Tuesday, July 21, 2009


So I'm a little disheartened. For quite awhile now, I've been a patient expert and a health maven over at Wellsphere. I allowed them to use my content, as I got a fabulously flattering letter from Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge promising me a bump in readership and yet another vehicle through which to disseminate my information.
I tried answering questions on the site, I really did, but when I received questions daily such as, "Do peanut M&Ms still count as junk food if peanuts are good for you?" (OH MY GOODNESS, PLEASE, I JUST NEED A GUN) or better yet, "My infant has a rash in his mouth that looks like an allergic reaction, what should I do" (TURN OFF THE F*#^ING COMPUTER AND TAKE HIM TO A DOCTOR??!!), I got a little unhappy. I stopped signing into the site, I certainly stopped posting to the site, and I just sort of left well enough alone, content to advertise their site on my blog while they used my RSS feed on theirs.
Then the layoff happened, and with a little more time on my hands, I decided I should give the site another try. I googled "wellsphere," (because that was the original name of the site, though I received notification several months back it had been sold to Health Central). You know how google gives you a list of things you might be looking for as you type? Well, up pops "Wellsphere Scam."
Apparently I was one of thousands of health bloggers fooled by that so-called flattering letter. Dr. Rutledge had several versions that were sent out to us blog folk, all with the hopes of signing us on to his network. That's fine. Not even a problem, really. As far as a form letter goes, it was a damn good one.
The problem? Apparently there was something in the fine print that most of us missed. I have yet to clear up whether this was original to the agreement with Wellsphere, or if this is under the new Health Central rules, but they are claiming intellectual property rights to our content! They can use our material any which way they want, and there ain't a darn thing we can do about it (!). This does not sit well with me. Nor would I ever have agreed to it if I had seen it in the beginning.
I read webpage after webpage of health bloggers, some of whom were doctors and nurses, as to how these writers dissolved their partnership with Wellsphere. Scare tactics, lawsuits, vulgar postings, etc. I couldn't believe my eyes. I wrote to Dr. Rutledge yesterday, asking that he discontinue the RSS feed and remove my content from his site, and sent the same email to their general support. And so it begins....if it is necessary, I will remove this site and start anew. It's just so darn irritating. Here's hoping for an amicable solution.


DrGeoff said...

Hi Alison,

Sorry you don't want to continue with us, we're removing you from the Wellsphere Health Blogger Network now (you will get a confirmation email).

I should mention that there is a reason so many of the best Health Bloggers are signing up to the network (now 2500!), and why so many of your colleagues are happy to republish their blogs to the over 6 million monthly visitors on Wellsphere. The full terms of participation are transparent and uncomplicated - see http://www.wellsphere.com/hbParticipationAgreement.s

In a nutshell, we agree to republish your blog on Wellsphere.com and nowhere else, and you retain copyright and full control of your writing. You can ask to be removed at any time, and we will delete all your content from our site. We do require that you not use your blog to actively promote commercial activities in which you have a vested interest.

If you change your mind and would like to rejoin the Health Blogger Network, feel free to resubmit your blog at http://www.wellsphere.com/health-blogger

Cheers, Geoff

PK said...

That's really a shame, AD. I hope they swiftly acquiesce to your requests and either change their policy or more clearly state it up front. Good luck!

Infertile Abbie said...

I'm glad I googled wellsphere h because this is the fourth blog post I've read about how bad their blog network is. I was thinking about applying, but now I won't.