HealthCentral buys Wellsphere

Kevin MD reports that the disgustingly pro-pharma site HealthCentral has bought Wellsphere. I’ve long thought Wellsphere were slimebags for multiple reasons I’ve left in comments all over the blogosphere.

Apparently a lot of other people do too according to Kevin:

The medical blog aggregator WellSphere has been coming under fire for distributing blogger content without sharing traffic or revenues with the authors. (rest of his blurb here)

This was a comment I left on justAna’s blog a couple of weeks ago:

I’m sorry but Wellsphere is a load of crap that comes after us with ass-kissing emails about how wonderful we are…and they’re all form letters…the same line of crap to everyone…

I never put any of their stuff on my site…

They just want free content and when I asked if they were going to have pharma ads the guy told me eventually they would…

They’ll tell anyone they’re hot shit just to get the content…

I don’t like having my ass kissed by people who haven’t even read my blog…

And now with Health Central coming in we can expect to see the pharma adds damn soon. I suggest people start boycotting them now. And if you can, pull down the content…but I bet you’ve signed the rights over to them, if you read the fine print.

Sometimes my gut’s just right on. Dr. Rutledge gave me the creeps from the first email I received from him.


More info: How the Health Blogosphere was scammed

23 thoughts on “HealthCentral buys Wellsphere

  1. Hi Gianna,

    I sent BlogAsheville an e-mail and link to a post I did on Wellsphere a couple of weeks ago because they were moving into and stealing content from gardening and food blogs to add to their healthy living section. Here is a follow up post on the sale.

    I thought this was something the BlogAsheville community should know about. They didn’t do a post on it which is a shame.

    From the uproar I have been seeing in the medical blog community, I think Wellsphere’s goose is cooked.

    Keep up the pressure folks. The next Stanford MBA with poor ethics will think twice before following Wellsphere’s business model.


    1. Hi, neighbor…
      yeah, well, most of the BlogAsheville blogs are not health blogs…so I suppose that is why it went under the radar…

      thanks for stopping by.

      you know anyone who has a blog on BlogAsheville can get rights to publish on that blog, so if you feel so inclined then you can write the post you’re saying should have been posted.


  2. “and if someone relies on advertising or stats on their blog the theft is real and concrete.”

    makes perfect sense gianna,



  3. I’ve received an e-mail and they’ve deleted my profile and content.
    Many people are talking about it.
    They have to do it.

    “Fear of reprisal as well….”
    I thought about it.


  4. Gianna and Naturgal,

    Maybe I have more to learn here….wouldn’t be the first time…
    I’ll do some more reading on this.

    Thanks to both of you,



  5. Duane,

    You are NOT correct.

    There is reality… and there is the law. Reality is that it is VERY EASTY TO STEAL someone’s work off the Internet.

    But that doesn’t mean people have the RIGHT to do this.

    Reality is when I click send on my email someone else might distribute it to others….well, people can photocopy a book too. That wouldn’t stand up in court. Copying is copying.

    Email privacy varies from state to state.

    In some states the emails belong to the employer in others, if it is obviously personal…they have no right to it within reason. For example, in most states you have the right to carry on a short conversation with family members and your boss doesn’t have the right to listen. If it is a chronic problem things change….email in some state is similar.

    If you are famous or you are threatening someone….be very cafeful about what you write….it can be tracked down.

    But the government has to get a subpoena..or at least the did before Homeland Security took effect.

    Republishing someone’s work is illegal. Especially if you are going to make money off of it.

    There is something called “fair use”. If I am educating someone or criticizing a work, I can publish PARTS of it in “good faith” and “fairness.”

    Check out Creative Commons

    Some things are in the public domain…others aren’t….but there ARE laws about this.


  6. NO DUANE..there is no difference in lifting stuff from a blog and putting it on another intact…it’s not about politeness it’s the law…

    no more..this is ridiculous. I’m not engaging in this argument anymore…

    look up copyright.


  7. Gianna,

    I think the keyword here is ‘internet’…..
    Copyright law on internet is unlike any other…..insofar as the internet itself is ‘public domain’….
    The courts have made some pretty strong rulings on keeping it ‘public’ – without restriction…..

    I could be wrong, would like to see what you find out.



  8. We may be talking about two things….

    To take a publshed work, ie, a research article, a book, and boldy place it on a blog (with the exception of ‘fair use’) without asking for permission is to take someone’s stuff….

    But, if that author has already put it up on the internet….then, he’s already made it public…..

    I think you’re talking about politeness, courtesty, decency, respect….in regard to asking permission from someone to re-post….which, I agree with.



  9. I am a sucker and i guess there really is one born every minute.

    I got the initial emails, ignored it and read Marian’s piece.

    Then a month or so later i started getting more email which I thought was personal…. and figured it might help to bring traffic to my website and help people. So I signed up.

    Now I am ticked off that i did. But I agree with Duane, if it helps one person- maybe it’s worth it.


  10. Duane it’s about putting it on another blog!! or website…

    it’s conceivable that a print publication could be handed out to every citizen…that wouldn’t make it right to copy it elsewhere..

    our blogs our ours…and just because people have access to our sites doesn’t mean it’s theirs…

    just like if you own book…

    I don’t get what your issue is here…

    taking content and displaying it elsewhere in whole is THEFT.

    and if someone relies on advertising or stats on their blog the theft is real and concrete.

    no we don’t release rights…look up copyright law Duane..I’m sure you can find it on wikipedia…this content on my blog is MINE.


  11. Copyright is binding….without any question….

    If someone has ‘copyright’ material (ie, a published book) they own the intellectual property to that book….their words are their property..

    But, if you publish something, on a blog, on the internet…you have just sent it to every computer in the world…

    What copyright remains when every computer in the world already has access to the original?

    The only thing that remains is that someone else may not take credit for your work….

    How could they be charged for ‘publishing’ something that was already ‘published’….You could hold them liable for stealing your work (if they put their name on it)….but, what would be the ‘damages’ for re-publishing something that had already been published world-wide?

    There is courtesy, common decency, respect…..all these things…but, I don’t think there could be any legal recourse….What could any of us claim as ‘damages’ or ‘losses’?

    I don’t think most of us realize that to publish something on the internet, through a blog is to release any rights to it…..

    It’s published worldwide, via public domain (the internet).



  12. Duane,
    you’re wrong…copyright rules still exist…that people ignore them all the time is another issue altogether…

    We OWN what we write and no one has a right to use it without permission. If we give permission fine and dandy…I’ve done that before quite often.

    I ask authors before recreating whole pieces on this blog…otherwise I just put an excerpt which is legal under copyright law…

    and it’s also legal to copyright your emails…they are private under the law…because I had pieces taken from me twice and posted I have a copyright on my email signature and it’s LEGAL and BINDING.


  13. Gianna,

    There is of course, common decency….asking to be removed….and hoping they have the courtest to do so….

    Fear of reprisal as well….

    In other words, I bet if Wellshphere were asked (especially by enough bloggers) to be removed…..they would do it.

    Especially, if they found those bloggers were letting others know of the scam (hint, hint)….

    In any event, I’m glad they have my stuff on thier site….Maybe some people will run into alternative options (when they least expect it)…ie, from a ‘pro-pharma’ camp – which is why I list with Psych Central….

    So many people everywhere are dissapointed in psych drugs, and looking for answers….I hope they find them.



  14. Gianna,

    You had them figured out from the beginning….I remember your saying early-on what you thought this was all about….

    What a scam!

    I took off the widget from my blog, but I don’t care if they run my posts….My thought is that if someone happens-into reading an alternative method (when looking for conventional), it’s a good thing.

    As far as “intellectual property”…..once something goes on the internet, it’s public domain….The minute any of us hit “publish” on a post….it is visible on every computer in the world….by our own decision to “publish” it to every computer in the world….

    To the best of my knowledge, even private email to our own private email address (because it goes via the internet) is not even “private”….hard to believe, but it’s my understanding that’s what the courts have ruled….

    As long as someone gives credit to who wrote the piece, there isn’t any legal way to keep anyone from re-publishing what’s been made public by way of a blog…..



  15. Gianna,
    I did thank you for your comment at this post:

    I’ve published your comment on a post “Wellsphere on trial” and some people left links that was of great help for me to make up my mind to get our of Wellsphere.
    When I received their first e-mail I declined.
    But after seeing many people whose blogs I admire being part of Wellsphere I thought that I was a little bit too suspicious.
    I forgot to google Dr. Rutledge name.
    Unfortunately I wrote a second e-mail answering that I wanted to be part of Wellsphere.
    I’ve already sent them 3 e-mails asking them to take away my content.
    I still got no reply and they only stopped publishing my new posts.
    Thank you for reporting it once again. People must be aware that this site is crap.
    There are many blogs we like that are there.
    I’m hating to see my posts with Wellsphere links.
    It’s pissing me off for a long time.
    They own the intellectual property right now?
    Are you sure?
    It’s unacceptable.
    They will have to take my profile and my posts.
    I don’t care people using my stuff but not like this.


  16. I guess I got suckered.

    I see some other blogger friends on the site…but I haven’t shown a referral like on my stats.

    I guess I didn’t read the fine print;

    Hidden in the fine print is the blogger’s consent for Wellsphere to publish the entire feed (in other words, all of the blogger’s written work) and that once it’s published on their site, they own the intellectual property rights to it.


  17. Same here, Gianna! I also asked about pharma ads and was told that they would have them. That’s why I haven’t signed on with them, too.



  18. “Dr. Rutledge gave me the creeps from the first email I received from him.”

    Same here. Geez, I’m glad I didn’t take the bait!


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