If you're an eHow writer with more than a few articles on the site, chances are that you were a victim of today's mass deletions. After finding out that 78 of my articles were deleted today, I am reasonably certain that I'm unhappy with eHow. Seventy-eight articles? Seriously? The articles were deleted early in the day with no explanation. Hours later, the explanation came.
According to the mass email that you may have gotten, the site decided to go through and delete all duplicate titles, keeping only the best-performing one. So, I could have written an article, been copied by someone who used more keywords and bookmarks and then lost my article in favor of the more popular one. I don't know how wise a decision any of this is, especially when there are many, many different ways to write to the same title. Demand Media itself recognizes that there are many ways to interpret a title and has an elaborate process for writers to get clarification on the titles it generates for its writers. And yet, it has decided to get rid of articles fairly randomly because of shared titles. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that many eHow writers are reporting that their articles were deleted and replaced with a link to a Demand-generated article with the same title. This eliminates the need to continue to pay those writers their revenue share each month and replaces the title with one that is paid the small up-front payment that Demand Media provides. Slimy.