Friday, December 18, 2009

I was going to use my return to this blog (sorry about the absence, but I was finishing up papers and finals for college) to talk about eHow and how it’s the best place to write that I’ve ever found. I would have, without hesitation, recommended eHow for a new online freelance writer.

Over the last couple months though, my view of eHow has been sliding. Through the bugs, through the whining and moaning all over the forum, through community staff never doing their jobs, I had supported eHow and even been called a ‘cheerleader’ (used in a derogatory way by those who were tired of all the problems).

I’m sick of it all though. I have been harassed and stalked through the PM system on eHow and staff did nothing about it except send a “firm warning” to the person not to bother me. I was harassed on the forums by someone who thought it was funny to make comments about killing other people’s pet rats in my thread about mourning the loss of my dead pet rat. Staff reacted by sending a “firm warning” yet again. And the person continued to follow and harass me across the forums anyway with no actions taken by staff at all.

I have been stalked onto other websites that I write on - the stalker goes by eHow related names (such as eHow Doctor, eHow Stuff, etc.) and it’s most assuredly one of the people I have already reported on eHow for harassing me on their own site first. Staff just let it escalate until I often wonder if I’m going to start receiving letters in my physical mailbox and not just my e-mail inbox.

And it’s not just that; everything about eHow ticks me off recently. The publishing tool is broken, the staff is so out of touch that they actually had to ask how we post our articles - wizard mode broken into 4 steps or the expanded mode all on one page. Well if they paid attention to anything that was said for months and months and months, they’d know that wizard mode doesn’t work 99% of the time. And expanded mode doesn’t work 40% of the time (works less often for some people). And let’s not forget the infinite pending for over a month. And the irony is that the pending review does nothing except check for plagiarism, which was already being done before they implemented this so called review.

There are more bugs than you can count. Don’t believe me? Check my eHow Experiment page. I used to keep a nice little chart of all the bugs that were going on, as well as possible fixes and workarounds or just saying it wasn’t a bug (in the case of article deletions), but now, I can’t even keep up with them. I’d need an entire webpage dedicated just to the publishing related bugs. Yes, the one thing eHow is supposed to do - allow freelance writers to publish content - has been broken for months on end with staff running around like chickens with their heads cut off, first saying they didn’t know, then saying they were aware of it, then asking for more details (how many more details can we give you after 2 or 3 months of reporting it in great detail?) and now asking stupid questions about how we usually publish. As if we can publish!

Well, this went on longer than I meant for it to. The tipping point was, sadly, a piddly little “I did this” contest for pumpkin carving. I spent more than 24 hours skinning a pumpkin - how many people actually do that, right? I should get so many points just for uniqueness - and cutting off the bottom of it to form a jaw line and a variety of other things. There were other really awesome ones as well, such as a Frankenstein(I can't find the link right now, because eHow has no idea how to run their I Did This section properly) done by skinning as well. Or this pumpkin eating a pumpkin.

What won though? Oh, a really pathetic and simplistic Darth Vader. And one of the runners up? A kitty. Yes, a really lame kitty.

Good job eHow. You fail, so hardcore.

So, if you want to risk the bugs and the annoyances and the maybe you can, maybe you can’t publish ever or right now or this minute problem, then eHow is great. The money is there and it’s good. But would you put up with a normal day job that allowed other employees to harass you, that allowed the payroll to not work properly, that allowed updates not to happen on a regular basis without explanation, that allowed the one thing it’s designed to do to not work for months? No? Didn’t think so.

For more about eHow check my Unofficial eHow Q&A over here or see my experiences for my first year over here in My eHow Experiment.