Saturday, 27 March 2010

SOL No More

This evening I received an e-mail from the owner/operator of the StoriesOnline website informing me that he considered my blog to be nothing more than spam.

In a message which was unnecessarily aggressive in tone, he said he’d been monitoring my activity for ‘a while’ and he was ‘getting tired of it’. My SOL blog was simply a re-posting of this one, warts and all and it’s the fact that I have spoken about works that have not been posted on his site that he objects to.

In the world of the open, social-web where users are sharing good content via sites like twitter, facebook and tumblr, SOL is a closed eco-system where the owner wants visitors to remain rather than be directed elsewhere. Sounds a lot like a certain social-networking site owned by an international media company that is losing users left right and centre, don’t you think? (Speaking of that same international media company, news that The Times is putting its website behind a paywall is not surprising but the only people who think it will work are the editor and Mr Murdoch himself – a dinosaur from a media era that no longer exists. I’ll be quite funny when he has to admit defeat)

The site owner said “Your profile and your page header is full of links to sell your stories” and “You've become a parasite.”

This from a man who’s entire business model is based on authors posting stories they write for free, all of which are accepted regardless of quality, so that his site members will pay for premium access so they can read more stories and use facilities like a library and have the ability to download stories in various formats. The site contains literally thousands of stories, many of dubious quality, but as I’ve spoken about here before, there are a few gems – although you do have to work hard to find them.

I politely responded to him saying that if he felt he no longer wanted me to be a member of his ‘community’ he should cancel my account and remove my stories and blog entries forthwith. This he has done. Well, my stories are gone - the last time I checked the account was still active, although my author’s ‘premium access’ has been revoked now my stories have gone and instead of a random story and library, I now have an advert telling me the cost of premium access and encouraging me to buy. Seems I’m not totally unwelcome as long as I pay up. (Access is $70 per year, if your interested)

I’m sure the removal of my 30 odd stories will not be considered any great loss and while I admit I’m sad to see my stories removed from the site, that sadness is more sentimental than anything else. Before I began selling my work, first to Ruthie’s Club and then through Phaze, StoriesOnline was where I posted my stories, and I’ve received many nice e-mails from readers on the site in respect of them.

It is a shame that site members will no longer be able to stumble across my stories and enjoy them. I guess I’ll just have to post html versions of the stories to my own site instead.

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