing, isn’t that a violation of your own statement of community?

When you say “we will leverage the sound judgement of our editors to determine what is best for the spirit of the place we are trying to create” don’t you think that information should also be made public? If the blog team suppresses material, shouldn’t they also answer requests for information about why?

If the Huffington Post wants to create an open community bounded by ethics and moral inclusiveness, they should not also engage in hidden and unfounded suppression of valuable and reasonable material.

I am optimistic that you will answer my question about why four of my posts were accepted, published, and then suppressed in a matter of hours. I am also optimistic that you will reinstate my publishing privileges, as you so warmly welcomed me to the Huffington Post publishing family over three years ago.

Yours Respectfully,

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

Catch up on the entire Huffington Post story

Huffington Post’s New Contributor Platform

Here’s the statement of community from the New Huffington Post Contributor Platform.

Statement of Community

The Huffington Post’s Contributor Network is a forum for ideas, discussion and diverse viewpoints. We offer a state-of-the-art platform that can help you bring your work to one of the internet’s largest audiences.

Be interesting, be entertaining, be provocative, have a point of view – but do it with a great respect for the readers and writers who join you on these pages. The community we are working to build here is one where diverse, vibrant and original ideas are celebrated and elevated. We welcome posts that embody that free-speech ethos, even when those viewpoints differ from our own.

We reserve our right to remove posts that abuse that spirit of community, such as hate speech, anything overtly commercial in nature and and posts that we believe may be attempting to mislead the public in some way. There may be other times when we will remove a post that has been flagged by our community for other reasons, including matters of professionalism and taste. We hope and expect those times to be rare and we will not take these decisions lightly. But in building this community, we respect the right of its members to be vocal about their objections. When those objections arise, we will leverage the sound judgement of our editors to determine what is best for the spirit of the space we’re trying to create.

All good and fine until you cross some invisible boundary and are silenced without so much as a peep about why, how you can get reinstated, or what the fuck happened. For over a year now, The Huffington Post has allowed me to POST on their internal publishing platform, but then have refused to go live with any of my content. This is while 75 or so posts are live and gaining traffic for the site on my profile page. I still get traffic from The Huffington Post every day.

But then HuffPo moved to a new platform.screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-1-50-32-pm

And the Contributor Platform was born. And last week, I used my credentials in the form above and was promptly given access and publishing rights to once again go-live on The Huffington Post.

Here’s my new contributor page: John McElhenney on The Huffington Post

There’s only one problem. When you go to the first four posts…

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-1-54-49-pm

So my question is this. What happened the first time and why didn’t the blog team respond to my 10, or so, requests for further information? What happened this time and why was my account suspended just as one of my posts was generating significant traffic? I’ve asked Brittany Wong, my old Divorce editor, as well as the blogteam@huffingtonpost.com to explain what’s happened, and to help me correct the problems so I can get back to publishing on The Huffington Post. My guess is I’ve fallen into some “contributor” slush pile and they simply ignore all requests from these “former” contributors. But why wouldn’t they come out and say that?

The statement above gives them the right to take down anything that is found too offensive or commercial. But none of my posts were self serving.

It seems to me that someone on The Blog Team at the Huffington Post has suppressed my publishing rights. Then in jumping to the new contributor platform my credentials slipped through the cracks until that same someone noticed a post of mine going viral. Someone shut my posts off, all four of them, and they have never given me cause or reason for doing so. And in the spirit of community I would think that would be the least they could do. If you’re going to have a spirit of community, you need to be transparent about the rules and allow for questions. Then you answer the questions so the entire community can read them and abide by the updated marching orders. When the information is suppressed everyone suffers.

I’m going to continue to ask the “team” what’s up with my contributions. But I may eventually have to sue The Huffington Post to get an escalation that will get me an actual answer. But I don’t want an answer, I just want to have my publishing turned back on so I can add to my HuffPo archive. Doesn’t seem like too much to ask, in the spirit of community.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth

Catch up on the entire Huffington Post story

Huffington Post SNAFU, Again?

screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-5-59-40-am

981 in one hour. That was a big hour.

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-4-47-43-pm
my stats are still growing

Today was a great day. Today I logged into the old Huffington Post publishing platform and was given the opportunity to open a publishing account on the new platform. I jumped at the chance and spaced my four posts out over the morning. Putting one in each of my main categories. Single Parenting, Divorce, and Health. And everything looked great until after lunch.

At that time one of my posts started to take off. I was like a kid in a candy store. I was so excited I took this screencast video of my stats going wild.

And just as I was getting excited about it. I was blocked again. Shut down. Killed. And the post that was trending showed (shows) this.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/57f65846e4b087a29a5487bc

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-4-37-31-pm

I’m concerned mainly because I had been shut out of publishing on the HuffPo platform for over a year without any explanation. I tried sending emails to blogteam@huffingtonpost.com and even the Divorce editor brittany.wong@huffingtonpost.com but never got a single response. What gives? So today I’m back ON and I start to show results and I’m banned again? I sent this letter to the blogteam.

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-3-30-36-pm

And while I don’t ever expect a response, my posts are still showing as LIVE on my HuffPo author’s page.

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-4-33-43-pm

I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of it. I’m not sure we will ever be told what happened, or why I’ve been banned and am now apparently banned again. For legal reasons (that’s got to be it, right) they are not telling me anything. I’m holding my breath, however, because the thrill of seeing my blog blow up was very nice.

And now my Facebook shares look like this:

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-5-26-39-pm

I’m sad, but not surprised. I’ll be surprised if I get ANY response out of Brittany or the Blog Team.

UPDATE: This evening I’m afraid to even try and login. My account is in some sort of unstable mode where the site flashes on and off. Here’s the log-in screen.

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-9-59-01-pm

And what the “Statement of Community” says:

Statement of Community

The Huffington Post’s Contributor Network is a forum for ideas, discussion and diverse viewpoints. We offer a state-of-the-art platform that can help you bring your work to one of the internet’s largest audiences.

Be interesting, be entertaining, be provocative, have a point of view – but do it with a great respect for the readers and writers who join you on these pages. The community we are working to build here is one where diverse, vibrant and original ideas are celebrated and elevated. We welcome posts that embody that free-speech ethos, even when those viewpoints differ from our own.

We reserve our right to remove posts that abuse that spirit of community, such as hate speech, anything overtly commercial in nature and and posts that we believe may be attempting to mislead the public in some way. There may be other times when we will remove a post that has been flagged by our community for other reasons, including matters of professionalism and taste. We hope and expect those times to be rare and we will not take these decisions lightly. But in building this community, we respect the right of its members to be vocal about their objections. When those objections arise, we will leverage the sound judgement of our editors to determine what is best for the spirit of the space we’re trying to create.

Let’s see if the community will respond with an answer to my entire set of posts being taken down.

UPDATE: The mystery continues. This morning when I log-in my account is in some possessed form of code hell. As if they were blocking my account, but didn’t do it correctly.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

Catch up on the entire Huffington Post story

Sorting through the Marketing Data

screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-3-48-21-pm

We’ve just gotten started and we’re averaging 300 hits a day. That’s good. We’re going to get better. Right now we are sorting through all of the marketing data and posts of the last 7 years. We’re building indexes to help you find what you’re looking for. Again, thanks for your patience, we understand it’s hard to find what you need in our current state.

The plan is to keep refining the Active Media Academy for the month of October and then go to a paywall system of $2 per month for all you can eat. We hope you enjoy the free month of October, and we are open to any questions or suggestions about how we can make this site better.

Stay the course.

JMac – Oct. 1, 2016.

We’re Just Getting Organized

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-5-52-20-am

Please forgive the disorganization of this site. We’ve got over 800 posts to categorize and build in to classes. Today you can still get all the great content for free, but you’re going to have to look for it. Either use the SEARCH box or use the SITEMAP and search for the word or subject you are looking for there. Here’s what’s coming.

  1. The Twitter Way – using Twitter with skill and art
  2. Workin Facebook – all that’s good and bad and profitable about Facebook
  3. LinkedIn for Business – how to stay on top of the best networking site for business
  4. Fit Lifestyle – the blending of tech and hard work can help you reach your goals
  5. Apple Lifestyle – it’s not just a brand it’s an ecosystem – how Apple changes and improves our lives
  6. BMW Lifestyle – sure it’s a luxury brand, but there is a lot to learn from one of the best run car/tech companies
  7. Dell Hell – branding, e-commerce, company profiles, dysfunctions and repairs for the tech giant
  8. Social Media Marketing – it’s just digital marketing, but social is the accelerant
  9. Growth Hacker Digital Marketing and Branding – driving business using all the digital tools

We promise we are on it, but we’re a team of ONE and have several other projects that are paying the bills at the moment, so please take it easy on us.

We’ll be opening up a subscription option (free for now) and eventually this entire site will be on a $1 per month subscription service. Today, however, it’s all FREE, so enjoy. Look around. If you can’t find what you’re looking for please ask, I’ll fetch it back up to the site for you.

Thanks again, John McElhenney

Requests and post ideas to john.mcelhenney (at) gmail (dot) com

AdSense and YouTube Continue to BAN ME from Monetization (UPDATED)

If you know anything about social media marketing and content marketing, you know that monetization is the key to making the web work. I have been a content creator for years, I’m a verified partner with my very own YouTube channel about social marketing. And for over 200,000 views, YouTube/Google has paid me zero. I’ve been fighting a bogus click fraud case they have used to not pay me on my original content and not allow me to monetize my blogs using Google Adsense.

Today I was looking specifically at my YouTube account

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-9-39-39-am

Of course my account is verified and in good standing, so WHAT’S THE FUCKIN DEAL GOOGLE?

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-9-38-46-am

And I filed the typical form letter complaint with the YouTube team. Let’s see if I get any better results than I did using the gestapo-ish AdSense team. Onward ho!

For the full story you can visit this thread | Google Adsense Kills My Dreams

Or start here: Google Adsense, Can We Start Over?

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

Read the entire Google AdSense and YouTube saga.

UPDATE 3-24-16 YouTube wants feedback. I gave them the full thumbs down on this one. The specialist’s suggestion. Trying joining Adsense using a different email address. Um, yeah, we tried that already.

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-7-15-32-am

Free Social Media and Digital Marketing Classes

What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

Pardon our dust. All of our content is here and free, but not very well organized at this point. We’d love you to look around while we fix things up a bit.

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-9-12-44-amsomething is growing here

UBER.LA was great, but the traffic began to split along the lines of digital marketing (content is here now) and lifestyle/influencer posts. That’s all good for you, because today, for now, all of the content of the social media academy is available for free.

We’re just getting started, but let me hint at the structure underneath the pile of content.

  1. The Twitter Way – using Twitter with skill and art
  2. Workin Facebook – all that’s good and bad and profitable about Facebook
  3. LinkedIn for Business – how to stay on top of the best networking site for business
  4. Fit Lifestyle – the blending of tech and hard work can help you reach your goals
  5. Apple Lifestyle – it’s not just a brand it’s an ecosystem – how Apple changes and improves our lives
  6. BMW Lifestyle – sure it’s a luxury brand, but there is a lot to learn from one of the best run car/tech companies
  7. Dell Hell – branding, e-commerce, company profiles, dysfunctions and repairs for the tech giant
  8. Social Media Marketing – it’s just digital marketing, but social is the accelerant
  9. Growth Hacker Digital Marketing and Branding – driving business using all the digital tools
  10. Building an Influencer Marketing Program – brands and small businesses can benefit from this influencer thing

Pardon our dust. For now you’ve got to dig for the content using the index and search functions. But today it’s all free, and without a pay wall. (It’s coming.) So get your content today. And join us for tomorrow.

Thanks,

John McElhenney

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)