Friday, September 24, 2010

Scribd.com Apologizes

It's been almost a month since a reader informed me that Scribd.com had begun scamming their users into paying to download the e-books I've provided for free for the last ten years. Much uproar followed.

If you missed the debacle, it was pretty short-lived on this end. I don't associate with scammers, so I yanked all my e-books off Scribd.com and deleted my account. I also went through my entire blog archive to mark every single post where I've mentioned Scribd.com with a link to my post about the scam. Then I paid for a file storage account with Google Docs to temporarily host my library while I explore other options. Took me about a week to get it all done -- and that's all I did.

News of people getting ripped off by an online publisher tends to go viral, and so my post started making the rounds. I understand that Scribd.com responded to it indirectly by soft-selling their scam on the Huffington Post. GalleyCat evidently also defended them. Disclaimer: I've not read the posts. I was not interested in Scribd.com's excuses for ripping off readers. I was done with them.

Since I'm now being regarded as the one who blew the whistle on them, however, it's only fair that I post a link to Scribd.com's public apology for their greed. Here's the gist: they have not shut down the scam, but they've provided some ways for their authors to opt-out of it, and they are very sorry we misunderstood their intentions.

I'm not buying it. If daily operations actually have gotten too expensive for Scribd.com (this was the excuse they gave me when I e-mailed them about why they were using my content in their scam), they should have come to me and asked me to pay for the space I was using. I'd have been happy to pay them a reasonable annual fee for hosting my little online library. I now pay Google Docs $5.00 a year for 20 gb of file storage space; I pay Photobucket $40.00 a year to host my online photo archive. But instead, they chose to violate my copyright and non-profit distribution notice in my e-books to rip off readers for something I have always given away for free. They are very sorry about it, though.

And now I am done with Scribd.com.

9 comments:

  1. I'm sorry things came to this Lynn but I'm glad you took your e-book elsewhere. I won't be using Scribd.com any time soon.

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  2. Anonymous8:42 AM

    Good for you! Hope you find a good alternative to post your freebies. I have to look into Google Documents. I am looking for an online storage option myself, and $5 a year for 20Gigs sounds very good.


    Mireya

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  3. There are a few options for file-hosting, as some of the folks have already mentioned. Personally, I use humyo's free basic service which gives you lots of storage space and your only requirement is to sign-in every 90 days. They send a reminder ahead of time so that you have lots of notice.
    If you are looking to share files around the 200 mb mark then MediaFire is quite nice as well. If you upgrade to a paid service you get direct-linking as well. In any case, you get unlimited storage. There are also other features for premium hosting plans which include a nice statistics section.
    There are quite a few options out there, though most basic free packages will probably cover you if you are dealing with manuscript distribution. Heck, If I wasn't so lazy, I'd format and upload to my smashwords account for free.

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  4. Very sorry they got caught, very sorry somebody called them on it, maybe. Glad you have another solution.

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  5. I only had one document on ScribD, but I deleted it as soon as I read your post.

    I have plenty of other ways to make it available if I want. I don't need to put it somewhere where someone might try to sell it without my consent.

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  6. Eh, I wouldn't use mediafire, either.

    They are another one that just love to make copyright holders jump thru hoops and don't do much of anything to really stop pirates. Not ideal, from my standpoint as a copyright holder.

    Smashwords is cool, though. The formatting IS a pain, isn't it?

    Very sorry they got caught, very sorry somebody called them on it, maybe. Glad you have another solution.

    heh. What Charli said.

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  7. Anonymous5:01 PM

    I found this board when I typed "scribd scam" into Google. I was trying to download a manual for a piece of software that's usually available for free from the manufacturer's website, but I didn't have my login info handy. Scripd advertised it as a free download if I logged in with my Facebook id. After logging in, they want $5 for a free document they don't even own in the first place. I hope the copyright lawyers get their hands on these crooks.

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  8. Thank you for making us aware of the scam and fighting the good fight... their loss not yours... we need more protect from such scammers... will not be using scribd again...

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  9. My name is Ron Herzfeld. Scribd would not have a very damaging and defamatory post removed, even though it was obvious that the claim of "fraud" never existed in the document and my Company, Property Development Group was in the Title claiming it was involved in a fraud injunction,which my company's name was not in the document as my company was not incorporated until 8 years after the frivolous lawsuit that was posted was dismissed.

    This sort of irresponsibility upon Scribd's part has hurt me financially and my reputation. I had sent numerous emails to Scribd asking them to just look at the false title against the document and they could see for themselves it was posted to unfairly and with malice to harm me. Their response...win a lawsuit and they would have it removed.

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