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Thread: Life123.com (formerly Garden and Hearth Publishing)

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Life123.com (formerly Garden and Hearth Publishing)

    Some members may be familiar with Garden and Hearth or Garden & Hearth Publishing. It's billed as an online magazine and listed (the last I checked) with Writers Market.

    The company is owned by Kim Simonvitch.

    They advertise as on online magazine. They asked for articles at $10 each and also hired on writers for $3 per 1000 hits/visits.

    This was a slow site and took a lot of work. The work did pay off with good traffic after a slow start. This was based on a lot of work by the writers and also the owner worked hard I'm sure.

    Kim Simonovitch has opted to sell out her site. Well really, she opted to sell out the writings of the writers she took on with the income share. She gets the money. The writers get nothing - other than a new site where they may or may not make any money. The writers, to get on at the new site, must give away all old articles and the right to publish. A big gift for many.

    Bottom line - she sold the articles she did not write and the members as well. She gets money for those articles (the writers do not), and the writers may write for the new site, but they give away ALL RIGHTS to write for this new site.

    Furthermore, Kim Simonvitch has her site open. Those who did not sign have articles up and getting hits and income (for her and not for the writers). This was in the contract. Signer beware. But, she is posting these articles under other writer's bylines. In other words, she is taking pieces written by her old staff and putting in new writers (if she really did find any). Mary Jane's article on "How to Clean Carpet" now shows up with a teaser like "How to Clean a Carpet" by Carpet Cleaner Expert Joe Snow. You can click, now at least, and see at the bottom that Expert Joe Snow did not write the piece. You will see the Mary Jane bio at the bottom -after you click in thinking you are reading something by Joe Snow.

    Writers HAVE contacted Kim Simonvitch. She does respond to writers who signed her new contract giving her all the old work and agreeing to move to a new company where all rights are history. Those who would not agree to give away hours (and years) of work and would not agree to be sold to a new and unknown company do not get any responses. The writers who did not sign, in fact, find that their articles are still listed and making money for Kim Simonovitch, but those articles are listed written by other writers (who most certainly did not write the pieces).

    You may still find Garden and Hearth online magazine as a market online. The site is still up. Kim Simonovitch has sold the articles (which the writers own the copyright on) as well as selling their names to another company. Since some of her top writers did not sign, the deal may not go through. She has a contract to keep all submitted articles (and can fire a writer for any reason, at any time, and keep their work), but those pieces are now being posted online with teaser pieces listed other writer names (whcih she certainly rounded up fast - if at all).

    Apparently Garden & Hearth was mentioned here before. Kim Simonovitch made it very clear to all writers posting with her site that they could not share information here or with other writers even on her site. She put that in her contract. No contact. No discussion. To do so would mean she could and would take your work and keep it and not pay.

    The way it stands now, Garden & Hearth has sold. They are still up and going currently though, so don't hold your breath. G&H is listing new names for any areas where writers did not sign to "give away" collections of articles. Click and you can see. Chef Mada Uppa covers Eat Fast Food while Jane Joe wrote all the articles.

    The staff is small, so the current contract won't impact many. Do beware if you see calls for materials for Garden and Hearth or for Kim Simomovitch. Also watch out if you are asked to lend your name. You may list as Chef Big Chief and have clicks to all Work Their Butt Off Chiefs who are none to happy. Any writer here would know that they would not be happy to have their work sold off and not get the money promised and then to also have bylines messed up with some bogus "chef" name plugged in but the recipes clearly belonging to Work Their Butt Off (who trusted Kim Simomovitch and did not post at Water Cooler as she said it was a bogus spot for whiners).

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW BarbJ's Avatar
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    Bumping. I'm wondering if anyone else has dealt with this woman. Thanks for the heads-up, Bambam. And welcome.

    Bogus spot? Does that mean it doesn't exist? Yet ... I'm reading it. How existential. And we are not whiners. Our official title is nasty toady bugs. Geez.

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi Barb,

    Yes. You've got some other G&H refugees around. It is a small group. Kim Simonovitch did have a good eye for good writers. That's why she was able to cut a deal with a big money site. The stuff is good.

    By "bogus," I mean that you click in now and see articles with bylines that do not reflect the real writers. Actually, that seems to have taken care of itself after this post. If you had checked in a few days ago, you would have seen the top earning pieces listed but new names as far as the writers of said articles. Brand spanking new Garden Smart Guy had loads of articles, but when you clicked, then you saw that someone else wrote the content. This was and is not fair to new writers either. They get stuck with old materials and clicked off their names. Foul ball on that too.

    The bottom line:

    There was a site called Garden & Hearth.

    They sought out writers and said they'd pay royalties.

    Kim Simonovitch sold all those back articles and the writer names to a new company. She sent out a new contract to those hand picked writers.

    Those who signed this deal still are in the loop (somewhat - still not much contact of info). Those who did not want to give away collections of work and get sold to a new company are history. Well, they were in terms of pay and such, but their work was still up and collecting money for Kim Simonovitch on her Garden & Hearth website.

    And, yes, I know that there were some posts long ago about Kim Simonovitch and Garden & Hearth. I could not find those. Sorry. The search did not pull them up. She had big issues with her writers coming here (or anywhere) and talking. She even put a "do not talk" clause in her contract. That included any boards as well as even talking to other writers at her site. To speak up was to chance her firing you and taking your work and making money off that work and not paying you. That's how the contract reads.

    The contract did not, however, say that she could sell your work and could sell your name to another company. Writers held the copyrights. They (writers) sold rights and also could be canned for any reason with the article collections used by G&H (forever more). That's not so cool, but it was a limited copyright. Kim Simonovitch is now trying to sell the work off and gain from that through another site. That was NOT a part of the deal. The contract was and is with Garden & Hearth and not with other companies that she finds who will buy the work and pay good money.

    As I mentioned, the articles in question do seem to be down now. They were most surely up before. You could visit the site and see top hitting and earning articles from those who would not sign the contract and listed with new writer names. Writers could have number one on Google "mulch your garden" and a new "expert" linked on the teaser. You clicked and you could see that the piece was done by another writer - the one who helped build this site and made it valuable and made the overall site something that could be sold.

    No. I did not think this was a spot for whiners. I have and do think this is a space where writers can get a "heads up" on raw deals. I can assure that this was one of them. I can see why Kim Simonovitch did not want her writers talking at Absolute Write Water Cooler. They might get "wise" and stop cranking out the content that landed her a great deal that totally shafted the writers.

  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Well, I just checked and everything is intact exactly as Bambam states with full collections still posted and links from "chefs" to articles belonging to someone else.

  5. #5
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    More Sneaky Stuff from Garden and Hearth

    Beer Butt Chicken went to number one on Google through Garden and Hearth. The piece was written by a specific writer and was detailed with photos.

    Kim Simonovitch has now taken that number one Google slot and posted up a new recipe by a new writer:

    http://www.gardenandhearth.com/Barbe...uttChicken.htm

    This one is definately not the detailed article with photos that took the keywords to number one.

    You can check the original here:

    <A href="http://barbequemaster.blogspot.com/2008/02/beer-butt-chicken-recipes-and-tips.html#links">Barbecue">http://barbequemaster.blogspot.com/2008/02/beer-butt-chicken-recipes-and-tips.html#links"> Barbecue Master: Beer Butt Chicken Recipes and Tips</a>

    OK. Fine. It's just a blog post now, but it is the article that climbed the Google charts and got the Garden & Hearth the number one slot.

    Kim Simonovitch does seem to have figured out that she can't sell pieces when she did not buy the copyrights. She may also see that she can't sell people either. She is, however, doing some very interesting things that are not at all ethical.

    It is WRONG to take the Google top spot and then put up something totally different. The piece she has in there would never be a top Google piece for that recipe. Look. This is obvious. The one that climbed the ranks was detailed. This new one is not. Betcha the new writer never made a Beer Butt Chicken in her life. If she did, she did not take notes and share those online.

    Moral - there are many ways to game the system. Watch your back writers. This is another way for editors to jack you around. Use your work to rank. Replace your top piece with something else. Foul ball.
    Last edited by bambam; 02-27-2008 at 05:25 AM.

  7. #7
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Garden and Hearth has been absorbed into Kim Simonovitch's new SEO venture, Life123.com.
    ICAO
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    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Be sure to note that Kim Simonovitch lists this as one of her specialty areas:

    "Content Aquisition Specialist- experienced in identifying quality content conforming to strict revenue ROI potential models."

    Well, that's pretty honest.

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