Textbroker Author TOS Changes

by nmwf
10 replies
In brief: The new TOS will extend payment deadlines, charge a monthly fee for inactive accounts, and sue for working with clients outside of the site. https://www.textbroker.com/authors-terms-service-2015

That last bit is bugging me because section VIII. No Luring Away of Clients says:
"During the term of this Agreement and for two years after the expiration or termination of this Agreement, you agree you will not directly or indirectly solicit, or assist in any way in the solicitation of, business from any of the customers, either for your own benefit or the benefit of any third party, or provide any services or products to the customer other than through this Site, unless the business being solicited or services or products being provided is not competitive with or the same or similar to the business of, or services or products provided by Textbroker or its affiliates as determined by Textbroker in its sole discretion. ...

If you violate the terms of this Section, and you directly or indirectly provide services outside this Site, among other remedies, you shall pay Textbroker its 5-star OpenOrder client rate for each word written, in addition to a $500 administrative fee per article written and any of Textbroker's costs (including legal fees) to collect such payments."

No one knows what "indirectly" means and Textbroker is not defining it.

As far as I can understand, I, and anyone else who writes through the site PLUS provides products or services through the site cannot offer those products or services outside of the site during the agreement's existence AND for two years after the agreement is terminated. -- Even if that client is unknown and accidentally encountered.

So...

I guess I just wanted to warn people. Those who write through the site and those who make software or provide services that may "indirectly" lure an unknown (i.e. unidentified) client away from the site could be sued. Unfortunately, Textbroker clients are identified as numbers only -- so there's no way to know who the hell they are.

#author #textbroker #tos
  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I guess they are protecting their source of income. You are paying
    for the meeting place. Although 2 years seems like a long time for
    such a policy. It's more like 6 months for other such sites.

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author nmwf
    I just closed my account there.
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    • Profile picture of the author kk075
      Originally Posted by nmwf View Post

      I just closed my account there.
      They were lousy to begin with since the pay was low and the customer-service is non-existent, so you made a very smart move to walk away. I don't know if they could enforce that BS anyway though....are they really going to spend $5k to sue freelancers for $800-1200? And how would they even gather the proof to submit to the court system?

      It sounds like a desperation move to me, and they wouldn't have to go that route if they weren't paying writers an industry low compared to what they bill out per article. If they gave some of that "lawsuit money" back to their help, then a whole lot less would be inclined to work with clients outside of the system to begin with.
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      • Profile picture of the author nmwf
        Originally Posted by kk075 View Post

        I don't know if they could enforce that BS anyway though....are they really going to spend $5k to sue freelancers for $800-1200? And how would they even gather the proof to submit to the court system?
        Yup.

        Crazy.

        Crazy ass rules for a crazy ass place.

        And I ... Don't. Do. Crazy.

        Originally Posted by kk075 View Post

        It sounds like a desperation move to me, and they wouldn't have to go that route if they weren't paying writers an industry low compared to what they bill out per article. If they gave some of that "lawsuit money" back to their help, then a whole lot less would be inclined to work with clients outside of the system to begin with.
        Well, they have to pay their authors that little amount because they sell content at a "little amount." Ironically, the available work dwindles away every day.

        Very confusing from a writer's POV, client's POV, and even the curious marketer's POV.
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        • Profile picture of the author kk075
          Originally Posted by nmwf View Post

          Well, they have to pay their authors that little amount because they sell content at a "little amount." Ironically, the available work dwindles away every day.

          Very confusing from a writer's POV, client's POV, and even the curious marketer's POV.
          I haven't even looked at that site for about 7-8 years, but they used to pay out around 35% of what they billed clients. For a $10 order, that's $3.50 for you and $6.50 for the company; which is insanely steep for a fully automated company that offers zero support to anyone using their system.

          Again, it's been a very long time since I checked them out, but I frequently see the same types of complaints that I experienced right after they launched. So I'm guessing very little has changed.
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          • Profile picture of the author professorrosado
            They cannot control the client who can pick and choose any supplier they please whom are openly accessible on the Internet. They are full of it. Walk away and let them try to satisfy clients with a dwindling writer base.

            If you're that good of a writer, you can easily get enough clients and enjoy full billing on your own. All you guys are doing is making someone rich while they have you by the "you know whats" - you'd think they were slave masters how they want to control what you do for 2 years after you walked away from them - really?

            If you have a pair - use them and market your services elsewhere.
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            • Profile picture of the author Kay King
              I agree - if you are "that good" as a writer you can get your own clients. But that's not the point in my opinion.

              If you use a site to GET clients - it's wrong to use the site's services and then cheat the site by taking that client outside to avoid fees. And fee avoidance is the whole point of "luring" to begin with.

              That said, if a site I worked with changed the rules and I didn't like the changes....I'd close my acct and go elsewhere.
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  • Profile picture of the author mysterrio
    I think you have to wonder what the legal end really is there. Besides, why would anyone lure away clients? If you are honest and ethical...you just wouldn't do that.
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    • Profile picture of the author nmwf
      Originally Posted by mysterrio View Post

      I think you have to wonder what the legal end really is there. Besides, why would anyone lure away clients? If you are honest and ethical...you just wouldn't do that.
      The whole set up there doesn't make any sense. For instance, the rules state authors cannot reveal themselves. They cannot identify themselves on the site nor in the content that they write. Yet clients cannot put their own names on purchased articles without indicating that they intend to.

      Think about that for a minute. And then ask what kind of sense it makes. If a client neglects to claim ownership, who owns the content? A literal ghost?

      Another problem with preventing author disclosure is if or when the site closes down (which isn't too far into the future, IMO). Authors should have the right to continue working with the clients that they managed to attract via direct orders. But they can't do that without revealing themselves. So if TB shuts down and disappears, so do the author-client relationships.

      From that very real possibility, "luring away clients," seems like a sensible business move. Especially after you consider how unstable things are right now.
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    They just don't want writers POACHING their clients.

    Remember, it is THEIR clients. They advertise. They do the hard work to get the clients.

    Nothing sucks worse than having writers POACH their client base.

    I see where they are coming from.

    It would be very interesting to see how they'll follow through on their claimed legal rights vs poachers in the TOS.

    Should be a good TEST CASE for other freelance platforms that use the same "Anonymous" writing pool model.
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