Saturday 13 September 2008

Philanthropy and Theft

In terms of getting on with my core work, yesterday was a pretty unproductive day for me. I spent half the morning on the phone to my daughter, who wanted help with completing a job application form. The other half I gave to friend of a friend who was applying to do an MBA at a prestigious American uni.

I finally clicked my Constant Content bookmark in the early afternoon to find a change of policy in what could be showcased. Any work with more than half of the piece displayed would be removed from the site. Authors were advised to post only one third to one half of their work for display to potential customers. This was because there had been so many thefts and instances of customers claiming refunds as what they bought and paid for as unique was turning up all over the web. It happened to me once when an article of mine was posted in Associated Content with another byline. I got it removed but it wasn’t a good experience.

Along with many others, I went through all of my articles and tried to edit down what is referred to as the long summary of the piece on offer. I was worried, thinking that if I cut everything down to half the word count, what was left didn’t display enough of the scope and style of my work to attract buyers.

There was a great furore about this in the author forums. While my stock was only 45 items, several people had hundreds, and a couple went into four figures. It would take them days to review and edit everything. The customers didn’t like it either. One author reported a message to the effect that his customer would never buy anything he’d not seen a complete version of. Several asked why the technicians could not make it impossible to copy the summaries from the screen.

In the end that’s what happened. The last message said it was no longer possible to highlight text to copy, and we can post as much of our work as we like. I’ve tested it and it’s the perfect solution. I do wonder why it wasn’t done before. I daresay there are ways around it. I’ve thought of a couple but they would both require retyping and I doubt if anyone would bother. Anyway, I’m not going to mention them to put ideas into anyone’s head.

So you see, a lot of wasted effort went into yesterday afternoon. And to crown it all, in the evening I started feeling rough. The sore throat that I’ve felt threatening for about three weeks turned full on, my glands started swelling, and it was all I could do to clear things away after supper.

That’s why I’m posting this on Saturday instead of in my usual Friday slot. And I won’t be catching up on anything else. I’m going to crawl off back to bed and see if I can sleep this off.

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