Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reasons for Deletion - Is it Really Spam?

Spam is another word eHow uses as a shorthand term for something broader. For the most part, they mean articles that tend to promote a particular thing. That thing may be a government service, or a charity or a non-profit website, or a product - and it doesn't matter if it is a worthy item, or if the writer is not making any money off of it.

The key to understanding this rule is to think about whether the article is actually offering its own solution to the reader's problem, or just telling them that the site or product is the solution.

If your article is about how to find free health care, for instance, that is a noble subject. But if the answer is just a list of organizations or sites that will help you, the article will be deleted for spam. The article may be valuable and it should be posted somewhere, but it still doesn't belong on eHow.

Of course, sometimes an article like that is also deleted for "common sense" or because it's "not in how to format". I, for one, wish that eHow would change it's terminology for spam. It is so easy to misunderstand and it offends people unnecessarily. Call it "promotional" and if some other rule applies, use that one instead.

One other note about "spam": stay away from name brands. If there is more than one product that does a particular job, then try to use the generic term for the item, or use a "such as" to name the item. If your recipe says "Use Crisco to fry your chicken" you could be accused of promoting a specific product. Try "Since butter burns so easily, many people prefer to use a shortening such as Crisco to fry their chicken." The best solution, though, would be to just say "use shortening".

Next Up: Poorly Written Article. (Back to Series Index.)

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