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Health Blogosphere Scam

How the health blogosphere was scammed:

January 28, 2009, the HealthCentral Network announced the acquisition of a company called Wellsphere from its young CEO, Ron Gutman. Many of my fellow medical bloggers are familiar with Wellsphere as they’ve received countless email form letters from Wellsphere’s CMIO, Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge. The form letters are flattering, and suggest that the company would like to feature the blogger’s writing on their platform.

But what happens next is disturbing – to become a member of Wellsphere, bloggers provide access to their blog’s RSS feed. Hidden in the fine print is the blogger’s consent for Wellsphere to publish the entire feed (in other words, all of the blogger’s written work) and that once it’s published on their site, they own the intellectual property rights to it.

I don't have much to say about this, except to give everyone a heads up if they are not already aware of it. Or similar sites. I would point out that on such sites, which are an excellent resource for us, can be a great place to connect with people, we ought to take concerns for our privacy and only post blogs of a more general personal nature, rather than a detailed article, essay, critique.... and if they want to use your post about how you were blinded by a migraine aura and hit your house while backing out of your driveway they can go right ahead... funny or serious anecdote notes. Save the good stuff for being published, for money, or for your own blog content... or a blogger health site that does not take and re-use your content. Also if you become a content writer for them... 'show me the money, all the dozens of pennies', some sort of compensation. Or not, sometimes it is just a merging of sources. I have posted for content, free of charge for butyoudontlooksick, but I find it all for awareness, and it is strictly content for her site. It comes down to the fine print. I do like communities that bring bloggers together.

It is all too easy to get blind sided by these things. They should be shunned. Definately need a good shunning. But as Teri noted in her response, this particular site has been bought out by health central, which is far more responsible and reliable.

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